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The top 5 essential skills for Human Resources professionals

The success of any company depends on the practices adopted by the Human Resources department. Good management of the wellbeing, productivity and experience of employees requires the development and use of a demanding set of competencies. 

 Here are the top 5 skills that every HR professional needs:

1. Active listening  

Did you know that people spend up to 80% of their day engaged in some form of communication, and about 55% of their time is devoted to listening? Active listening requires focused attention and showing that you are paying attention. As an HR professional you are in a unique position, representing a bridge between the employee and the organisation, and active listening is the foundation of that communication. 

2. Observation 

Can you pick up on the subtle signs and behavioural nuances of the people working around you? Being able to interpret people’s behaviour is key to understanding their needs. From this, you can then, define appropriate motivation and compensation systems for both teams and individualsand improve the effectiveness of your organisation. 

3. Negotiation 

As a go-between management and employees, you may find yourself involved in conflict resolution. To reach a cordial middle ground where all parties are satisfied you will need to have excellent negotiation skills. 

4. Knowledge of Human Resource Information Systems  

A Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is the software that is used for the data entry and data management of all of the human resources operations of an organisation. Knowing how these systems work and what data needs to be tracked will help you make data-driven HR decisions. Whilst there are many different proprietary HRIS systems, they all do essentially the same thing, and having experience with one system will equip you to learn very quickly how to use any other.   

5. Intercultural sensitivity 

As an HR professional you will need to derive maximum value from an ever-increasing range and depth of cultural differences within the workforce. This diversity will influence the skills and competencies of your staff, the policies and systems you design, and the way you develop employees. Intercultural competence is  essential for leaders to make truly inclusive decisions in all aspects of people management. When operating in culturally diverse situations it helps to be receptive and curious to different ways of doing things and to be willing to adapt and learn about other cultures. 

Find out how culturally competent you are in our interactive quiz.

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