5 Brutal Realities of Navigating Your Career in HR…

by Alan Collins

The pandemic has been challenging for everyone in HR.

However, as more vaccine shots are given and we return to a new normal, I’m reminded of the brutal realities I’ve discovered in navigating my long career in Human Resources.

Some I’ve learned during this crazy COVID-19 nightmare.

Others I stumbled upon before the pandemic, through my own personal screw-ups and successes.

And there are also many I’ve picked up over the years from HR colleagues, friends and role models I’ve admired from afar.

Here are five big ones you should be aware of:

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Not Moving Up in HR? Here’s What Your Boss Knows But Probably Isn’t Telling You…

by Alan Collins

Jim always seemed to get the big promotions in HR.

When we worked together at Quaker Oats, I watched in awe as he steadily moved up the HR ladder.

From afar, I thought he was a freakin’ genius.

Yes, he was a bright and inspirational HR professional.

Yes, he knew the business cold.  Better than many of our general managers.

Yes, of course, he worked hard and got things done.

Yes, he had built a reputation as a terrific leader, manager and coach for his HR team.

Yes, his clients, his peers and the higher ups all loved him.

And while all of these factors helped him, in his mind, they weren’t the only reason for his success in HR.

I found this out when he got promoted again and became my boss.  At the time, I was frustrated, felt stuck in place and going nowhere in HR. 

So I asked him to lunch. 

My major reason for doing this was to pick his brain (oh, how I hate that expression!) and to get some career advice on how to move up the ladder.

In response, he graciously pulled back the curtain and gave me some powerful guidance. 

Something I remember to this day.

Something I believe many managers know…but rarely tell their people.

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4 Deadly Traps Just Waiting For You As A New HR Leader & How To Avoid Them!

By Alan Collins

Moving into a brand new leadership role is the #1 challenge any HR professional can face….no matter how much HR experience you have!

That’s a fact.

According to SHRM, 31% of all new HR leaders crash and burn in their first 18-24 months. 

Why?  Often, it’s because of poor cultural fit, inadequate onboarding, or the lack of appropriate expectations.

However, many new HR folks set themselves up for failure because of THEIR OWN MISTAKES AND MISSTEPS.  

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The TRUTH About Seizing Opportunities in HR…

By Alan Collins

One of my senior HR mentors likes to tell this little story…

Years ago, he was on vacation at a tiny beach town in California.

And while there, he decided to connect with two of his former colleagues, both now successful HR leaders.

They arranged to meet one evening at a small diner to grab some steaks, beer and catch up with each other after being out of touch for years.

When they all met at the diner and walked in, there were a bunch of people sitting around the bar and others sitting at various tables eating, drinking and talking.

The place was quiet and didn’t have much atmosphere.

After placing their orders at the bar and collecting their beers, my mentor spotted an old piano in the corner.

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6 Ways To Become Awesome in HR — No Matter How Much (Or Little) Experience You Have!

by Alan Collins

A few nights ago, I saw Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max.

Even though it wasn’t quite a good as the first movie, I loved it!

Why? Because I’m a big comic book and super-hero geek.  As a kid I fantasized having powers like Spider-Man.

I’m sure many of us did and had our own favorite hero.

And, maybe we still do.

Envision for a moment being HR super hero in your organization.

That’s what it’s like when you gain a reputation with your clients as someone who is awesome at what you do in Human Resources. 

It’s like being your favorite super hero, gifted with super powers.

When this happens, you’ll find a lot of things become irrelevant.

It won’t matter how much HR experience you have.

It won’t matter what college you went to.

It won’t matter what degree you have.

It won’t matter whether you’re HR certified or not.

No one will give a crap about that stuff.  Instead, they will be spellbound by your powers and your awesomeness. 

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HR Pros: Could You Still Be Laid Off Due to COVID-19? Use this Cheat Sheet to Find Out.

A vaccine is coming, but is your job still at risk?

by Alan Collins

“You lied to me!”

Those were the first words a former colleague of mine — a Regional Employee Relations Director — yelled at her boss, after he informed her job was being eliminated due to the pandemic.

This happened ten weeks ago during their weekly one-on-one update meeting on Skype.

Two minutes into their meeting was when he broke the bad news to her.

He told her she wasn’t alone.

Their company, a Fortune 500 airline company, would be eliminating the jobs of 200 salaried staff employees due to pandemic.

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16 HR Jobs in 25 Years — 50 Golden Lessons, Both Painful & Inspiring.

by Alan Collins

I thought I’d take the opportunity here to share 50 GOLDEN LESSONS I’ve learned from 25 years in the HR trenches.  About two lessons per year.

These are truths I’ve gained from lots of personal screw-ups, some successes, three companies, 16 HR jobs and other HR professionals that I’ve worked with who inspire me.

Yes, some of these you may have seen already, because I share them often.

BUT hopefully, there are a few new items here you might find helpful in managing your own career in HR — without going through all the pain and agony. 

While they are in no particular order, I try never to ignore #50.


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