Essential Skills for the Modern HR Practitioner


Every HR professional knows the job is not an easy one. In most cases, practitioners rely heavily on past experiences to carry-out their daily responsibilities. But as the world continues to change and the HR space takes on an entirely different feel than it once had, professionals are constantly looking for the best skills to list on their resume. Honing those abilities is important to both their future and the future of the organization.

So what are those skills every HR professional needs to possess?

There are seven listed below. The list is not exhaustive by any means, but it gives HR a guide to follow and a recommendation on the things they need to have has they continue serving their organizations.

Essential HR Skills
When HR professionals are looking at new opportunities, no doubt the one skill most-often requested is communication. And with good reason. Communication is paramount to the job. HR practitioners are the link between the business and the employee. That is not an easy role to play in that practitioners must support employees and represent the employer, two sides sometimes at odds.

Data Analysis
Behind communication, HR professionals need to possess the ability to read an analyze data. It’s imperative because practitioners are expected to leverage data to make better decisions. It’s also increasingly being used to predict potential outcomes. For instance, some companies are using data has a way to predict turnover within the organization.

While this skill is important regardless of the times, it is particularly essential right now given the reality in which human resources finds itself. Most organizations are struggling to find talent to fill, not just critical roles, but also day-to-day openings across the organization. Companies are actively engaging in the War for Talent. Sometimes that means attracting talent from organizations within the same industry. Sometimes that means attracting talent from completely different industries. Being able to find qualified candidates and select the best for the organization can make the difference between a company that succeeds and a company that just scratches by.

HR Technology
Human resources is well into its digital age. More and more process are being automated or augmented by technology. HR professionals need to have a basic understanding of technology, how it can help the company and how to implement it. HR technology is a strong predictor of who has the competitive advantage in the industry/market.

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Emotional Intelligence
This is essential because potential and current employees in today’s working environment allow emotion to be a large part of their decision-making process when it comes to their employer and their daily lives. There are lots of examples where emotional intelligence plays a part whether realized or unrealized. One such example is the candidate experience. There is a push to make sure potential employees have a good experience or maintain a good feeling about the company. Another example would be the expectations that exist between leaders/managers and employees. This is often referred to as the psychological contract.

Adaptability & Agility
HR practitioners must be agile in today’s working world. They must quickly be able to assess a trend or situation and plan accordingly. It’s also a necessity in trying to prepare the workforce for the future of work. That naturally leads to adaptability. As new innovations or strategies make themselves known, HR is often at the forefront of making sure the organization can adapt these for its own purposes.

HR and the Future of Work 2020

A new era of HR dawns. Where once HR ruled with the “one-size-fits-all” mentality, younger employees are rebuking the idea. Ideas like development, flexible scheduling, gig markets and remote work are the building blocks of their mission. This FREE online event will help HR professionals once again find their footing in these changing times while bringing together HR professionals who are successfully addressing the issues of diversity, personalization, and adapting to the future of work.

Administrative Skills
No matter how HR professionals approach their job nor the level of technology, administrative tasks are still a major part of the job. Even with the amount of technology available, a lot of companies still expect HR to handle duties such as employee leave, payroll and compliance.

Again, it’s worth stating the skills listen above are not exhaustive. There are any number of skills that could be and should be deemed essential for the modern HR professional. Others might include multitasking, conflict management or coaching. The reality is this: each HR professional must determine what skills are essential to their professional lives. It has to be personalized. Choosing those skills and learning to execute them without fail goes a long way to being an successful HR professional.

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