Essential HR Operations Skills 2022

Looking for a list of HR operations skills to succeed on the job? Then you came to the right place.

The HR operations team is responsible for administrative tasks such as payroll management, staff data entry, maintenance, compliance with laws of the region where the company is operating, recruitment of qualified candidates, onboarding, and off-boarding of employees. As their name suggests, the HR operations team deals with the everyday operations of the HR department. Additionally, they focus on the department’s overall efficiency and strategize the improvement of existing processes and workflows. 

If the HR operations want to run efficiently, the employee needs to have specific human resources skills and qualifications to succeed in this field. Such skills include administrative, managerial, recruitment, interpersonal, communication, and many other skills. Such abilities help them deliver their best performance and produce outcomes that are beneficial for their professional growth and the organization’s overall development. 

This article will explain what specific categories of skills organizations expect from human resources professionals working in the HR operations team. In addition, it will talk about the different duties they need these skills for and how they help hone an individual into a talented HR operations professional. 

1. Administrative Skills

Administrative skills are one of the primary skills anyone looking to work in HR operations should have and strengthen further. These skills help HR operations perform tasks such as maintaining employee data, investigating and addressing grievances, processing employee requests, and keeping track of every detail related to the HR employees. Such data can include their documentation, proposals for employee benefit programs, and other necessary agreements. 

The other major administrative tasks that the HR operations team has to take care of and need solid administrative skills are given below. 

  • Onboarding employees: HR operations contribute to the handling of onboarding of new candidates. The onboarding involves tasks like taking new employees through the department’s systems, creating necessary permissions for them, and ensuring the accuracy of their documents. Therefore, administrative skills are necessary to perform these tasks.
  • Running softwares: The HR operations team has to work with software and dedicated digital systems that store data regarding employees, automate organizational workflows, act as the primary medium of inter-departmental communication, and more. Therefore, understanding and using such softwares is an essential skill that helps smoothen the company’s operations. 
  • Payroll management: The HR operations team is also responsible for payroll management which includes managing data regarding salaries, tax deductions, net pay, and any deductions or bonuses given to the employee. This aspect also includes overseeing benefits administration.
  • Reviewing and monitoring budget: The HR operations team is responsible for approving the budget, reviewing it if  necessary, and monitoring it to ensure that the company spends its money as per its budget to avoid trouble and run smoothly. 

2. Managerial Skills

As an HR operations team member, you need to have a robust human resource management style. After all, the team has to create an employee-friendly environment and make policies that promote a healthy organizational culture. Therefore, being in HR operations means having an intimate understanding of the organization’s business-related requirements and employee needs.

Solid management skills include conflict resolution, giving smart instructions, mentoring other HR professionals through employee training, and overseeing employee relations. Additionally, the HR operations team has to ensure a healthy workspace and help avoid discrimination or harassment. 

HR operations goals

Some of the main areas that help an individual develop strong organizational skills fit for an HR operations role are described below.

  • Time management: Time management is a highly crucial skill that everyone in HR operations must have because they deal with multiple tasks simultaneously. If they do not manage their time correctly, the department’s efficiency can suffer a lot. Therefore, time management is a skill that helps one succeed in every job. 

For HR operations, it is vital to possess this skill to work efficiently, provide quality output, and not ensure that the workload remains manageable instead of juggling multiple things at once. 

  • Decision-making: Confident decision-making is crucial for being adept at management since you would be in charge and have to make important judgments. For example, in the case of HR operations, the team has to make decisions about implementing processes that take the department towards better efficiency. 

An example of such decisions can be about which candidate would be suitable for the recruitment or training of employees to ensure that they become adequately familiar with the workplace’s culture, expectations, and work environment.

  • Task Delegation: Delegation is an important aspect of human resources management. It is essential to understand that delegation helps produce better outcomes as the workload gets divided. Since the HR operations team is responsible for many tasks, delegating tasks amongst different employees ensures higher productivity.

A major advantage of delegating tasks is that every employee gets some part of the key responsibilities. Therefore, it helps them feel included and contributes to their professional growth. Additionally, delegating tasks also strengthens the professional bonds of colleagues when they work as a team on tasks. This aspect also requires you to be adept at conflict management.

However, it is also important to supervise new employees when delegating them a task and help them out in case they are unaware of how to get it done. After all, new employees are susceptible to developing a lack of confidence, leading to unfavorable outcomes.

  • Proactiveness: One of the ways to judge whether someone will do well in an authoritative position is to observe what they do in difficult situations. An employer notices if employees take charge or give their input in a professional setting. Therefore, employers prefer proactive candidates and are not afraid of voicing their opinions regarding how to carry out tasks.

As an HR professional, you need to be proactive and smartly plan your initiatives. This helps establish you as someone who takes the lead. Afterward, you can put your managerial skills to use and lead such initiatives. 

3. Recruitment Skills

Recruiting new candidates is a major responsibility that the HR operations team must help out with. Therefore, having certain recruitment skills is necessary to work in HR operations. These HR skills enable an individual to recruit the right talent for the company. 

Here are some of the skills that HR operations must have to contribute positively to the recruitment process.

  • Good Communication: Not many can communicate things to relevant stakeholders. However, the recruitment process involves many different people, and it is essential to have solid communication throughout. In addition, as a recruiter, one meets many new people, especially while the recruitment drive is ongoing. Therefore, they need to know how to introduce and guide new people through the process.

A recruiter is often responsible for communicating with people in-person and over emails or phone calls. Therefore, having good communication skills means having solid speaking abilities and writing skills. 

  • Software Skills: As a recruiter, you will have to work with software that keeps track of all the data regarding the current company employees and the potential candidates. Such software requires understanding how they help streamline the process and where you need to switch to manual working.

Knowing such software makes the recruiter’s job easy and ensures that the recruitment process goes smoothly so that the talent doesn’t get lost in mundane details.

Difference between HR Operations and People Operations

  • Reliability: A recruiter is responsible for several important tasks, and they need to be reliable. After all, recruiting the right talent can become quite demanding, and any delays in completing tasks can cause trouble for the company. Therefore, the HR operations professional needs to be a reliable individual who doesn’t need constant monitoring.

    Furthermore, when the recruitment process occurs, the recruiter is the middle person between the candidate who applied and the company. Therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that things go smoothly and that the potential employee and the company can rely on them. 
  • Sourcing Knowledge: The recruiter has to be knowledgeable regarding where they can look for suitable candidates. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor are the biggest platforms for attracting talent, receiving applications, and searching for potential candidates. 

Aside from knowing where to look, it is important to have skills to recognize talent because the market is full of people with impeccable educational qualifications. However, not every candidate would be the right one for the job. Therefore, the HR operations professional needs to know where to look and what to look for.

4. Interpersonal Skills

Another set of skills that anyone working in HR operations must have are interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are primarily soft skills that are important for different professional opportunities, and employers value them more than the employees realize. 

Having interpersonal skills is quite helpful for a department or team, whether it comes to relationships with people within the company or outside of it. Some of these interpersonal skills include:

  • Empathy: Being empathetic towards people, even in a professional setting, is crucial. It helps you be more understanding and, therefore, more approachable as people can trust you to listen to them and empathize with you. 
  • Encouragement: Working in HR operations means motivating and guiding others on different matters, especially if the tasks begin to feel boring and repetitive. The HR operations team needs to provide training to new employees and also ensure that they keep encouraging them, even at small achievements. After all, the HR operations team has to help build a facilitative working environment which helps build confidence. 

5. Communication Skills

Solid communication skills are what keep a company together. Having an HR operations team that has good communication skills will ensure success for the human resources department. However, these skills don’t just mean good writing skills. The skills include communicating within the company, as well as with people outside of the company. Such communications skill include:

  • Listening: To excel in communicating, one must practice listening. Critical listening can ensure that you understand things well, which is vital in workplaces to complete the tasks efficiently. The HR operations team needs to especially have this ability since they have to gather feedback and improve the processes.
    Therefore, communicating does not always mean that you will do all the talking and also includes listening to other people as well.
  • Delivering Clear Instructions: Since the HR operations team keeps a check on the departmental systems and workflows, they come up with plans to fine-tune them for maximum effectiveness. The implementation of these plans will involve giving instructions to other HR professionals in the team and guiding them about new HR practices.
    Therefore, the HR operations team needs to know how to deliver clear directions so that the plan comes to life and there is no confusion between the stakeholders.
  • Giving Feedback: When an employee gets done with a task, they expect feedback. Such feedback helps them improve their performance and grow professionally. Therefore, the HR operations team must know how to provide it to them so they can improve next time.
    The HR professionals can either have a one-on-one session with each employee or give overall feedback to the team. However, they need to use the right mediums and language for this purpose.

6. Analytical Skills

Analytical skills ensure that the data from the company is intelligently analyzed and any decisions are backed by valuable insights gathered from that data. Such analytical skills are very useful for the HR operations team because they often have to make decisions about the department’s processes and base their plans on key HR metrics.

HR operations tasks

If the employees have these skills, they can make decisions with a greater probability of success. Some analytical skills that you should look into if you want to work in HR operations are:

  • Using Analytical Software: The HR operations professionals need to know how to use solid analytical tools to clean and analyze any data they work on properly. Such software greatly simplifies the analysis and saves important resources like time and effort.

The HR operations team can use such software to create dashboards when presenting their strategies to higher-level executives. 

  • Being Data-driven: Working with data requires gathering and having systems that make data collection easy and intuitive. By being data-driven, the HR operations team can tailor departmental processes and make them easy to gather data from. Such data can help drive the human resources department towards better efficiency. 

7. Problem-Solving Skills

Companies are successful when their employees have effective problem-solving skills. An HR operations team especially needs to know how to point out issues and formulate solutions. Therefore, the team members need to have their problem-solving in practice.

The skills you need to be adept at problem-solving while being in an HR operations team are described below.

  • Identifying Problems: It is vital to first identify the problems. After all, knowing the cause of the problem is the first step toward solving it. The HR operations team constantly monitors the department’s workflows, listens for feedback, and analyzes data to pinpoint any issues. Once you know the problem, then the team can start working on finding a solution.
  • Forming Solutions: Once the problem is apparent, then the next step is to find a suitable solution. When formulating solutions, the HR operations team has to keep resources and constraints in mind when formulating solutions. After all, the solution would show no outcome if beyond the scope of implementation. If there are multiple solutions, then the HR operations team would need to decide which solution would be the most adequate.
  • Implementing Solutions: When the best solution becomes clear, the final step is implementation. The HR operations team has to carry out the solution plan and needs to keep observing if the solution is viable or not. After all, some solutions can seem sound theoretically but hardly effective practically.


The HR operations sub-filed has been emerging and growing prominent across different industries. After all, organizations have realized that since the human resources department is such a crucial part of the puzzle, it needs to function with maximum effectiveness. Therefore, HR operations teams have begun to spring up in companies of all sizes.

If you wish to become a part of the HR operations team, you would need to have the important HR skills described above. Additionally, you need to have technical skills, adequate HR knowledge, and some professional experience.


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into any HR Operations 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 Operations 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.