10 Essential Soft Skills for HR Professionals In 2023
10 Essential Soft Skills for HR Professionals In 2023
Being a successful HR professional in 2023 isn’t just about having the right qualifications or experience, but in displaying key interpersonal strengths and the ability to manage daily stresses. In other words, you need soft skills too.
In this HR guide on the issue, we’ll walk you through what soft skills are, why they’re important, and the 10 essential attributes you need to master for your human resource job.
What Are Soft Skills?
“Soft skills” is a bit of a buzzword at the moment and refers to the qualities a person has that allow them to interact more effectively and easily with others. It leans more on emotional intelligence than hard skills (knowledge and qualifications) and in the work of human resource management, is all about how you interact with others and help support workplace goals.
Soft skills are about who you are and how you behave, rather than simply how knowledgeable you are.
Why Are Soft Skills Important in HR?
As a human resource professional, relationships and interpersonal skills are everything. You’re often responsible for improving employee experience and ensuring that others in the workplace feel supported.
While your knowledge is essential to the job, it also needs to be buffered by soft skills. Without them, you’re unlikely to affect change the way you’d like or be able to cope with the people-heavy work that being in a human resource position usually requires.
10 Essential Soft Skills for Anyone in Human Resources
Consider this your HR guide to soft skills. Here are the 10 essential attributes you need for your human resource position in 2023:
Central to any human resource job is the ability to communicate well with others. Depending on your role in HR, you could be asked to do anything from giving difficult feedback to employees, reaching out to possible recruits, responding to complaints, and even running training programs.
No matter the scenario, your ability to speak clearly and thoughtfully with others is crucial, be that through written, verbal, or even physical cues. Active listening is another aspect to practice within this skill. Paying better attention to others when they speak helps ensure that they feel heard and respected.
Empathy and Sensitivity
We’re mentioning this early on because being able to display empathy and sensitivity connects to most of the soft skills you’ll need in HR in 2023. As we have more open discussions around issues such as gender and race, the ability to relate to the emotions of others is hugely valuable in shaping employee experience.
You may not always have a first-hand understanding of the issue an employee presents, but empathy means being able to see their perspective regardless of that.
HR professionals are often privy to all kinds of sensitive and private details about other employees and, for the sake of employee experience and safety, need to be trustworthy enough to keep these matters confidential.
The best and hardest part about working in human resource management is just how diverse the people and problems tend to be. That’s why a sense of adaptability is such an important soft skill to develop in this line of work.
Things are always changing when it comes to workplace policies, especially as companies take on more inclusive practices. Not only do HR professionals need to be able to adapt to those changes, they’re often expected to be the ones spearheading them.
Conflict-Resolution and Negotiation
Mastering conflict resolution and negotiation is a soft skill with endless applications. Even in the most basic interview, HR professionals are often tasked with handling issues like salary negations with prospective hires. In more intense situations, this can extend to full-blown conflict resolution between employees.
In either scenario, it’s expected that the person from HR is able to skillfully bring two or more people to agreement on a shared set of terms whilst still maintaining a positive employee experience.
Problem-solving encompasses a few other soft skills within itself as the ability to find solutions in difficult situations often requires creative and strategic thinking as well. You have to be able to see 10 steps ahead whilst never losing sight of the desired outcome or possible roadblocks.
If that sounds overwhelming, it’s because it can be. Often what it takes to be a great problem solver is simply the ability to stay calm and clear-headed even when everything looks like it’s falling apart.
There's a huge administrative side to working as an HR professional and to do it well, you need to have good organizational skills. That doesn’t just mean filing things, but staying on top of important dates, employee information, etc. Being well-organized prevents you from wasting your colleagues’ time and helps keep the overall structure of your work and team running smoothly.
Many workplaces have begun to adopt a more casual tone in recent years. However, a strong sense of professionalism is still an integral soft skill in any human resource position. What it means is being able to stay cool, calm, and collected in even the most trying situation. HR professionals are often seen as the example of workplace conduct so it’s important you conduct yourself professionally.
Mentoring and Management
Even if you’re not an HR manager yourself, simply working in human resources means that you’ll have some responsibility in managing employee experience. That might simply come about when onboarding new people, or it could extend to training programs.
As you move up in the ranks, the ability to mentor and manage others becomes an increasingly important part of your soft skills but should be developed right from the start so that you can master it.
One of the most significant ways you can inspire confidence in your colleagues is by simply being confident. Self-assuredness isn’t an easy skill, but it can help improve everything from problem-solving to conflict resolution and even affects your daily communication approaches.
Every HR Professional Needs Soft Skills
So much of the work of being in human resource management is simply about dealing with people and working to shape employee experience. While your qualifications are of course needed, it’s soft skills such as great communication, problem-solving, and professionalism that will make you truly successful in what you do.
Beyond this HR Guide, our platform at Qualee offers a number of solutions for improving employee experience, the onboarding process, and other HR concerns. Click here to learn more, or here to book a demo.