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HRD1

Am I talking about a Star Wars character or the Human Resources field? It depends! When I was a newbie to HR, I had to get accustomed to acronyms. The challenge with learning specific acronyms is they can mean something totally different to different people in other fields. Therefore, you can get confused quickly especially if you google just the acronym itself without context.

My first experience in HR was probably not unique. I worked as an executive assistant at a private, family-owned company and was asked to look into what it means to be an HR practitioner. Of course, my boss did not state it that way. It was more like, “Do you know what an I-9 is?” To which my answer was (after doing a sly google search), “Sure. Sort of.” To which he responded, “Great! Figure out how to make us compliant!” And I did… after doing a few more google searches.

That company had over 1,000 employees spread out over thirty-five locations in three states, but no HR Department. They did have thirty-five individual HR practitioners (location managers) doing whatever the heck they wanted to. Almost certainly, they were using google too! That is when I became an HRD1 (HR Department of One)!

Two hard-working parents raised my four siblings and me. In our house, we survived on ingenuity and commitment. If I wanted certain things done, I had to figure it out then buckle down to get it accomplished. Surviving my childhood eventually translated into having strong initiative as an adult, preparing me for my career. Without initiative, no one will ever survive being an HRD1. 

What does initiative look like when you are learning and practicing to be an HRD1…?

  • Search the internet. Google seriously is your BFF, lifesaver, and confidant. If you don’t know what FMLA stands for, do an internet search in the google machine!I feel like I earned a certification in Google searches alone. There is so much to find on the internet. However, be careful what you read and ensure it is from legitimate sources, which leads me to…
  • Join your local and national SHRM chapters. So many acronyms! The Society of Human Resource Management is the expert professional organization for Human Resources. Their national website offers a wealth of knowledge and resources regarding all things HR. The local chapters of SHRM offer more personal interface rather than just informational resources. If you do not have a local chapter, take the initiative and form one! SHRM is the best place to network with fellow HR practitioners, which leads me to…
  • Create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is another place to make connections and with more than just HR professionals. You can create your profile on LinkedIn as robust or plain as you want to. I would at least encourage you to upload a (professional) picture of yourself. Utilize this platform to your advantage. It allows you to list the positions and duties you have held as well as upload a resume. In LinkedIn, when searching for connections, the profiles are available for all to see. Use that to your advantage. Social media can be a beautiful thing when making professional connections, which leads me to…
  • Find a mentor. Finding a mentor can be tricky. It is like finding a good therapist – you do not always know how knowledgeable people actually are at their craft until you talk with them a few times. Just looking at their titles can fool the end user. Therefore, use the suggestions above: Have initiative, join a SHRM chapter, create a LinkedIn profile, and start making connections! You will eventually clique with someone who is HR savvy. When you do, prepare to be a sponge!  

I am no longer an HRD1. Eventually, I gained enough experience to move into an HR Director role in the aviation industry. So, just when I thought I was comfortable with HR acronyms, I get introduced to the phonetic alphabet! Even though I am responsible for an actual HR department, one thing remains; my persevering initiative. It is my roots, it runs through my veins, and it is what got me where I am today. Ultimately, initiative and even more Google searches will propel me into my dream role of – you guessed it – CHRO!