What Are The Top Five Skills You Need To Work In Human Resources?

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12-05-2014

3 min read

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In HR Talk, we pick one human resources (HR) related topic each week, and gather a few HR experts to share their opinions on it. If you have any questions about the HR industry, send them to us at mystarjob@leaderonomics.com and we will get our panel of experts to answer them.

This week’s topic:

What are the top five skills you need to work in Human Resources?

Datin Badrunnisa Mohd Yasin Khan – Group chief talent officer, Axiata Group Bhd

1. You must like people

Talking to them, discovering their inner motivations, understanding their aspirations, capability, potential, challenges and developing them to their full potential.

2. Know the business

You must know the business or make time and effort to understand it.

Where is it heading, its targets, core purpose beyond the financials, skills and capability requirements and challenges from an organisational performance perspective.

3. Be skillful at the HR toolkit

Learn the HR toolkit as much as possible i.e the labour laws of the country, how to design, analyse and size up a job, how to design and structure an organisation, a pay scheme (understanding the market forces that determines the pay levels), manage performance through rewards and incentives, the different ways someone can be assessed to understand him or her better (as per the dimensions listed in point one).

You also need to know how to draw up an employment contract, understanding the factors that keep an employee engaged with the organisation, managing talent, doing succession planning, check if an organisation is getting the best from its people, implementing an organisation culture and how to manage industrial relations if there is a workers’ union.

4. Facilitation. Engagement. Communication

Facilitation and engagement skills, as well as communication skills (I know there are three skills on this list, so this is not going to be strictly five skills.) – e.g. in order to be able to run an employee-focused group to understand what the people want, to deliver a simple learning programme, engage with line management on their people requirements, present to a group of employees and negotiate when dealing with the union.

5. Human resources

Last but not least, be genuine about wanting to know people in your organisation.

If you don’t know them, you may create HR solutions that are not helping them to give their best to the organisation and if the organisation doesn’t get the best out of its people, you will be in a lose-lose situation.

With HR, you want to achieve a win-win situation for the employees and the organisation.

ANG HUI MING – Co-Founder and human resources director, Leaderonomics

Besides all the general HR technical skills one should have to be a good HR leader, the following are some of the critical skills that are necessary currently:

1. Business Acumen

HR must be a critical business partner in any organisation. And for any HR leader to be an effective HR partner that will add value to the business, we need to have or develop strong business acumen. Only by understanding the dynamics of the business and industry one is in, can a HR leader develop and execute people strategies, interventions, engagement and benefits that are relevant and effective for the organisation and its people.

2. Relationship building skills

An obvious skill to have is the ability to build strong relationships. This is crucial as HR leaders deal with many “people” concerns in the organisation and having strong relationship building abilities, would help resolve “people” concerns more effectively. This is a fine skill which some really good HR leaders have whereby they are able to be the bridge that ensures a “win-win” situation between employee welfare and organisation welfare while maintaining relationships.

3. Project management skills

Ask any HR leader and he or she will tell you just how many projects, programmes and initiatives he or she has at any given time. With more and more focus on people development, interventions and initiatives, HR now has to also put on the project manager hat and manage several projects or sponsor projects that are company wide and has huge impact on the overall company performance.
4. Change management

With the pace of change, HR also need to develop critical change management skills to not only adapt to changes happening in the organisation, but to help facilitate and create an environment and change acceptance culture in the organisation. Any change has people impact. Any people impact involves HR.
5. Creativity/innovation

Being in HR today requires a lot of creativity and Innovativeness. This is true especially in engaging the new generation of talent.

IT savviness and the ability to leverage best practices and create new best practices also is part of a HR person’s role.

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