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What soft skills are required to work in HR?

Written by: Hazel Mason
Published on: 20 Jan 2020

Soft skills are incredibly important when it comes to working in HR. Whilst HR professionals are expected to understand and be able to implement HR practises and legislation, it is also important for them to possess the necessary soft skills to succeed in the profession.

What soft skills are required to work in HR?

From exceptional organisation to impeccable communication skills, this article outlines some of the key soft skills required of HR professionals.

What soft skills are required to work in HR?


Being organised is imperative to succeed in an HR role. On the one hand, the HR team has to ensure the effective filing and management of documents such as employment agreements and personal data.

Whilst on the other, they also have to be fantastic at organising their own calendars. In-between meetings with colleagues and executives, HR professionals have to squeeze in other important tasks, like setting up employee training and development and organising company events. Good organisational skills help busy HR teams stay productive.

Time management

Time management plays heavily into the organisational skills required of HR professionals. Many HR tasks are time-sensitive meaning that time management is incredibly important when it comes to meeting deadlines.


HR is a people-focused function. Concerned with the management of an organisation’s workforce, HR professionals have to be expert communicators. As HR professionals are drawn upon to resolve conflict and uphold company standards, they need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with their colleagues.


Part of the role of an HR professional is to offer confidential, unbiased advice to an organisation’s workforce as well as handle sensitive information professionally. Therefore, being able to maintain confidentiality is very important, especially when instilling your trustworthiness.


Another important skill for HR professionals is to be adaptable. Unpredictable circumstances (e.g. an employee who quits) can shake up an HR professional’s daily agenda. To adjust to or even predict changes, HR team members need to be adaptable in their approach.


Like with most jobs, having great teamwork skills is important for HR professionals. Being able to work cohesively with your colleagues and support one another with the day to day running of the department is integral for it’s smooth-running. Plus, working well as a team helps with morale and satisfaction in the workplace.

Problem Solving

HR professionals are likely to encounter many difficult situations during their career, therefore, it’s handy to be a good problem solver to deal with these as they arise. Plus, having good problem-solving skills will help get you noticed as well meaning more opportunities for progression.


As with most careers, being able to demonstrate leadership skills will be beneficial to you as you progress. Having leadership skills shows your ability to take control and responsibility for your work and others, which could lead to you gaining more opportunities for promotions or pay rises.

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How can I develop these soft skills?

To help improve your organisational skills and time management, you should start by looking at your to-do list and ensuring you have a clear and structured list with deadlines. It also may help to cross-reference your list with your calendar to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines and schedule time to complete tasks.

There are many online tools to help with your organisation and time management skills. A variety of training courses exist as well, with many accessible online or in local centres. A simple google search pulls up a host of options to suit you.

To develop your communication skills, you can read books or take training courses on soft skills like: negotiation and persuasion, critical-listening, empathy and conflict management. You can also take part in public speaking masterclasses or speak to different colleagues across the business to get advice.

Skills such as confidentiality, adaptability and problem solving tend to be attributes that you develop as you gain experience in your career. Confidentiality arises from a requirement to behave professionally and manage situations as is laid out in your company’s policy. Whilst adaptability and problem solving will become second nature as you face challenges in your day to day work. As with the other skills, you can always ask colleagues for advice and explore the resources available either online or in house.

Team building activities can have a great impact on your ability to work well in a team. It also helps to get to know your colleagues and respect one another. Gaining the trust and acceptance of your colleagues will help when it comes to demonstrating your leadership skills. There are many books and training resources available that explore how to develop effective leadership skills, which may also be helpful.

Think you’ve got the soft skills down and ready to start your HR job search? Find a new role with People Management Jobs.

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