The human resources (HR) function is one of many business areas that has undergone a significant digital transformation in recent years. Explore the latest skills that all HR pros need in today’s environment…
With the proliferation of disruptive technologies like AI (artificial intelligence), along with game-changing new software, apps and online services, HR professionals now need a diverse set of technology skills and competencies. The modern HR role now requires individuals to effectively manage recruitment, employee relations, learning and development, and other key areas with the help of automation and technology.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most important tech competencies for HR managers and recruiters to master, which will be handy if your HR profession involves balancing multiple different facets of the business. Developing expertise in these areas will help position you for success as an HR practitioner in the digital age.
1. Social media proficiency
Social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are essential tools for sourcing, engaging and evaluating talent in today’s highly competitive and instantaneous recruitment landscape.
Savvy HR pros should demonstrate that they can leverage these networks to post job openings and highlight their company culture, as well as search profiles and identify potential candidates.
Social media platforms can also be used to vet applicants by viewing their digital footprint and reach candidates who aren’t actively job hunting passively and open a conversation. To maximise your talent acquisition efforts, brush up on your knowledge of key social media platforms and how to use them for recruiting.
Many platforms like LinkedIn have built-in tools that help HR professionals balance multiple responsibilities and plenty of educational resources to help them get acquainted with the software.
2. Data analysis and reporting
The rise of big, actionable data in HR means professionals now need the ability to collect, interpret, and present insightful metrics on multiple elements, including workforce performance, learning and development (L&D), bookkeeping, project management and much more.
Key skills like data analysis would involve:
- Using HR information systems to track and analyse KPIs like turnover, absence rates and productivity
- Creating dynamic reports and dashboards to identify trends and patterns
- Interpreting data to derive actionable recommendations on improving workforce effectiveness or in annual reviews
- Distilling data into visualisations and top-level summaries for directors, stakeholders or investors
Brushing up on your data analytics or business intelligence skills can take your reporting to the next level.
3. HR software proficiency
There’s a growing array of HR technology solutions for automating administrative tasks, streamlining processes and providing self-service options for employees. This is aided significantly by the advent of automation and AI.
- Applicant tracking systems (ATS) – Manage job postings and candidate applications
- HR management systems – Maintain employee records, track time-off, generate payroll
- Learning management systems (LMS) – Administer, track and report on employee training
- Performance management software – Automate performance reviews and goal tracking
Gain hands-on experience with leading platforms in each software category. Having command of the top tools will make you an invaluable member of the HR team.
4. Cyber security and data privacy
HR teams manage highly sensitive employee information around medical history, benefits, payroll, performance, disciplinary records and much more. Proper data privacy protections and cyber security safeguards must be in place from the outset, built in close collaboration with IT teams.
HR teams should be familiar with relevant data protection regulations like GDPR while ensuring that all employees comply with safe data and system usage policies. HR professionals will also have pivotal roles to play if a system is breached or suffers a cyber attack – something which is not out of the realm of possibility in this day and age.
If necessary, HR professionals should leverage strong password policies, MFA (multi-factor authentication), and professional cyber security services like penetration testing (also known as pen testing).
5. Project management
From overseeing new software deployments to rolling out training programmes, effective project management is an essential skill set for any HR professional.
Sharp project management skills help HR teams make strategic, structured plans with clear timelines and expected deliverables. They can then coordinate and delegate tasks and resources effectively to ensure projects are completed on time and within assigned budgets.
Additionally, project management involves proactively identifying and mitigating potential risks that could arise from clients, customers, or external factors.
6. Business and financial acumen
While not all HR experts are expected to be proficient in financial tasks like forecasting, cash flow predictions and budgeting, HR professionals should cultivate some basic business and finance skills.
Having knowledge in areas like payroll, cost-benefit analysis and basic accounting enables HR to align business goals with budgets while making data-driven decisions about outgoings and expenses. HR leaders can also initiate cost-saving suggestions related to multiple business facets like talent, learning and strategic direction.
HR teams can work in close tandem with finance to ensure that forecasts are accurate, even finding real-time collaboration solutions that can make decision-making easier and more instantaneous.
7. Instructional design and facilitation
A core function of HR is developing the skills and capabilities of talent through learning initiatives. To excel here, modern HR pros should be adept at:
- Assess the training needs of employees
- Identify upskilling opportunities
- Applying instructional design principles to instigate training
- Harnessing technologies like mobile and social learning
- Measuring training effectiveness and areas for improvement
8. Digital content creation
Creating digital content is a vital activity for HR teams that are often tasked with being one of the ‘public’ faces of a business. From internal employee communications to customer-facing social media content, HR pros prove adept at producing digital media in various formats.
Key skills include:
- Instructional writing
- Basic graphic design
- Presentation development
- Video creation and editing
While skills like the above may be the remit of outsourced marketing professionals or other internal teams of a business, HR teams may be expected to publicly dispense materials for PR purposes or external stakeholder consideration.
9. People analytics
People analytics focuses on applying data science techniques to talent management challenges. As analytics gains traction in HR, developing capabilities in this emerging field can give your career a competitive edge.
Key people analytics skills include identifying correlations in workforce data to make predictions, presenting insights and metrics through data visualisation and assessing business and people performance at monthly or quarterly directors’ meetings, among others.
People analytics training can be highly beneficial as a technical competency for many HR teams that rely heavily on data.
Raising your technology game
HR teams play an integral role in recruiting and developing talent, guiding employee experience, and aligning people strategy with wider business objectives. By cultivating expertise in the key technology skill areas listed above, HR professionals can optimally fulfil these responsibilities in our increasingly digital-driven world of work.
What other emerging HR technology skills should be on professionals’ radar? Share your thoughts in the comments below.