I've just gained my very first HR Advisor role! Any advice?

Hi all,

As the title suggests, today I was very, very happy to acquire my first HR Advisory role after a number of years of trying to progress! 

I'll be working in a team that solely deals with sickness advisory support/case work. I should also state that I've never worked within this organisation before so I'm sure that I'll be able to get some tips and tricks internally when I start in a few weeks time.

However, before that I wanted to try and get some feedback about how you all coped with your step up to the Advisory level?
Was there anything that you wish you'd known then that you do now?
Do you have any tips that you think could make the transitional process easier for me or potholes that I should look to avoid?

Your advice doesn't have to directly related to sickness management, I'm sure that I can make any advice you give, relating to case work/advisor work, applicable to my new role.

P.s. But please don't give me all your horror stories all at once! ;)

  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    1 Mar, 2021 13:29

    In reply to James Webber:

    Yes they are all available for free, retrospectively, so form a great archive of info. They're an easy listen if you put one on while you're working on something else I find! Keep us posted on your new role once you get into it.
  • In reply to Johanna:

    I certainly will..... but only the successful parts ;)
  • Hi James, congratulations!

    For your actual role, upskill yourself on reasonable adjustments as this is an area often misunderstood by the business, employees and even HR.

    Say yes to everything even if that means working above, beyond and not even within the scope of your role. Some of this work you may detest (I particularly hated a new compensation structure I was tasked to implement and that I was wholly unskilled for), but it will teach you what your strengths and development areas are, which areas of HR you like and get you noticed. You may not get extra pay but you get paid with invaluable experience that helps build your career.

    Be curious, build relationships outside your immediate team by being interested in what others are doing.

    Be human. Yes there are some employees who game the system but by and large most don't. Give people the benefit of doubt. Never take anything personally, it's not you, it's the job you are doing that can make you the target of some not great comments.

    Lastly, enjoy it! I'm now in my second decade and when I look back to when I was in your position, wondering when I would 'make it' in HR, wondering when the legal reports in People Management and Personnel Today would make sense, wondering when I would get paid that nice wage in all the job adverts way above my level - you'll get there one day. And you have plenty of funny stories to gather along the way.
  • Actually I just realised I'm in my third decade in HR..... time flies when you're having fun!
  • In reply to Victoria:

    Thank you for your kind words and detailed answer to my question.
    I'll be sure to take it all onboard.
  • Be prepared, know your policies inside and out, and remember that there is a human being at the end of it all.
  • In reply to James Webber:

    Hi James,

    A massive congratulations to you and well done!

    For me, it's about a few things:

    1) Build meaningful relationships with the people you support (including the employees). You start to discover a lot more information when you have those great relationships :)
    2) Listen carefully and be yourself (above all, be a human!!!)
    3) get to know the business and the operational side, that will always put you in a good place to truly understand what's going on at ground level.

    Enjoy and have fun!

  • In reply to Craig:

    Thank you for your kind words Craig.

    Yes, points one and two seem to be a recurring theme of advice that I've been given which I'll be sure to take onboard.

    With regards to your point #3; could you elaborate on what you mean?
    Do you mean try to understand what the business is trying to achieve, and thus what the managers/employees are trying to achieve, so that it's easier for me to understand what is impeding them from doing so i.e. absence/sickness etc?
  • In reply to James Webber:

    Hi James,

    Point 3 is spot on :) Understand the challenges the managers and colleague face, what their job role entails and all of the issues/feedback/opportunities and strengths. That allows you to tailor your approach in regards to questions and advice as well as having a good solid understanding of the Operations :)
  • I think my best advice would be not to put yourself under pressure to know everything by heart straight away. When I first moved into advising I thought I had to know each policy inside out, they were changing each year. May be simpler for you having a key focus on one area but its ok to come back to someone once you have checked the policies to make sure you are doing the right thing. Also take the opportunity to keep up with annual employment law changes - you should be able to access them here if your company doesn't provide them.

    Also, with this kind of support work its quite easy to get pulled into the emotion of each case. While its super important to be empathetic, there is a bigger picture for the company around what is fair and reasonable. I have had some sad cases where colleagues have had have ended up leaving due to capability to do their job. Where that can be incredibly emotional at the time and the change is scary, in some cases its turned out to be the best thing for the colleague to move on and take some time to heal and find something they are able to manage rather than clinging to something they can't. Being understanding but not owning others emotions can be a real skill in this role. Good luck, it can be incredibly rewarding!!
  • Hi James, My extra advice to what you have already been given, is be a sponge, listen and learn as much as you can. Look for a mentor within or with out the company. Also network at every opportunity and start to build your network of people you can call on throughout your career. Don't be bullied by seniors and stick to your principles.
  • Hi James, congratulations on breaking into HR, there's some really good advice here to kickstart you on your way, I know you have been trying for a while.

    Just out of interest, how did you find this role in the end and what job search tactic worked for you?

    Congrats again, onwards and upwards ..
  • In reply to Ginnie:

    I suppose the role actually found me :)

    Serendipitously an agency (based near London) contacted me and put me forward for the role, which after an interview, I was offered.
    Whether that was due to my CV (which you were a huge help in greatly improving - honest plug: contact Ginnie if you want you CV updated!) being on a particular agency website or whether she found my LinkedIn account I'm not entirely sure.

    I'm just happy that she was practically the only agency that understood my potential and put me forward for an Advisor role. Most other agencies seem to prescribe to the catch-22 theory of: "If you're not already in an Advisor role then we won't put you forward to get an Advisor role".

    Maybe that's why she and her agency have a contract with Deloitte and other agencies do not............... 

  • In reply to James Webber:

    A late post from me, I hope your initial few months have gone well. A few months in now I would really start to truly understand what your business does, how it operates and how the inter connectivity of all the functions work together, ideally, but rarely in reality, in harmony. If you can talk about their 'world' it builds credibility and so those solutions you propose to their challenges come from a place of understanding the challenges as you know the business, not just the textbook. Ask questions about non HR things, operational processes, customer behaviours, industry risks etc.. In time a great HR professional knows a lot about the business not just about HR.