How to Create Community as an HR Department of One

You know the song. One is the loneliest number. It sure can feel that way when you’re the only HR person within your office or organization. (HR peeps at small employers – am I right?) It’s rare that those around you, though often well meaning, get a true sense of what your day to day experience can be like. The ups, the downs and everything in between. It may seem crazy, especially on days when you’re ready to pull your hair out, but there are ways to make it less stressful, perhaps even, dare I say it, enjoyable. I’ve shared some tips below to on how to not only survive but thrive.

Support System: Get One

There are plenty of ways to make this happen. If you need to feel the loving arms (or really ears) of another HR pro during the day, make some connections. You’ve got the world at your fingertips. LinkedIn, Twitter, Meetup Groups, you can find other likeminded souls if you’re looking. At times, it could be as quick as an IM session with a trusted friend to get you through the day’s challenges. So, if you don’t already have friends who are HR people. Make some. Make one. It’s worth it.

Branch Out

You don’t have to be an island. There are other teams within your organizations who may not have your exact background but do feel your pain and can also help to alleviate it. Find them. Is talent acquisition dragging you down? Hit up some folks in marketing. They could have just the ideas to fill your pipeline. Do you know you’re really close to saving the company a boatload of cash (to then share with employees, obvi) but need another brilliant business mind to help finesse details? Hit up team Finance! They’ve got the goods and are happy to collaborate. Most of the time. I kid.

Help Them, Help You

Just like we would tell any other employee, if you’re struggling and you don’t tell anyone, shame on you. What a missed opportunity. You don’t know what ideas your colleagues, leaders, or team could come up with if you’d only give them the opportunity. You would be surprised at how much support even good old HR can receive when they ask for it. I know the asking is really difficult but it’s worth it. Plus, we have to practice what we preach, right?

Being the lone HR team member can certainly be tough. There’s stress. There’s waaaay too many hats to wear. But let’s not forget that there’s also a ton of freedom in that. You’re the expert. But don’t let that make you feel like you can’t collaborate with others. You should still brainstorm with the masses when it makes sense. Truth be told, it makes us all better in the long run.

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Kelly Poulson

Kelly has spent her career helping people kick ass and become better versions of themselves. Coaching, training, recruiting – you name it, she’s done it, and in a variety of industries ranging from advertising to behavioral health to tourism and beyond. Be it supporting new managers in their journeys from uncertain supervisors to rock star bosses, helping lost newbies zero in on what they want from their careers and find their inner confidence to ask for (and receive) that promotion, or enabling leaders to be more self-aware in their management styles and more skillfully interact with those around them, she’s done it all. Outside of pushing to make people and organizations better, Kelly spends most of her time marathoning Netflix programming with her mutt, Dexter. Connect with Kelly.


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