HR Standalone role

Hi everyone,

Are there any standalone HR Managers out there who can tell me the pro's/con's of being standalone?

I have been offered a standalone role, I have always worked as part of a team so am looking to weigh up the pro's/con's before making a decision.


  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    26 Mar, 2018 14:54

    In reply to Coleen Fraser:

    Great first post, Coleen... and congrats!
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    26 Mar, 2018 15:38

    In reply to Robey:

    Danielle...  has also since posted to the epic discussion I flagged earlier in this thread.

  • I think it will depend on several factors. How skilful and knowledgeable are you - can you operate confidently on your own? How much power will you have? If you report to the decision makers, you will have the opportunity to change that which you deem needs to change (provided you have the skills, of course!) and that is priceless. Will you have administrative support? If you won't, then you may find yourself bogged down in administration, with little time to flex your muscles and improve policy and culture. Do you trust the organisation which is giving you this role? If you do, then my view is 'Go for it!' I think there will be a lot of HR professionals who would give their eye teeth to have the chance to do your own thing successfully.
  • Hi Danielle,

    I think that I can echo all of the thoughts of others on here.

    I started in a standalone as HR Manager in February. I am just shy of completing my 3 month probation period, but in that time I have had a Baptism of fire.

    The volume of work and weight of some of the cases I have had to deal with has been astounding, but I have fully embraced it and seen it as a massive learning curve.

    As the company I have joined are growing at a rapid rate they were in desperate need of HR. Starting as a family business and now 100+ employees means that there is a lot of 'this is the way it has always been done', but with the appointment of a new CEO a year ago I have great support and backing and have been able to make the role my own and have a blank canvas to work on.

    There is an extent of being a little more tentative as you first start, but the more you deal with, the more your confidence grows and then you are happy to shout a little louder to get yourself heard and make the appropriate changes.

    My colleagues already feel like I have been here much longer than I have and I have been rewarded with a pay review before even serving my 3 months probation, or asking for it. It means that your efforts are definitely noticed.

    I do hear 'we didn't have these problems until you started', but then people realise that the problems were always there and that it's you that's been able to come in, find them, address them and make a positive change.

    I wish you all the best!
  • Hi Danielle,

    I have recently taken on a standalone role as my manager left the company and the powers that be decided not to replace him. At first I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to do it but to be honest I have really enjoyed it so far! My learning curve has been massive and as many others have said, you get to set your own agenda and find your own style of managing HR. I know that I have already made judgements that I would change if I had to do it again but I feel that as long as you are honest (with yourself and your colleagues) and accept that in many cases there is no right answer, it really is a very rewarding position to be in! I have also found HR Inform invaluable (https://www.hr-inform.co.uk/) and cheaper than our lawyers (!) and I have called them a few times just to confirm that I am on the right track - and each time I have done so, it has again given me a bit more confidence and helped me to realise that I know more that I give myself credit for! All in all, I would say that if you have the opportunity, go for it as I am sure you would always be wondering 'what if', if you don't!

    Good luck with whatever you decide :)
  • Hi Danielle. I work (almost) stand alone and I really do enjoy it - in fact, I'd echo a lot of what others have said. If you decide to take the plunge, my advice would be to join as many HR networking groups as you can (I've found the best way to find them has been either CIPD related or asking our sales team to put me in touch with HR teams in our customer base then popping in). I essentially steal their best ideas (they probably steal the best of mine too) and you end up not feeling quite so lonesome when you can email each other saying "what would you do about this one". A good solicitor has helped me with the more complex bits, ACAS are also a decent support sometimes and also this discussion forum.

    My only real 'con' for me personally is that I have developed into a stand-alone HRM but find that I also get bogged down in everything (often lots of Admin and 'I've locked myself out of the HR system again') and ultimately my goal is to become an HRBP. It's probably possible to do here with a bit of grit, but it's tough when you don't have a more junior team to allow you to get on with complicated, juicy things.
  • In reply to Jo:

    Hi Jo
    I just wanted to re-iterate your post, it could almost have been written by me! I also find myself as a standalone after not having a replacement superior. It also coincided with my organisation going through a massive period of change and my first TUPE experience - so lots for me to get my teeth into. I would totally agree with you about giving yourself a bit more credit, I always felt the need to check through my advice with my colleague as a safety net, and now having that pulled from under me is both scary and exciting. I realised that I knew more than I thought and I trust myself more. I still know what I don't know, so having these forums as well as a good relationship with my previous boss who I know I can talk to in times of need is invaluable.

    I do miss having a team though, even though we were only a team of 2, having a sounding board and another HR person to talk to about the more aspirational aspects of HR as opposed to the day job is something that I am really missing and must do better at seeking out - I find CIPD branch events hard to attend as a part time worker with 2 small children, but the forums here are great.
  • Standalone roles are by far the best! You have ownership and autonomy over your own workload. There‚Äôs more respect from staff members towards yourself as the HR professional.
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    Definitely worth the read. I have fairly recently become a standalone HR manager, and am busy trying to set the department up from scratch. This has reassured me that I am not alone :-)
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    19 Jun, 2018 11:40

    In reply to Sarah Clegg:

    Hi Sarah,

    You are most certainly not alone. From what we know roughly 8 to 9 percent of our membership work in a 'standalone' role.

  • Hi Danielle, I've been a standalone manager for 2 years taking over from someone who had destroyed all good will between HR and the employees. It has been hard work but I can now see the benefits. Like others have said, there is a lot to learn and I rely on the support of CIPD and EEF for advice. I have also joined an HR networking group which is good for bouncing ideas around and seeing how others handle particular issues. I do sometimes feel isolated but the amount I am learning is well worth it.