As the end of 2013 approaches, it's an ideal time to stop and reflect on your development as an HR professional and how you might be more effective in your HR role in 2014. Here are 10 ways to be better in HR in 2014.
1. Assume the role of a leader.
Even if you aren't one or don't have the authority or title of a leader, act like one each and every day. Use your influence for positive workplace change in your company, because when your actions have an impact on others, they matter and make a difference.
Leadership is less about title and role, and more about impact and influence. Anyone can lead...even from the very bottom. Assume your "seat at the table" and act like you have one.
2. Invest in learning.
HR and talent management is ever-changing, and those who keep updated on the latest workplace and compliance trends and strategies will help their companies maintain an edge in attracting and retaining key talent.
Similarly, make the case for investing in staff development. When you develop managers and employees, your job becomes easier because they can do their jobs better.
3. Learn about other business units.
Connections are crucial to your success. You'll be most effective in your HR role when you spend less time in your own department and more time connecting with people across the organization. Spend more time with other business units next year, learn about what they do and how they do it, and help them be more successful.
The most effective HR professionals are well-networked in their companies and care about the overall business and how it works.
4. Take a risk.
The most successful people do extraordinary things because they take big risks. Taking well-planned risks often leads to unforeseen opportunities, helps you stand out as a professional, provides lessons, and spurs new paths and contributions.
No one achieves their career vision or goals by playing it safe all the time, so consider taking a risk next year. For example, try a new initiative or take a different approach to an HR practice. It may boost your team's success and your own to a whole new level.
5. Be more proactive, versus reactive.
There is a tendency among many HR professionals to focus on too much tactical work (policy enforcement, etc.), be reactive to day-to-day challenges and problems, and let more strategic issues fall to the wayside. But do you really want to put out fires every day?
Make 2014 the year when you take steps to reduce reactive and tactical work in your department. Lay the groundwork for a more proactive approach of running your department. Chances are, you'll find that your job is a lot more enjoyable and fulfilling.
6. Create a mission and vision for your department.
Go one step further than proactive and become more strategic. What do you want to achieve as an HR department? What is your mission? Where do you see your department in 5 years? What about 10 years? Then, put into place plans to help you achieve your strategic goals.
7. Be the change you wish to see.
We all wish for a better workplace, but we have more power over our work environments than we think we do. In HR especially, you have the ability to foster a positive work environment and make changes to the culture that you want to see. Set the example and lead by example.
8. Make service your core function.
If you are in HR, you likely have a gift and passion for serving others, especially your staff. Use those to your competitive advantage. Brainstorm how to take your service to a new level.
How can you make your "customers'" work lives easier, happier, and just generally better on a daily basis? What can you do to deliver a extraordinary workplace experience for your staff?
9. Find a great mentor and/or leader.
It's rare for HR to find great leaders and/or mentors internally, and if you have one, consider yourself lucky. Finding someone who is willing to help guide and develop you is a unique find for an HR professional.
When you're in a department of just one or a few, it can be challenging to find a leader or mentor who gives you honest feedback and advice, and who helps develop and move you in the direction that you need to go. Consider looking externally or ramping up your networking to find someone who can help you achieve your goals.
10. Manage your time.
HR rarely has enough time. You're often overworked, have too many burdens on your time, and are constantly stretched to find more time to do the things you really want to do. Strive to make at least one significant efficiency and/or process improvement in 2014, and manage your time and priorities better.
You are only given so much time and hopefully that means you are using it wisely to make as much of an impact with your employees and at your organization as possible.
In 2014, make the year about working on your role as an HR leader and making your department better with these 10 strategies. From all of us here at ERC, we wish you much success in 2014 and beyond and are here to support your HR needs and help you do your job better.