The main goal of human resources is effective management of human capital—one of the most valuable assets in any organization today. There are six essential functions or pieces within HR, but many human resources professionals will find themselves with responsibilities in multiple areas.
These six functions of human resources include:
Recruiting and Hiring
Here, your success is typically measured by how well you fill open positions with qualified candidates. You must work with management to update job descriptions, advertising open positions, screening applicants, conducting interviews, and coordinating hiring.
Federal laws protecting employee rights to a safe work environment. HR professionals in this area play a key role in compliance through safety training, maintaining logs for work injuries, and handling compensation issues.
This is an area where you’ll need good conflict management. More so, you must be able to advocate for both employees and your employer to resolve concerns and develop strong, secure relationships.
Benefits and Compensation
Competitive compensation and benefits attract and retain top talent. This responsibility falls on the shoulders of HR professionals who must research and set pay structures, negotiate health insurance, and coordinate retirement plans.
Labor Law Compliance
HR personnel must keep their organizations informed of the employment laws that affect safety, fairness in employment, and overall employee satisfaction.
Training and Development
Finding the right talent isn’t enough. You must prepare people for success on the job by acclimating them to new roles and new organizational cultures. This area of HR also involves professional development programs for current employees who want to advance their careers and give more to the organization.
Why HR professionals need to upskill
You will probably work in more than one job function during your human resources career. So, it’s a good idea to understand the role these functions play in the overall success or failure of an organization.
Regardless if you choose to specialize in a few of these areas or take a more general route in your career, there are a few skills that every professional must possess in order to succeed in a human resources role.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the most important skills for human resources professionals as:
- Good communication
- Decision making
- Detail-oriented views
- Strong Interpersonal relationships
Skills every HR professional needs
Whether you are involved in recruiting, employee relations, compensation and benefits, compliance, or training and development, you will find yourself relying on effective communication to do your job. It’s essential that you can speak effectively, but also actively listen.
You’ll need to convey information, give careful attention to concerns and questions, and express empathy and understanding while remaining professional and in control of the situation.
Ability to make decisions
Whether you are working to evaluate candidates in the hiring process, resolving a dispute between colleagues, or building new compensation packages, you will need to have the skills to make effective decisions based on data-driven solutions to problems and stand behind them.
Being able to be extremely detail-oriented is a daily task for most human resources professionals.
Common HR tasks that require detail-oriented views include:
- Evaluating the qualifications of job applicants
- Performing background checks
- Keeping records of complaints or infractions
- Tracking participation in professional development programs
- Ensuring compliance with labor laws
So, your ability to focus on the details could make or break your company.
Knack for interpersonal relationships
As a human resources professional, it is literally in your job title to work with other humans. You will interact with other people on a daily basis in any human resources role you choose whether it’s in person, over the phone, or through email.
Clearly, it’s important that you can connect with and inspire trust from your peers regardless of their background.
Bonus: Technological aptitude
Surprisingly, technology skills don’t always make it in the list of top skills for HR professionals. However, having a firm grasp of the latest technology can be the thing to set you apart from your peers.
In the past, human resources was all about relationships—something that is extremely hard to quantify. However, HR professionals have a seat at the leadership table; most organizations have a chief human resources officer (CHRO) or chief people officer (CPO). So, these HR leaders must come with data and projections in hand.
Understanding HR trends and the technologies that enable them (big data, virtual reality, gamification) will give you a leg up.
Of course, the responsibilities of human resources professionals will often change throughout your career. But one thing rings true, the main skills for success in an HR role remain the same.
It won’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the latest technology affecting human resources. This data can be used to enhance your day-to-day operations and improve your workplace.
Want to learn more about human resource training? Find the HR certification that’s best for you.