Get the team right, and you’ll be flying across the ocean with the wind in your hair. Get it wrong, though, and you could find yourself with a Titanic situation on your hands. Luckily, to help you dodge the icebergs, we’ve put together a handy guide on everything you need to recruit a high-performing HR team. Anchors away.
As we’ve alluded to above, HR professionals have a lot on their plates, both in terms of the variety of responsibilities that fall at their feet, and the skills needed to tackle those tasks with ease. This can make it difficult for employers to know how to go about hiring an HR manager, especially for a smaller company that has not had a dedicated HR department before.
Similarly, for larger companies, it can be challenging to divide up responsibilities well, ensuring that all tasks are covered and no one is stepping on each other’s toes. The easiest way to do this is often to assign HR staff to different teams (eg. some on sales, some on marketing, some on customer service).
In this situation, it’s even more important to ensure that new team members have a diverse range of skills that they're able to call upon at short notice. Make sure to build a cohesive team that all get on with one another.
Get the team right, and you’ll be flying across the ocean with the wind in your hair. Get it wrong, though, and you could find yourself with a Titanic situation on your hands.
Not only that, your HR team are responsible for enforcing your company culture, so it’s important that they understand what your company stands for and are able to implement it. It can often make sense to hire an HR manager from a company with a similar ethos to yours for this reason.
For example, if your office operates a remote working policy, it’s preferable to hire someone that has previously worked with a culture like that, rather than someone who has 20 years’ experience in managing 9-5 workers.
So, what are an HR manager’s responsibilities? A helluva lot is the answer. They are responsible for:
Anyone that thinks that HR is an ‘easy’ job…. well, just take a look at that list. Not only does an HR manager have to be completely immersed in the DNA of the company in order to devise hiring and corporate strategy, they also have to be au fait with all relevant industry regulations, AND sympathetic when tackling difficult employee relations.
HR managers are multi-talented moguls. Here are some of the top skills to look for on a CV.
Quick-to-learn – When starting in any new role, the first few days can be a bit overwhelming. For starters, you’re bombarded with tonnes of new information, from passwords to company data and more. For an HR manager, it’s ten times more intense, as not only do you have to familiarise yourself with the company and the responsibilities of your new role, you also suddenly become the point of contact for everyone else!
Therefore, a great HR manager will be able to quickly digest and remember vital information, and recall it at a moment’s notice. This can be anything from knowing where the holiday forms are kept, to being able to remember the deadline for a compliance notice.
Empathetic – Part of an HR manager’s role centres around problem solving and responding to queries of all shapes and sizes. When tackling more complex issues, particularly those where emotions are running high and there’s a lot at stake (eg, employees considering leaving if they’re unhappy), an empathetic approach is vital. This ensures that employees feel that they have been listened to and understood, and are confident that appropriate action will be taken based on their comments.
Organised – An HR manager has an awful lot of plates to spin, given the wide range of responsibilities included in the job. That means serious organisation skills are needed, from making sure that documentation is filed in the right place, to ensuring company policy is regularly updated. It’s imperative for HR managers to have their finger on every button, given that they are relied upon by all other team members.
Roster of Experience - An HR manager could have taken two different educational routes: they might have A-Levels, hopefully in subjects relevant to your business area, or have done an HR degree at university. Equally, they may have taken a vocational route, and accrued a Level 3 BTEC qualification in business or management. Both of these are equally legitimate routes to becoming an HR manager, and both provide all the necessary skills.
In terms of experience, as an employer it’s often best to look for an HR manager that has worked in a company roughly the same size as yours. If your team is 100-strong, an HR manager that has previously worked in a team of 10 might find the step up overwhelming. Equally, if you believe someone has the necessary skills and is up to the challenge, don’t rule them out just because of their experience.
Ultimately, it’s all about finding someone that fits into your company, both in terms of their skillset and your business culture.
Check to see if your HR manager is part of the CIPD, too. What does CIPD mean? CIPD stands for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and it’s the professional body for all HR professionals. Accreditation by the CIPD is a hallmark of a proficient and competent HR manager – if you spot this on someone’s CV, it’s a great sign.
When hiring an HR manager, it’s imperative to get it right – although you’re filling a single role, that person will have a profound impact on every subsequent hire your company makes. They could be the person that makes your company culture, keeps you in the regulators’ good books AND organises Christmas donations to the local primary school so you can feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s a tough job, but get the right person and it will transform your business.
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