Are you up for a career as an HR Professional? Is it because of your passion to lead the human force, or to seek a job with favourable income prospects? Regardless, this article presents you seven must-have skills for advancing a career in HR.
The job role of an HR professional took roots from financial and administrative departments. At most, they were responsible for enforcing company regulations and watching over employee welfare. But let us put it straight, the job of an HR is not as easy-breezy as that.
As enterprises began to expand, the duty of HR professionals has come to even manage a company’s most sensitive information.
That pretty much tells you how success as an HR Professional is necessarily hard-earned. But it’s rewarding if your passion can come together with some skill sets.
Read ahead to know the vital things you need to keep up your sleeves as an aspiring or a seasoned HR Professional.
Develop strategic thinking
It’s the duty of an HR Professional to devise ideas and plans that advance corporate objectives. Since it’s part of your job to manage the workforce, you need to develop smart strategies to carry out acquisition, retention, development and execution of your people. How do you do this?
- First, give ideas and devise certain plans to meet your company’s short and long-term goals. Keeping a check on the progress of the plan is equally essential.
- Second, any set plan should help the organisation understand the complete picture of a competitive landscape. It should also answer questions like “why?” and “how?”
- Third, channelise the activities of your department by assigning responsibilities to meet these unique goals.
To develop your strategic thinking skills as an HR Professional, you should pay attention to details, listen carefully and think from different angles. It’s not enough to name weak business spots, but name them and propose strategic solutions too.
How can you carry out your multi-faceted duties without excellent communication skills? Communication plays a key role in business operations as well as employee relations. An HR Professional who has a knack for good communication can ensure a positive work culture. Additionally, make sure to develop these skills too:
- Design an attractive employer brand to get hold of the ideal work candidate.
- Resolve disputes and negotiate on the solutions.
- Increase employee satisfaction and engagement
- Reduce chances of misunderstanding to occur and as a result, lead to low grievances.
- Assure your employees that their concerns are heard by being an open listener.
- Ensure smooth functioning of office ways and processes.
Becoming a successful HR Professional demands you to cultivate a friendly yet professional mode of communication. While focussing on your verbal communication, don’t do away with the writing skills. HR professionals communicate using emails, reports and newsletters to other companies, and candidates looking for recruitment.
Become a good leader
A common saying goes this way “ great leaders are made, not born” and this is right for an HR Professional. You should stand on the front lines to guide the staff as you represent the human force of a company. Check if you have these qualities or develop them to become an admirable HR Leader
- Putting your employees’ preferences and interests first.
- Help employees find areas that need improvement and develop specific action steps.
- Offer strategic counsel to the CEO about hiring, retention and engagement.
- Solve complex, legal, employee and management problems and prevent a crisis from occurring.
- Collaborate with each department heads to figure out their needs and concerns. Spend time working within different departments so that the employees are not intimidated by your presence.
- Appoint training leaders for each department to know who and which areas need training, ways to conduct training and rate post-training performance.
A good leader takes initiatives and not control. You should ask questions, be willing to answer and offer tasks on behalf of the team. Further, best leaders are those who can also guide their employees remotely while away.
Upgrade your tech skills
Going digital is the new way of doing things and one of the key steps to become a successful HR Professional. So, to keep up with the ever-changing demand of technology, HR Professionals need to be tech-savvy. With the aid of technology, you can boost your efficiency and save time on the least important tasks. Using the right tools like the following can help your professional growth.
Talent acquisition software: They make hiring processes easy by advertising on job boards and social networking sites. You can also screen candidates, schedule interviews and use filters to shortlist the best candidates from the lot.
MS Office Suite: A must-have skillset that lets HR Professionals share policy revisions or changes to the complete team swiftly.
Social Media: These are the best platforms to enhance business networking. Social media lets you find potential candidates or update the public and other companies about upcoming projects/events.
HR Information Software: This software allows many HR tasks to be carried out with the least errors. Payroll processes can be automated, forms can be filled digitally. As a result, it saves time, money and increases productivity.
Gamification Software: Gamification software combines game mechanics with business processes. The use of such software help in mixing game thinking with fun, competition and transparency in the workplace. Fun games like puzzles are a way to decide if an employee is the right fit for the current workplace culture.
Getting Cloud systems to handle onboarding, feedback and tracking can minimise your workload, which will enhance transparency across the company.
Promote workplace learning
As mentioned earlier, a good HR Professional makes a great leader and is the first one to inspire their employees. If you motivate your employees by organising talent management certification programmes to boost their skills, wouldn’t it be an asset to your organisation? Your employers will continue to look up to you if you provide them:
- Team workshops or events, holding lunch-and-learn meetings, providing access to professional resources.
- Granting coaching opportunities, and creating learning tasks to team up on a specialised domain.
- Allocating new assignments and projects to apply their acquired knowledge to work.
Employee training programmes are a way to bring about more engagement. Working and gaining new ability hand in hand gives an employee a satisfactory job atmosphere and HR Professionals play a chief role to serve this purpose.
Be willing to take risks
The HR Magazine rightly points out “Not having the right people in place with the skills you need to compete, innovate or grow can seriously hamper an organisation’s future”. So, who takes charge of choosing these right people? Who goes the extra mile to ensure the quality and performance of these chosen people? Undoubtedly, an HR Manager
In most cases, HR Professionals are not encouraged to take risks. But if you do so, you may come across new avenues to experiment with. To be comfortable at taking risks you should explore more of what you don’t know. Chances are high that you may discover some new policies and practices.
But even while coming up with something innovative, you may experience resistance from the management and stakeholders. It’s ok, if an idea doesn’t seem to work at first, it may adapt later when the workplace is ready after crossing all the hurdles. No matter how challenging it gets, taking risks is a part of successful HR tactics.
Maintain good customer relations
An HR Professional must cater to the needs of both internal customers – the employees and external customers. These external customers may even include those looking for recruitment within your company. With customer satisfaction being the top priority of the HR, there is a need to measure the requirements of every customer and rectify the gaps if any.
Create a brand that has a clear purpose. This makes people interested in becoming an active part of your company. It’s all about giving your employees and customers an exciting reason to keep choosing you. Therefore, customer relations foster better authority among your competitors.
Lastly, you are not done with adequate customer service unless you have discipline and mediation in receiving complaints.
High skilled HR Professionals are capable of anything and everything. Next time you see a favourable workplace you can imagine the company having an HR Professional with brilliance onboard. They are leaders with a vision, value and goal.
Thinking of how far you need to go to become one? It is just a matter of hard work. Apply these steps to your career in Human Resource Management and watch it soar high.
About the Author
Sharafudhin Mangalad is the managing director of a chain of educational institutions in the UAE. With more than 10 years of experience in the education industry, he successfully runs Time Training Center Abu Dhabi and Edoxi Training Institute in Dubai.