Tony Tijerino, MSHRM, SPHR, SHRM-CP

Tony is an HR Researcher and Consultant with 7 years of experience in HR. He is passionate about building a better world of work for all and specializes in helping leaders create exceptional employee experiences across the employee lifecycle. This year Tony became an independent HR Consultant and began publishing some of his work in an independent HR publication and online community. He loves to read, do research, and volunteer. He currently leads a team of training facilitators with the ACLU of FL and is also a co-organizer for PyData Miami 2022.

What words of advice and encouragement would you give to someone just starting out in HR?

For folks just getting into HR, I have but three words of advice/encouragement:

1. It is okay, and often expected, that you don’t know the answer to a specific question or course of action top leadership or the HR department should take. We live in an incomprehensible and evolving world. You’re allowed to not know things, but the caveat to that is a willingness and the capacity to learn.

2. Different folks realize this at different points in their HR careers, but I think it’s common that most folks in your organization do not have a clear idea of what it is you do/who you do it for, and this false dichotomy of “which side you’re on – the employees’ or the companies’.” The answer is, though I’m oversimplifying, that your role (depending on your level and specific responsibilities) is to ensure the business/organization is able to meet its strategic objectives via its people strategies, processes, and practices. That means you manage multiple stakeholders like every other business leader – you don’t serve one or the other.

3. To elaborate on the previous item – see your role as being part of the business rather being a “business partner.” This may seem like an issue with semantics but I think it’s worth nothing what makes that connotes. A business partner seems to imply that the person in question sits outside of the business and offers insight based on their domain expertise. On the contrary – as an HR professional, you are a business person first and an HR/people SME second. You are part of the business you serve as much as your finance, operations, and marketing folks are. You are a business leader who happens to have HR expertise that enables you to drive change and bring a unique view to the table that your functional peers don’t have.

Take up your space, remember to constantly learn, and remember that you are a business leader first and an HR pro second.

HR Encyclopedia articles written by Tony:

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