Top 6 Skills to Look For in a Human Resource Manager

Top 6 Skills to Look For in a Human Resource Manager

Recruitment is a tricky business. This is why it isn’t surprising why many entrepreneurs refrain from taking on this responsibility themselves for the sake of their company. Some opt to turn to human resources or HR consultants while others look for a permanent in-house manager to get the job done.

What immediately comes to mind when you hear the words human resources? Is it the people who comprise the company’s entire workforce? Or is it the department responsible for managing employee affairs?

The term itself describes both the people who work for an organization or company and those responsible for managing resources related to the employees. If you’re a business owner seeking someone to man the human resources department, then you’re in luck. Below is a list of the top six skills you must look for when recruiting an HR manager:

1. Decision-Making Skills

A lot of decision-making goes through the human resources department, which is why you must pick someone who can make sound choices on your behalf.

While they don’t necessarily give the final verdict on who would be hired, human resource managers are responsible for narrowing down the list of applicants to make the decision easier for an organization’s CEO or president. By employing critical decision-making skills, the HR manager makes sure that the final list of candidates includes those who are the best fit for the position that needs to be filled.

Remember that recognizing great talent is no easy thing to learn. It requires a balanced combination of experience, intuition, and carefully planned and executed strategy to work.

Aside from hiring, the HR manager is also responsible for laying off employees. This is a tough job that only those with excellent decision-making skills would be able to execute, especially if the reason for the layoffs is corporate downsizing to try to salvage a company in crisis.

2. Organizational Skills

While recruitment is one of their key responsibilities, HR departments also take care of many other employee management functions and tasks, such as:

● Performance appraisals

● Training

● Employee development plans

● Employee relations management

For a company to thrive, HR must be able to perform all these in a systematic manner to avoid wasting financial resources and ensure that the processes are clear and on-point. To make this happen, an HR manager must have outstanding organizational skills.

Organizational skills and the ability to multitask also help an HR manager adapt to changes within the organizational structure. This is particularly useful when handling issues with employees while still implementing new policies from upper management.

Remember that in HR, something is always up. And the company needs to move as quickly as change takes place not only so the company can survive the market, but also succeed in its goals.

3. Communication Skills

A good HR manager should be able to express herself clearly both in the written and verbal language.

Take the recruitment process, for instance. the HR manager not only needs to conduct a series of interviews but must also communicate the requirements for the position being filled clearly, be it through written correspondence or a direct conversation.

Keep in mind that, for a recruitment process to work, it should be able to attract and engage the best talent in the labor pool from the first few exchanges with potential applicants. Add to that the unending employee concerns that range from simple leave applications to salary calculation disputes, and HR departments will have their hands full throughout the day.

Aside from that, the human resources department must also communicate well to gain the confidence and trust of existing employees. This will help them manage and improve the entire experience in the workplace, which is crucial in ensuring a sound company environment.

Plus, the HR manager should also be able to write well as she would be the one responsible for designing policy handbooks and even writing any company personnel-related memos.

4. Negotiation Skills and Dealing with “Grey” Areas

Aside from being clear on what she wants to say, an HR manager must also be able to facilitate a healthy compromise and make the best decisions when tackling matters that fall under “grey” areas to ensure that all parties are satisfied.

Quite surprisingly, a huge bulk of the issues handled by HR managers fall within this grey area — matters that are not clearly one thing or can be interpreted differently by individuals.

From matters of harassment to discrimination, to what can be considered “reasonable,” HR managers should be able to determine what to do when given incomplete information (one side of a story) and when to seek expert help from a colleague, the boss, or a legal counsel.

Since there are many debatable issues involved in the area of human resources, a good manager must also know how to negotiate for two or more opposing parties to find an acceptable middle ground. Keep in mind that the goal of negotiation is to leave all parties satisfied with the outcome – something that can be very difficult to achieve, and must be handled with care, consideration and good judgment.

5. Problem-Solving and Conflict Management Skills

Along with negotiation, being able to resolve conflict and any other problems within the workplace is a vital skill that a good HR manager must-have. Remember that not everyone can always get along. This means there will always be a time when HR has to step in and mediate.

For the most part, the goal of an effective HR manager must be to ensure that the people involved are able to continue working in a civil manner despite their differences, if not to resolve the matter at hand entirely. This is to make sure that the company’s operations are not affected by such issues.

6. Leadership Skills

HR managers must also have good leadership skills to perform their job well. After all, they are tasked with directing the employees to put in their best performance of their roles for the company’s benefit.

A good leader must be able to keep people motivated. In HR, this translates to encouraging employees to make optimal use of their skills and time not only to get ahead performance-wise but also for the overall good of the organization.

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The Takeaway

For any business owner who strives to attain the best outcomes on all aspects of your operations, having a highly-skilled HR manager who has undergone certifiable human resource training in your team is a must. Start by taking into account the top skills a good HR manager must have, as listed in this article and seek out the right person for the job.


Jerrin Samuel is the Executive Director at Regional Educational Institute (REI) in Abu Dhabi. Since 1995, REI has been at the forefront of education by delivering quality corporate training courses in the UAE, helping many businesses and organizations achieve greater productivity and higher customer satisfaction levels.

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