HomeEmployee ExperienceHR StrategyFive opportunities for senior HR professionals to excel from day one

Five opportunities for senior HR professionals to excel from day one

  • 5 Min Read

Launching a senior HR role? Learn 5 strategic steps to excel from day one and become a powerful change architect.

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Embarking on a new role as a senior HR professional is a pivotal moment that demands a strategic approach to ensure a successful transition. With a staggering 40% of executives struggling to meet objectives during this critical phase, the importance of an action plan cannot be overstated.

This article outlines a comprehensive action plan, detailing five key opportunities that senior HR professionals should seize from day one. By focusing on these areas, you can demonstrate your impact, establish your influence, and navigate the complexities of your new environment with confidence and precision.

Opportunity 1: Tailor your transition plan

The initial days in a new HR role are a springboard for future success, making it essential to tailor your transition plan meticulously. Prioritize activities for your first fortnight, laying the groundwork for a comprehensive 90- or 100-day plan. This plan should encompass five phases: establishing yourself, articulating your vision, action plans, quick wins, and preparing to measure results.

Begin by learning the organizational culture and building a robust communication plan. Align expectations for your role and assess your function’s strategy. Create and execute quick wins for the function, which will set the stage for defining strategic initiatives. As you review and adjust your plan, ensure to communicate successes, fostering a culture of transparency and achievement.

This structured approach ensures you cover all bases, from initial assessment to the execution of strategic initiatives, setting a strong foundation for your tenure.

Opportunity 2: Establish your personal brand

As you step into your new role, it’s important to establish your personal brand, which significantly influences your ability to become influential swiftly. Your personal brand is the amalgamation of perceptions that colleagues form based on your image, impact, and the impressions you leave. The window to shape these perceptions is narrow, beginning the moment you assume your new position. Many executives overlook the power of a personal brand in shaping future influence within an organization.

Consider the ‘executive presence wheel of influence’ which encapsulates the essence of your brand. It includes the impact you have through your actions, the image you project via your status and reputation, and the impressions you create through appearances and communications. Managing these elements effectively ensures that your personal brand resonates with your values and the value you bring to the organization, paving the way for a successful tenure.

Opportunity 3: Target the right relationships and build them

In the early stages of your HR leadership role, identifying and nurturing the right relationships is crucial. The potential risk of overlooking key stakeholders or misjudging which relationships to prioritize can significantly impact your performance. Time is a limited resource; hence, it’s vital to focus on stakeholders who will directly influence your success.

Begin by understanding who your stakeholders are, assessing their concerns, and determining their influence over your objectives. Prioritize your efforts on those with significant impact, ensuring you address any concerns and create an action plan to strengthen these relationships. For stakeholders with indirect influence, understand the existing relationship dynamics and provide support where necessary.

Developing a stakeholder engagement action plan is a strategic move. It involves setting priorities, defining time frames, and assigning ownership. This proactive approach to relationship building not only secures your position but also facilitates smoother execution of your HR initiatives.

Opportunity 4: Assess the organization’s capacity for change

A critical step in your HR leadership journey is to diagnose the organization’s readiness for change. Understanding the current state of affairs, including the function’s capabilities and capacity for change, is essential. It’s important to quickly identify signs of change fatigue, where the organization’s ability to embrace change has been eroded by previous initiatives.

Addressing this involves managing three pillars: identifying hot spots, educating the workforce on fatigue drivers, and freeing up capacity for change. By rebuilding trust through open conversations and normalizing proactive rest, you can reengage employees and co-create a change strategy that aligns with the organization’s capacity and ambitions.

Opportunity 5: Focus on quick wins

To establish credibility and showcase your value as a senior HR professional, it’s important to identify and execute quick wins. These are projects that deliver clear value and that can also be accomplished with the support of your direct reports.

Quick wins should be strategically selected for their impact and effort, ensuring they contribute meaningful improvements to the organization. Utilize a project prioritization matrix to distinguish between quick wins and major projects, focusing on high-impact, low-effort initiatives. By doing so, you demonstrate your ability to make a significant, positive difference early in your tenure, setting a precedent for future successes.


In conclusion, senior HR professionals embarking on a new role have a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact. By tailoring a transition plan, establishing a strong personal brand, building strategic relationships, assessing the organization’s readiness for change, and focusing on quick wins, you can set the stage for a successful tenure.

These opportunities are not just tasks to be checked off but are strategic steps that, when executed effectively, can solidify your position as a key influencer and a catalyst for positive change within the organization. Embrace these opportunities to demonstrate your value and drive meaningful progress from day one.

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