HR managers play an essential role in any organization. They are not only in charge of vetting new candidates but they also have a hand in training, making a link between upper management and employees, intervening as mediators during internal conflicts, and working as makeshift counsellors, among other things.
And because they have to deal with the human side of the business, HR managers need to have a particular set of skills that separate them from accountants or chief financial officers. In this article, we’re going to give you some of the main traits and attributes good HR managers should have.
Good organizational skills are paramount if you want to be a successful HR manager. That includes having good time management skills and being able to complete tasks in an efficient manner. HR managers will be asked to juggle multiple tasks during a regular day, from preparing a list of potential candidates or dealing with employee terminations to creating recruiting strategies for various positions.
HR managers don’t only need to be great multi-taskers; they must also be highly disciplined as well. HR managers cannot afford to drop the ball since their role is so important and doesn’t offer much margin for error. HR managers have to know how to meet deadlines and get things done so that both employer and employee needs are met.
Ability to work within grey areas
Since you’re working with people, things aren’t always cut and dry. What do you do if a certain employee has been dealing with harassment? Or, how much leave should a particular employee be entitled to because of personal issues? Who is responsible for the conflict and how do you identify a toxic employee from an actual victim?
These are all areas where you’ll have to exercise your judgment and come to your own conclusions and solutions. Knowing how to deal with these particular situations and knowing when and where to seek advice is also imperative.
You cannot be a successful HR manager in this day and age without a good understanding of technology. Whether it’s virtual hubs, video conference calls, shared digital workspaces or employee engagement applications, HR managers of today have to know which tools they have at their disposal and how to use them.
Have a sales mentality
While it may not seem like it at first, the job of an HR manager is very akin to sales. HR managers not only have to meet new recruits but also constantly sell them on their company and its benefits. And they not only have to convey this to new recruits but to older employees as well so they can maintain employee engagement and morale.
As you’ll soon realize, the job of an HR manager extends far beyond hiring and firing. You’ll also often be the first person that employees call upon when they’re experiencing issues with other employees or personal issues that might affect their work.
You will often have to deal with very sensitive issues like salary and benefits, personal challenges, or organization policy violations. This is why you should portray yourself as someone your employees will trust and respect, and you have to make sure that you do not betray their trust as well.
And you’ll also have to be a good listener. There are some cases where letting an employee talk through an issue is more efficient than directly intervening in a conflict. A good HR manager should be able to actively listen to their employees and empower them to find a solution on their own if possible.
As an HR manager, employees will often come to you for guidance and for leadership. Because of the nature of your function, employees will see you as an authority and an expert on company-related topics, so you have to be ready to take that leadership role. Those who follow an MBA human resources course are particularly well equipped to take on leadership roles and are often sought after for HR manager positions for this reason.
As an HR manager, you will often be required to encourage and facilitate dialogue between employees, employers, and various departments. As such, your written and oral communication skills have to be good enough to allow you to effectively and clearly relay information to employees at various levels.
You’ll also have to apply these communication skills when you’re engaged in negotiation, for instance. While hiring or when conflict arises within the organization, good HR managers are able to use their communication skills to diffuse volatile situations and get opposite groups to seek compromise.
HR managers have to have a certain level of expertise in their company’s industry. Not only will this allow them to make informed hiring and recruitment decisions but will allow them to have a context of the company’s policies and guidelines.
Many HR managers forget that even if they’re not directly involved in crunching numbers, they are still business professionals. Just because they aren’t directly working on financial statements or budgets, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have a clear understanding of the way their company works and the various business processes that govern it.
Exceptional people skills
Since HR managers will have to deal with human interaction on an everyday basis, you’ll have a hard time succeeding in this field if you’re an introvert. The ultimate HR manager is a people person at heart. This is why extroverts who are more focused on the outer world over their inner world tend to make better HR professionals. People and relationships are at the very heart of human resources management. As such, having great people skills is an absolute must.
If you want to have a long and successful career as an HR manager, you’ll have to either develop or already have these traits. It takes a truly special kind of individual to be a good HR professional, so make sure that you know what will be expected of you before you hop on this career path.