The Best HR Pros Are Self-Directed

Laurie Ruettimann 60-Second SPHR, Laurie Ruettimann, Trench HR

You know what kills HR?

A lack of self-direction.

At Kemper Insurance, I was promoted from a recruiter to a regional HR manager. I had to lay off several hundred people, which was totally sad. I had no idea what I was doing. I asked my CHRO, “Where’s the checklist?”

She said, “You are the checklist. I pay you to figure this out.”

Yikes, okay. Not intimidating. Not at all.

I was smart, though. I was working on my SPHR, which empowered me in a strange way and made me fearless. I told myself, “You got this, Laurie.”

So I got down to business, developed an internal network of colleagues who knew about payroll + benefits + pensions + basic legal stuff, and I figured it out.

The only way I learned how to “practice” human resources was by talking to other nerds, rolling up my sleeves, and trusting my instincts. Throughout my entire career, I realized that I couldn’t get HR wrong because no one else was doing it right.

My thoughts?

  • Change your attitude. Whatever you think you can do, you can do.
  • Whatever scares you is exactly what you should be doing. Conquering your fear gives you the edge in HR.
  • If there is someone out there who could do it better than you, he would be doing it. You are it.

When your skills are a little weak and you are new to a task, confidence and self-direction are the keys to getting it done.

And once you learn something new, teach someone else how to do it!