If you are an HR department of one, it is very likely that you were also juggling other responsibilities including recruiting, payroll and possibly operations; not to mention putting on a technical support hat for all the HR, payroll or benefits technology systems your candidates and employees may use. And let’s not forget the employee relations responsibilities of dealing with the inevitable human conflict at work, managing the legalities as well all the emotions involved while simultaneously trying to maintain a neutral stance.
An ‘HR department of One’ often develops from a current employee taking on additional responsibilities or a new external hire starting from scratch. Both situations require the individual to take a step back, determine the expectations of the executives (realistic or otherwise) and assess HR tasks in order to create a realistic three-to-twelve-month project plan. The good news is that you do not have to do this alone. You may not realize it, but you may already have resources that may not cost you a thing - your healthcare broker and payroll provider may have tools and resources at their fingertips that you were unaware of. The same goes for your local workforce agency. Many of these resources may be free or low cost. Proper planning is extremely important and yes, that includes planning for regular interruptions by “humans” in the workplace.
It is crucial to succeeding as a one person HR department to first, get organized, and then second, become aware of what internal and external resources are accessible to you, regardless of your department budget and finally, to ask for help. This help can be in the form of our internal managers whom, after manager training, you can delegate employee relations issue back to.