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Goals Initiative

I am director of operations, and the human resources manager reports to me. She completes the work I assign her, but shows no initiative and never comes up with projects on her own. I'm not an expert in human resources, so I don't know everything else she should be doing. What do you suggest here?

There are a number of steps you can take to deal with a director of human resources who is not very resourceful. Part of the problem is that she has become comfortable in a reactive role under you.

You do not have to be a human resources expert in order to successfully manage her. Since her job is to provide human resources support to the various departments in the company, a good place to start is for the two of you to meet with the department managers to find out what they need from human resources.

This can lead to specific projects in such areas as recruitment, new employee orientation, pay and benefits programs, training and development, and appraisal systems. In the future, she should deal directly with these managers to learn about their needs and then develop programs to fulfill them.

You should also meet with her to clarify your expectations, as well as to jointly establish some specific goals and deadlines. She also needs to understand the consequences of showing no initiative. If she does not get the message, perhaps she is the wrong human for the human resources position.

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