Here are few of my favorites:
1. Learn how the business works and makes money. Can you explain who your customers and competitors are? Can you walk into the main operations of your business and know which roles are being performed and why? Do you read the P&L and/or listen to Investor calls?
2. Spend time in your operations. Visit your locations often. Work side-by-side with the employees. Nothing is worse than employees only seeing HR when you are there for a disciplinary or termination conversation. The employees will never trust you if that is the only time they see you.
3. Don’t speak “HR language”. Don’t lead with “Our policy says….”. Frankly, no one cares. There I said it! And you sound very disconnected to the business when that is your answer (back to item #1). Explain to the leader/employee how to accomplish a task/objective in a way that is a policy-compliant without using the term. And, if a policy or HR process doesn’t make sense, change it. Period.