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Build your business on people. Here are some tips on how to be an outstanding employer. Get ready to put on your HR hat and excel your business into the future with happy, enthusiastic employees.

A good human resources (HR) manager is a great asset to any business. Often HR managers are considered as paper pushers, but the truth is – they are much more than that! Not only are they responsible for maintaining employer-employee relations and ensuring that workers are happy, but they also have to deal with the hiring and firing of workers, compensation and benefits issues, training, listening to employee complaints and implementing in-house policies. What a job!

Given the gruelling and intensive social nature of HR management, it goes without saying that the core of this profession needs one to be authentic and transparent, but what additional skills are required, and how can small business owners or managers double as HR manager and general manager?

Here are some valuable tips to set you apart, not only as HR manager, but also as a business leader:

Great communication skills

Excellent communication skills are a vital for a successful HR professional. The ability to create a well-structured presentation or make a speech with confidence, without having to include “ums”, “likes”  “and “errs”, will definitely set you apart. It is worth all the time, money and effort to learn to master these skills.

Be accessible and authentic 

One of the most important attributes that make a successful HR professional is that they must be amicable and authentic at every level of business. Being available enable you to keep your finger on the pulse of the business – and have a holistic understanding of your organisation.

Social Intelligence

The ability to “read” people is an important business and HR skill. Most of us have developed the ability to read people. We acquire the ability to sense if someone is lying or trying to deceive us. We have the instinct to pick up on “body language” and what it may be telling us. The good news is that with time and training, we can all get better at this. You can learn to notice and understand universal expressions, postures and micro-expressions that reveal subtleties about an individual that will then allow you to better understand and deal with them.

Conflict Management and Problem Solving Skills

It’s no lie that not all employees get along with one another. Due to high productivity requirements, people must work together with at least some level of civility. As an HR manager you have to find and implement ways that allow for a civilised work environment. And that goes for the countless other problems that hit HR’s inbox — you simply can’t be effective without problem-solving abilities.

Successful networking abilities

Effective networking plays an important role in meeting management’s needs. Being able to form and develop partnerships to the benefit of the business will enable HR to gain external credibility. This also demonstrates an ability to merge the needs of the workforce with those of the business, a crucial attribute of a successful business.

Be approachable – and listen when they come to you

Being a great manager means more than nodding your head when an employee  approaches you with an issue. You must have the ability to put aside your own agendas and to listen and hear what the other person is saying. Employees must feel that they can approach the HR manager with their problems. They want to know that you truly listen to them and will help find viable solutions to their issues. If an employee has a problem at work, it is likely to affect their job performance. If the manager seems unapproachable, the employee will be reluctant to go to him/her and if there is a lack of compassion,  the employee won’t trust their manager with the problem.

Trusted Advisor

Above all, HR professionals are the conscience of the company, as well as the keepers of confidential information; often seen as police by the organisations’ employees. Great HR managers rise above this image by creating an atmosphere of trust. They build and maintain the confidence of their employees through honest and straightforward communication.

It’s not easy to have a successful HR department.  To ensure your business meets the requirements, you need to possess exceptional skills, including the prudence of Nostradamus, the vision of Isaac Asimov, the acumen of Solomon, the courage of Nelson Mandela, the speaking ability of Cicero and the boldness of Theodore Roosevelt. And if all else fails, get some guidance from a coach or the Internet.