Five Skills that Make an Awesome HR Professional...Awesome

We’ve all had that HR Manager or coworker who was amazing—they upheld the policies and procedures wh...

Posted by Katie Johnson, PHR, SHRM-CP, HR Consultant on April 1 2014
Katie Johnson, PHR, SHRM-CP, HR Consultant

We’ve all had that HR Manager or coworker who was amazing—they upheld the policies and procedures while being empathetic and non-judgmental towards employees. And they always seemed to have the answer to those impossible questions, and were an invaluable resource. What characteristics did they have that made them so great? Below are some important skills to develop to become that awesome HR professional:

Upholding the Company Mission:

From experience, I know when asked what the company’s mission statement is, many stare blankly at the person asking, grasping for key words they’ve heard around the office. It’s easy to get lost in the minutia of day-to-day activities, but in order to make a great impact to the organization in the long-run, it is necessary to remind yourself of your company’s mission—and make sure your actions aim to meet the organization’s goal. Asking yourself how decisions will support the organization can be one way to make sure you are staying on track. Aligning an initiative to the mission can create a cohesive plan that is well supported and sustainable.

Apply the Rules Consistently:

HR professionals have a tough job—they have to be the bearer of bad news, mediate tense situations, and ensure the company is abiding by all the laws and regulations regarding employees. Even harder, HR professionals develop relationships and friendships with employees. Awesome HR professionals are able to balance their personal relationships with employees while applying the rules consistently. While being empathetic to each situation, they never waiver or make exceptions to rules.

Knowledgeable About their Environment and Future Trends:

A great HR professional is not only knowledgeable in the areas that directly affect their everyday activities, they also understand the factors affecting the entire organization, the market, future trends, and changes to the industry. HR professionals are an invaluable resource for the organization in terms of staffing, training, development, compensation, and much more. Being caught off-guard on factors affecting the organization can lead to major implications down-the-line.

Committed to Developing Others:

Awesome HR professionals live up to their title and are invested in the human side of the organization. They should be committed to developing employees’ skills and abilities and workforce balance. The climate is constantly changing, and new skills are always needed. Creating an organization that is focused on continually developing employees not only ensures the organization’s future success, but also leads to satisfied employees who feel their employer is truly invested in them. HR professionals have the ability to advocate for various development initiatives such as training programs and tuition reimbursement. They can also contribute to the creation of a learning environment.


HR professionals often have more things to do in a day than there is time. Letting employees know you are aware of their needs and are working towards a solution in a timely manner is important. Even if the task is going to take some time, letting an employee know the timeline and when they can expect a response is necessary. Maintaining an open line of communication often alleviates many frustrations and concerns from the employee.

While developing these skills may be easier said than done, these are skills that will help you become an awesome HR professional. They will help create a successful work environment where employees know their HR department is looking towards the future, while investing in their employees today.

Katie Johnson, PHR, SHRM-CP, HR Consultant
Katie Johnson, PHR, SHRM-CP, HR Consultant
Katie Johnson, PHR, SHRM-CP is a Human Resources Consultant at Berkshire Associates Inc. With a comprehensive understanding of the inner-workings of Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Katie regularly advises her clients in the area of affirmative action and diversity. 

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