Looking for essential VP of HR skills to become a better HR professional and excel in your career? This article presents a guide to the essential skills required for a vice president of HR.
Someone has to look after the human resources department and manage the work overflows. That’s exactly what a VP of HR does.
A VP of human resources closely works with the company's HR director and other departments' VPs for employee retention and developing an effective organizational infrastructure. They are also responsible for looking after the ongoing HR operations in an HR department and reporting the results to CEOs, business investors, and HR executives.
This article provides insights into the essential skills and sub-skills required for a VP of the HR department.
1. Organizational Skills
A VP of HR must have exceptional organizational skills. Organizational skills are the skills that involve timely completion of operations inside an organization with good human resources management skills. As a company's human resources department is under the control of a vice president of HR, thus they must ensure all operations are performed sequentially promptly. Organizational skills are further classified into the below-mentioned skills for a VP of human resources:
- Time Management. Time management is one of the most crucial achievements, which when achieved results in the timely completion of departmental objectives and thus business goals. A VP of HR must ensure and look after the recruitment operations, onboarding operations, HR expenses, and operations, and employee payroll is accomplished in the targeted time. Thus, time management is a fundamental organizational skill a vice president of HR must exhibit.
- Calendar Management. Calendar management is the list of goals one department focuses on in a specific month. Timely completion of these goals results in good calendar/timetable management. Thus, a VP of HR is responsible to navigate how a process is performing over time and has to present certain strategies to complete the tasks in the targeted period for seamless calendar management of goals.
- Record Management. Record management is more of a specific business administration record storing process that a VP of HR is responsible to supervise. A VP of human resources must ensure the timely completion of receipts maintenance of employee records, talent management, and disposal of records when needed.
HR department stores this precious record of employees for the organization in a targeted time. Thus, record management is another crucial organizational skill a vice president of HR must exhibit.
2. Analytical Skills
A VP of HR must have a data-driven approach to manage employees, deal with work performance management, tackle risks, and talent acquisition for effective business development. Below are listed some analytical skills a vice president of human resources must exhibit:
- Business Development. A VP of HR contributes to business and employee development by hiring employees and training them as per business customs. Organizational development results when the VP can effectively build company culture and values in an employee. In addition to that, a vice president of HR must maintain good employee relations for effective organizational development.
- Employee Performance Review. Employee performance management is a skill a VP of HR must exhibit by evaluating the employee’s performance management, and offering feedback. Good analytical skills enable one to properly evaluate one’s weaknesses and strengths, thus a vice president of HR is required to analyze the performance and business metrics and generate a report to present to a chief human resources officer, HR executive, and stakeholders. A VP of human resources is the most skillful and experienced person, thus they must be able to properly evaluate the productivity of the HR team and other employees to analyze how well a department is performing.
- Risk Management. An experienced vice president of HR must be able to analyze the risks employees are likely able to pose to the organization. On top of that, HR VPs must anticipate the incoming hurdles and risks, and this anticipation can be made only if a VP has good analytical and anticipation skills. In addition to that, risks can be anticipated by analyzing the strategy with which you hire the talent. Risks can also arise through improper employee management, so good organizational skills are sort of a prerequisite of good analytical skills to analyze the business metrics for the development of effective strategic planning.
3. Problem-Solving Skills
An HR department is prone to risks and problems as the whole employee record is among their duties. Thus, it is likely there arise some issues, either with the record or either with the employee’s sentiments. So, the VP of HR must exhibit problem-solving skills to tackle any issue that arises in an HR department. Below are provided some problem-solving skills you must exhibit as an HR VP:
- Conflict Resolution. An HR VP has to sometimes act as a mediator for conflict resolution between the employer and employee to ensure that the employer does not violate the employees’ rights. Even though such situations are unproductive, and negatively affect the work environment, in real work life, such conflicts may arise from time to time. Thus, these are the elementary human resources responsibilities of an HR VP to serve as a mediator for conflict resolution and thus avoid problems in the workspace.
- Employee Frustration. Employee frustration is a productivity-killing situation that arises due to poor workload management, and problems in the team and environment. It is necessary to avoid employee frustration because otherwise it may lead to the downfall and affect productivity. Thus, when a vice president of HR analyzes and recognizes such issues that are hindering the work environment, it is their requisite duty to come up with a solution such as a recreational activity, tour, equal employment opportunity, offering employee benefits programs, to avoid frustration.
- Talent Acquisition Strategies. Sometimes, hiring the right talent becomes challenging and daunting for a human resources manager. In such circumstances, an HR VP is expected to come up with brilliant ideas and strategies to overcome the challenges of workforce planning. Thus, an HR VP must have good problem-solving skills to avoid such problematic scenarios that hinder the work progress.
This is why an HR VP must have exceptional problem-solving skills.
4. Interpersonal Skills
VPS must establish a good working environment and effective employee engagement in an organization. Such targets can be achieved with good interpersonal skills. Being one of the most senior workers, it is one of the most important human resources responsibilities of an HR VP to develop good employee relations with empathy and exceptional communication skills. Here are provided some core interpersonal skills a VP of human resources must exhibit for employee satisfaction:
- Empathy. When it comes to HR executives' roles like vice president of HR, empathy means going above and beyond the interactions with the employees. In such situations, empathy means empowering the employees by fostering the relationships and interactions between the team lead, employer, and employees. Thus, good employee and labor relations come from the empathetic behavior of a VP of HR.
- Communication. Good verbal and non-verbal communication skills yield a better work environment and good employee and labor relations. Thus, a VP of human resources must be able to effectively communicate with the employees and HR management teams for effective tasking and productive outcomes.
- Negotiation. Good employee relations can be achieved with negotiation skills. The negotiation skills from the perspective of the vice president of HR mean addressing the conflict between the employees and HR managers regarding their POVs. Elaborating further, employees believe HR managers should advocate for workers and employees, while human resources managers believe they should present their point of view and not advocate for any employee. Thus, a VP of HR must exhibit good negotiation skills and should drive collective bargaining agreements to satisfy both parties.
Hence, a VP of HR with good interpersonal skills carves a pavement for effective teamwork, good labor relations, and thus a better working environment.
You can learn more about these skills and professionally master them with our HR certifications:
5. Leadership Skills
Leadership skills are mandatory for a vice president’s role in an entire HR department. Good leadership skills for a VP of HR are crucial and the must-have skills for a VP as their job duties affect the whole organization. Also, leadership skills build the power of authority, which is again necessary to control the employee and workflow. Here are some specific strategic leadership skills a VP of HR must exhibit:
- Oversight. Oversight means looking after the employees and how they are performing their duties. For the VP of HR, oversight is a skill as well as a general duty to ensure the smoothness of work and HR operations and regulate the employee’s behavior towards their duties. A VP of HR must ensure whether employees are working for the timely completion of their tasks or not.
- Supervising. The VPS of HR must supervise the employees who are directly working under their supervision. They have to guard and teach them the tactics and brief them about the business strategies. However, supervision must be done properly with a voice of authority and is achieved only with good leadership skills.
- Helping. Apart from maintaining the power of authority, the VP of human resources should help the employees where they struggle. In addition to that, helping results in outcomes according to expectations, thus a VP of HR must have the potential to serve as a leader as well as an employee helper.
Good leadership skills maintain business authority and voice, and at the same time develop a productive work environment.
6. Technical Skills
For a VP of HR, it is fundamental to develop good technical skills, so that they are aware of how HR operations, operational effectiveness, and recruitment processes take place. HR is not all about recruitment, but payrolling, policy development, financial reporting, and many other technical duties. Although a VP of HR is not the actual practitioner or worker like a general HR assistant who works for talent acquisition, they are responsible for developing the projects, optimizing the laws, and developing the company policies for talent acquisition. As a VP of HR, you must have a sound knowledge of:
- HR Laws. A VP of HR has a sound grip on federal and state laws and recruitment rules. If the VP of HR has a sound understanding of the HR and organizational laws, only then they can properly address them to their workers. Based on the experience, the VP of HR has the authority to develop the HR laws based on talent acquisition and employee work circumstances with the help of the HR president. So, the VP of human resources must have good technical skills in the human resources employment law development.
- Policy Development. Policy development is another technical task and skill must-have for a VP of HR. As the HR VP is the person most prone to know the issues and problems that arise in HR or even in the whole organization, it is their fundamental duty to design policies based on these issues. So, a sound knowledge of policy development, legal regulations, and law enforcement is also a crucial skill a VP of HR must master.
7. Digital Skills
Apart from the leadership and analytical skills, a VP of HR must have a sound grip on digital skills. After all, the VP of human resources is a senior HR executive role, so they must be tech-savvy. Digital skills involved in a VP of HR's role are leveraging cloud technologies, using virtual recruitment tools, familiarity with human resource management systems, information and talent management systems, HR job description template creation tools, and much more. Here’s an insight into the digital skills required for a VP of human resources:
- HRM System. A VP of HR must be tech-savvy and proficient in using HRM software and related integration tools for the right talent acquisition. A VP of human resources must have a sound understanding of how a human resources management system works. This way, the calendar, task, and time management becomes achievable for employees through the use of the right HRM system tools. As HRM software include a collaborative feature, multiple workers can work together in real-time on this software, thus a VP of HR can also oversee how a process takes place, and how well a strategic direction is performing.
- HRIS. HRIS stands for human resource information system. This digital system enables the workers to integrate several custom human resources applications and tools, for record management and talent acquisition. This information system also includes features that enable all workers to view the business goals behind their day-to-day duties. So, the VP of human resources must be proficient with this digital information management tool to oversee the ongoing work and ensure the effective working of the human resources department.
Thus, good technical skills are a fundamental requirement to become a VP of human resources, so make sure you develop a sound grip on digital and technical skills.
HR executives, VPs, and HR professionals must also be aware of HR job description template creation tools, as these tools ease the HR functions, and at the same time enhance business metrics.
Above we have provided a detailed insight into the skills of the VP of human resources. If you want to progress in your career and if you target higher roles, start practicing these skills today to enhance your knowledge about HR functions and to easily secure the VP of HR job.
Once you master these skills, you can start hunting for the right VP of HR role depending on your experience. If you are already a VP of HR, you can work on upskilling your knowledge to aim for a president’s, HR executive, or an HR executive vice president role.
If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a VP of HR 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 VP of HR job.
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.