Skills You Need To Survive In HR By The Year 2025

This article focuses – quite urgently – on the fact that more and more professions are losing relevance since the launch of artificial intelligence apps like OpenAI – ChatGPT- among others. With the ability of these AI tools and software’s to quickly draft emails, policies, procedures, among various other cool stuff, many professions are going to be hit hard. There is an estimate by Forbes magazine that at least 45 million Americans and globally 1 billion people will lose their jobs within the next four to five years!!

One of the industries that is most likely to be hit hard is the human resources function – especially the administrative part of the human resources field. Not only this, there is a strong chance that AI will end up providing comprehensive strategic and planning documents as well to the top management. It might also end up providing strong data analysis and human capital models as well – just this should send a chill down the HR leaders spines who are heading corporate peoples departments currently.

In this scenario, the top industry experts and those who lead some of the fortune 500 companies are of the opinion, that Ai will not be able to replace human resources professionals who have these skills – some skills are clubbed as soft or human skills, while the rest of the skills are hard core human resources and human resources technology skills.

Lets dive into the basis of these skills and see what you can do to learn, develop or polish them.

Soft Skills needed by Human Resources Professionals

1 – Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the analysis of available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments in order to form a judgment by the application of rational, skeptical, and unbiased analyses and evaluation.

Although this may seem like an oft used phrase, however in today’s day and age, this is more relevant than ever. As more and more HR processes are automated, hiring’s conducted through web based job sites and even the initial screening are moving towards online video softwares (read Zoom, Google Meet) etc. It is high time that human resources professionals put their thinking caps on and find newer and modern ways to conduct the human resources plan through varied channels and strategies.

Example: A major global issue faced currently by human resources professionals is recruitment. Due to the freelance and gig economy reigning supreme it is becoming harder and harder to attract and retain talented resources. Every company has access to one of the major job sites in the world i.e that has resulted in saturated and rusty candidate pool data and making life miserable.

2 – Analytical Knowledge and Skills

Now more than ever, Analytical knowledge is needed by HR professionals around the world. If they do not understand the organizational needs and learn to deconstruct plans based on the changing needs of the organization, two things can happen, one – they will fail at whatever project, task or assignment they are working at or two – they will end up being labeled as an ineffective resource or worse…fired!

Example: The mediation between two warring employees, departments or functions should be handled in such a way that it results in a win-win for both, by ensuring and making both parties involved realize that no matter who is at fault their contributions impact the end goal i.e. help the company in achieving its goals, the human resources professionals can make their positions invaluable and ensure they do not lose their seat at the table.

3 – Data-driven Decision Making

Although data driven is now a popular term and is commonly used in all the organizations world wide, yet some of the HR practitioners lack the ability to actually play with numbers and use the tools that can provide them with data-driven facts. (Note I use the word “facts” because data has pinpoint accuracy and it is not something which is based on probability, data will give you the result of any intervention down to the last dot).

Example: If human resources executives use data-driven results to drive their decisions, there is a hundred percent chance that they will be successful in delivering the results. A very basic example is that if data is pointing to one particular website or app as the main driver of the applicant pool, then most of the focus if directed towards that one app or website can result in a successful recruitment drive.

4 – Technology Savvy

Being tech savvy is not something new, technically thousands of literature is available on this one single trait, being tech savvy is something which is at least 2-3 decades old skill required in the HR profession. However, at one point being tech savvy meant that you can operate a PC, use administrative apps like MS Office and company ERP.

In the current times (2023), being tech savvy has taken a different garb altogether, it now means that you have the ability to set up online meetings using softwares like Zoom and other meeting softwares, it means you are able to work using ATS systems etc.

Example: One HR manager is now managing the entire corporate communications using just the AI software, even AI software’s requires some level of proficiency. Being tech savvy can save you even if you know how to operate AI channels and platforms.

5 – Communicating Complex Ideas to Different Audiences

This may seem like an easy task, but we tend to forget often that people do not operate at our frequency or wavelength. They do not think the same way as we do. Human resources professionals should also learn the key skill of communicating ideas from scratch – especially if the ideas are complex. Different audiences can be multiple departments with varied functions. An idea could be an implementation of a software which can be easily adapted by the technical departments but will take a long time (plus a lot of complaints) to implement and adopt. The idea of such a software could be beneficial for the company and the people in key positions could see and understand that, but making sure that everyone sees its importance and adopt it religiously can be a task that is highly dependent on the HR function. Hence the human resources professionals should learn how to communicate any type of ideas and its utility to every type of audience.

Example: Jerry is a head of sales in an enterprise solution company. He gets this wild idea that if everyone in his company signups for a free version of their top selling solution (assuming his company has a staff of over 500), he can benefit from this by showing the clients that at one time at least 500+ people are currently using their software, this could result in a huge conversion ratio. Jerry however, has no friends outside the sales and software departments and he needs some weight to execute this strategy (asking 500+ employees to download the solution on the official devices and stay online all the time. When Jerry is told that the HR department can help him in executing this, he communicates the utility to the HR head, and the HR head shoots an email to all the staff to convene in different batches for a 10 min training and downloading session. Since the email is from HR everyone happily (read forced) agree’s.

6 – Focus on Continuous Learning

Learning has always been a key issue in any organization. Most of the time the training and development departments have been the flag bearer of this function. However for the HR professional, continuous learning is no more limited to reading books about the human resources profession. It means that you should be able to research on the current developing topics in the human resources industry, you should be strongly attached to the developing technologies that take place in the human resources industry. One of the key methods in doing so is to get those human resources certifications that are constantly updating their learning materials. At the same time, subscribing to such blogs that deal with human resources technology and developing theories. You can further try to attend training and seminars on new HR trends. When we talk about human resources trends, this is also one thing that you should keep in mind.

Example: A human resources associate in an HR department is always wanted by everyone, the key reason being that this particular HR resource is very tech-savvy and is highly fluent in spreadsheet softwares, not only this, he also has many ideas up his sleeve about how things can be turned around in the department for its betterment. One day another of his colleagues – who hasn’t gotten a promotion in the last two years – asks him over lunch how he is able to do all of the things that he does. This HR resource tells him that he took an advanced course in MS Excel and he also has a very updated online HR certification.
Human resources and HR technology skills.

7 – People and Organization Management

This goes without saying that human resources professionals have to work and sharpen their people management skills. They have to be strongly in tune with the dynamics and diversity of people working in their organization. That is also one of the reasons a degree is gaining popularity in the academia named as Organizational psychology. People management is what human resources is actually all about. At the same time, organization management means that people should be attuned in such a way that they are able to manage the organization. Now more than ever it is becoming imperative that human resources professionals should build their skills in organization management and people management.

Example: Jane is a good and hard working human resources employee. However, she doesn’t like to speak and interact with people, she is socially awkward and hates conversation. Her boss has encouraged her on numerous occasions to have a chat with some of the team members outside the human resources department but this is always met with strong resistance from her. Her boss likes her hardworking nature, but is unable to place her name in the promotion list. This is because if Jane has chosen the human resources profession, she should have thought this through that she would be needing to communicate with people using people management skills.

8 – Workforce Planning

This skill is one of the most important and central skills needed by the human resources professionals, this basically means that you have strong analytical skills to analyze the demands put upon the human resources department to fulfill its talent strategy. At the same time, forecasting the needs of the organization in terms of human resources and how many people will be needed by the organization to fulfill its need is a highly valuable skill. When these initial activities are covered such as analyzing and forecasting, the human resources professional conducts a gap analysis to ensure that they hire great people at the right time, their skills and the needs of the organization should match too. This specific skill set is central to the overall HR strategy of the company and the people who have this skill of workforce planning in an organization are exactly those people who are valued highly by the management.

Example: As we move towards the gig economy and people choosing to become a video logger instead of a finance manager, it will become tougher for the human resources to execute their workforce planning plans. A human resources executive who has the right skills to timely recruit and retain people with the right skills at the right time for the right job will be deemed as highly invaluable in the future – as they are currently as well.

9 – Human Resources Information Systems

To be well aware of all the developing tools in managing the work and task is also super-incumbent upon the HR professionals, terms in these categories that are thrown around now in the organizations are softwares such as Trello, slack etc, then there is Zoho. The HR professional should be well versed and familiar with these online tools and systems that enable them to perform well in organizational settings.

10 – Honorable Mentions – Skills in HR

Business Communication – Some of the other key skills needed by the human resources professional include business communications, an ability to communicate properly in the business settings. This skill is highly valued and is sometimes referred to as the number one skill that anyone can have in an organization and not necessarily only in the human resources function.

Managing Complex Projects – This is also a vital skill, this means having to deal with such a case or scenario where a person has no experience in that relevant area and that kind of situation has never risen before in an organization.

Managing the Analytics Function – This specific area requires that you should be a master of spreadsheets and can quickly derive data driven analytics to help the department or the organization in reaching critical business or human resources decisions.

Current/Future Trends in Human Capital Analytics and Technology – This simply means that you keep an eye out for any trends in the human capital industry, what kind of tools and softwares are being launched out there to improve the work efficiency of the human resources function.

Storytelling with Data – A key but highly technical skill set to have, you should have data at the end of your finger tips and can quote and work around data to ensure what you are saying is creating value and helping the management in making decisions.

As you can see, in conclusion, the skills that we are banking on largely are those where we are depending on technical skills in human resources. The HR function is no longer a dead wood area where people are mostly napping and hurling payroll corrections or issuing warning letters. The human resources function is becoming vital in the sense that it now needs to pull people towards the organization and make sure people stay, the only way the human resources professional can do this now by enhancing their technical knowledge by advancing their HR knowledge through online HR certifications and HR courses, attend advanced trainings in HR and targeting those HR certifications that come loaded with skills such as HR analytics, digital HR and transformation of the human resources department in terms of technology.