People think HR is there to help workers, no matter how often you tell them otherwise.
It’s not like employees are stupid. Intellectually, they know HR is there to do two things: Pay people and protect the company from lawsuits. Everything else is fake-work created by an industry of consultants who realized that a bigger and more complicated HR department could be the gateway to additional products and services.
Have you got a bloated and complicated people operations team? Then, you need our solution!
So, if HR isn’t there to protect employees, who is?
The answer, my friends, is you.
That’s my belief, and I wrote all about it in my book, “Betting On You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career.” Want a better experience? Don’t look to HR for answers. Be your own HR!
But what does it mean to be your own HR? Well, I have some ideas.
Look for Work Like a Professional
Treat your job search like a part-time job and interview prospective employers first to avoid future problems. That means researching your dream companies, being brave and connecting with leaders at those organizations on LinkedIn, and boldly stating, “I want to work for you.”
Then, go old school. Connect face-to-face (or Zoom) with people who can recommend connections. Be brave about asking for introductions to influential leaders and hiring managers. Sure, you can get another job on a job board. But to be your own HR, it means getting off the treadmill of life and avoiding the same old problems you’ve had at every other job.
Remember: If you select the right job, you won’t need to run to HR and complain about your problems.
Onboard Yourself Like a Boss
Think about the best job you’ve ever had (if you had such a job). Chances are your first 90 days were fun. You laughed a lot, got to know people and made many friends. Your goals were clear, the company was supportive, and you spent those days taking care of business without thinking about politics, infighting or drama. Let’s make sure we do that again.
Ask yourself: How can I get to know my colleagues before day one? If your company doesn’t formally introduce you to your colleagues, get curious on LinkedIn and look them up. Try to learn something personal about them.
Learn about cultural norms at your company by searching on Glassdoor and Indeed, or ask your new manager how people unwind. What does the team celebrate? What does everybody hate?
Or proactively connect with IT ahead of time, so your new laptop and phone are ready to go. You’d be surprised how many big companies still wait until your first day to get the ball rolling, so ask your manager how you can be tech-ready on day one and be available for quick calls or tech deliveries.
Pay Attention to Everything About Your New Company
Set up a Google alert and spy on your company, boss, CEO and even the HR leader or recruiter who hired you. Keep an eye out, from the moment you join the organization, for opportunities to talk with your new team about hot-button issues, challenges and industry stories. You’ll also be aware of challenges or organizational changes before you start.
Take Accountability for Your Learning and Development
When you’re learning, you’re growing. When you’re growing, you are thriving. So, stop waiting for an invitation from your new manager to learn. The cavalry isn’t coming. They are too busy figuring out the Great Resignation for themselves to worry about you, sadly.
Be a Slacker
It is just another way of saying that you get weird if you over-invest in your job. The best research from Harvard Business School trumpets the benefits of having hobbies and a big, wonderful life, then bringing that happiness into the workplace — not deriving satisfaction from work and expecting your personal life to be better.
Use the Premortem
The best employees are great at managing conflict, taking risks and interviewing internally for new jobs before exploring a new company, So, before you do anything inherently risky, ask yourself, “How will this fail?” Then set a timer for one minute and brainstorm how things can go wrong. When the timer is up, look at your list. You have given yourself a gift. Fix those glitches, and you improve your chance of success by over 30%.
Know When to Leave, but Don’t Leave Too Soon
No job is permanent. Everything ends. Please don’t make a big deal out of it. Try being professionally detached and treat your employer like a client. Have you finished the job? Is there more to do?
Don’t quit a job before having another job lined up. I can’t say that enough. And remember that nobody cares about your feedback on the way out. Always lie during your exit interview.
Wait, one more thing: Ask for severance.
(Again, my book teaches you how.)
Be Your Own HR Today
The HR cavalry is not coming to save you. They work for the company, not you. Want a better career and life? The secret is to reclaim the power back from HR and permit yourself to take action.
You fix work by making one brave choice, then another and then another until you see improvements in your daily life. And you fix work when you put yourself first, take control of your career, and act as your own HR department. Because God knows you can’t always trust your local HR team to do the right thing.