A human resources (HR) department is an integral part of many businesses. It carries out essential functions, such as hiring and retaining the best possible employees, staying on top of labor laws, managing compensation and benefits, and promoting employee development — all vital to the smooth running of a company.
To carry out these important, multi-faceted duties, HR employees must possess a wide range of abilities. Among other things, they must be keen organizers, have a knack for dispute resolution and negotiation, and be strong multi-taskers. Underpinning all of these skills, however, is the ability to communicate effectively.
Why Is Communication So Important?
The name says it all. Above all else, human resources deals with an organization's most important resource: its human capital. Obviously, a person can't manage humans without interacting with them, and the key to effective interaction is communication — both verbal and nonverbal. If you're thinking about a career in human resources, it's necessary to understand the role that strong communication skills play in your chosen field.
For example, good communication skills are vital when hiring new employees. Knowing how to compose questions for interviews will help ensure you find the candidate with the right fit for the position. Furthermore, a clear job description is the best way to attract qualified applicants who fully understand what the work entails.
In many instances, effective communication can help solve problems or stop them from developing in the first place. Employees turn to the HR department when there is a problem with their job or they have a personal problem that could affect their job performance. In these situations, an HR executive must know what questions will draw out responses that paint the full picture and how to communicate a possible resolution to the problem.
If there is a problem between two employees, it is up to HR to negotiate a solution. Skilled negotiation takes excellent verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Employees feel comfortable opening up when they sense that they are speaking to someone who cares and listens thoughtfully. When HR professionals exude trustworthiness, it puts employees at ease and helps them feel confident that their concerns will be resolved. Likewise, special sensitivity and tact are required during employee performance evaluations or layoffs.
During training sessions, an effective HR professional can have a direct bearing on how well employees learn new skills by making performance goals clear and designing employee training tools that are clear and easy to follow.
Of course, good communication involves good listening. To bolster productivity, workplace morale and employee engagement in a corporation's overall goals, human resources personnel need to foster an environment of open communication and active listening. It is vital that staff members feel their concerns and ideas are really being heard. Plus, through establishing a company culture built on trust and open, ongoing communication, HR can help employees navigate the challenges of organizational change, thus playing a pivotal role in leading that change.
It's also important to have solid written communications skills. Management often communicates with personnel via email, instant messaging, newsletters and reports. A fluid combination of technology-driven remote communications became ubiquitous during the COVID-19 pandemic, integrating verbal, written and "face-to-face" communications via virtual workplace platforms.
It is up to HR professionals to make sure that written communication of all kinds is clear, professional and easy to understand, being essential to the multimodal communication channels relied upon by today's hybrid workforces. The more proficiently HR professionals can communicate through all channels, the more they will be able to successfully help manage these workforces.
Choose the Right School to Get the Right Skills
Superlative communication skills are necessary to excel in a human resources career. If you don't consider yourself an expert communicator, you can still learn. As more and more employers begin to place greater value on communication, universities with Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs are responding by ensuring their courses develop future business leaders who can communicate effectively.
A 2021 survey of corporate recruiters by the Graduate Management Admission Council found that employers emphasize the importance of communication and related interpersonal skills in recent business school graduates. "Strong communication skills" topped the list of reasons why corporate recruiters from the technology, consulting and finance/accounting industries "have confidence in a graduate business school’s ability to prepare graduates to be successful."
Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) offers an online MBA program that strives to produce well-rounded executive leaders. SOSU's online MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources focuses on hard skills such as data analysis and finance as well as soft skills like communication and team building. This program is designed to equip graduates with a spectrum of well-honed abilities that make them attractive to future employers.
HR professionals need great communication skills. They must be adept at communicating with both top executives and junior staff members, often acting as a bridge between the two. If you are interested in a future in human resources, make sure you choose a higher learning institute that understands the importance of effective communication for success in business.
Learn more about the Southeastern Oklahoma State University online MBA in Human Resources program.
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