Five traits that define a human resources professional

September 20, 2011
Five traits that define a human resources professional


The role of the human resources professional is forever changing and becoming more involved. The modern human resources professional is responsible for many more tasks within a company than her or his predecessor—hiring, training, performance management, team building, rewards and loyalty programs, compensation, pensions and the list goes on. For anyone wishing to embark on a career in human resources, there are five traits the individual must have in abundance:

Commitment to both company and employee

It's quite the balancing act, but HR professionals are employed within a company to serve the interests of both management and employees. The HR professional must ensure the company follows the rules as far as its employees are concerned, and that employees do right by the company. To do this well borders almost on art.

Superior organizational skills

Other departments may get away with making the odd error, but not HR. A company's most valuable resource is its employees, and the HR professional is in charge of managing this resource. Pay, pension, rewards, training, there's no margin for error here. And the HR professional that does make mistakes will soon lose trust—that vital element that a company and its employees must have in its HR team.

The ability to multitask

Forget spending a nice, quiet and productive day at the office, working on one project. While other departments may experience ebbs and flows during the work cycle, HR is always busy. The ability to work on many projects at the same time is a prerequisite for the HR professional.


Fairness and discretion are the watchwords of the successful HR professional. Again, it can be a balancing act between serving the company that pays your salary but also supporting the employee when needed. Sometimes HR must push back against the company. And, by definition, the HR team is party to confidential information and must be able to ensure that such information remains confidential at all times.

Continuous improvement

The HR professional that stands still is going backwards. To be successful in HR, there must be a commitment to continually strive for improvement—both in the policies and procedures the professional introduces and enforces for the company, and in self improvement through education mentoring, communication wherever progress can be made.

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