I’ve talked with a few #HRYPs recently who are starting off in their first professional HR roles. This is such an exciting and important time in your career! Even as an HR Assistant or HR Coordinator, employees will see that your title is HR, and they will come to you with what they need. It may be outside the scope of your job description, but that’s a good thing! You want employees to come and talk to you. This is how you learn. However, this can be overwhelming when you’re first starting off. How do you stay calm under pressure and handle the situation in a way that they will be comfortable coming to you again in the future? How do you avoid coming down with impostor syndrome?
Outside of Work:
- Have a strong support system. Even if you have the best boss, having a support system outside of work is important for your growth and development. (I love to be a sounding board for HRYP’s – feel free to reach out to me!) A great way to start building your support system is to connect with more experienced HR pros such as professors, guest speakers at school, or through internships! I’ve met a great HR support system through the alumni office at my alma-mater as well as social media. Having a variety of people in your support system will ensure that when you need some advice or guidance the most, someone will be there to help you through that tough situation!
- Self-care. You have to be confident in what you have to offer your employer and employees! It’s hard to be confident in your first role but remember, you earned it. Whether it was your degree, training, aptitudes or personality, you earned that position! Negative self-talk will impact you in your day to day interactions at work, so get into the habit now of practicing positive affirmations. You are confident, knowledgeable, and a great source of support for your employees! Do not doubt your accomplishments!
- ALWAYS continue to read and learn. This will help your confidence and help you avoid imposter syndrome. There are many websites and resources such as SHRM, HCI and HR.com that offer a blog and webinars. Networking in through your local SHRM chapter or social media is a great source to learn and add to your support system at the same time.
- If someone comes up to you with an issue you have no idea how to handle, do not freeze up! Keep a notebook handy just for these situations, so that you are always prepared. Take a deep breath, be welcoming. Write down the date/time and get their name. Then, LISTEN. Thank them for coming to you and let them know you will look into their request further and get back to them. If you will be consulting your supervisor or someone else more senior in HR, let them know that you’ll be sharing their request with other members of the HR department to ensure you get the correct information for them.
- It’s okay to let the employee know that you need to look into their request further before responding. This actually makes you look more credible then just responding right away. The person will know that you did your due diligence and took their request seriously. The important part here is to not indicate during the initial conversation what the outcome may be. It is your job to look into their request further, not always get them the outcome they are looking for.
- If you make a mistake, apologize and be honest. I know it’s hard, and doesn’t feel good, but once you apologize out loud, it gets easier. Everyone makes mistakes. What’s important is how you handle it. If you entered in an address or direct deposit wrong, do not blame the system. Let them know that a data entry error was made that you take accountability for, and it will be fixed by XYZ date. Apologizing, being sincere, letting someone know when they can expect the fix, and ensuring it won’t happen again, will bring the situation to closure. I also kept a notebook of “learnings” and wrote down additional questions/instructions on processes to ensure I didn’t make the mistake a second time.
I hope you’re feeling more confident and ready to take on what comes your way! You got this!