Are you starting off in your first professional HR role? This is such an exciting and important time in your career! Even as an HR Assistant, 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 having imposter syndrome?
Outside of Work:
- Having a strong support system outside of work is important for your growth and development. A great way to start building your support system is to connect with more experienced HR pros such as professors, through internships, and social media! Having a variety of people in your support system will ensure that when you need some guidance the most, someone will be there for you.
- Self-care. You must 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. 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 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 avoid imposter syndrome. SHRM, HCI and HR.com offer a variety of webinars. Networking 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 don’t know how to handle, don’t freeze up! Keep a notebook handy just for these situations. 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.
- It's okay to let the employee know that you need to look into their request further before responding. This 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. 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.
Originally published in full version on the Claire Petrie blog.
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