Whether promoted to a new role or arriving fresh into an organisation as an HR leader, you will likely come bursting with ideas and eager to hit the ground running from day one. However, with so many things to achieve – and typically only a few months to ‘prove yourself’ during a probation period – what should you focus on first?
No matter how long you have been an employee at your organisation, it is important that the first step involves you getting under the bonnet a little more. However, this does not mean you have to enter the boardroom with a list of problems, nor have to be involved in every single fire-fighting matter, what is vital is that you focus on the priorities.
Of course, you cannot go into your new role and ignore everything that is happening around you or simply rely on your own agenda, but make sure that the low-level tasks do not drain all your time and you miss the bigger issues.
Your leadership skills will prove to be pivotal here as you will be expected to utilise them in a way that clearly defines exactly which priorities must be tackled, who in the team can manage them – both in skillset and capacity – and how long each challenge will take.
Plus, during your deep dive into what makes your organisation tick, you can also use your first few months to identify any gaps that need addressing – whether it is specific technology solutions to enable your staff to do their jobs more effectively, or the need to roll-out additional training to better equip your colleagues so they can manage internal matters with efficiency.
Why ER is the key to unlocking organisational change
This is where your understanding of employee relations (ER) can truly come into its own because it must drive your company’s strategic agenda. While there may still be a battle in the boardroom about ER’s importance, it can in fact be the key to unlocking business growth —impacting your team’s productivity, building company culture and underpinning everything you stand for as an organisation.
And these areas are absolutely critical for you to better understand in your first 90 days as an HR leader. As someone in a powerful position to drive the culture and build on your company’s foundations, ER can help you get under the skin of your organisation.
So, find out what your business thinks about ER. Is it merely a tactical, operational function? If so, why? Here you can begin to unpick the priority level of ER – and everything in between – from reporting capability, technology adoption, learning and development and employee engagement, to name a few.
Of course, your ‘discovery’ exercise should come from a genuine place to improve things so make sure you communicate this fact to whomever you are speaking to, so they do not feel like they are being ‘interviewed’ or made to feel uncomfortable for any reason.
With a critical seat at the boardroom table, you are in an influential position to drive forward positive change, so speak to colleagues about what makes them want to come to work, make swift, business-critical decisions with the help of accurate data, and enjoy building up a bigger picture as to what your organisation stands for, and where you can make an impact.
If you are unsure as to what questions to ask to get a better understanding of what makes your organisation tick, download our free guide 7 employee relations (ER) priorities an HR leader must focus on in their first 90 days.