If you work in a human resources department of any firm then you understand all too clearly the importance and sensitivity of your position.
The human resources department is the oil that keeps the engine of the firm functioning at full capacity and optimum productivity.
The HR department is majorly tasked with the responsibility of maintaining cohesion, collaboration and sanity in the workplace.
This helps to ensure that everyone gets along together and are focused on moving the company forward as a team.
Put simply, they manage the human element of any business; they are the conscience of any company.
It is one thing to manage a business, it is quite another to manage people. This requires a unique set of skills all on its own. I have outlined a few that I believe cannot be compromised on for any HR person.
Effective communication skills are absolutely vital for any human resource professional.
Communication is a key part of a HR professional’s daily activity as almost everything he/she does demands clear, concise and effective communication. Knowing how to convey a message is just as important as knowing what message to convey.
Without these requisite skills, you may pass an unintended message during interviews of prospective hires or confuse new hires when outlining their job description.
Worse still, you could cause more damage when trying to serve as a mediator between employees in disagreement with each other.
Sometimes, restructuring and other necessary changes may occur within an organisation that may not sit well with the employees.
It is the responsibility of the HR professional to communicate the news, which sometimes may be unpleasant to the employees while keeping them motivated.
Simply put, the effectiveness of your communication skills may be the only thing that stands between the company’s success and absolute chaos.
Generally, multitasking skills are perceived as the determining factor between the leaders and the followers; this skill is required in managing human resources.
The human resources professional deals with so many issues, with an employee issue this moment, then switch and deal with recruitment, then meetings (both planned and unplanned) etc.
Many other management positions focus mainly on a task or a segment of the business, but HR professionals are involved one way or the other, in every aspect of the business.
Therefore, multitasking skills is necessary for human resource professionals.
Planning and Organising Skills
HR management requires the most organisational and planning capability of any other department.
Also, monitoring progress and evaluating outcomes are part of planning and organising skills a HR person is expected to demonstrate.
These skills should reflect in everything about them, whether they are in or out of the office. The way their office is organised, the arrangement of files and documents, their time management and personal efficiency.
They have to always be at their sharpest and best. As a HR person, you are dealing with people’s livelihoods so you want to always be available at the right time and ready to go at the drop of a hat, no matter the situation you are presented with.
This takes a huge dose of organisation and planning to achieve.
Negotiation skill is a no-brainer.
This is because, the HR professional may need to negotiate severally in an organisation- from negotiation of wages and benefits at the time of recruitment, to negotiations with unions regarding changes, resolving conflicts among employee, making downsizing decisions, etc.
The HR person must be skilled enough in negotiation to be able to develop trust among various parties involved in a negotiation process and to find a mutually acceptable solution, no matter their corporate status
Interpersonal Relationship Skills
Without compromising the basic workplace ethics and the organisations standards, the human resource professional is expected to show courtesy, diplomacy, understanding, friendliness, concern and civility towards others. He should be able to develop and maintain effective relationship with every member of staff.
Such relationships may include dealing effectively with individuals who are problematic, unreceptive or troubled. He should have a high tolerance level for people from different background and different understanding.
The human resource professional should be sensitive to cultural diversity, race, gender, disabilities, and other individual differences within the organisation.
Thinking outside the box
HR persons should be able to approach challenges in new and innovative ways by conceptualising them in a different way.
There are times when conventional approaches to solving an issue may fail; in such circumstances, they should be able to draw from their imagination to develop new ways to approach and solve the problem.
Beyond the basics, principles and ethics of their profession, HR people are not – or should not – be the kind of people who think in a mould.
Thinking outside the box should be their comfort zone. This ensures that all hope is not lost whenever an established approach is deemed unsuitable, insufficient or is inaccessible.