“It’s really important to get to know the business and get to know the people,” stresses HR manager Kim Ibberson. “It’s about making connections right from the start.”
Auckland-based Ibberson has been with Recreational Services’ HR team for a little over eight months – she says one of the first things she focused on was building relationships with the company’s employees.
“When I first started here, I made sure I got out to all the depots and attended the morning meetings,” she told HRM. “Then you become a face to them, not just a name – so that hopefully then breaks down some barriers too.”
Recreational Services is one of New Zealand’s largest parks, grounds and facility management organisations – where hundreds of staff are spread over thousands of different locations.
“I had to learn the sector as well,” reveals Ibberson, who’d never worked in the industry before. “The feeling of going from an expert where I was back down to a student was tough,” she admits.
For Ibberson, getting out in the field was one of the most effective ways to become acquainted with the industry.
“It’s really important to get out there and know the people and know what they’re doing,” she told HRM. “Go out there and have a look at sports field and understand the nature of the work that they’re doing.
“Rather than just going and sitting at your desk you actually need to get out there and build relationships,” she urged, adding that it doesn’t just apply to HR professionals who are new to a particular role.
“I think for all HR people that’s really important,” she stressed, “I encourage my entire team to get out there and meet the people and be part of it.”
Connecting with the workforce can also ensure any misconceptions about HR are banished, says Ibberson.
“There’s often this misconception with HR that if they’re around, someone’s in trouble,” she laughs, “but that internal networking can make people realise that there’s nothing to be scared of, that good things come out of HR too, not just bad stuff.”
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