3 Key Skills Every HR Manager Needs


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

HR Managers are some of the most valuable employees in the organization. So what key skills do they need to really succeed?

Article 3 Minutes
3 Key Skills Every HR Manager Needs

In many cases, if an HR Manager decided to leave, the company would cease functioning. It’s not until an incompetent HR Manager takes their place do you truly appreciate the capability and skills of their predecessor.

So in order to be a successful HR Manager, what key skills do you need?

Be Diplomatic

Those with a diplomatic approach to difficult tasks or conversations are likely to be more successful than those who can’t balance the two sides of the coin. Essentially, it falls down to the HR Manager to deal with opposing opinions, negotiations and difficult situations that can include disciplinary actions. For example, in situations where you’re issuing a dismissal, it’s of vital importance that the whole conversation is handled with tact and diplomacy.

Being able to handle these issues in a diplomatic way will ensure that everyone is as happy as possible considering the circumstances. This is quite a task considering that it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time.

Finding the middle ground in any dispute to keep each party satisfied is a true skill that not every HR Manager will possess. Determining the middle ground in a dispute is one thing, negotiating the grey areas surrounding certain policies can be even more difficult and so it’s vital that as an HR Manager, you’re able to navigate delicate issues. Trusting your own judgement when reviewing the facts is vital when it comes to determining if something is harassment, or discrimination, or a breach of health and safety.

Be Organized

There’s no doubt about it that HR Managers need to be organized. Organization and time management are two key traits of successful HR Managers and if you’re no good at either, then it’s likely that you’re going to struggle.

Whilst managing the details of all the employees in the organization, as well as juggling a wide variety of tasks, HR Managers need to be able to stop and start tasks as and when necessary. You could be in the middle of drafting together a new benefit scheme when you’re required elsewhere to help deal with a difficult situation.

Additionally, you’re likely to be handling a large amount of personal information and you need to know where it’s all kept at a moment’s notice. Finding a specific piece of information – such as an emergency contact number – needs to be quick and effortless. This becomes increasingly difficult with more employees so an organized system is the only way this is going to work.

Learn more: 6 Signs You're a Productivity Superstar

Have People Skills / Emotional Intelligence

It may seem like an obvious one, but human resource management requires you to be good with humans. This goes much further than being able to diplomatically handle situations and requires you to have a good understanding of people and a personality that is classed as both trustworthy and sensitive.

This involves having open communication channels that are effective and therefore allow employees to approach you when they have an issue. It may sound an easy task, but essentially it’s your job to be everyone’s friend and manager. This can become particularly difficult in a larger organization.

HR Managers are in a unique position where it’s likely that employees will approach them direct – as opposed to their line managers – in order to broach a particular topic. If you don’t come across as trustworthy, employees are going to feel like they have nowhere to turn in a difficult a situation, thus increasing the risk that they will look elsewhere for work.

Therefore a level of discreetness is also a necessary trait for handling these types of situations. The more employees feel they can trust you, the more likely you are to discover and be able to solve issues within the workplace.

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