10 must-have competences for HR manager


HR managers have a unique position in the organization. On one side they are managers of their own teams and units, while on the other side they represents the bridge between the company (i.e. the business) and the other employees and managers. Therefore, besides taking care of their own employees such as employee motivation, engagement, development etc., HR managers have to design, develop and establish systems that will help other managers with employees’ motivation, development etc. Eventually, HR managers have to take care about company’s interests, plans, strategy etc. Shortly, the job of the HR manager is to recruit, motivate and develop the best people for effective and successful execution of company strategy.

This specific position requires a specific set of competences, skills and knowledge which will enable them to be successful at their job. Some of these competences are common managerial competences while others are unique competences for this specific position.

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1. Organizational Skills

Like every manager they need organization skills as they need to organize the work of the department through delegation and coordination. The requirement for excellent organizational skills is even higher with the HR managers since they deal with all the employees in the company.

Activities such as organizing files, contracts, resolutions, preparing salaries and other compensation, registering presence, dealing with absences and sick leaves, organizing and leading performance management, development programs etc. are daily tasks and operations within their responsibilities.

How effectively and successfully all these tasks will be accomplished is direct result of the organizational skills of the HR manager. The importance of the successful completion of all tasks is even higher because all these tasks are connected to human beings and affect them.

In that direction it is very important that the HR manager has excellent organizational skills such as time management, coordination, delegation, monitoring, planning and scheduling etc.

2. Communication Skills

If there is any manager that needs to be a great communicator, then it is the HR manager. Dealing with all the people in the company means dealing with different types of personalities, professions, educational and cultural backgrounds, interests, biases etc. In order to deal with them, the HR manager has to be a great speaker and listener. This means that they need to know how to convey a message and ensure it is understood correctly.

On the other side they have to be able to listen in a way that understand what the others are saying. They need to be able to lead the conversation (no matter if they are the speaker or the listener) in a way that both parties get most of it. Therefore the HR manager needs to be an active listener who can understand the meaning of the message by listening to the words, feeling the emotions and reading the body language.

3. Credible Role Model

Being credible means that one is trustworthy and that people can believe him. Credible people find it easier to manage and lead teams and others want to cooperate with them. However, credibility is hard to earn!

The first thing to do is to earn trust so that people can believe you and that they can believe in your actions. To earn trust one must be honest, discreet and ethical. Lack of any of these characteristics can severely damage credibility.

Next, the HR manager will deal with a lot of interpersonal relations and conflicts, will have to resolve problems, mediate or lead disciplinary procedures. Crucial characteristics here are sense of fairness, objectiveness and equitability.

At the end the HR managers have to be reachable. This doesn’t mean that everyone can go into their office at any time, but they have to find time to see people for the important issues they might have.

4. Problem Solving

HR managers have to be a good problem solvers so that they can find solutions for difficult situations such as people training and development for upcoming projects and implementation of new technologies under budget constraints; motivation of employees with limited resources; creative ways of performance management that will drive performance and engage people etc. These are all situations that have enormous impact on the overall success of the company and that require problem solving, creativeness and innovation skills.

5. Conflict Management and Dealing with Difficult People

There are two types of conflicts that the HR manager can come across. First are the interpersonal conflicts between two or more employees. The second are broader conflicts such as the ones between the trade union and the management. The tricky part about conflict management, especially when dealing with employees is that it is a wide grey area. Many times there is no right or wrong, no black or white. Many times they are both right. Therefore, there is a need of creative solutions that will resolve conflicts in win-win manner.

6. Negotiating, Persuading and Influencing

Negotiating with employees for their personal issues, with unions for the rights of the employees, with the management for bigger budgets, with other functional managers for the people related activities they have and what the HR manager might need from them etc. are just part of the situations where the excellence in negotiation comes to the surface. It seems that negotiation is one of the daily activities of the HR manager.

In that direction the HR manager has to be an excellent negotiator and great at persuading and influencing people.

As I said at the beginning the HR manager is the bridge that links and connects the employees and the company and has many stakeholders to deal with such as managers, employees, trade unions, counsels, committees, boards of directors and other senior management, shareholders etc. so these are essential skills for successful completion of the tasks and responsibilities of the role.

7. Change Management, Continuous Improvement and Innovation

I am sure you’ve all heard the saying “the only constant things in the world are the changes”. Existing in constantly changing, dynamic and globalized environment the companies must constantly change in order to adopt, survive and win. All changes within the company somehow influence the people.

HR itself can take place in changes, but also is the main driver and leader of some very important changes such as reorganizations, introductions of new systems, restructuring, downsizing etc.

In both cases HR has to undertake measures to help employees and managers cope with the changes and get the most out of each and every situation. One badly managed change can have devastating impact on employees’ morale, engagement and motivation.

Being excellent in change management doesn’t only mean to know how to cope with the changes, but most of all to know how to start, plan and drive changes for continuous improvement of the systems, processes and models. To do this, the HR manager needs to know how to promote, lead and support innovation.

8. People Development Skills

A wise manager knows that the best way to lead a team is to find good employees and develop them into self-driven skillful professionals which will take responsibility for their job.

The HR manager needs to know how to develop his own people and also how to develop all other employees and managers in the company.

9. Exceptional HR Knowledge

HR management is a diversified area and demands a lot of energy and time to master all parts. Just for an illustration, the HR manager deals with activities from personnel administration, salaries, hiring and firing procedures, sick leaves to grading systems, employee development, organizational development, corporate culture, performance management, succession planning, talent management, compensation and benefits etc.

10. Business Knowledge and Strategic Orientation

Being a link between the employees and the company the HR manager needs to have sufficient knowledge about the overall business of the company, economy, industry, global trends etc. In today’s dynamic environment it is essential for every HR manager to be business oriented and to know how to align the HR systems to support the performance of the organization.

Out of the same reason the HR manager needs to have well developed strategic thinking and critical and analytical thinking skills. S&P

Author Bio

Dejan Madjoski is an HR Manager, BP, Lecturer and Coach. He has diversified experience and proven ability to successfully lead heterogeneous teams and deliver results. Dejan is passionate about people and organizational development, corporate culture, performance and talent management. He likes to challenge status quo and move things around in order to find better ways.
Connect Dejan Madjoski
Follow @DejanMadjoski

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