The skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace are evolving. This article is part of our skills series, which investigates what different roles and different departments need in order to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

Today we’re looking at the skills needed for someone to be an effective HR professional. We’ll be going through why a marketing background could work to your benefit, and the staple skills like communications and employee relations.

6 Key HR Skills

Relationship and conflict management

All good HR professionals understand how to maintain relationships and resolve conflicts in the office. They’re good mediators and can demonstrate a history of finding resolutions that suit everyone to maintain business operations. When a team, even a team of star players, doesn’t get along with each other or are too focused on arguments, work doesn’t get done as well as it could. HR pros know this and are proactive at maintaining good relationships throughout the entire company.


This may sound like a skill more important for sales professionals, but someone in HR should know how to sell a job to great candidates. Marketing comes in handy for HR because part of the job is finding the right candidates to target. Someone who understands marketing will know where to look for top performers (because they can identify a target audience), how to reach them, and how to convince them to apply and accept positions at your company.


Onboarding is no small task. Someone who knows how to design an onboarding process is able to streamline operations, refine processes, and create a consistent experience wherein a new hire learns everything he or she needs to know to succeed at the company. Having experience overseeing or implementing an onboarding process is a valuable skill for any HR pro.


Having good communication skills is important for any role, and HR is no exception. Being able to communicate well, on multiple platforms (depending on what is most suitable), is an underappreciated skill. There’s a difference between just sending an email versus sending an email that is understood and incites action.


Time management and good scheduling skills are important in HR because their role involves juggling and prioritizing interviews, events, employee evaluations, and more. They have to handle the calendars and schedules to ensure everything that needs to get done for an employee gets done on time. Often, this also includes payroll and other paperwork.

Performance evaluation

Knowing how to evaluate employee performance and ROI is critical for HR. These are the metrics and results that show you who your top performers are, who you need to put on a performance improvement plan, who is ready to take on a leadership role, who needs a bigger team under them, and more. Someone in HR should be able to accurately identify the best paths for each employee, and what movement they should take within the company based on their performance.

What HR skills do you look for in your business? Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick