7 Skills and qualities of a successful HR Manager
If you’ve been working in the Human Resources department or the HR field, and are now looking to make the leap into a managerial role as an HR leader, you’re probably wondering what Human Resources manager skills you need to be successful.
Here, we take a look at the key human resources skills, qualities, and competencies you need and how to engage in continuous development to help you grow into a highly effective HR manager.
What skills do you need to be an HR manager?
HR managers play a critical role in all industries by managing the workforce and ensuring that the company's human capital is utilized effectively to achieve organizational goals.
While there are some skills for HR professionals that are universal and essential across all industries, bear in mind that there are also some industry-specific HR skills that may be required.
Here are the key hard and soft skills that HR managers need across all industries:
1. Communication skills
HR managers require strong verbal and written communication skills to effectively convey information to and interact with a range of people and business partners. They also need to be able to easily build and maintain employee relations, negotiate, and mediate certain matters.
Since their job responsibilities range from liaising with potential new hires and onboarding to presenting complex HR data to stakeholders and managing HR teams, HR managers also need to be extremely comfortable with and adept at expressing themselves.
2. Strategic thinking
A key part of being an HR manager is ensuring that HR policies, strategies, and practices align with the company’s goals. Strategic thinking is an essential skill that enables them to analyze situations and implement the correct solution that will benefit the business.
For example, when it comes to the hiring process, they can use their strategic planning and thinking skills to select a stellar candidate pool full of talented individuals that have the skills and potential to fulfill long-term business objectives. They also know how to enact strategies that will give their companies a competitive edge by investing in the right people at the right time.
3. Leadership skills
HR managers are also highly effective leaders who can guide employees to fulfill their potential, create solutions to problems, and guide the workforce in the direction of company success.
Great leaders also have great decision-making skills — they’re also able to take ownership in times of change and instability, can quickly anticipate problems before they arise, and lead by example.
4. Interpersonal skills and empathy
One of the most important HR skills is being able to empathize with employees and manage them in productive ways. HR managers interact with a wide range of people and different issues and are able to use their experience and judgment to manage different relationships and personalities.
They also have high levels of emotional intelligence and great listening skills which enable them to respond appropriately and with candor, irrespective of the circumstances or individuals they need to communicate with. These capabilities also help HR departments navigate conflict management processes.
5. Organizational skills
HR managers are responsible for a wide range of tasks. These include developing talent acquisition strategies, creating professional development programs, designing onboarding processes, conducting performance reviews, handling employee disciplinary meetings and conflict resolution, and producing departmental reports and evaluations -- just to name a few.
With so many plates to spin, HR managers need to have high-level organization and time-management skills that will help them prioritize tasks and complete them in a systematic way — while keeping the needs of the business front of mind.
6. Command of HR technology
Every human resources professional needs to have some experience with HR and recruiting technology, including applicant tracking systems, performance management tools, management software, and payroll solutions.
These technology solutions help track and manage the entire employee life cycle, manage the workforce, automate recruiting tasks, and produce essential reports to help guide the business toward its long-term goals.
7. Training and developmental skills
HR managers are responsible for overseeing employee training, including identifying when an employee is ready to take on training opportunities, developing budgets, and highlighting how training programs will maximize performance and bring value to the business.
There’s a wide variety of tools and software available to HR managers
Check out the Top 20 best HR software tools in 2023
How to be a great HR Manager
HR managers play an essential role in all successful businesses -- after all, they oversee the management and development of a company's most valuable asset: Its employees.
As well as mastering the key human resource manager skills and qualifications, you also need to engage in continuous development to help your organization thrive.
Here are a few tips to help you grow as a highly successful HR manager, broaden your skill set, and manage your career path.
1. Keep up-to-date with employment laws and regulations
As an HR manager, it is important to have a strong understanding of employment laws and regulations, particularly those that pertain to your country, state, and industry. This includes being aware of changes to legislation and how this might impact your organization and its employees.
2. Foster a positive workplace culture
Cultivating a positive workplace culture is essential for attracting top talent and employee retention. You can focus on promoting a healthy work environment by creating employee engagement initiatives, encouraging and practicing open communication, conducting regular check-ins, and proactively offering opportunities for professional development.
3. Embrace technical skills
Technology is an HR manager’s best friend. As well as enabling you to automate tasks, monitor key metrics, and manage your workforce and talent pipelines, HR technology can also help you prioritize your most important objectives.
With the right technology, HR managers can also optimize other business functions. For example, if you’re responsible for managing your company’s business travel programs, corporate travel management software can help you better manage invoices and VAT, access corporate travel rates, optimize travel spend, and improve travel policy compliance.
Plus, to help you foster efficiency across the business, many HR software tools have robust integration capabilities to help you obtain data and insights from other tools and platforms you or other teams already using.
4. Build a strong team
Your job as an HR manager is to build strong teams from the outset to help the business succeed. As well as investing time in building a rapport with core team members and current employees, make sure that your recruiting strategy includes details on culture fit and your company’s core values.
5. Commit to continuous learning and development
Being a great HR manager means committing to proactive learning and development. This includes attending HR conferences, taking relevant courses and certifications, seeking feedback from your team, and researching the latest best HR practices.