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The Guide for New HR Managers, Part 1: The Must Haves

To you, who have just been appointed as the first HR manager in a company with an ambition to build up a professional Human Resources function: Congratulations on your new exciting job!


Whether this is your first job as an HR manager or you have several years’ experience, being the very first HR manager of an organisation is a special situation to be in. Therefore I sat down with our own HR Director – or, as we say VP People & Culture – Camilla Hydén Karlsson to hear her best tips for your journey.

Our guide to new HR managers consists of 5 parts:

  1. The administrative must haves
  2. The HR annual cycle
  3. Culture
  4. Networking and continuous learning
  5. Growing as an HR manager

“The first phase, the must haves is quite self-explanatory,” concludes Camilla.

Depending on the starting point, you will probably have to review or set up contract templates for employment, ensure required Health, Environment and Safety (HSE) processes are in place and to build a database for employee data and documents. It’s possible you will also need to establish company policies for various areas, such as leave of absence, insurances, benefits and travel.

When prioritising these tasks, it makes sense to find out which laws and regulations apply to your business and map your current situation. This will help you uncover any gaps in compliance and define those areas that come first. “I recommend that you turn to lawyers or an employer organisation in these areas to secure all laws and regulations are followed”, Camilla says.

Another important thing to keep in mind is data protection regulations, which apply to employee data. Data protection is about to get a major update in May 2018, and this means that you need to consider carefully what kind of information you handle, who has access to it and so on. Read more about the new regulations, the GDPR, here.

Strengthen employer brand with good onboarding and offboarding

“No matter how active your recruitment is, you definitely need to have a proper on- and offboarding process in place”, Camilla says. This should be created with the employee in focus. Do not underestimate the value of proper and detailed on- and offboarding processes. The higher turnover, the higher you should prioritise establishing guidelines for new and leaving employees. An onboarding process can be as simple as a checklist of tasks that will be shared with those involved, such as IT for arranging email and ordering phones and computers, informing payroll about salary, benefits and account number and so on. For employees that leave, you will need a similar checklist with tasks such as closing of email account and returning access card and equipment.

“Making sure employees leave with a good feeling of being well treated will impact your employer brand positively, and the opposite is therefore also true. The word of mouth is powerful, especially for your employer brand.”

“Think of the administrative as a solid foundation for your HR function. Having this area in place will give you a great start”, summarises Camilla.

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Micaela Tärnhamn

Micaela Tärnhamn, 11 December 2017

Micaela Tärnhamn har en stor nyfikenhet och intresse av frågor relaterade till modernt ledarskap och är genom sin roll som marknadschef i CatalystOne Sverige väl insatt i frågor kring Talent & Performance management, strategisk HR och HR system.

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