Human Resources core competencies

Trendbuch Personalentwicklung 2012, page 19-24

What is successful HR work all about? And what competencies should successful HR managers possess, in order to make a significant contribution to an organization´s results.


1. Understand the business

HR people need to deeply understand the market their organization operates in. They have to intimately know their products and services, their cost structure and the customers and their needs. On top of these data, it helps, if they know their customers from first-hand experience.

2. Assessment skills

This is the core competence of successful HR managers. Still today, many hiring experts have not had a formal training in this field. At Targobank we trained all HR Generalists to be able to design relevant job specifications, to build rapport with the candidate in the interview, to use a proven interview structure, to build hypotheses about the candidates and verify them and to evaluate all candidates in a fact based, professional manner. After the training we set a process in place in which the participants were later certified based on real live interviews they conducted.

3. Talent Management

Who do we want to develop, for which roles, in what time frame and through which interventions - these are some of the key questions HR professionals have to be able to answer as they manage the talent in their organization. The most successful learning experience is provided when potentials are given an opportunity to manage an important project, take on a leadershipo role or are involved in a turn-around situation. The definition used for potentials is – according to Wildenmann – the ability to process complexity, the motivation to solve the unsolved, the desire to influence social systems and the ability to learn.

4. Influencing

HR professionals will not be able to contribute, if they are ineffective influencers. Most of them, however, have never learned how to influence others. We worked with an organization from the U.S. called Vital Smarts to help our HR population to be able to define the results they want to achieve, to describe the vital behavior it takes to get there and to understand and to influence the personal, social and structural motivations in a change process.

5. Emotional Intelligence

Since Daniel Goleman developed his concept of EI, it has been proven in different studies that managers and employees who have the abilty to apply the different elements of EI are more successful than others. The five competencies are: self reflection – knowing ourselves, self regulation – controlling ourselves, motivation – being responsible for ourselves, empathy – relating to others, social skills – building relationships with people on different levels.


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