Six Traits of Effective HR Managers
HR Managers are proficient in the art of analysing talents, aptitudes and attributes in others and using this information to assess their suitability for various positions. But what about HR professionals themselves? What kind of skills must they possess? Let’s take a closer look at some key qualities of successful HR professionals.
1. Organizational Skills
HR specialists wear many hats, having a hand in recruiting, training and development, performance appraisals, employee relations and more. The tasks they face are time sensitive and must be done in an organized and systematic manner. The work of the HR department is often critical to both the company and the employee so is best trusted to a well-organized individual.
Role Model: Barbara Gordon. She’s the head of the Gotham City Public Library and has also worked as an information broker. At night she becomes Batgirl, although I’m not sure how that’s relevant to HR.
Theme Song: ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ by Johnny Nash.
2. Communication Skills
In relation to communications we often think of verbal communication, however the HR Manager is often responsible for writing policies, procedures and designing performance management programs. This requires strengths in research and writing. Communication may take place in person, over the phone, or via email or any number of other digital platforms. Company standards must be conveyed clearly and, when important and sometimes personal conversations become emotional or heated, the HR Manager must be a good listener while remaining a strong advocate for policy. The HR department communicates not only with management and staff, but also with potential employees via the recruitment, interview and onboarding process.
Role Model: Oprah Winfrey. Like Oprah, you must be a good speaker as well as a strong listener. You will not be required to give anybody a free car.
Theme Song: ‘Oh Lord, Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ by the Animals.
The HR Manager is often the ‘go to’ for a wide range of concerns that an employee may have. Developing coaching skills to support staff can be an added value. Discussions about personal and health issues, monetary concerns and workplace conflict are all commonplace. To work in this field, you must be a trusted source who can create a safe space for employees to share thoughts and information.
Role Model: The keepers of the Coca-Cola recipe. So secretive, we don’t even know their names.
Theme Song: ‘Our Lips are Sealed’ by the Go-Gos.
4. Ability to Multi-Task
Stuff happens. When an HR Manager arrives at work in the morning, they might not be aware of what’s waiting for them. A dispute or a sudden departure often means scrambling to control a situation. Personal issues, scheduling, recruiting, retention and social media are just some of the things the HR department must remain on top of.
Role Model: Deion Sanders. In October 1992, Deion ‘Prime Time’ Sanders took part in two playoff MLB baseball games within 24 hours. Oh, and he also flew a thousand miles to play in an NFL football game in between. 1
Theme Song: ‘Taking Care of Business’ by Bachman Turner Overdrive.
5. Decision Making Skills
When dealing with sensitive situations that arise in the workplace, it’s important to exercise good judgement. What’s reasonable? When should one take a hard line and when is it better to be accommodating? Who’s the right candidate for the job? The HR Manager is no position for a person that’s afraid to make a decision.
Role Model: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. RBG has been sitting on the Supreme Court bench since 1993. In 2018 she returned to work one day after fracturing three ribs. Regardless of your political leanings, that’s impressive. 2
Theme Song: ‘Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind’ by the Lovin’ Spoonful.
6. Budgeting Skills and Strategy
As a strategic partner, the HR Manager needs strength in understanding metrics, budgeting and planning. They are knowledgeable in all areas of the company’s goals, strengths and finances. In an economic downturn, the HR Manager can be key in supporting a shift in the company’s focus to keep revenue up.
Role Model: The Monopoly Guy. Strategic through and through, he’s always got his mind on the money.
Theme Song: ‘It’s All About the Benjamins’ by Puff Daddy. (Or in Canada’s case, the Sir Robert Bordens.)
The HR Manager must be a good negotiator and be capable of handling constant change. They must be trainers and coaches and much more. By possessing or developing these capabilities, the HR Manager will be able to truly flourish in their position.
1“Deion’s Double Play – ESPN Films: 30 for 30.” ESPN. Accessed July 04, 2019. http://www.espn.com/30for30/film?page=deionsdoubleplay.
2 “Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” Wikipedia. July 02, 2019. Accessed July 04, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Bader_Ginsburg.
Pavlou, Christina. “The Most Important HR Skills and How to Master Them.” Recruiting Resources: How to Recruit and Hire Better. November 08, 2017. Accessed July 04, 2019. https://resources.workable.com/tutorial/most-important-hr-skills.
Amato, Kathy. “Skills All HR Managers Must Have.” TopResume. May 02, 2017. Accessed July 04, 2019. https://ca.topresume.com/career-advice/top-skills-for-human-resource-managers.
“The 9 Essential Skills of Human Resources Management – How Many Do You Have?” HR Daily Advisor. April 17, 2018. Accessed July 04, 2019. https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2006/07/18/the-9-essential-skills-of-human-resources-management-how-many-do-you-have-2/.
Latest posts by Karen Epp (see all)
- Six Traits of Effective HR Managers - July 15, 2019
- What To Do When Your Employee Comes Out as Transgender - July 10, 2019
- The Shifting Role of the Finance Professional: Trends and Developments - June 24, 2019