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Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

General Business
Managing People
Employment & HR

A Day in the Life of a HR Manager

Primed Team
23 May 2024 3 minutes

What would it be like to be a HR manager for the day? We interviewed one of our talented team members to gain a deeper understanding of their roles and challenges. Join us as we explore the dynamic world of human resources through the eyes of a seasoned professional.

Thanks for taking time to give us your insights, on a typical day with the company running at capacity what sort of tasks do you find yourself tackling?

There is no typical day, in truth.  Whilst we have structures in place to manage both reactive issues and proactive initiatives and projects, when dealing with people, anything goes. This is definitely true in my case where I operate at a senior level for a number of our clients, on top of operating internally as People Operations Manager.

The typical ‘HR’ disciplines are all considered and applied depending on what is needed.  These disciplines sit under either of the following:

  • Recruitment, selection, onboarding
  • Training and Development
  • Employment Relations
  • Pay & Reward

No one person is the same, so with a role that is connected with people, this would translate to no one day is the same.

As expected, very busy! That final part in particular is refreshing to hear, there are so many ways in which we all vary from one another. Can you shed some light on some challenges that you often encounter in the workplace?

These vary too.  For clients, I operate with business leaders and senior managers who mainly have specialisms in other areas and rely on sage advice and counsel when running their businesses.  Internally, I am connected with senior managers, however, I am more accessible to all colleagues too – by virtue of being sat pretty much in the centre of the office in Maidstone.  It is important to be accessible and approachable.

Whilst the challenges are varied and every day is different, I tend to face challenges around change management, culture creation and other leader led proactive initiatives. I also get involved in reactive people issues that require attention.

How do you feel about the new regulations (Flexible working and so on) that have been introduced recently and how have they affected your clients?

It is important to understand the effects that work has on colleagues whilst also appreciating that everyone has different needs.  The recent changes are a reflection of listening to employees needs and attempting to balance them with business requirements.  Some may look at the changes from a business perspective and feel that they restrict productivity.  However, if you have happy employees who are able to enjoy a suitable work/life balance, you get motivated and productive employees. Trying to stifle this has the opposite effect, which may create a negative culture and higher attrition.

Our clients are used to applying the requirements of good employment relations.  When it comes to such items as requesting flexible working, you might get the odd ‘eye-roll’ but fundamentally, they do understand.  The one piece of advice that is really important for people managers to grasp is to understand the employees’ frame of reference by placing yourself in their shoes (figuratively of course).

It is refreshing to hear a balanced perspective, seeing the needs of the employees and how meeting them could benefit the business as a whole! As someone in your position, you must have interacted with such a diverse range of skill sets. What are the skills you feel are the most significant for someone in your role to have?

The list isn’t exhaustive but for me, empathy, understanding, curiosity, approachability, flexibility, trustworthiness and the ability to find solutions to problems is a solid start.  You learn from exposure much quicker than you will from academia. From this exposure you get to learn about human psychology, which informs your proactive side.  As you grow into the people profession, an understanding of business mechanics and how external factors may affect how a business operates is vital to make the next steps.  With knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge to resolve problems will create trust in your abilities.  With that trust, you get involved in more conversations, which informs you more about different leaders and the context in which they operate.  Ultimately leading you to become a well-informed strategic people lead.

Again you highlight the importance of communication and trust. Moving slightly away from dealing with people. With the fast-paced evolution of the technological landscape, can you tell us if the technology you currently use supports your role well? Can you give some examples of useful platforms and how you use them?

Data is at the cornerstone of our decision making processes.  We need to be informed about as many metrics relating to people as possible in order to identify areas of excellence, areas requiring improvement and all the bits in between. The best way to do this is with the use of technology.  Outset was created not only to be a non-traditional law firm but to use technology in a variety of ways to help our clients.

In HR, you would benefit from a good HR Information System (HRIS). There are many types of HRIS on the market and all do similar things to aid people-centric processes and decision making.  We use Breathe, which is a great platform for SMEs.  We partner with Breathe too in order to supply our clients – predominantly SME’s too.  HRIS can help reduce administration related to holidays, sickness, performance management, recruitment and a whole host of other tasks. By also gathering data from all these areas too, we get to report on it to help solve issues and create better ways of working.

We also use a system called WeThrive to carry out a variety of employment surveys (engagement, DEI, on-boarding, offboarding, mental health, etc) and to manage our proactive performance management processes – the setting and measuring OKRs.

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