When you’re a new manager, it’s hard to know exactly the right things to do. New managers want to make a good impression but they have things that must get done. That’s the dilemma this reader is facing:
Hello. i just got a new job as HR manager and this is my first experience in managerial role. i do have experience in human resources and I’m a certified professional (SHRM-SCP.) The HR department is small – just an administrator and myself.
The company is a manufacturing facility with 300 employees. I have immediately noticed that staff morale is an issue. I’m trying to figure out how to plan my efforts for the first six months. i believe with your wealth of experience, you can give me useful advice and recommendations.
First of all, congratulations on your new role! My first HR manager role was in a small department as well. It can be incredibly overwhelming but, at the same time, a fantastic learning opportunity. Here are a few things to consider during your first six months:
- Get to know your boss. THIS is the number one thing on your list. Yes, this person hired you. And they want you to be successful. But do not blindside them. You want to understand 1) what you can do and not tell your boss, 2) what you can do and tell your boss later and 3) what you need to tell your boss immediately.
- Find out what your peers expect. You have a great sense of the competencies for your profession. Now, it’s time to confirm those with the individuals that you have to work with every day. Trust me, they will very much appreciate being asked the question, “What do you expect from me and the department?”
- Build a relationship with your team. Find out the background and experience of your team members. What are their goals? Let them find out the same about you. Also make sure they know what is expected of them from other departments. Get their take on the responses. Do they agree or disagree?
- Learn your company and industry. Even if you were promoted from within, it’s possible there are things you need to learn. Company financials, budgets, market share, customer satisfaction, etc. New managers are expected to have knowledge of the operation – regardless of your department.
- Touch everything in your office. What I mean here is open the drawers, look at the files, etc. Understand how the office works. That might shed some light on the best solutions to implement. You need to understand logistics to make good decisions.
- Resist the temptation to create change. It’s very easy to say, “This is what we did at ABC company.” Or “I prefer to do XX over YY.” Always ask yourself if something really needs to be changed – at least initially. You’re building credibility and a reputation. Employees want to know that you’re taking the time to evaluate all options before creating change.
- Make a list, then prioritize. You’re going to see a lot of things that you want to change or that don’t make sense. Unless they are things that are hazardous, unethical or illegal, it might make sense just to make a mental note of them. Then do your homework – ask employees why they exist. Find out the history. Then figure out what to tackle first.
Even when you’ve been hired to make change happen in the organization, you have to take time to build relationships with the team and understand the organization. Every company’s interpretation of “change agent” is different.
What advice would you give to new managers during their first six months on the job? Share your suggestions!
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby12