How To Create Your Own Job Security in HR!

by Alan Collins –

A few weeks ago, Marissa Mayer (pictured left) left Google and joined Yahoo as the new CEO.
Shortly after her arrival she fired the VP of HR, David Windley.Following him out the door was his #2 HR exec, Talent Acquisition Leader Grant Bassett.Why did she do this?
Because she could.

That’s what you do when you’re the new leader and the stock price is in the toilet.And your biggest competitor (Google) is kicking your butt.And everyone says your culture is all screwed up.

You make massive change.
And that includes overhauling and shaking up the HR shop.For a company with 12,000 employees, she’s taken control of Yahoo’s culture and plans to personally inject herself into recruiting new talent.Whether or not these are the right HR moves to make (and they probably are) is NOT the point.

The point is she whacked one of our colleagues in HR and is making other changes that will affect the careers of others  in Yahoo’s HR function.Now, what does this have to do with you and your HR career?


It’s yet another public reminder of what you already know…

Job security in HR is non-existent.And that any security you have, you mustcreate for yourself.


By embracing and following some basic unwritten rules – none of which should be shocking.
Rule #1:   Realize that you must always be looking. 
You’re always one new boss away from being on the street.
You are always one re-organization away from getting your hat handed to you.You are just one job elimination away from being pink slipped.If your company is in trouble, your risk of getting whacked from your HR day job increase every single day your firm’s s financial results continue to disappoint.
That’s just today’s brutal reality.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an awesome HR professional.Great HR people — from new HR managers to experienced CHROs — get canned  every day, often for reasons beyond their control.So, even if you already have a great HR job, if you don’t have a plan for getting your next HR gig all lined up, right here, right now, at this very moment, then you’re an idiot.

If you go to work tomorrow morning unprepared to leave that afternoon, then you have your head in the sand. Always be mindful of the possibility that today could be your final day at your company.
You can be fairly sure that your current HR job is probably not your last.

But, of course, you know all this already.
Rule #2:  Understand that loyalty is for your family.
Many companies try to foster a family environment to create loyalty to the organization.And, it would be great if this loyalty were truly a two-way street and was sustainable.
But it isn’t.

And, you and I both know it can’t be, if organizations want to continue to be competitive.
Like Yahoo, some HR jobs are removed in an instant, without notice, if the company concludes that that role (or person)  doesn’t enhance the P&L — even though that family member was loyal.Again, whether you or I agree with the principle of this really doesn’t matter.What matters is that it happens, and YOU shouldn’t let things get to that point.By being too loyal to your company, you wind up being disloyal to those who matter most – your immediate family.Yes, I know.  This isn’t anything new.
Rule #3:  Have your resume ready to go at all times.
Some HR people let their resume or their LinkedIn profile get woefully out of date when they’re not looking for a job.
That’s nuts.Your LinkedIn profile and your resume are your marketing tools.You never know who will come across them (or want them) and you don’t want to miss a great opportunity.Most savvy recruiters do keyword searches on LinkedIn long before cold calling candidates or spending a dime on anything else.
So you want to easily make yourself found – just in case.If you’re not looking for work, you can let people know that AFTER they’ve contacted you.But make yourself contact-able.  If you’re not sure how, here are some suggestions here.
Rule #4:  Relentlessly grow your HR competencies. 
Keep your HR skills up to date.

Attend seminars, conferences and workshops.Benchmark best practices.Accept work assignments that stretch you.Get coaching.Build your leadership capability.Embrace HR technology innovations and stay on the leading edge of our profession.Not sure which competencies to build, click here.

Don’t become a dinosaur…you know what happened to them.
Rule #5:  Never stop building your army of supporters.
The best employment security you can create for yourself is having a thriving network of contacts, admirers, supporters and advocates.
These are folks who can speak up favorably for you and refer you to new opportunities…should you find yourself on the street in a hurry.This means that the absolute worst thing you can possibly do is to get too busy doing your HR day job that you neglect to build relationships outside of your current organization.
Adopt a rule to never let a day pass without doing something to grow or enhance your network, no matter how busy and back-logged you are with work. 

Take people to lunch. Put on your calendar coffees, dinners, after-work and networking events.  Follow the strategies I’ve outlined in this article.
It’s 90% likely that your next job in HR will come through your relationships you’ve built.Again, I know none of this is new to you.

But every time you hear of situations like at Yahoo, it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself that only YOU can create your own job security.No one else can.But, of course, you knew that already.

Didn’t you.



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