Competencies HR Professional must be exposed to - Part 1

It is imperative that HR professionals are exposed to various competencies which shall help them become a change catalyst and provide them an edge to play a critical role in partnering with business leaders to build organization capability. To succeed as an HR Leader, one must start building competencies to build a strong foundation for future growth!

Domain Expertise - This is the special knowledge or skill in particular area (For us in HR, this particular skill relates to our expertize in all strands of HR Value chain as outlined in my previous post).

Change Management – It is a structured approach to change in individuals, teams, organizations and societies that enables the transition from a current state to a desired future state. Our ability of change management help us challenge the status quo and drive cultural reinvention while taking all stakeholders along.

Interpersonal Skills – One should consider and respond appropriately to the needs, feelings & capabilities of different people in different situations; should be tactful, compassionate and sensitive, and treats others with respect.

Communication Skills – This is not about your ability around English language. One should be able to express himself / herself clearly and adequately in a variety of communication settings and styles; can get the message across that will have desired effect. I have seen people very strong in language skills, however, unable to deliver when it matters the most.

Problem Solving Capabilities – A systematic approach utilizing multiple perspectives to uncover the issues related to a particular problem, design an intervention plan and evaluate the outcome.

Decision Making Skills – One can choose between alternative courses of action using cognitive processes - memory, thinking, evaluation etc. I will touch upon during my next few post on "adaptive conscious" which plays a crucial role in decision making.

Coaching & Mentoring - Provides challenging & stretching tasks and assignments; holds frequent development discussions; is aware of every subordinate career goals; constructs compelling development plans and executes them; brings out the best in people.

Conflict Resolution - It is the process of resolving a dispute or a conflict, by providing each side's needs, and adequately addressing their interests so that they are satisfied with the outcome. Conflict resolution aims to end conflicts before they start or lead to unpleasant situations.

Commercial Savviness - Finance is the language of business and most of us in HR are not good at it. If we aspire to take a seat in the board room, it is imperative that we get used to financial angle of business and understands the P&L outlook.

Frustration Resistance
- In a dynamic environment and today's fast pace life, stress is common and sometime result in people loosing their temper. It is imperative that we build strong competencies around frustration resistance. This could be achieved by building knowledge about organization behaviour ; how to get things done through formal and the informal network; when you can not walk through the problem, your ability to walk around it and get your job done. Patience, perseverance and sensitivity plays a key role.

In my next post, I will share another set of competencies to set ourselves up for success. Watch out this space!


  1. Sunanda9:33:00 AM

    Hi Raj ,

    Thanks for sharing this !I believe every individual aspiring or already in HR should keep these small but important competencies in mind to become a successful . Would look forward for Part 2. -- Sunanda

  2. Thank you for sharing the feedback!

  3. Hi Raj,

    I have just registered with the blog and am glad I did.
    The experiences you have been sharing are extremely important no only to aspiring HR leaders, but even for those at mid or senior level positions, as at times they might overlook or tend to take it for granted that they are contributing to the development of their own team members.
    Also your emphasis on aligning ourselves to the business is valuable as I believe until we don't understand the business we operate in, we as HR may not be effective as a "Partner" in business.
    I look forward to a lot more learning through your experiences and guidance.


  4. Raj Gupta12:59:00 PM

    You are most welcome Nihal!

  5. Hi Raj,

    It is always a pleasure reading your articles. Indeed, this article is an eye opener for most of us.
    I certainly agree with you, since I am from the same background. All the competencies which you have mentioned in your articles are essential for any HR Professional. I somehow believe that most of us are aware of all the characteristics but in a way don’t know how to implement.

    That's the area where we ned to focus on.

    Once again thanks for sharing this article.


  6. Hi Priyanka,

    Well i am not sure whether all of us understand these competencies in the manner, we should. Take for example - Change Management. This is 1 of the 3 competencies (besides business acumen and domain expertize - in our case, this is HR) without which it is difficult to succeed as top professional. The question is more to do with the discipline and passion we bring to the table and our ability to go through the grind to acquire these competencies through experiential learnigns. I find lot of folks who aspire but very few who are ready to perspire! Appreciate your comments and wish you all the success in getting your hands around these competencies!