As I move through the end of another calendar year, I am floored to realize that I am entering the 11th month as head of Human Resources for my company. Homestar Financial Corporation is a home mortgage lender, with about 600 employees in 80 locations across 12 states. We’ve almost doubled in size in the past 23 months, and have the usual challenges that type of growth brings!
I learned quickly that for all the low-hanging fruit I “fixed,” there were dozens of other, more complex and time-consuming needs to be addressed. Conflict resolution is more engrained in the HR team culture, and New Hires are better prepared for their first weeks than when I started. We have taken positive steps as an HR team to be proactive instead of being the administrative, reactive department of prior years. But more can be done to help this company better reflect the character of its Founder, and become a place people want to be for a career.  In 2017, progress will be made.
So, in the coming year, I am focusing on three areas – HRIS, employee training, and improving our interviewing process. Of course, each of those areas includes dozens and dozens of small steps to accomplish, but that list is for another time.
If you are starting in a new role, or plan to do so in 2017, I encourage you to develop your 90-day plan (as I did), and be prepared to CHUCK IT! Having a focus when you take on a new role is important, but it’s not necessarily how things will unfold as you learn more about the day-to-day needs of executives and employees. I found much deeper problems that took far longer to resolve (some are still being worked on 11 months later…) than I originally could see from outside the organization.
Plan on spending the first couple of months just listening – perhaps a small survey of stakeholder’s expectations for your HR team could be useful, too. And develop your Year-One plan as you gain more insights into exactly what your company needs from an HR leader.
Good luck, and I hope you have a great 2017. Steve Lovig

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