HR Management

Managing an HR Department of One: How to Succeed

When the burden of the entire department falls on one, it gets difficult to manage all tasks effectively. Heading an HR department of one is no mean feat as it requires to be agile, tactile, empathetic, alert, accessible, and strategic – all rolled into one. If you’re inheriting an already existing structure, the situation might be less intimidating but building an entire department from scratch is much more challenging. 

A business is required to meet employee management needs as well as compliance mandates as per applicable laws and regulations. The HR department is responsible for creating the company policies and guidelines and maintaining federal, state, and local laws and regulations, while managing the hiring, retaining, and onboarding of staff. 

An HR department is tasked with various activities, like:

  1. Talent acquisition and recruitment
  2. Employee performance management
  3. Performance management
  4. Managing employee relations
  5. Compensation and benefits
  6. Workforce planning
  7. Processing payroll
  8. Managing safety regulations
  9. Learning and development

The tasks of the HR department also depend on the structure of the organization and how the leadership envisions the role to evolve with the growth of the organization.

How to thrive in an HR department of one?

  1. Discovering 

Understanding the organization’s policies is crucial to thriving in an HR department. Staying in communication with the senior management can take off the stress associated with managing the process on your own. Schedule regular meetings to keep yourself abreast of the upcoming business initiatives, so you can plan for new hires, onboarding, their training and development, along with other activities. For a one-person HR department, communication is the key to solving core HR tasks.

  1. Develop relationships

Schedule regular separate meetings with the leadership, senior management, and employees. Getting to know them will help establish a safe environment for them to share concerns and for you to develop strategic solutions. That is how you can strengthen your position as a trusted HR expert. 

Use each meeting as an opportunity to know the employees and the management and share who you are. By explaining your purpose the function becomes much easy to execute and helps both leaders and employees to build a trusting and professional relationship with HR. During regular meetings, there will be challenging personalities but the key is to remain professional and dignified in your conduct.

  1. Strategize your role

The function of HR should align with the organization’s objective and strategize accordingly. Based on the insights gathered during meetings, create the HR vision that upholds the company’s objectives and is directed towards achieving them. For example, if the business is expanding fast, it’s time to prioritize hiring. If automating key processes will make the job efficient, contact potential vendors to test their services.

Managing all HR processes alone can become very overwhelming. Therefore, you can look to outsource certain tasks like payroll, compliance, benefits administration, etc. Prioritize your tasks according to the requirements of the company giving precedence to tasks that require immediate attention. Communicate to the leadership realistic timeframes for completing projects.

  1. Gain industry knowledge

As a one-man department, it is crucial to stay updated with all the latest happenings in the world of HR to help your company be compliant and help it grow. Learning while juggling multiple responsibilities, however, can be challenging. Network with your peers, HR colleagues, and industry veterans, or get a certification course in your niche that interests you. 

Along with educating yourself, to achieve success, it is also important to educate the leadership and other employees about the contribution of HR to daily processes. They might be unaware of the laws that govern employee well-being or situations during which they should directly approach HR. This understanding is crucial for the overall success of the organization.

  1. Put your knowledge into action

All the knowledge you gain should be put into action to make the HR function much stronger. Whether the goal is to tackle a department-wise initiative or a company issue, tackling all projects with a systematic approach will produce incredible results. The HR department can also provide support to leaders and their teams to think through the strategy process. 

Having formal training in strategy development and execution can help the organization grow. Execute the power of strategy by implementing it successfully in your department and creating the same for other departments as well. By putting all your learning into action you can provide a solid path for the HR department to thrive.

It becomes difficult for a single person to effectively manage hiring, onboarding, processing payroll, managing compliance, and implementing company policies. If you’re an HR professional managing these and other tasks on your own, consider implementing an HR management system for your business. 

Paylite® Human Resource Management Software is an end-to-end HRMS system that meets the ever-growing needs of modern-day workplaces. It makes your HR process streamlined, smart, and swift, replacing the age-old legacy systems with system-driven workflows. It offers world-class security features that keep your valuable data safe and secured at all times. Book a demo of the software from