The HR Department of One

As the importance of HR increased within organisations, many HR professionals became the HR Department of One. This means that the HR function of organisations is managed entirely by one person.

An HR Department of One means you must be everything HR is for employees. You handle everything from the administrative aspect of HR, such as registering new employees to thinking of new HR initiatives in line with the company’s strategy.

It is unlikely that there is time for the job to get you lonely. But having to come up with initiatives by yourself or having no one to share ideas with, can make you feel lonely. It is important that you make time to meet with other HR professionals at conferences and networking events. These will also give you the opportunity to think ‘outside-the-box’ and learn what HR initiatives other organisations are up to. Nowadays, one can also do this through social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

It is important that when in need of additional resources, you ask for it internally. It may also just be the need to share an idea with a colleague. However, an HR Department of One should also empower other managers to take on HR responsibilities of their own department. For example, performance reviews should fall under the responsibility of the respective departmental managers and HR should only be championing the system by ensuring that the reviews are actually carried out. Your role, as an HR professional, should as much as possible remain on a strategic level. This is, in fact, becoming a more pressing issue. HR professionals must show how HR contributes to the bottom line of the company. And, this can only be done if it is thinking and working strategically.

The truth remains that it is close to impossible to manage everything by yourself. This is particularly so when a lot of our time has become focused on recruitment efforts. Anything that can be outsourced or even automated, should be done so. The business will not gain anything from you trying to manage all by yourself. Outsourcing or automating HR aspects will help you focus on more strategic issues. It is true that time needs to be invested in your working relationship with them. However, needless to say, it is important that you are content and satisfied with the HR service providers you engage.

About the author

Maria Bartolo Zahra is Managing Director and HR Advisor at SurgeAdvisory. She has over fifteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.