Feb 10, 2009

Critical Skills for Human Resource professionals

There are some skills that are never taught in HR courses, but once you join the workforce you realise how important all of them really are:

  1. Business Acumen - It's understanding exactly how your organization makes money and what you as a HR professional can do to impact it positively. Business acumen has be the lodestone by which you measure and evaluate any HR initiative. (Even though some believe that the real business of business is to build leaders )
  2. Communication Skills - It is painful when HR people don't get this one right. Written and spoken skills are both critical to being a successful and effective HR professional. It sends out wrong messages about your capability when you cannot communicate an intervention/initiative's objectives and salient points in less than 50 words. Try it. 
  3. Inter-personal skills - Empathy. Respect. Listening. Openness. These are approaches that you are expected to have. But sadly, I have come across many HR leaders and professionals who are egotistical, snooty, pig-headed and totally disrespectful of others. They are also the ones who are servile to higher ups and contribute to the stories that stress "HR is a spineless dictator". Don't be one of them.
  4. Negotiation Skills - When you have chosen to be part of a function that is evaluated by what others do, negotiating goes from a life-skill to a critical to succeed professional skill. 
  5. Learning to Learn 
  6. Consulting Skills 
  7. Marketing Skills 
  8. Sensemaking 
Any others you can think of?

Related posts:


  1. Leadership skills, even though one is not in a management level, they need to be able to motivate other people and lead by example.

    Work from home

  2. Excellent list Gautam! There is so much for an HR pro to learn to be successful that one won't find in any textbook. This is a great list for the aspiring HR pro to start with!

    I've featured your post in my weekly Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week (found here: http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2009/02/the-rainmaker-fab-five-blog-picks-of-the-week-2.html) to share your list with my aspring HR pro readers.

    Be well Gautam!

  3. However it must be said that experience is built by learning on the job. YOu can be armed with all the information required but the real test is when you are performing a task as part of your job requirments(make a mistake and u will learn faster!!)

  4. Some Tips for a better Life were posted on our website by a blogger. It made us stop and think. That yes the simple things in life are sometimes best not forgotten and should form the basic skills for the rest of our busy lives.


  5. Great article Gautam.
    I also feel its a structured approach and the ability to multitask effectively. Employees are dissatisfied because they dont get proper answers on time and HR managers claim its lack of time whereas all it requires is a structured approach and better ability to multitask.

    Another very important thing is openness to new ideas and accepting feedback. This seems to be lacking.

  6. great post, comprehensive list ! I agree with workhard - leadership skills is very essential. There are numerous examples in todays scenario (recession, layoffs) where the company's motivation and energy levels are very high only because of the leadership skills exhibited by HR

  7. Gautam - with HR (atleast in IT) considered more of a backend job and atmost an advisory to management, the opportunities to understand business is little and one is left at best to adhere to "policies"