To work effectively in Human Resources requires a diverse, and possibly unique, combination of skills. The human beings that drive an effective company forward are all going to be different. Their circumstances and personalities will vary, and that often means reaching out to them in different ways. Let’s take a look at the skills that HR jobs require.
Delegation & Collaboration
By definition, a HR department works by collaborating with other departments in the company. It’s therefore vital that HR staff are able to form and maintain good relations with those departments – and with each other, too.
Of course, in a sufficiently large business, it’s impossible for a single HR manager to keep tabs on every single employee. This is where delegation becomes an essential skill. In some cases, you might even delegate work to technological aids – recruitment and HR analysis are increasingly driven by data, and that trend is only likely to persist as the data in question becomes more available.
A HR manager isn’t the same as a salesperson, but there is a certain overlap between the two skillsets when it comes to contract offers. A HR professional will be able to ease friction between the two opposing sides in a negotiation, helping to bring about a solution that suits the needs of everyone.
There’s virtually no downtime when it comes to human resources. There’s always someone in your business whose career might be aided with just a little support from a discerning HR professional. Therefore, being able to make the most of the available time is critical. You should be able to prioritise important tasks while still keeping track of everything else, and to make time whenever you’re asked to.
Communication & Discretion
If you aren’t able to get a message across to other people in plain, straightforward language, then you’re unlikely to prosper as a HR professional. With that said, it’s also important to know when not to speak. You’re going to be privy to large amounts of sensitive information about employees and their circumstances – and if you divulge that information frivolously, you’ll lose their trust forever. In this sense, you’re a little bit like a medical professional.
The art of organisation and people-management is always evolving, thanks to a combination of cultural changes and insights in psychology. If you’re using the same basic toolset years and decades into the HR job, then it’s fair to assume that many of your practices are outdated, and have been proven ineffective. You should have a process in place for testing your results, and be willing to accept when certain methods don’t achieve the results you thought they might.
It’s a very rare workplace where everyone gets along exactly as they should. Workers may have conflicting personalities, or they might get off on the wrong foot and fail to recover. This is where a competent HR manager will be able to step in and work pro-actively to ease the tension, and help people to get along.
Sometimes, this means getting people around a table to confront the problem and think about its origins. But often, you can provide more subtle nudges before it gets to that stage. This is where a strong sense of empathy can be helpful: it will allow you to spot points of tension before they have a chance to fester. In some cases, you might even recommend that certain members of the team be kept away from one another. In others, there might be a particular person who doesn’t get along with anyone.