A human resource manager must possess a wide variety of skills to successfully manage the myriad of demands and challenges they will face every day.
While many of these can be learned, there are a handful of natural talents that will go a long way towards succeeding in such a role.
1. The ability to listen
Unlike some company roles, a human resource manager is more often there to listen than to be heard. This knack takes patience and understanding, as this employee needs to be able to truly hear what people are trying to say, even when they don’t quite know how to say it.
Listening comes into practice during interviews, when the HR manager must get a feel for a candidate in a short space of time. It’s a hugely beneficial skill when an unhappy employee seeks out the HR manager to discuss workplace issues. And it’s vital when the director requests specific tasks from them. Listening, rather than just hearing, is essential in all aspects of the role.
2. The ability to be discrete
A human resource manager will deal with everything from pay negotiations and hiring new staff, to issuing official warnings and dealing with harassment claims. All of this should be considered extremely confidential, as sharing such information with the wrong people can be damaging for all parties involved.
A great human resource manager knows these boundaries and won’t be likely to talk about such sensitive information to anyone but those absolutely necessary. They are not the kind to revel in gossip or talk about others. You may be able to spot this in a person as they will instead choose to talk about themselves so as to avoid bringing up other people.
Regardless of which part of the job you look at – whether that’s pay negotiations, hiring and firing or something else – it all comes down to good communication.
In many ways, the HR manager sits at the centre of the business’ web of personnel. They are responsible for keeping in touch with all parts of the company, reporting to higher-ups, welcoming new recruits, and dealing with leave applications and issues from everyone else. They will need to be able to hold their own in face-to-face meetings, speak clearly over phone conversations, write a well-structured email, and basically master every art of communication there is. Good communication is hard to teach, so finding it in someone as a natural talent is a huge bonus.
4. The ability to remain calm
Things go wrong. People quit on the spot, people don’t meet vital targets, clients cancel out of nowhere. Any number of things can go wrong at any given moment, and the human resource manager is often one of those who will have to deal with the fallout. The last thing you need is someone who panics and passes on stress to others, or becomes incapable of working through the problem as they freeze up with worry.
A calm personality may be much better equipped to deal with unexpected dramas than someone with an excitable personality. If your HR manager reacts poorly to an angry employee, this will only exacerbate the issue, rather than quelling it.
5. The ability to see the perspective of others
Of all the roles in any company, the HR person needs to be able to understand where others are coming from more than anyone else.
A strong understanding of the business itself and what the managers and the directors are trying to achieve is vital, as this will drive the decisions and communications the HR manager is involved in. At the same time, he or she must be able to understand the wants and needs of the individuals at each level of the company throughout the departments to ensure the workplace morale remains healthy and that each person is striving to perform. This is only possible with talents that allow this person to see the perspective of others, no matter their position in the company.