The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

3 of My Favorite Tips Every HR Department Can Use

hr department tips

Today’s world is VUCA:

Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.

To say we operate in a time of information overload is an understatement. HR best practice guides, compliance update reminders, new apps, business books, newsletters, blogs, and on and on it goes.

How are we to ingest this constantly revolving door of information and make sense of it all? And, further, how do we apply what we learn from these valuable resources in our careers as HR professionals?

3 Tips for Getting a Better Handle on Your HR Department of One

I’m often asked what has worked for me when it comes to staying abreast of the HR landscape and handling my HR department, all while working on driving my career forward. I discussed some of these in my Favorite Tips for an HR Department of One:


But let’s really narrow this down today. Here are my three favorite tips if you want to have it all in your HR professional career.

Tip #1: Use a Calendar for Reminders

There is no way to keep track of every deadline, registration, and communication deadline by just hoping you’ll remember. Even when you get into a routine, the rules change frequently and quickly.

hr department - calendar for tracking important dates

For instance, the EEO-1 report was always due in September—at least for the past 30 years of my career it was. But now… It’s due next month! That’s right, if you have over 100 employees, you need to file the report by March 31, 2018.

Thankfully, you can use technology to track this. Get our list of critical HR dates below, add them to your calendar, and set them to recur annually. Be sure to do the same with dates that might be specific to your position, company, or industry. Once you’ve done this, you can shift your focus away from trying to remember when the next big deadline or milestone is due and onto more pertinent matters.

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Tip #2: Stop Reinventing the Wheel

You don’t have all the answers… and why should you? In human resources, someone has likely created that policy, dealt with the employee situation, or created a new benefits package that will help you recruit top talent. Why spend your time rebuilding these elements or processes if they already exist?

My suggestion is that you reach out, get to know other folks in your area and share resources. I wrote HR Hacks for this very reason; because too many small HR departments were staring at a blank page, unsure of where to start. Belonging to a mastermind group has been a critical component of my growth and a huge help in this area. I would never have grown my first business to almost a million dollars with six full-time employees if it were not for my Vistage group.

hr department - network and mastermind to stay current

That’s why I am passionate about and run mastermind groups today. If you don’t have access to one locally, you might even want to consider starting your own. I was honored to hear at a recent SHRM meeting that, after hearing me speak at SHRM 2017, a group formed and continue to meet at Starbucks once a month to brainstorm and problem-solve. It doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. Just find your group and start meeting!

business books for hr department

Tip #3: Never Stop Learning

The way we do things today is dramatically different from how we did them 18 months ago. How do you stay on top of these seemingly never-ending changes in the HR and professional worlds?

In all honesty, it doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take commitment. My top tip for staying engaged, even as the general business world changes, is to get content from three to five business books a month.

Personally, I don’t read that much because I don’t have much time to. But, remember Cliffs Notes from high school? The same is available today for business books. The vendor I’ve used for 25 years is  For a reasonable fee, I receive summaries of the top business books. I can quickly review what business leaders are talking about and be sure that I stay up-to-date on the latest theories and vocabulary.

Bring More Stability to Your HR Department

In sum, here is what you need to take away from these 3 tips for getting a better handle on your HR department:

  1. Find vetted solutions and give yourself the luxury to use shortcuts.
  2. Get to know your community of fellow HR professionals or business owners. You never know what sort of valuable information or resources you each have to share with one another.
  3. Study up on what you need to know, even if it’s only in a summarized format.

At the end of the day, these three tips all roll into one simple idea: that you need to be more engaged with the external world if you want to do a better job managing your smaller HR one.


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