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Essential Skills for the Human Resource Manager


Short-term solutions aren’t the answer to a shortage of top talent.

By University Alliance
Essential Skills for the Human Resource Manager

In the fast-paced environment of human resources, it is important to seek leadership training that builds the skills most desired by hiring executives. Securing leadership knowledge, as well as developing the practical and soft skills needed for success, can increase the chances of being considered for HR career opportunities. The essential human resource manager’s skillset should cover the following main competency areas.

1. Compensation and Benefits

Being able to keep compensation and benefit packages attractive over time is essential to retaining top talent. Human resource managers need to be able to remain up to date on industry trends in order to adjust the benefits and compensation offerings in a way that supports the acquisition and retention of ideal employees.

Managerial skills needed to achieve this important HR function include being able to take the initiative to address weaknesses in a program and identify alternative solutions. In addition, the HR manager needs a mature set of communication skills to present the entire picture to top executives and persuade them to support the change. Top organizations also expect that professionals applying for HR management positions have the potential to effectively assemble the best compensation and benefits package available within budgetary guidelines.

2. Recruitment and Hiring

A complementary set of decision-making skills and strong interpersonal skills are necessary to be an effective hiring manager. Identifying the best talent takes time and requires an effective strategy. Once the talent is in the interview process, it is important for human resource leaders to be organized, able to communicate efficiently and represent the company effectively. The HR professional that a candidate first meets sets the tone for the entire interview process.

In addition to the face-to-face skills needed to persuade top talent, companies seek HR managers who are able to identify “best-practice” processes to evaluate competing candidates. In addition, top HR managers need to be able to train other hiring managers to be consistent in the hiring processes across divisions. From top down and bottom up, the interview process is one of the strongest tools an HR manager can develop that will directly support long-term corporate success.

3. Performance/Employee Evaluation

Developing a successful and meaningful performance evaluation process takes time and innovation. Human resource managers who actively develop programs that engage the employee in an on-going professional development process help build a dynamic workforce. In order to frame performance evaluations positively, human resource managers need to develop versatile communication skills. It is important for the evaluation process to be productive, consistent across all levels and well documented in the hope of retaining the best talent for long-term organizational growth.

Throughout the process and across a wide range of outcomes, an effective human resource manager keeps the goals of the company in mind when framing conversation with employees at all levels, and they tailor the review process to support a productive workforce. Integrating and applying this complex set of tasks and executing them to their fullest potential may require significant experience. A strong educational foundation can help set the stage for building a successful skill set in this critical competency area.

4. Training and Staff Development

In the role as a training and staff development leader, human resource managers have an opportunity to develop a wide range of important skills. Being an effective trainer is also part of the essential HR manager skill set that requires knowledge, versatility, and peer-engagement skills. From orchestrating the communication needed to identify areas of interest, to managing the details of establishing a training program, human resource managers support the growth of the organization with the training and staff development they offer. When considering employee retention, it is important that team members feel they are growing to meet new challenges. A meaningful training and staff development program can support those goals.

The Diverse Skillset of the Modern HR manager

Today’s human resource managers must be well prepared to respond to rapidly changing workforce dynamics. With three generations in the modern workplace, top managers need to be equipped with sound knowledge as well as a wide repertoire of skills to address the four top competency areas in human resources environments across all industries. Building effective communication skills, organizing complex corporate policies, preparing employee programs, and demonstrating creative-problem solving and conflict resolution ability are among the top skills needed to be successful in a human resource management position.

Category: Human Resources