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Table Of Contents

The New HR Manager's Roadmap: Thriving in Your First 90 Days

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Table Of Contents

Let’s face the facts: starting your first day as the new HR manager is a lot like starting a new adventure. After all, it’s not just about having a job; it’s stepping into a journey filled with exciting challenges, opportunities to learn, and the promise of personal and professional growth. Hence, these first 90 days are super important because they set the stage for how successful and comfortable you’ll be at the workplace.

In this comprehensive guide, broken down by realistic time increments, we provide detailed insights and actionable tips to ensure that you don’t just survive but also thrive in your role as a new HR manager. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

Day 1: Get to know your co-workers and build a great relationship with them

In the world of HR, relationships are the cornerstone of success. Beyond policies and procedures, HR is fundamentally about people. So, take the time to forge connections with colleagues, managers, and stakeholders. Networking isn’t just a professional necessity; it’s a personal journey into understanding the company’s ecosystem. 

Hence, the first step in your journey should be to become a master networker. Imagine yourself as a sponge, ready to absorb information from every corner of your new environment. Engage in meaningful conversations, be an attentive observer of team dynamics, and immerse yourself in the unique culture of your new organization. Understanding the company’s mission, values, and goals is not just a formality; it’s the key to aligning your contributions with the broader vision.

Ask questions, and then ask some more

Don’t shy away from asking bold questions. Seek insights into data findings and tap into the pulse of your workforce. What are your people saying? What strategies have proven successful, and where have there been stumbling blocks? These questions are your compass, guiding you to identify gaps that need attention and informing your people strategy.

As you converse, aim to build trust and confidence in your leadership. Pay close attention to the responses you receive, and critically assess how you can craft a people-first HR strategy that not only aligns with but enhances the company’s existing business strategy.

Day 15: Number-crunch important HR metrics

Understanding and utilizing HR metrics is not just about staying competitive; it’s about attracting the top talent that can drive your organization forward. Beyond that, recognizing that people metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are as vital as traditional business KPIs is crucial for overall success.

Engage in meaningful discussions with your colleagues to pinpoint the specific people data that your organization needs. Now, more than ever is the ideal moment to dive into the landscape of HR metrics your organization currently tracks and to identify areas that might be missing from the equation.

Conducting an audit is an excellent way to assess your current standing and zero in on the HR metrics that will significantly enhance your people strategy and business outcomes.

Important HR metrics to identify 

By incorporating the following metrics into your analysis, you gain a more nuanced understanding of your organization’s HR state, enabling targeted improvements and informed decision-making across a broader spectrum of HR functions.

Recruitment Metrics

  • Quality-of-hire
  • Time-to-fill
  • Time-to-hire
  • Employee growth rate

DE&I Metrics (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)

  • Gender pay gap
  • Gender diversity ratio

Retention Metrics

  • Employee Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Salary change
  • Learning and Development (L&D) initiatives
  • Absenteeism rates
  • Employee retention rates
  • Median tenure

Employee Engagement Metrics

  • Engagement surveys
  • Employee satisfaction index
  • Participation rates in company events
  • Recognition and awards

Performance Metrics

  • Performance ratings
  • Goal achievement rate
  • Project completion time

These HR metrics are a foundation to ensure comprehensive coverage, from understanding company culture and refining hiring practices to meticulous record-keeping, competitive compensation and benefits, workplace safety and security, and robust professional development training. The insights derived from this data are invaluable for crafting a robust strategy for anyone in HR, from a new HR manager to CHROs to everyone in between.

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Day 30: Set clear and achievable HR business goals

In your vast sea of tasks, set your sails by establishing clear and achievable business goals. Prioritize tasks, understand expectations, and set attainable milestones. These goals will be your guiding stars, helping you navigate through the unknown waters of your new role and contribute meaningfully to the organization. Consider these five pivotal people goals as a good starting point:

Develop a Company-Wide Change Management Strategy

Navigate the ever-changing business landscape by crafting a comprehensive change management strategy that permeates every corner of the organization. Embrace adaptability and resilience as core tenets to effectively steer through evolving economic scenarios and business challenges.

Improve Leadership Training and Effectiveness

Elevate the caliber of leadership within your organization through strategic investments in training programs. Foster an environment that encourages continuous learning, empowering leaders to navigate challenges with understanding and inspire their teams to achieve excellence.

Invest in a People-Centric, Flexible Work Culture

Cultivate a workplace culture that prioritizes the well-being and individual needs of employees. Embrace flexibility as a cornerstone, allowing your workforce to thrive in an environment that acknowledges the diverse demands of today’s professionals.

Ensure Your Compensation and Benefits are Competitive

Attract and retain top talent by ensuring that your compensation and benefits packages are not just competitive but align with industry standards. This commitment demonstrates a recognition of the value your employees bring to the organization.

Automate HR Processes with Modern HR Tech

Embrace the technological wave by integrating modern HR tech solutions to streamline your HR processes. Automation enhances efficiency and frees up valuable time, allowing HR professionals to focus on strategic initiatives that drive organizational success. This means spending less time on mundane tasks and more time on important things.

For example, you can use tools like Vacation Tracker to streamline important tasks like leave management and put it on autopilot, so you can focus on other goals that may need your attention.

Day 60: Celebrate the wins, no matter how small

Celebrating early victories, no matter how small, often sets the stage for significant triumphs for emerging leaders. 

When inquiring about a new HR manager, it’s indeed pleasant to hear employees describe them as likable. However, it becomes even more telling of their future success when employees can proudly share tangible accomplishments the new HR manager has already achieved.

Learn from Alex

Consider the experience of a new HR manager, let’s call them Alex, who assumed a leadership role for a company aiming to reshape its operations for more strategic planning, extending beyond the immediate workload. Rather than focusing solely on the surface, Alex delved deep, identifying a systemic issue hindering progress. As Alex astutely notes, “The key is to identify the bottleneck and focus on eliminating the root cause.”

In this scenario, Alex pinpointed the bottleneck – inefficient processes obstructing the team’s ability to allocate sufficient resources and time for advanced planning. The strategy was clear: target inefficiencies. Alex revamped the resource allocation process for the service team, resulting in an immediate uptick in the quality of work. Costs dwindled rapidly as the reliance on external service contractors diminished. Additionally, the team was spending an excessive amount of time on detailed reports for minor expenses like subway and bus fares. Alex introduced prepaid cards, a simple yet effective tradeoff that reclaimed valuable time for the staff.

The impact of these changes was swiftly evident. Cost and time savings materialized, marking an early triumph for the new manager. What began as a minor win evolved into a substantial accomplishment. Reflecting on the journey, Alex humbly acknowledges, “I was fortunate to make the correct decisions.” 

The STARS model

This is what we call a successful STARS model.

Michael Watkins, an expert in leadership transitions, recommends employing his STARS model to align strategy with the situation. This entails a thorough assessment of the business mission – whether it involves Start-Up, Turnaround, Accelerated Growth, Realignment, or Sustaining Success – before crafting a fitting approach and strategy. Learn more about it here.

Day 90: Begin crafting your HR action plan 

Finally, on Day 90, as a new HR manager, your focus should be on consolidating your understanding of the organization, identifying key HR priorities, and initiating the crafting of a strategic HR action plan. Here’s what to include in your framework:

Taking the right preliminary steps

Drawing from the rich tapestry of insights garnered during one-on-one stakeholder meetings, you now possess a nuanced understanding of the organization’s pulse. You’ve listened to the aspirations, concerns, and dreams of team leaders, department heads, and employees alike. These invaluable perspectives are the building blocks of your action plan, helping you tailor HR initiatives to address specific needs and enhance the overall employee experience.

Begin by setting clear and measurable HR goals. Align these goals with the broader business objectives, ensuring that every HR initiative contributes to the overarching mission. Be inclusive, weaving diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives into the fabric of your strategy.

As you draft your preliminary HR action plan, consider it a living document. It’s not set in stone but a flexible guide that can adapt to the evolving needs of the organization. Incorporate short-term wins that will showcase the immediate impact of your initiatives, building momentum and enthusiasm among stakeholders.

Incorporating all parties and stakeholders’ feedback

Employee feedback sessions and interviews by now have given you a glimpse into the heartbeat of the organization. You’ve heard the highs and lows, the cheers and concerns. This people-centric understanding forms the emotional core of your action plan, ensuring that your initiatives resonate with and positively impact the very individuals who make the organization thrive.

Your plan is a conversation starter. Share it with key stakeholders, seek their feedback, and refine it accordingly. This collaborative approach ensures that the plan is a collective vision, and resonates with the broader team.

Presentation and implementation of your Action Plan

Picture this: the numbers have spoken, helping you reveal trends, areas of strength, and opportunities for improvement at work. Your data analysis has unearthed the nuances that go beyond anecdotal evidence, providing a solid foundation for your HR strategy. Whether it’s identifying engagement hotspots, understanding turnover dynamics, or uncovering performance metrics, this data-driven approach will guide your decisions and actions.

When the plan is polished and finalized, it’s time for the grand reveal. Present it to the executive team and other stakeholders with confidence, articulating the rationale, goals, and expected outcomes. Then, dive into action. Implement the first phase of your initiatives, keeping a keen eye on progress and remaining agile in response to feedback and evolving circumstances.

Continuous monitoring and evaluation

As you move forward, keep the dialogue open. Schedule regular check-ins, not just to assess the impact of your initiatives but also to stay attuned to the ever-evolving needs and dynamics of the organization. Periodically review HR data, adjusting goals and strategies based on real-time insights.

The bottom line

As we conclude this journey through the first 90 days of a new HR manager’s roadmap, it’s clear that the foundation laid during this period is instrumental in shaping a thriving career and contributing to the success of your new organization.

So, armed with knowledge from these crucial first 90 days, embrace the challenges and victories ahead. Your voyage has just begun, and the possibilities are boundless. Here’s to your success and the exciting chapters ahead in the world of being a new HR manager!

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Snigdha Gupta
Snigdha Gupta

An avid writer and aspiring marketer, Snigdha is a student at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

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