What is the total strength of employees in your company? How many departments do you have? At the time of selection what brief you have been given by the top management? What are their expectations?
You have taken over in the recent past. Therefore, you may meet each HOD to build the rapport.
Few things could be found out even without meeting anyone. First one is their performance. Do you have access to their measures of performance? If yes, find out what each HOD could meet and what they could not meet. The figures speak in themselves and no further comments required.
The second one is their attendance record. Who is putting up how many hours of work per day? Who is overworking? Obviously that person has stress and has disturbed work life balance.
The third one is the length of service. What is the general attrition rate in your company and who is long serving HOD in your company? What is the secret of his stay?
Fourth one is about the employee grievances. Do you have formal policy on employee grievance? If yes, then how many grievances came forth in the last financial year? What is the number of grievances to the employees ratio? When there are no escalations, that is also a sign of lack of faith of the juniors against their company in general and against their manager in particular. Not having grievances is a sure sign of how issues are pushed under the carpet.
Nevertheless, when you meet them in person, ask HOD about their subordinate working under them. Do they delegate their work properly or not that you need to find out without asking direct question. Quality of the training, impact of the training, how they perceive company's culture.
What you should not ask is their expectation from the HR department. I say so because it is too early to ask this question at this stage. Fulfilment of their expectations would depend on your empowerment by the top management.
You have written that hitherto the HR Head managed the local function of HR. Therefore, your HODs are not habituated to deal with HR. Possibly they may not open up themselves. It will take time for them to open up. Be it exit interview or stay interview, employees not necessarily open up with HR. Find out how much do they open up with you.
All the best!
12th June 2015 From India, Bangalore
Its nice that u have taken over as HR Manager that will provide the much needed exposure, since right now for some time onwards U may have to manage all the functions single hand didly.
Very useful views have been expressed, as above that will be helpful to u while having Formal Introductory session with HODs. Only U need to take care that Into. should be during flexy hours, when they are not over busy with their work.
All the best for ur new assignments.
14th June 2015 From India