Human resource management requires a wide breadth of skills because you are constantly dealing with a variety of people in a number of different situations in a particular company. For example, human resource managers are typically involved in the recruiting process, training and on-boarding, conflict resolution, discipline, and more.
A skillful human resource manager facilitates employees work and their relationship within an overall organisation through their application of key soft skills, ones that usually involve a deep psychological understanding of individuals as they relate to each other in a work environment.
In this article, we will introduce to you six key skills that you need to have in order to skillfully navigate through your human resource management responsibilities.
- Clear, Concise, and Friendly Communication
Communication might be the number one skill that human resource managers need to hone because the bulk of their work involves it. Having clear and concise communication is key so that misunderstandings do not occur. However, equally as important is making sure that communication is warm and friendly, especially among employees in your company. Making sure employees feel like they belong and their considerations are taken into account is important for their productivity.
Of course, when speaking to different parties about a situation, clear and concise communication helps them understand the situation appropriately. Clear concise communication is not just informing people of something, however. Often, it involves making sure people know what to do next.
Such communication not only takes the form of speaking but also writing, which sometimes require different modes of operation. For example, making sure writing is clear, but still courteous and professional is quite important, especially when dealing with potential hires. Moreover, sometimes you may need to write reports of effective practices to give to upper management. Making sure that the upper management knows exactly how they can make data actionable is important, and thus clear and concise communication can do this.
In order to really improve the skill of communication, it is important to role-play the potential situations and also get guidance from someone who has experience dealing with tougher situations that you may have seen. In this case, an online course or a personal tutor may help. For example, human resources courses often have curriculum that deal with potential scenarios and how to communicate in these. The ones offered by the MCI Institute, for example, specifically target those in Australia and try to meet the needs of human resource managers who work here. Communication styles differ and the guidance you will get from these sort of courses will be tailored specifically to Austrlaian contexts.
- Conflict Management and Resolution Skills
Inevitably, the job of those involved in human resource management will involve conflict between different parties within an organisation. Conflict arises due to a variety of factors including misunderstandings. This brings us back to our first point of communication. At the same time, conflict management often involves much more than communication, such as competing interests, misperceptions about roles, and more.
It is important for the human resource manager to be able to manage people in terms of conflicting, acting sometimes as a mediator between the organisational needs and the employee needs. The key here is to make sure that you understand the different types of conflicts that can arise. Again, human resource courses in Australia can help you understand not only conflicts in general, but especially how the Australian legal and social context might influence these. Taking these courses will help you understand the rights and responsibilities that both employees and other roles in the organisational have, so that you can act as a skillful mediator when necessary. Again, the MCI Institute is a great choice as they are based in Australia and cater specifically to Australian human resource managers needs.
- Extreme Flexibility with Responsibilities
Human resource management is truly a multifaceted job. You are constantly putting on different hats. For example, you may be dealing with employees, and then perhaps with upper management. You might be applying your understanding of regulations or laws to make sure that all parties are satisfied. At the same time, you might be managing projects or writing reports, as compiling data about best practices is important. And you need to be able to switch gears quickly because unpredictable situations arise.
Thus being able to keep a coolheaded and work well under pressure is essential. In order to do so, make sure to have some sort of system of prioritisation. Having a hierarchy of which issues to deal with first is important. For example, you might want to deal with human conflict problems first when they arise, putting other tasks on the back burner.
In order to be so organised, listing out your responsibilities and then putting them in a hierarchy will help you ease your decision making processes. Such a system will also help you keep your cool in the face of problems that suddenly emerge, which will undoubtedly happen in human resource management positions. More importantly, it will help you be able to switch tasks quickly without getting bogged down.
- Extreme Flexibility with People
Not only must you be extremely flexible with your responsibilities, but also with people. You are dealing with many individuals in a variety of positions, including ones that are looking to be hired, employees, managers, etc.
Each individual comes with their own proclivities, personalities, desires, hopes, strengths, and weaknesses. They also have different temperaments. Being able to deal with all these different factors and developing the skill to empathise with them is quite important, and combined with your clear, concise, and friendly communication, you can truly help different parties that may seem to have conflicting priorities work together, thus improving the atmosphere and functioning of your organisation.
An understanding of psychology as applied to work here is important. Again, while one can learn on the job, for tougher situations, having someone mentor you or taking human resources courses will help, as you will be able to learn from others’ mistakes.
Unlike the above skill, it is harder to create some sort of system. But through experience, consulting, and staying educated and up-to-date, you will be able to navigate the different types personalities that exist.
- Negotiation Skills
Negotiation may fall under the larger umbrella concept of communication and perhaps even have some similarities with conflict management, but here, we want to specifically talk about how you can truly improve your organisation, which is the goal of human resource management. Sometimes, employees or potential employees may have wishes might not be good for the overall company. For example, such circumstances happen during the hiring process when someone asks for a certain salary.
Here, negotiation skills become very important, especially if you have found someone valuable who can make great contributions in terms of innovation and productivity. Negotiation skills is a combination of honest communication and trying to find a middle ground that benefits both parties. In order to do so, having a deep knowledge of the type of options an organisation can offer to employees is important. For example, when hiring a new employee, compensation does not just include financial compensation but also other perks, benefits, or considerations. Offering the right terms so that your employees can work well and flourish will benefit the organisation overall.
- Showing Genuine Leadership
Lastly, a human resource manager is a leader. This may even be true when interacting with your line manager or upper management. Such is the case because sometimes upper management depends on you and your understanding of individuals to solve where human and social problems, so that the work environment is one where people can be productive and build good professional relationships. In a way, you are acting as their coach on how to handle human affairs,
You are a leader, for example, when you are recruiting and hiring. The same applies when you are trying to get a team to work together more efficiently, or when you are trying to resolve a conflict between a manager and employee, or between two employees. Most of the time, no one wants conflict but it happens, and they are looking toward human resource managers to help them navigate out of the conflict so that they can continue doing their work.
At the same time, you have to deal with such situations in an ethical manner, making sure to do what is right on a human level. The skill of being a good leader will help you navigate such tough situations, especially when much serious situations happen, such as sexual harassment or bullying. Another situation is when you have to terminate someone’s employment, for whatever reason. Human resource managers are the people that upper management turns to when such situations occur to make sure that everything is handled appropriately and professionally.
As can be seen, human resource management is complex and diverse, and this is made even more complicated by the fact that each organisation is different. However, these six skills, when constantly developed will help you make sound decisions. Many of these skills involve soft skills or people skills, something that needs systematic development. Human resource online courses can help you develop these skills quickly and give you feedback. At the same time, more technical skills are sometimes required as well such as project management and writing skills. Again, getting the latest training will help you communicate effectively and create systems that will help you succeed in the long run.