Top 15 Skills Every HR Professional Should Have

Just starting your career as an HR or want to brush up on your skills? Here are 15 HR skills that can help you advance your career in 2024.

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HR roles are in high demand, with a multitude of opportunities available for those who possess the required skills.

Each year, an average of 15,500 openings for human resources is projected, and the employment rate for HR managers is expected to grow by 5% between 2022 and 2032, which is faster than the rate for all occupations.

HR professionals are indispensable as they are needed in almost every industry and company. They are responsible for managing the personnel of a company, making their role critical to the success of the organisation.

Therefore, HR professionals must possess a wide variety of skills to perform their duties effectively. Knowing which HR skills are in high demand will help you prepare for a successful career in this field.

15 Must-have HR Skills for 2024

Navigating the evolving landscape of human resources can feel like mastering a complex game of chess. From talent acquisition and development to employee well-being and conflict resolution, the modern HR professional wears many hats, each demanding its own set of skills. To stay ahead in 2024 and beyond, focus on cultivating these 15 essential HR capabilities:

1. Recruitment & Onboarding

As an HR professional, one of your most crucial tasks is to find, hire, and onboard the right talent for the company. To achieve this, you must improve your skills in targeted sourcing, using platforms such as LinkedIn Recruiter to discover hidden talent.

Develop behavioural interview techniques to evaluate cultural fit and potential, such as asking candidates to describe how they overcame a challenge in the past.

Create a personalised onboarding experience that goes beyond paperwork by using an applicant tracking system. Also, consider organising welcome lunches, introducing new hires to the team, and providing buddy programs to encourage immediate connection and engagement.

Remember, a positive first impression can make all the difference in employee retention, which is another important responsibility of every HR professional.

2. Training & Development

Transform, don't just train. Move beyond generic training programs and tailor your development initiatives to the individual needs and aspirations of your employees. Break down complex skills into bite-sized modules for on-demand learning and better knowledge retention.

Identify high-potential individuals and pair them with experienced mentors using tools like PushFar. This creates a supportive learning environment where they can receive personalised guidance and career advice.

With the help of PushFar, administrators can not only create personalised training modules, but also provide feedback, and track the progress of the trainees. This can significantly reduce the time spent onboarding while making the training programs more efficient.

3. Administration

Effective HR administration is essential for maintaining a well-functioning workplace. Professionals in this role play a crucial part in managing various aspects of human resources, ensuring compliance, and fostering a positive work environment.

This requires a skill set that blends organisation, clear communication, and attention to detail. HR administrators must efficiently manage tasks, records, and schedules, ensuring a smooth workflow.

Clear and transparent communication about policies and updates contributes to a positive workplace culture. Attention to detail is paramount in handling sensitive information, such as payroll and compliance documentation.

4. Business Acumen

It's essential to have a broader perspective when it comes to HR management. Besides hiring and firing employees, it's crucial to understand your company's business goals and financial metrics.

Analyse HR data to determine how your initiatives affect productivity, employee turnover, and customer satisfaction. You should present HR strategies that support business objectives and yield measurable results.

Remember, to gain strategic influence within the organisation, it's essential to coin good ideas and become a trusted advisor to senior management.

5. Proficiency in HR Technology

In the modern workplace, HR professionals need solid tech skills to manage talent efficiently and accomplish the responsibilities and tasks required of their role.

Digital HR transformation has digitised all areas of human resources as well as employee experience. From integrated Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) for comprehensive data management to agile Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) for efficient recruitment, HR technology plays a pivotal role.

Payroll software ensures accurate compensation, while benefits administration tools navigate the complex landscape of employee perks. Equity management tools provide employees with the tools to manage their company-issued stock options and employee feedback helps gather and conduct sentiment analysis on team member satisfaction.

Command over various HR software and tools not only speeds up tasks but also empowers HR professionals to contribute strategically to organisational success.

6. Data-driven Decision Making

In the modern era, HR professionals are exploring innovative strategies to improve their decision-making abilities. Data-driven decision-making has become an essential aspect of all industries, and HR is no exception.

According to a survey, over 90% of HR professionals have integrated people analytics into their strategies. They now need to familiarise themselves with crucial metrics such as employee turnover, engagement, retention, and others to make informed decisions.

By utilising sophisticated tools and techniques, or even simpler analyses like Excel, HR professionals are focusing on leveraging data to make evidence-based decisions. This shift towards data-driven decision-making has brought about a significant change in the way HR professionals approach their work.

7. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a cognitive process that involves examining information systematically and objectively to assess its accuracy, significance, and validity.

When it comes to human resources, critical thinking is crucial for evaluating complex situations, solving problems, and making sound strategic decisions. HR professionals must be able to challenge assumptions, analyse evidence with a discerning eye, and anticipate the potential outcomes of their actions before taking any steps forward.

By engaging in such rigorous critical thinking, you can ensure that well-informed decisions are made based on strong reasoning and evidence.

8. Interpersonal Skills

This HR skill refers to the ability of HR professionals to communicate effectively and build healthy relationships with employees, management, and external partners.

The significance of strong interpersonal skills lies in their ability to facilitate clear communication, resolve conflicts, and foster a positive work environment. By being empathetic, tactful, and diplomatic, HR professionals can build trust, encourage collaboration, and foster a culture of mutual respect.

9. Active Listening

HR professionals must possess the ability to actively listen to their employees' concerns, feedback, and needs. This skill enables them to provide the right kind of support, effectively resolve any issues, and foster a sense of trust and collaboration within the organisation.

By attentively paying attention to their employees, you can gain valuable insights into their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives, and use this information to create a more positive and productive work environment.

10. Conflict Resolution

HRs often need to address internal conflicts and negative situations that arise in the workplace or between employees. You will often have to act as a mediator, find common ground for resolution, provide empathy, and ensure that all parties feel understood.

This fosters a positive atmosphere and prevents minor issues from escalating into major problems. Hence the ability to resolve conflicts on neutral grounds is essential not only for solving immediate problems but also for creating a robust and prosperous workplace in the long term.

11. Emotional Intelligence

HR professionals absolutely must possess high emotional intelligence, particularly when it comes to handling difficult situations such as layoffs. This means understanding and connecting with people's emotions while still maintaining a professional demeanour.

In challenging times, such as when there are significant changes in the workforce, HR managers with strong emotional intelligence are better equipped to handle the situation with care and expertise. It's not just about sharing information but also about recognising the human aspect of the situation.

Organisations depend on HR professionals with robust emotional intelligence to manage tough moments gracefully, thereby creating a workplace culture that is empathetic and reliable. It's not nice to have; it's an essential trait that all HR professionals must master.

12. Employee Wellbeing Evangelist

As an HR professional, it is essential to prioritise employee well-being and advocate for initiatives that promote physical, mental, and emotional health in the workplace.

This involves implementing programs and policies that support the overall health and wellness of employees, such as wellness programs, mental health resources, flexible work arrangements, and a positive work-life balance.

Employees who feel supported in their physical, mental, and emotional health are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. Hence, by prioritising employee well-being, you can contribute to higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and a positive organisational culture.

13. Expertise in Employee Experience

HR professionals are responsible for maintaining and enhancing the journey employees have within the company. It is not just about paperwork during onboarding; it's about fostering a welcoming environment that sets the right tone for a new team member.

This also involves overseeing meaningful performance reviews, focusing not just on identifying areas for improvement but also on recognising and appreciating the employee's contributions.

As an HR you need to take charge of crafting each touchpoint, whether big or small, to foster an atmosphere where employees consistently feel valued and supported.

14. Teamwork & Collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration skills are essential for an HR professional to effectively communicate and work with employees, managers, and stakeholders to achieve their goals.

Being an HR professional, you would often have to navigate complex workplace dynamics and conflicting personalities, which requires strong collaboration and negotiation skills. Here good collaboration will help you streamline processes, identify and solve problems, and foster a positive work culture.

In essence, these HR skills can help to excel in HR roles, leading to better employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

15. Time Management & Organisation

Effective time management and superior organisational skills are imperative for HR professionals to excel in their roles.

As an HR professional, you are responsible for managing a multitude of tasks like recruitment, employee coordination, and benefit management. Prioritising and organising these tasks efficiently is not a choice but a necessity.

Failure to stay organised can lead to missed deadlines, decreased productivity, and strained relationships with employees. Therefore, honing these skills is essential to set achievable goals, streamline operations, reduce stress, and elevate overall productivity in the HR role.

Keep Learning & Evolving your HR Skill Set

Remember, it's an ongoing journey, so embrace the learning process and seek new opportunities to develop your skills. Stay informed about the latest HR trends and best practices by attending industry conferences, reading relevant publications, and networking with fellow HR professionals. Continuous learning is key to success in this dynamic field.

Author Bio

Vishal Narsale is a Content Marketer at Growthbuzz Media & Make SaaS Better as well as an SEO enthusiast. He helps fast-paced B2B SaaS startups acquire customers through organic marketing efforts.

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