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Communication Is an Essential HR Skill

A human resources 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. So 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 interview candidates to best gauge their fit will ensure you ask the right questions. 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.

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. 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, layoffs or organizational changes.

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 easy to understand and 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.

It’s also important to have solid written communications skills. Management often communicates with personnel via email, newsletters and reports — especially in mid-size to large companies. It is up to an HR professional to make sure that written communication is clear, professional and easy to understand.

A 2014 survey of corporate recruiters by the Graduate Management Admission Council found that employers are also putting increased emphasis on communication skills. Under sought-after proficiencies in new MBA hires, the survey notes, “Employers seek recent graduates who are highly proficient in communication skills, specifically oral communication, followed by listening and writing skills.”

The more proficiently HR professionals can communicate, the more they will be able to successfully help manage the workforce.

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 MBA programs are responding by ensuring their courses develop future business leaders who can communicate effectively.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers an online MBA program that strives to produce well-rounded executive leaders. Its online MBA with an emphasis in Human Resources focuses on hard skills such as data analysis and finance as well as soft skills like communication and team building. SOSU seeks 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’re 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 SOSU online MBA with an emphasis in Human Resources program.


HRVoice: Effective Communications and HR — Making the Connection

HR Daily Advisor: The 9 Essential Skills of Human Resource Management — How Many Do You Have?

GMAC: 2014 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report

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