The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Flying Solo? 5 Steps to Controlling the HR Department of One!


It is increasingly common that a sole practitioner run the HR department for an organization. The position varies from a high level HR leader to an organizational team member doing HR alongside other functions for the organization. Regardless of the experience and totality of the position, sole HR practitioners can rely on these tips to get the job done.

1. Time Management. HR people are pulled in many directions. Your CEO wants you to bring down costs, employees think you are there to meet their every need. Outside entities are constantly calling with reference checks and compliance obligations. Clearly define the actions you need to complete to meet the goals of your organization – and let the rest come later.

2. Publicize your goals. Others will define your role in a way that suits their needs. Work with your manager to create 3-4 meaningful goals that support your organizations strategic plan – then make it clear that this is what you are working on. Empower yourself and your HR function by saying no to those things that don’t fit into your goals or schedule. Hang your goals in the office for all to see.

3. Get control of your internal processes. Completing an HR assessment is a critical step to understanding where you may be loosing time or have non-compliance issues. Constantly evaluate your processes and make life easier for yourself.

4. Vendor Management is key. Know who your key vendors are and reach out to them to take critical tasks off your plate. Review contracts annually and ensure you understand the deliverables. Set a meeting with your vendors to review the agreement and see services they may have to ease your workload.

5. Connect with others. You need to get out of the organization and see how others operate to bring new ideas to your role and complete goals without reinventing the wheel. Mastermind groups and non-profit boards are a great way to meet others with similar interests outside your organization and share ideas and resources. Look for connections you can make today.

All sole practitioners bring valuable assets to the table – but flying alone doesn’t mean you have to do it alone! Using these tips you should be able to identify the areas that create alignment within your organization and give you back control of your day. Find others you can count on to gain control and elevate your HR function.

Photo by Chrissy H used under the following license.


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This was my first HR position, and as a HR Department of One, I had no idea where to turn for information. Along came the mastermind group who has helped me learn how to get the resources I need, present ideas to our leadership team managing my maternity leave! I am looking forward to the 2017 group, and will even participate while on leave!
Sharron G.


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