At the heart of every business and its employees is a human resource team, which plays a significant role in fostering positive employee relationships, improving employee engagement and development and supporting business goals.
From overseeing employee relations, talent recruitment, and workforce training to conflict resolution and administration, successful human resource managers need a multitude of skills to handle all these tasks. In this article, we’ll cover the most important HR skills required:
HR Knowledge and Expertise
Unsurprisingly, HR knowledge and expertise are critical for working in human resources, whether that’s work experience or an educational background in human resource management or psychology.
HR knowledge and expertise help to understand HR functions such as recruitment, onboarding, employee engagement, etc., while a background in psychology helps develop soft skills such as communication skills and empathy.
Communication skills are required in almost every industry, but are particularly critical in human resource positions. As human resource managers communicate with individuals from junior positions to C-level, strong written and verbal skills are indispensable for communicating company policies and announcements in a clear and concise way.
Other responsibilities such as interviewing candidates, resolving conflicts, managing conflicts and delivering presentations also call for effective communication skills.
When including soft skills on a resume, communication skills should be emphasised as they are ranked among the top skills employers are seeking.
As a human resources manager, it’s important to be able to adapt to changing business needs, as you could be recruiting a replacement when a company suddenly leaves the company, preparing for unexpected restructuring of the workforce or responding to crises.
In order to facilitate change in the workplace, HR teams need to be adaptable and capable of dealing with changing business needs and challenges as they arise.
At most companies, employees expect to turn to HR teams with questions or concerns, be they personal or work-related. For example, an employee may be experiencing mental health issues or experiencing difficulties in balancing their work with personal responsibilities, such as caring for a family member.
Therefore, empathy is an essential skill. Empathy makes it possible to interact with people who have very different experiences, backgrounds, preferences and opinions, actively listen to others and resolve tricky situations.
As the bridge between employees and company directors, one of the responsibilities HR managers have is to relay important business messages and announcements. This is where active listening comes in.
Active listening is not only listening to the words of the speaker but also paying attention to voice, tone and body language and taking the time to understand what is being said. Through active listening, HR managers learn to understand employees and their needs and thus, keep a high level of employee motivation and enthusiasm.
In HR, a lot of decisions are made on a daily basis, from deciding whether an applicant is the right fit for the role to letting an employee go. As every decision to hire or fire can cost the business money, effective decision-making skills are required to avoid costly mistakes.
An additional responsibility that falls to the HR team is setting out the rules for employee code of conduct and deciding which behaviours violate the rules. This also requires the ability to make good decisions as well as intuition.
On a daily basis, the human resources department handles a lot of sensitive data, such as employees’ personal records and details, performance evaluations, and payroll information. Employees or managers may also confide in HR about personal or work-related matters.
This means that the ability to keep information confidential is crucial for maintaining integrity with employees and business leaders.
As a human resource manager, you could be responsible for a number of different business tasks, including onboarding, career development, performance reviews, compensation and benefits and employee relations.
With any number of issues arising on a given day, including planned and unplanned meetings, the ability to organise and prioritise your workload will help increase your efficiency and keep on top of stakeholders’ competing priorities.
The ability to work in a team is imperative in HR, as you’re expected to work well with employees at all levels of the organisation.
Often, HR managers are tasked with bringing people from different departments together by hosting company-wide events or fun social skills and to achieve this, great teamwork and team-building skills are required.
Training and Developmental
Another responsibility that falls to human resource managers is the training and development of employees. This may include identifying skills gaps, promoting workplace training and development or conducting employee surveys to improve existing training programmes.
Human resource managers also support senior leaders to become better managers by training them in essential people management skills, helping them to maintain employee satisfaction and lower turnover.
As businesses increasingly turn to technology to make their operations run more efficiently, analytical skills have become in demand, especially in HR.
Analytical skills allow human resource managers to make data-driven decisions, such as calculating the total time and cost to hire employees, identifying patterns that might cause employee turnover and monitoring employee satisfaction. By analysing data about employees, human resource managers can make more informed decisions about employee recruitment, retention and satisfaction.
Accounting / budgeting
Employee benefits and compensation as well as training and socials all go through the HR department, which is why a good grasp of accounting and budgeting is a must for human resource managers.
To plan a budget for the financial year, businesses typically look at the spending of every department in the organisation. With regards to HR, this will include looking at the cost of hiring, paying employee salaries, benefits, etc.
Budgeting helps businesses strategically plan their financial expenditures on employees and HR teams receive the funding they need.