The Indispensable HR Manager

Monday, 14 October 2013 11:56 Written by
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"I think I have this thing where everybody has to think I'm the greatest, and if they aren't completely knocked out and dazzled and slightly intimidated by me, I don't feel good about myself." – Mr Foxy Fox

Fantastic Mr Fox is a novel by British author Roald Dahl. Mr Fox is a courageous adventurous trickster who faces impossible odds to make his near and dear ones live a happy, fruit-full life. The Human Resource (HR) manager in India does not have to act like Mr Fox. He will have to do a better job. Gone are the days when the HR manager was just the HR manager. Apart from the degree and the work experience, the HR manager has to acquaint and adapt with the six most essential skill sets for the job to survive and flourish. For the newly initiated, here are a few pointers:

Organization – This is the first and the most basic requisite for an HR manager. You need to be organized about your files, folders, clothes, shoes and time. Personal hygiene is almost as important as neat and orderly work station as employees would always look to you for motivation, especially at the time of enforcing policies.

Multi-tasking – You should get used to ten unrelated open pages on your system. It could be issues as diverse as maternity leave to dress code violation to hiring freeze. As an HR manager you need to learn to handle different things within the hour and still not bat an eyelid.

Negotiation – If you are not a good negotiator, you are probably in the wrong place. One of the reasons there are more women HR managers than men is because they know how to drive a hard bargain, successfully. You need to learn the trick and excel in it too as you will always have to strike a balance between your boss and the employees.

Communication – This does not entail just writing mailers. It also means you need to have the skills to deliver a message coherently and convincingly. You need to be a good sounding board too. When someone approaches you, you can’t just shrug and say ‘no time, come later.’ You need to be well organized with your schedule to be open for employee grievances and feedback at all times as this is part of your role.

Strategic Focus – If you think an HR manager’s role is just about hiring, firing, writing mails and dispersing salary correctly, you have gone almost a decade back. With almost all the processes online, the HR manager’s role is more strategic these days with stakes in broader areas like goal setting, succession planning, policy making among others.

Ethics – You have to be consciously on guard to protect the company’s values, ethics and work culture. At times, you will have to enforce the company policies and at the same time voice the employee concerns. As an HR manager you need to win the trust of employees to be successful. Only then you’ll be approached with confidential information, complaints, whistle blowing or just with issues for raising concerns.

If you think, you can do without one or any of the above mentioned skills; you have to at least believe in magic. Like Mr. Dahl said,'those who don't believe in magic will never find it.'


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