The challenge of the current job market is a search for a balance between soft skills and technical knowledge. In a changing and often unpredictable environment, identifying and developing our soft skills is the key to broadening our work field.
Those who wish to work in the HR field need to be aware that HR responds to specific roles and functions in a given company. Depending on the size and organization, they can vary. In this article, we will discuss the main human resources skills you need to have in order to perform as an HR specialist.
- HR expertise is divided into soft and hard skills. Soft skills are related to emotional intelligence and hard skills are related to technical knowledge.
- After the global pandemic, the field of human resources has become one of the most in-demand and competitive jobs at the corporate level.
- According to a report by LinkedIn in 2022, the corporate work culture adopts a trend focused on flexibility, well-being and professional development (1).
The 9 most important human resources skills: The definitive list
If you are considering working in human resources, you need to know the most important skills to develop your potential. We have included both soft and hard skills within this list for comprehensive information to enable you to identify your strengths and work towards new opportunities.
Generally speaking, these are skills related to human behavior under certain contexts. They are social skills that are learned from childhood and in personal, environmental and cultural interaction.
Here are two skills that we believe match the profile that companies are looking for due to the nature of HR work. They will help you to develop successfully, personally and professionally. Additionally, they are attractive attributes for the job market.
This refers to the ability to evaluate, mediate and resolve a hostile situation without causing damage to the company. This is a skill valued in almost all workplaces, developing it implies experience, social skills and good performance working under pressure.
Good team management reduces conflicts, increases work trust and improves the work environment in general. To work in teams, it is important to be flexible and know how to interpret the requirements and manage the talent of employees.
Managing projects and people involves many conversations and negotiations, which requires strong communication skills. This applies to written language, as you must design and produce protocols, manuals and publication memos for all staff.
Paying attention to a message through active listening is a great tool for dealing with unpleasant but necessary situations, especially in the workplace. To maintain a balance, it is important to create channels for fluid and balanced communication between the company and employees (2).
Achieve effective communication means transmitting a clear, understandable message without generating doubts to your receiver. To do this, take into account:
- Your body language.
- Your tone of voice.
- Your public speaking kills.
- The context to successfully address your communication objective.
The other side of effective communication is to be able to convey in a firm, respectful and empathetic way what you need, feel or want.
Its importance is in our reaction to conflict situations, as well as the timing of when we choose to react to them.
3. Emotional Intelligence
The importance of emotions in the workplace has been highlighted by numerous studies that point to the relationship between thoughts and feelings. Some authors even claim that a number of the decisions we make on a daily basis are a response to our emotions (3).
For this reason, it is of particular interest for companies to hire people with sufficient capacity to master emotions so that they do not interfere with logical abilities. Especially the ability to empathize and trust others.
This ability is related to the level of self-esteem we possess. A good balance translates into becoming a subject that inspires confidence and chooses to trust.
Different fields of knowledge consider trust as a crucial value for social interaction. From politicians, companies, markets and almost any organization that involves interaction.
It is the ability to feel what the other person feels, without becoming that other person. It helps you to get close to people, to understand their problems and to find solutions to solve them.
It is important to show empathy and handle delicate situations with tact, for example, if you have to communicate a layoff or salary reduction.
Companies define their HR practices according to their business strategies, however, HR policies do not need to be subordinated to them as mere tools for its implementation as they were years ago. This approach changed significantly with the pandemic and restructuring of the workforce that followed (4).
After the administrative issue, HR has attained a strategic role within companies. Therefore, a human resources professional has a deep understanding of how companies gain a sustainable competitive advantage by investing in people to meet the needs of the business.
All people, without exception, are always making decisions and accepting the consequences of those decisions. In the workplace, these decisions require knowledge, intuition and strategy.
An HR professional is faced with deciding whether a candidate is suitable or not, or whether to lay off staff. Therefore, he/she must make good decisions to protect the company’s performance.
Managing people sometimes involves acting as a mediator of conflicts, offering options and even, in certain cases, knowing how to say no.
A good negotiator listens and understands the other person’s demands, knows when to give in and finds the best solution for both parties.
The commercial aspect is related to the ability to influence customers’ purchasing decisions. Establishing trust with the company through experience in order to achieve an identification that makes a long-term bond possible. It is strongly marked by the technical and economic knowledge of the company.
A human resources professional must have in-depth knowledge of aspects such as industry, products, services, and processes for interaction with all the company’s staff. In addition, this knowledge favors the fulfillment of business objectives through human capital.
Follow-up of sales staff, identifying their motivation and rating their performance is part of the task of the HR department.
Good planning and documentation for this follow-up, especially in terms of recruitment, is necessary for better development of the company culture.
The human resources professional has the responsibility to properly manage the leadership, talent, experience and knowledge of the staff.
A large part of their work is the administration and management of human capital as the primary factor in a corporate environment.
Strategic HR planning is a proactive way for companies to deal with their organisational actions to ensure the success of their strategies.
Planning, in this context, is the function that aims to set the concrete course of action to be followed, establishing the principles to guide it, a set of operations and the time and resources to carry them out (5).
An excellent tool for dealing with contingencies is organization, since it enables necessary decisions to be made in time.
Establishing and maintaining a good organization in the different orders that make up the exercise of human resources is important for the success of the company.
Knowing and providing spaces for dialogue and relaxation with the company’s employees creates an environment that encourages better decision-making.
When a company needs to implement projects, the human resources professional must be prepared to implement policies for the improvement of the company.
All employee benefits and compensations go through human resources. The same goes for social activities, performance evaluations, training, development and more. These items are included in the company’s planning and budgeting.
They vary according to the projects and functions of each department. HR limits expenses and avoids overspending on unnecessary activities. Some activities you should be aware of on the financial side are:
- Payroll processing, is a system of payment of salaries to employees as established by the substantive and procedural rules, requests for vacations, licenses, leaves, voluntary contributions, health service, etc.
- Data analysis, especially in the recruitment process, so they know which are the most suitable profiles for the vacancies they are managing. Or to identify why a department has high turnover or attrition rates.
- Labor laws, to know the regulation of the labor relationship that takes place between workers and the company. It requires a study, understanding, and development of rules that guide proper management in terms of recruitment, compensation, services, safety and security, among others.
- IT software, it is always a plus that you have knowledge of IT tools related to HR functions.
Read more about HR Technology Trends
The protocols and tools that are used to ensure that each employee achieves their professional and personal goals, benefit the company simultaneously. Its activities include the onboarding process, improving interdepartmental communication and facilitating the necessary assets for the development of functions such as telephones, computers, and spaces, among others.
HR departments are constantly reporting on the evaluation and qualification of employees, as well as the areas with the highest turnover or attrition. It is important that you develop good, clear and concise writing skills.
In addition to written reports, another form of internal communication is software that focuses on direct messaging. Thus, we can find links that enable effective communication in real-time to focus on the specifics of team meetings.
See the best Business Instant Messaging Software
It is the added value of all activities, including work. Because it keeps the mind active, creates confidence, encourages communication among employees, feedback on ideas and takes advantage of diversity. Moreover, creativity produces innovation, which brings great profits for companies (6).
Thus, creative people are those who are more open to originality, flexibility and fluidity, attributes that are indispensable at this time of constant change. An HR professional should be able to create a favorable atmosphere for creativity and thus increase the value of the company and its employees.
If you are an HR professional, these are some good skills to include on a CV that will make you stand out in your field. As you can see, there is much more to human resources job skills than just being nice to people. If you have any of these skills, you may have what it takes to thrive in HR.
However, some of these skills can be developed without the need for large sums of money or difficult training courses. It is a matter of researching, seeking out and experiencing situations that demand a display of communication, empathy, negotiation, and management.
1. 7 ways HR will look different in 2022; lars schmidt, January 11, 2022
2. Assertive communication ¿estrategia de competitividad empresarial?; Anggy Karina Lesmes Silva, Ender José Barrientos-Monsalve, Marling Carolina Cordero Díaz; Fundación de Estudios Superiores Comfanorte, Cúcuta -Colombia; Universidad Francisco de Paula Santander, Cúcuta -Colombia; December 19, 2019
3. THE ROLE OF TRUST IN ORGANIZATIONS THROUGH THE DIFFERENT ADMINISTRATION APPROACHES OR THOUGHTS; Ailín María Lockward Dargam; July-September 2011.
4. 7 ways HR will look different in 2022; lars schmidt, January 11, 2022
5. Strategic human resource planning: effective ways to identify staffing needs; Mendoza, D., López, D. and Salas, E. (2016)
6. Impact of Human Resources Practices on Creativity and Innovation Results: Proposal of a Measurement Scale; Naiara Escribá Carda, Francisco Balbastre Benavent, María Teresa Canet Giner; Huelva; 2013.