If you are hiring someone to work in HR, here are the traits that, based on my years of experience in the field, I think are necessary for success.

  1. Risk management

Your HR professional must be up to date on legal requirements, advise you regarding employment practices and policies, and have the backbone to stand up for what is best for the organization.

  1. Confidentiality

A lot of what happens in HR is confidential – hiring, firing, disciplinary actions, compensation, performance reviews, etc. Your HR consultant must be trusted to keep that information completely confidential.

  1. Interpersonal skills

The best HR consultants interact well with people at all levels and from a diversity of backgrounds. They demonstrate, through words and actions, that they are accessible and good listeners. Last, your HR consultant must hear employee concerns any time anywhere and be good at reading people to know if someone is lying or being manipulative.

  1. Change management

Much of what we do in HR has to do with change. We introduce change in policy, compensation, employment practices, etc. A competent HR professional understands change, knows that change can be hard for some people, has a tool kit for introducing change, and communicates change excellently.

  1. Culture

Leaders depend on HR to create a culture that enhances motivation and productivity. HR must stay current with best practices, have the skills to enhance your company’s culture, and be skilled at influencing others to jump on board.

This is my short list. What skills and traits are on your short list?