5 Key Skills You Need for a Career in HR

Communication Skills

Managing people is undoubtedly the most challenging part of running a business and many entrepreneurs grapple with this issue. Human resource management, commonly referred to as HR, can be the binding glue of your company.

As the stats suggest, 98% of “Fortune 500” companies have a dedicated human resource department in their organization. And HR is the third most sought profession among teenage aspirants.

However, it is also a very demanding profession to work in. Your communication-game should be top-notch. With that, you should have impeccable decision making and a sense of empathy towards your employees. For a better understanding, in this article we explain the five key skills you need for a successful career in HR.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!


Probably the most important skill you need to be successful in human resource management is communication.

HR is the bridge between the employees and management. You need to be good at receiving and putting your voice ahead. Effective communication can often eliminate the occasional misunderstandings that are unfortunately quite common in the corporate world.

Other than bridging the communication gap, HR is also responsible for contacting and hiring candidates. And as we all know, to ace an interview, you need exceptional communication skills and confidence. To judge other candidates and choose the perfect one from the lot, you need to master this skill first.


The skill of organizing is another crucial aspect of this job. Once you’ve been successfully recruited into an HR position, you will start looking after the structure of the business. You will be responsible for the well-being of the staff, and you also get to organize the job and salary structures, as well as employee training.

With this, you are expected to be perfect every aspect of organisational management. To achieve this, you need to have unprecedented organizational skills. Start to develop these skills by managing your workspace. Try and create a fun environment for the employees to work together. Then you need to identify the goal of your company and work to plan your actions in that direction.

For HR, each task holds equal importance, and you need to prioritize every task or responsibility assigned to you. All of this sounds stressful and this is why you also need to maintain a healthy work-life balance to reduce your stress levels. The skill is essential not just for maintaining an effective business but also for maintaining your own efficiency.


The primary task of an HR department is managing the human resources at a company. This means managing other people, and the best possible way to do this is by showing some empathy towards your fellow employees. Reports suggest that friendly HR’s turn out to be more successful than those who like maintaining a strict decorum in the workplace.

Once you have an interpersonal connection with a person, it is easier to work with them in the long run. It is also beneficial for the overall environment of the company. The best way to demonstrate empathy is through trying to show that you understand what that employee is experiencing. Regular communication with employees can also help you get a significant amount of empathy from them.

You can also conduct employment development workshops once a month to boost their motivation. Introducing fun games and office parties is also very effective at boosting morale and motivation. This way, you can also have a positive impact on their performance and productivity.


The human resources department is responsible for salaries and hence most of the spend of an organization. Though there is usually a finance department, which you will have to work in conjunction with, you may also be the chief treasurer of the company. And budgeting will be your best friend on this journey. HR budgeting involves allocating funds to the following areas:

  • Hiring
  • Salaries
  • Benefits
  • Training
  • Employee Wellness
  • Workforce Engagement

The HR budget includes a wide range of information ranging from salary data, payroll costs, and overtime allowances, to forecasting future costs. All of these components create a complex structure that is known as budgeting. In the modern era, this practice is widely used to prevent over hiring and understand staffing needs as this allows for a much better cash flow and aiding the top talents in the company. Whether it’s streamlining the recruitment process or hiring in a HR recruitment specialist to help out, this will be your decision.

However, HR budgeting can also have a significant impact on the growth pattern of an organization. The funds that are saved from operations may be used for future expansion. 

Decision Making

The last of the five essential key skills is decision making. As an HR professional, you will have to make a lot of important decisions in the organization. Whether these decisions relate to hiring, dismissing, or allocating funds, these tasks will challenge your decision making skills to their max.

According to leading psychologists, decision making can only be improved through experience. However, you can also use a range of different techniques and tricks to ace your way towards the best decision. First and foremost, though, always give yourself plenty of options, whether when hiring a candidate or choosing a place to hold an office party.

While arguing might seem a little rude, in some cases you will have to argue your case to justify the decisions you have made. You also need to understand the context of your decision and how it can affect other things in the long term. All of these skills accumulate to determine your decision-making prowess.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Interpersonal Skills eBooks.

The Skills You Need Guide to Interpersonal Skills

Develop your interpersonal skills with our series of eBooks. Learn about and improve your communication skills, tackle conflict resolution, mediate in difficult situations, and develop your emotional intelligence.


Working in human resources department of a well-respected company is not an easy task. You have to learn to deal with employee issues on a daily basis without getting tired. On the flip side, though, HR is a well-paid profession. The skills that we have discussed above should be the starting point of your CV if you plan to make it big in HR.

If you want to hone your HR skills further and gain a comprehensive understanding of human resource management, you might want to study a Master of Human Resource Management online with UNSW. Such advanced programs provide in-depth knowledge and practical insights, preparing professionals for the challenges of modern HR roles.

About the Author

This article was provided by JGA Recruitment Group who specializes in HR and payroll recruitment solutions across the UK.