Essential HR Director Skills 2022

Looking to learn the fundamental HR director skills to excel in your career and become a better HR professional? We have a breakdown of some crucial skills into multiple sub-skills that you can master to become an HR director.

An HR director is a senior role working in an HR department responsible for looking after the HR practices, policies, and human resources strategies. A human resources department is the most central department that ensures smooth employee onboarding and perfect talent acquisition tactics. Thus, the HR director must work to supervise the ongoing operations and processes in the HR department to achieve target goals.

This article provides detailed insights into the skills and subskills of an HR director’s role.

Let’s dive right in.

1. Communication Skills

An HR director must have excellent communication skills. Not just the HR director’s role, but any HR executive must exhibit strong communication skills to contribute to developing a healthier workplace environment. An HR director’s role is a lead by example role, thus when an HR director conducts clear and good communications within the organization, they are setting an example for others to follow. For an HR director, communication skills are majorly categorized into verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Let’s have a look at how these two different communication streams benefit an organization:

HR director skills you must have

  1. Verbal Communication Skills. Verbal communication refers to spoken communication. This means, that when an HR director directly communicates with the employees, HR managers, and human resources generalists in a meeting or one-on-one sessions, they practice verbal communication. No doubt human resources directors have to communicate with employees individually and in meetings, thus they must exhibit good verbal communication skills. Verbal communication is the most convenient method of communication that allows clear communication with clarity. Not just clear, but verbal communications save a lot of time and are way more effective than non-verbal ones.
  2. Non-verbal Communication Skills. Non-verbal communication refers to written communication and any other means of communication that are not verbal/spoken. As the organizations include hundreds and thousands of employees, thus it is not practicable to communicate with everyone at the same time efficiently. Thus, non-verbal means of communication are used such as collaborative workspaces and digital tools. Human resources directors must exhibit good non-verbal communication skills, so they can easily communicate with multiple workers at the same time. Also, non-verbal communications help in communicating with workers regardless of their locations.

As an HR director’s role is a very diluting and broad role, and they have to communicate with hundreds of employees in a day, thus good communication skills ensure better work outcomes.

2. Strong Leadership and Managerial Skills

Human resources directors must exhibit strong leadership and managerial skills as it is a leading role. Leadership skills meaning to lead the employees professionally and expertly. While managerial skills refer to managing the entire HR team effectively. Good leadership and managerial skills increase work productivity and employee engagement. Strong managerial skills improve the corporate culture, thus nurturing future managers and leaders. Let’s see into how many categories good leadership and managerial skills are categorized:

  • Role Modeling. Good leadership skills enhance role-modeling skills for human resources directors. Role modeling means paving the path for junior employees to learn the behaviors and work ethics. Know that, as an HR director’s role is s senior role, thus ýou will become a role model for a majority of your employees. Hence, you must master the tactics to exhibit good leadership and managerial skills so you ultimately build good role modeling traits. Most hr directors serve as role models in building good employee relations to achieve the business objectives.
  • Coaching and Mentoring. Leadership skills in an extended form demand good coaching and mentorship skills. Coaching and mentorship are providing guidance and instruction to your junior employees whenever there arises a need. As you are working as a role model for your employees, you must coach them with appropriate instruction about the work policies and ethics. In addition to that, you should be aware of how they should carry out their tasks, so you can effectively mentor them with their day-to-day responsibilities as an experienced director should do.

Hence, strong leadership and good managerial skills are mandatory to efficiently manage the HR team and ensure the productivity of the whole human resources department.

3. Management Skills

For human resource directors, management skills are the most crucial skills as their role is senior and the majority of the HR director duties revolve around management. As human resources directors are required to look after the whole HR department, the ongoing operations, and employees’ daily work diary, only good management will allow an HR director to manage their duties effectively. Check out the subcategories and other aspects of good management skills:

Steps to Become an HR Director

  • Project Management. Project management includes the development of resources plans, estimation of costs for a hiring campaign, collecting the resources, and managing the project files. An HR director is responsible to look after the project management operations. Hence, only good management skills ensure the timely execution of these processes.
  • Time Management. Management skills involve the timely management of HR operations. Time management means effective management of operations by ensuring that the human resources operations execute in the right allocated time. For an HR director, it is the core responsibility to ensure that all the technical processes are executed efficiently. Timely execution of those processes is also a goal, thus HR directors must exhibit good time management skills so the HR department achieves its target goals in the due time.
  • Budget Management. Good management skills are not just limited to time, and project management. But, all of these are correlated with budgeting as well. Budget management means that the desired HR campaign achieves the business objectives at the right time with the specified budget. In an HR department, the job posting is advertised, and interviewing candidates involves some costs, so, it is an HR director’s job responsibility to ensure that the processes are not consuming too much of the budget. Thus, good budget management skills are also mandatory so that the company does not have to bear heavy financial burdens.

4. Organizational Skills

HR directors must exhibit good organizational skills all HR employees should do. The reason why organizational skills are very crucial for the HR director’s role is that an HR department is the foundation of an organization.

Organizational skills demand good time and project management skills from an HR director. The saying can be elaborated with the fact that an HR director organizes the sequence in which tasks and human resources programs have to be executed. Thus, not just time management,  but good timetable following trait is also crucial. This way, an HR director can perceive and prioritize the HR operations based on their importance. For example, identification of such tasks that should be executed, and those tasks that can be delayed keeping in view the departmental and organizational goals.

So, good organizational skills assist an HR director to align the work, HR initiatives, and outcomes with the organization’s goals in the desired time.

You can master all these skills in even more detail through our professional human resources diversity and inclusion certification:

Diversity and inclusion certification

5. Problem-Solving Skills

You need to depict good problem-solving skills to secure the HR director’s role. The seniors of any department, or even an organization’s leaders and executives like a chief HR officer must exhibit traits to tackle the risks, challenges, and issues faced during the operation’s executions. Let’s check out the further aspects of problem-solving skills:

  • Conflict Resolution. The human resource department generally acts as a mediator between the employees and employers, so they are responsible to tackle the issues and conflicts between the employees and communicate them with employers if the need arises. Conflicts may arise between employees due to non-alignment of operations, and poor management. Thus, the HR directors are responsible to offer mediation services for conflict resolution by offering employee benefits packages and such luxuries. Hence, effective conflict resolution demands good problem-solving skills.
  • Tackling with Risks and Challenges. An HR director must be able to perceive the incoming challenges and risks in the HR department. Although this perception can only be achieved with experience, good analysis skills can also lead to foreseeing such challenges. One of the fundamental HR director’s responsibilities is to successfully tackle the risks with wisdom. Thus, problem-solving traits aid an HR director to tackle unexpected challenges and ensure smooth work operations in an HR department.

6. Digital Skills

Big tech companies prefer using tools for operations and record management. If not all employees, the seniors like HR directors, human resources generalists, managers, and executives are expected to be tech-savvy and data-driven. Hence, familiarity with digital tools is mandatory. In addition to that, digital tools allow better analyses of ongoing operations and time to time campaigns. Let’s see how digital skills matter for the HR director’s role:

  • Software Proficiency. Digital skills refer to software and tech proficiency. Many advanced companies are using software for talent acquisition processes. In addition to that, some good online tools allow you to take a test to judge the talent’s IQ skills and provide a report with great data. You can use these reports to analyze to see whether a candidate’s skills align with the job goals or not. Thus, a good proficiency with HR software and tools allows an HR director to analyze the results in an expert’s way.
  • HRM. Apart from the candidate screening tools, HR directors must be proficient with the human resource management software. As an HR director’s role demands good management skills, thus a sound understanding of HRM software is also crucial. Many HRM software allows you to analyze the workspace under one frame, and you can easily judge whether the department and workspaces are progressing towards the overall organizational goals or not.

7. Interpersonal Skills

HR directors with good interpersonal help in building a good work environment and employee relations between HR workers. Good employee relations lead to better workspaces. Interpersonal skills in HR mean good communication, employee empathy, listening skills, negotiation skills, and passive attitude. The scope is vast, but these skills contribute to improving the environment. Let’s see what interpersonal skills an HR director must exhibit:

  • Trust. Trusting employees is crucial. This boosts their confidence, and better confidence leads to efficient results. Thus, an HR director should boost employee morale by trusting the employees with their way of the process. When an employee feels trusted by the seniors like HR directors, such practices will boost their morale and respect towards the HR director. This positivity in behaviors and attitudes thus brings good results.
  • Listening. Trust matters but to give more respect to employees, listening also matters. When you listen to employees, and their situations, and try to understand them from a senior position like HR director, you show them how much you and the organization value them. Ultimately you are building more respect in the eyes of employees both for you and the organization.

Thus, HR directors must be patient to listen, and trust other employees. The HR director that follows such practices ultimately starts to develop good interpersonal skills.

Essential HR Director Skills: Take Away

If you think you have mastered the mandatory skills for an HR director, start applying to jobs, and update your resume with respect to each HR director job description. Continuously upskill your knowledge according to the latest skills for an HR director job. You can also take an idea of the duties by reading an HR manager’s job description as most of the duties both these roles kind of align.

If you’re looking to learn all these skills, then don’t forget to take a look at our HR university certifications.


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR director position, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft an excellent HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy that lands you a sought-after HR Director job.


Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.