8 Skills Every HR Manager Needs to Master

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Alexandra Olive
June 2, 2021

There are many important management positions but few are as indispensable as that of the HR manager. If you are seeking a career path in human resource management, this is a great place to begin.

As a good HR manager, you can bring a clear definition to the vision, culture, and process of an organization. On the other hand, failing to use this position effectively can leave an organization barely standing, with no clear direction or brand. No pressure. 

As demanding as the work may be, being an HR manager can also be an exciting and fulfilling career path. You get to play a significant role in developing people and releasing their potential in the workspace encouraging both business growth and personal development.

What is the role of an HR manager?

In understanding the role of the HR manager, you must first get a handle on what human resource management is. 

Human resource management—also known as HRM—is a term used to describe the system and process that caters to the management of people within an organization. People are the life and center of every endeavor and as such, human resources are an invaluable asset that must be given due and proper attention. 

The HR manager is the person responsible for overseeing the management of people within an organization. Some of the daily tasks of the HR manager include:

  • Organizing and supervising the hiring and training process for the organization in line with its goals and visions
  • Evaluating the efficiency of the employee’s work
  • Overseeing the disciplinary procedures within the organization 

What are the major responsibilities of an HR manager?

The HR manager acts as a referee for the organization, keeping it consistent with its goals and visions. They are responsible for:

  1. Planning and development of the organization's goal 
  2. Providing emotional support to employees
  3. Recruiting the best employees for the organization
  4. Creating the best workspace environment
  5. Planning the employee salary structure

1 - Planning and development of the organization’s goal.

The HR manager works with the executives to define the organization’s primary goals and targets. This involvement allows them to get a better overview of how other people in the organization can help achieve these goals. The HRM is responsible for fostering synergy and directing the orientation of employees within the organization.

2 - Providing professional support to employees.

The HR manager also plays a significant role in assisting the career growth, professional development, and general care of all employees. They understand the importance of personal development in the workspace and provides adequate support where needed. They are responsible for making sure that people under their management undergo a continuous growth process. 

3 - Recruiting the best employees for the organization.

The HR manager is responsible for scouting, recruiting, and hiring the best talents needed to achieve the company’s goals. They understand the vision and the process required to achieve this and that the wrong fit can affect the whole system. 

4 - Creating the best workspace environment.

The HR manager supervises all departments and teams. They keep a watchful eye on the structures and systems that operate within the organization. When the workspace begins to stifle the individual effectiveness of the employees, they are responsible for correcting that. The HR manager is also responsible for creating the best possible working environment for the employees.

5 - Planning the employee salary structure.

Every HR manager is responsible for planning and creating the payment structure of the organization. They must provide a system that rewards employees for jobs well done and a disciplinary structure. They aim to provide the best compensation structure that will boost employee satisfaction. Financial compensation is an essential motivating factor for employees. The HR manager is expected to create a payment structure that communicates value and fairness to all.

The work of the HR manager is a continuous process of discovering, developing, and directing people towards the desired goals of the organization. When the HR manager does not have a good relationship with the employees and other members of the organization, it impacts negatively on the overall growth of the organization and stifles workspace effectiveness.

What are the 8 skills an HR manager needs to master?

There are essential skills that make an HR manager effective in their work. Here are the eight major skills every HR manager should master.

1 - The art of communication.

The HR manager should be skilled in communicating with every member of the organization. This includes employees, managers, executives, and even clients. The ability to communicate effectively is non-negotiable. Proper communication will keep all parties adequately attuned to the unified goals and vision of the organization. This is why the HR manager occupies a middle ground territory. They need to understand all aspects of the organization from the top to the bottom—to bridge any communication gap that may exist.

The HR manager must master the art of listening if they are ever to understand the individual or corporate needs of the organization. The HR manager’s door should always be open. Every employee who has a question, a complaint, or just needs a listening ear, would feel welcome.

2 - Mastering HR software solutions.

Great HR software is a technological solution created to help the HR manager in his work. We live in a digital age with an ever-expanding demand for digital solutions. In human resource management, the need is ever-present. A good HR manager must know how to master and effectively use HR software in achieving work goals and driving organizational growth. Otherwise, they will find their work more frustrating and demanding than it should be.

Having organizational skills is one thing, but knowing how to use the best practices and digital solutions to manage the organization is equally important for the HR manager. A must-have skill for any HR manager should also include understanding the difference between HR, HRIS, HRMS, AND HCM software.

3 - Empathy and compassion.

Empathy is an often-underrated HR skill. Employees are humans with needs, issues and flaws. When an HR manager lacks compassion and understanding, they become robotic and focused only on winning and achieving goals. They will appear willing to sacrifice people to get this done. 

In a system where empathy is non-existent, employee motivation is low. Employees do not feel a connection to the organization. Employee turnover will increase, and those who remain will work only for the paycheck. The HR manager must learn the skill of balancing organizational goals and individual human needs to be able to serve the employees of the company best.

4 - Ability to create an awesome employee benefits program.

An Employee Benefits Program is a package put together by an organization to compensate and show appreciation for their employees and staff. The program can vary in scope and detail but usually covers insurance, healthcare, retirement payment plans, paid leave, and study leave.

This work lies mainly in the hands of the HR manager. They must be skilled in putting together a program that positively affirms the organization's image and still delivers value to employees.

Workspaces where people feel undervalued will not function optimally. There will be no serious commitment to that organization. Most employees will be simply biding time, waiting for a better opportunity.

5 - The power of human capital management.

Human Capital Management is a term used to describe the process in human resource management of managing employees so that they operate at their best. The HR manager is responsible for recruiting and hiring new employees who become part of the team. But it doesn’t stop there. There must be a structured induction and training process, refining and managing these employees to deliver at their optimum.

A good HR manager sees each employee as an asset that needs to be appropriately managed. They must learn the skill of developing human capital. Most employees arrive somewhat rough-cut and need to  be refined over time into valued assets. 

6 - Ethics and discretion

In the workspace, the need for confidentiality is paramount. The HR manager must be discrete in managing confidential information about employees and their work. A good HR manager learns the skill of protecting employee interests reasonably and with due respect.

It is one thing to create an excellent HR policy for an organization, but it is another to comprehend it and fully implement it without bias. The HR manager must be skilled in enforcing workplace ethics and helping to build the public image of and confidence in the organization. Ethical values must be transparent on all fronts.

7 - Decision-making. 

Human resource management requires a lot of decisive actions and steps. This begins right from the scouting and recruiting stage. A good HR manager must know how to make the critical decisions that move the organization forward. Decision-making skills will also be required if ever there is a need to downsize the workforce. How the task is done and how the message is communicated are all part of the decision-making process that the HR manager must master.

There will always be conflict resolutions to attend to within the workspace. There will be disciplinary actions as well. These periods are not times when an HR manager can sit on the fence. They must be proactive, think forward, and make firm decisions based on the available information. They must also be ready to take responsibility for the decisions made and if these decisions do not produce the necessary results, they must be skilled in knowing what steps to take to remedy the situation.

Delays in decision-making can cause significant damage to an organization. It can breed skepticism and a lack of trust in the vision and commitment at the top.

8 - Multitasking

The HR manager must master the skill of multitasking. Human resource management is a field where attention has to be given to more than one aspect of the organization. The HR manager must apportion their time and focus on the different tasks charged to their office and deliver optimally. 

The HR manager must deliver results and must be efficient. A lack of this skill will result in one or more aspects of the organization suffering from a lack of attention or poor focus. The HR manager must know how to work with people and work with teams. They must master the art of delegating.

What else do you need to know?

The HR manager must be conversant with the concepts of budgeting and finance planning. They must also learn the skill of analytics. Data is a critical part of how HR managers supervise and make better decisions that affect the workplace and the organization.

Most organizations today employ a mix of nationalities with varying cultural backgrounds and orientations. This may not matter in some corporations, but in others it plays a significant role. The HRM must learn to master and navigate these waters for the good of the employees while still maintaining the organization’s standards and goals.


As an HR manager, it is vital that you continue learning while on the job. The human resource management field is constantly changing and growing. You must learn to adapt and to grow as the job demands. To make sure that you operate at your best for the good of your organization, you must seek new skills and sharpen the ones you have already acquired. This will make you an indispensable part of the organization and an HR manager who fosters growth and workplace excellence. 


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