As a young professional in HR, I often run into issues that I have not yet had the opportunity to address in my career. When I am faced with something with which I do not have experience, I recognize the importance of gaining as much knowledge about the issue or problem at hand before acting on it. I have found a number of data-gathering tactics that work well for me and I would like to share them in hopes that they will help other professionals properly execute new experiences.
1. Do research. There is a strong chance that you are not the first person to ask your question. There are blogs, websites, online groups, etc. where people gather to share information about questions they have or are getting from others. Sign up for newsletters from websites that speak to your specific industry or function. Subscribe to a blog so you receive a notification when there is a new post. There is no shortage of information in this age of the internet; you just have to take the time to seek it out.
2. Ask questions of your coworkers. Discussing the concern with others allows for you to see other points of view which may offer an alternate way of dealing with the issue. It’s also nice when you can talk to people who know the organization you are working for: your specific company experiences and handles issues differently than others, so getting suggestions from someone who understands your industry and business can be invaluable in solving a problem.
3. Engage with your mentors. When a young professional has found his or her career path and is excited about where it may lead them, they are thirsty for information and experience. Many seek out a mentor, or a more senior professional, whose brain they can pick and bounce ideas off of. Ask them what they would do in your situation. Usually, senior professionals are excited to be asked for their opinion and will offer it willingly. Maintain contact with your mentors because you never know when a senior point of view will be beneficial to you.
4. Document. Once you have come to a conclusion or are ready to address the issue, make sure to document that decision and action plan. That way if this issue comes up again in the future, others know what you did and how you handled it. They may choose to approach the situation the same way as you or they may choose to build off of your process. If they do choose to build off the process, don’t take that as criticism. You were integral in perpetuating change and that is what matters.
I realize that this is not an all-encompassing list of methods to gather information before dealing with a new experience but this happens to be what works best for me. I’m excited to hear…what works best for you?