HR Director tips to make the best first impression

Are you a HR Director starting afresh? Impress your new team with our 5 tips for success.

HR Director tips to make the best first impression


So you’ve started your new role as a HR Director or senior HR professional, in a brand new team, and you want to make the right first impression.

Your first few interactions will be crucial for shaping your reputation, so going in with a plan of action is vital to avoid slipping up and sometimes it's the simple things that get forgotten.

Here’s our five tips to make a splash on your first day in the job…

1. Meet the team and learn one personal fact about each person who reports to you.

As long as you’re in this role, they’ll be your best allies and will have the historical knowledge and experience to help your initial decisions. A good leader will always respect that their team know their stuff. It’s not easy when you haven’t worked with them yet, but it sets a good precedence to trust their abilities until proven otherwise.

2. Tour your place of work and meet as many people as possible.

Put your face to your name and create an open communication to help build trust. When you’re new, especially in a senior role, people can start to form opinions without even knowing you – just from office gossip. Make sure you introduce yourself to a variety of people so that any gossiping is based on an actual first impression, rather than heresy. This will also help you to get an understanding of what it’s like to work at the organisation in different roles. The next step would be to actually try stepping into their shoes for the day to really experience the organisation from different perspectives…

3. Avoid the typical stereotypes.

Don’t be afraid to show off a little by asking about their technology/infrastructure and finances. Too often people assume HR can only talk about numbers when discussing remuneration, and know nothing about technology systems. Prove them wrong and set yourself up as an all-rounder when it comes to your expertise. After all, when you step into that boardroom you can be held accountable for how decisions affect the bottom line. Find out what systems are in place, and don’t be afraid to suggest ways you’ll be increasing or decreasing your budget to improve absenteeism or other crucial employee engagement areas.

4. Show you’re keen to learn new things.

With many senior roles, leaders are in danger of assuming they know best based on ‘how they used to do it’. This can become a real issue when previous ways of working clash with the new organisation’s processes. Don’t waste any time showing your new team, and CEO, that you can always learn new tricks, and are happy to find new ways of working that are bespoke for the organisation. Showing a desire to always develop yourself shows a proactive attitude – vital for growing and evolving businesses. The best way to do this is to ask plenty of questions to show how keen you are to learn and understand the organisation. The more you know, the better you can plan your next steps.

5. Support your predecessor rather than joining in any trash talk.

When someone leaves, it is easy for the colleagues who were left behind to speak negatively about this ex-employee. After all, if they’ve moved on to bigger and better things it is easy for resentment to build. If your new team, or peers, want to gossip about past employees, try not to speak too badly about these previous HR Directors whose footsteps you now follow. Find a more positive way to suggest that you will bring fresh, new ideas to evolve on existing processes. What would you want your successor to say about you?

These tips may sound straight forward, but they’re easy pitfalls when you’re nervous and trying to impress your new organisation. Showing your potential on day one ensures that you have plenty to offer your new people, as well as showcasing the type of leader you intend to be. Do all these things well and you’re likely to inspire and engage your new team and colleagues, for an immediate kick-start to your departments productivity.

What's next? Why not check out our dedicated employee engagement page for helpful resources on how to get the most out of your employees and create a culture which promotes efficient and successful teams:

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