The first 90 days as an HR leader: how to make an impact | Moorepay
June 26, 2024

The first 90 days as an HR leader: how to make an impact

The first 90 days in leadership is your opportunity to lay the groundwork for lasting impact, establish your credibility, and align your vision with your organisation’s goals.

Taking on an HR leadership position is a significant milestone in your career. While the urge to jump in and make immediate changes can be strong, it’s essential to take a measured approach. Your initial days should focus on understanding the organisation, building relationships, and identifying ‘quick wins’ that can set the stage for long-term success.

This blog draws insights from our comprehensive guide, The first 90 days as an HR leader, and offers practical advice on navigating this critical period. Whether you’re stepping into your first leadership role or transitioning to a new company, the strategies outlined here will help you make a meaningful impact from day one.

The subtle art of not diving in

In any new leadership role, particularly your first at a managerial level, it’s tempting to make your presence felt immediately. However, unless specifically tasked with immediate changes, it’s vital to resist making sweeping adjustments.

Renowned HR analyst Josh Bersin suggests that the initial weeks should be spent listening, learning, and understanding the business. This period is crucial for HR practices, understanding the company culture, and observing how people interact within the organisation.

Additionally, as an HR leader involved in strategic discussions, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the corporate structure and the business’s operational model is essential. This knowledge will ensure that your HR strategy aligns with the overall business goals and challenges.

Leveraging your unique insight

The first few weeks offer an invaluable perspective that you won’t be able to replicate. As a new employee, you get a firsthand experience of the HR department from an outsider’s view. This period is your opportunity to see things from an employee’s perspective, which is crucial in developing an effective HR strategy.

Engage with people across various roles within the company. Spend time in different departments, whether it’s a day on the factory floor or out in the field with the sales team. These experiences will provide insight into what works well and what needs improvement, helping you shape a strategy that benefits the entire organisation.

Building relationships and making your mark

Building relationships across all levels of the organisation is key. Early in your role, prioritise speaking with the Chief Executive and other senior leaders. Understand the core business issues and evaluate how HR can help address these challenges. Your input will be valued, especially if it brings a fresh perspective.

Offer balanced, constructive advice without being overly critical of existing practices. Early success in your role will depend on achieving ‘quick wins’ that demonstrate your capability and allow you the time needed for larger, more strategic initiatives. Identify and act on these opportunities swiftly to build your credibility.

Key takeaways and next steps

Your first 90 days are a foundational period. By taking the time to understand the business, build key relationships, and secure quick wins, you set yourself up for long-term success. Develop a strategic ‘people plan’ that addresses the organisation’s needs and aligns with its goals.

Measure your success through tangible outcomes like reduced employee churn, lower hiring costs, and increased productivity. By pacing your initial months carefully, you’ll build a strong foundation for your HR strategy and demonstrate your value as a leader. Achieve authority, acceptance, alignment, and measurable achievements, and you’ll make a significant impact on your new organisation.

For more, you can read our full guide on the first 90 days as an HR manager, or for more articles like this one, visit our Knowledge Centre.


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About the author

Rob Woodward

Originally a performer with a background in screen and playwriting, Rob has transferred his creative writing skills into the content marketing domain. Rob is responsible for the creation of our HR & payroll content, as well as the delivery of our customer communications.

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