Tag Archives: HR Assistant

How I Took Control of My Career Development

Interestingly enough, this post was written about a week before this news on HR leadership development came out from i4cp.

Time to get tough.
Time to get tough.

I don\’t know how many of you know it, but I\’m an HR assistant. Yes, I occupy that prestigious rung of the HR career ladder just above weasels and interns. I jest, of course, but not overly so. It\’s often been said that Gen Y thinks they deserve immediately what it took others years to attain. I usually scoff at that sort of generalization; however, my HR assistant job is one of those times in my life that I actually bear a resemblance to my generational cohort. No, I don\’t think I should be groomed for the CEO position just yet, but I do want to move up in my responsibilities as an HR professional.

I want to step up to important things, but a recent interaction showed me just how unprepared I was for the “big leagues.” Two of my senior HR coworkers were discussing a thorny issue, and I listened intently, gathering as much information as I could. As if by some unspoken agreement, they then both turned and asked me (the HR assistant, mind you) how I would handle the situation if I were in charge.

Wow. My heart fluttered a bit. And I may or may not have broken out into a sweat. (Hey, it is summertime in Alabama, so cut me some slack!)

I eventually gave my verdict, but as I said before, it showed me just how unprepared I am to move up just yet. However, I have found an interesting way to learn and grow in my position. And I discovered it by accident.

My Realization

I had to go over to our storage area to toss our oldest employee files and make room for some new ones. As I was going through the old ones, I came across more than a dozen thick, monstrous files full of interesting documentation. I realized then that instead of waiting for another learning situation to pop up, I could do some research on issues that had already occurred and discuss those with my peers. I got the okay from my supervisor, and starting this week, I\’m going to peruse one of these employee files every week, look for clues and information, and form conclusions based on the available data. Then I’ll discuss those ideas with one of my senior peers to get some feedback. It’s like a scrimmage before the real game, and I think I’m going to learn a lot!

You, too?

I know that professionals from all steps in the grand scheme of things read this blog, so I\’d like to ask those of you who hold a supervisory role to see if you can do something similar to develop your own HR assistants (or whatever you call the supporting staff in your HR department). If you\’re one of the new HR professionals, then try to speak with your supervisor and get plugged into the events around you. If you don\’t take charge of your career, then don\’t expect someone else to!

While school can teach you how to memorize a bunch of stuff, it certainly can\’t give you much practice in employee relations and other real-life issues that don\’t have a single, clear answer. How did the rest of you get started? Were you mentored steadily? Thrown to the wolves? Still learning? I’d love to hear more ideas.

Rules for New HR Professionals

If you\’re a fan of Fistful of Talent (I made it into the top 1 zillion blogs over there at some point or another. Boo-ya!), then you may have seen the recent FOTV video where Kris Dunn, AKA the HR Capitalist, gave his rules for new HR professionals to succeed. While he had to be succinct in the video, I had the opportunity to discuss it with him in person recently. He reiterated his points and made sure that I understood completely where he was coming from. His main ideas are in bold, and my own commentary follows each point.

Know HR and Execute

If you\’re going to build some credibility as a new HR professional, then you\’re going to have to prove that you know your stuff. If you are a dunce when it comes to HR matters, then no amount of passion or people skills will get people to follow your lead. If you have to take some classes, get your certification, or just do more in the area of career development, don\’t let anything stand in your way from being knowledgeable in the HR arena.

Have an opinion. (passion=credibility)

Too many HR professionals are afraid to put their foot down and stick to their guns. If you want to show people that you\’re a wishy-washy, spineless drone, then don\’t ever take a stand on anything. And let me know how that goes for you. Probably not well.

Another point that he made in the video was that passion equals credibility. It was a quick comment mentioned in passing, but it was the phrase that struck me the hardest. Passion equals credibility. Is that really true for a new HR professional? If I\’m passionate about something, does that mean that I\’m automatically credible? I can\’t say that it will always be true, but I could make the case that if you\’re sufficiently passionate about a certain topic (HR, perhaps?), then you would certainly be credible as well.

Communicate in multiple ways

All too many of my generational brethren are completely incapable of expressing themselves. Whether it\’s face-to-face, written, or just verbal communication, each has a definite impact on your ability to succeed as a new HR professional. Know how to express yourself verbally, nonverbally, and in the written form. It will make an amazing difference. I\’ve always written fairly well, but once I started writing on a daily basis, I realized just how much better my overall communication skills had become.

So, if you\’re a new HR professional, and you\’re looking for some tips on how to be successful, then I think you should be focusing on these items at the very least. I think you\’d be surprised at how much of a difference it will make in your own career. And if you have another rule for new HR professionals, then please drop it in the comments below. I’m collecting these for an upcoming project, and I’d love to have more input.