#Nextchat: Control the Chaos and Excel as an HR Department of One



In many small and midsize companies, the human resources department consists of one person. The department of one (DOO) handles every HR function for the entire organization, including recruiting, onboarding, training, compensation, benefits, employee relations, compliance, technology, analytics and strategy—and is frequently responsible for other business processes at the same time.  

Professionals who are HR departments of one typically have diverse backgrounds and levels of training. However, whether you have an MBA and are an integral part of leadership, or if you came through internal ranks with little formal HR training, DOOs tend to share many of the same issues. Key roadblocks that arise include finding time to get it all done and not having the authority to solve employee requests.

HR departments of one are saddled with administrative tasks yet often have the desire and even the need to participate at a more strategic level. The executive team expects you to have the depth of knowledge of a CHRO, and your employees want answers to their questions now. Finance wants benefits bills yesterday, and the operations department needs new candidates. How do you navigate the needs of your internal customers and still participate in strategy? 

One of the most difficult aspects of the DOO’s job is the absence of HR peers with whom to exchange ideas, get advice or ask questions. This is where networking with other HR professionals outside of your organization becomes critically important for success—and survival.

In the SHRM Online article Lessons from HR Departments of One, Lori Kleiman, SHRM-SCP, president of HR Topics, encourages HR professionals to do a deep dive into learning their organization’s business and to connect with senior leaders. 

She says that it’s important to take initiative and to “stop waiting to be invited.” She also “urges HR departments of one to view themselves as executives. Get onto management meeting agendas with HR topics that impact the entire business. Always be present with a business focus. Cite numbers.”

She also offers some great advice for DOO newbies in her post Five Tips for the New HR Department of One, such as educate yourself, learn priorities and pick your battles.

Lori Kleiman will present two sessions at the SHRM 2018 Annual Conference & Exposition:

These sessions will cover strategy, benchmarking, priorities, vendor management and technology, among other DOO issues. Demystifying HR for the Department of One will be devoted to giving you Lori’s top tips for succeeding as an HR DOO and—one of her favorite tips—connecting with others.

How are you becoming a more effective, efficient and strategic HR department of one?  

Please join @SHRMnextchat at 3:00 p.m. ET on May 23 for #Nextchat with special guest Lori Kleiman (@LoriKleiman). We’ll share resources, tips and advice to help HR professionals create a more efficient and effective department of one.


Q1. What do you enjoy most about being an HR department of one?

Q2. What is your greatest challenge or frustration as an HR department of one?

Q3. As an HR department of one, how do you set priorities when everything is on fire every day?   

Q4. In an HR department of one, what functions are best outsourced, and how do you manage vendors to get the most assistance?

Q5. What technology are you using to help ease the burden of administrative duties? 

Q6. How can HR departments of one determine their strategic position to impact organizational business strategy and achieve results?

Q7. What are the best resources, forums or networking opportunities for individuals who are HR departments of one?

Q8. What advice do you have for others who want to excel and be a more efficient, effective and strategic HR department of one?

If you missed this #Nextchat you can read the RECAP with all the tweets here

Join the HR Department of One group on SHRM Connect – SHRM’s online community where you can network, share and ask questions to other HR professionals in a department of one.


How to participate in an HR Twitter chat



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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