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The 12 HR Skills Every HR Generalist Needs

HR professionals are expected to have a whole range of skills to perform their job. If you plan on pursuing a career as an HR generalist, here are some of the most important skills to arm yourself with.

Communication Skills

This is crucial in managing human resources. You will link the employees and the business together. While you have to be there for the employees on one end, on the other end, you also have to represent your employer well. Bridging that requires excellent communication skills. When employees have issues or raise questions concerning their employment, expect them to come needing your assistance. So, efficiently handling their complaints and questions is crucial for the role.

Administrative Skills

The HR job is still made up largely of administrative tasks. This includes employee absences, leaves, absence files, payroll, the outflow and inflow of employees and various other topics. Your expertise in administrative matters will help ensure that you enter relevant data accurately every time.

HRM Expertise

To become an HR generalist, experience in human resources management is going to be a huge boost. A good understanding of the selection and recruitment process can be a huge plus for the role. Also, being aware of data reporting as well as absence procedures and a host of other processes will be beneficial for the job.


While a trait rather than an actual skill, it’s also something you can work on if you will practice it long enough. Being proactive in identifying problems early on, long before they can escalate is not something worse, will be most helpful in the HR role.


You’ll be expected to advise various stakeholders too. it is in your line of duty to advise not only the employees but also the line and other senior managers concerning personnel issues. Issues could range from operational to tactical. You’ll also likely need to give strategic advice too to ensure that the HR practices are well aligned with the business.


You’ll be expected to perform group or individual sessions not only to train people but to also spread information and your coaching skills will be most useful in these situations. This isn’t just something that happens during development and training instances but in conflict resolution, re-integration, onboarding, as well as lending a hand to the frontline managers on addressing people problems too.

Selection and Recruitment

Finding the right candidates and making sure the best one is selected is a crucial part of HR duties. It doesn’t stop there. You’ll also need to determine if there is a proper match between the company and the culture, the manager, and the candidate is critical to your success in HR.

HRIS Expertise

An HR officer’s digital counterpart, it is a system where everything from reward and benefits, payroll, valuation, performance, hiring and more are being stored. Knowledge and expertise of these HRIS systems will help ensure that your performance as an HR generalist will be a smooth sailing one.

Intercultural Sensitivity

This is a must if you work for a multinational organization. Being in touch with employees and managers from different countries requires you to take into account multicultural differences. This can impact the manner in which people are hired, retained, or let go. The right communication style is crucial to ensure that the message does come across the way it was meant to be and not get misinterpreted in the process.


Most generalists in the HR department are now expected to be more data-oriented and driven. Many departments are now pushing for data analytics to help them make sound decisions. This could range from the complex HR data predictive analytics to something simpler— all in the name of an HR that’s more evidence-based.

Reporting Skills

This includes the ability to read, create, and interpret reports via data derived from the HRIS. Reporting on crucial metrics is also crucial to ensure that employees and managers can create better policies and make more sound decisions.


You’ll be expected to work along with colleagues and managers. Working together with the rest of the HR team will be beneficial not only to the department but to the whole organization as well.