#Nextchat: HR Departments of One—Controlling the Chaos


In many small to midsize companies, the human resources department consists of one person—an HR department of one who must do it all. Often, these professionals have one of the most challenging jobs on the planet because they must manage every HR function including recruiting, onboarding, training, compensation and benefits, employee relations, compliance, human resource information systems, analytics, and strategy … and are frequently responsible for other business processes at the same time.  

The individuals who make up many HR departments of one typically have diverse backgrounds and levels of training. Whether you have an MBA and are an integral part of leadership or if you came through internal ranks with little formal HR training, those in HR departments of one share many of the same issues. Key roadblocks that arise include finding time to get it all done, having the authority to solve employee requests and setting priorities that help drive initiatives forward.

One of the most difficult aspects of the job when you are an HR department of one 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.

Lori Kleiman, SHRM-SCP, president of HR Topics, will present a session at the SHRM 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition titled HR Department of One – Getting It Right the First Time. In this session, she’ll talk about how to use resources to get information quickly and how to assess your own HR function to be sure you are starting off with necessary and compliant practices. Participants in the session will be encouraged to share resources and will benefit from networking and building connections with other “DOOs” (departments of one).

In the SHRM Online article, Lessons from HR Departments of One, Kleiman 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 present with a business focus. Cite numbers. For example, show how training can impact customer retention.”    

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on May 4 for #Nextchat with special guest Lori Kleiman (@LoriKleiman). We’ll chat and share resources, tips and advice to help HR professionals create a more efficient and effective department of one.


Q1. What is your greatest challenge as an HR department of one?

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

Q3. What technology solutions have helped you the most as an HR department of one?

Q4. What functions are best outsourced in an HR department of one?

Q5. As an HR department of one, what online resources have been the most helpful to you?

Q6. What are the best forums or networking opportunities for individuals who are HR departments of one?

Q7. What can HR departments of one do to build business acumen and to better understand their organization from the inside out?

Q8. In what ways can HR departments of one make an impact on their organization?

Q9. What advice do you have for other HR departments of one?


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Nice article, good to read and informative. Thanks, for sharing

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