One way to define your role as a human resource manager is to say you supervise the hiring and training of employees. While technically correct, this definition does not identify the knowledge and skills you must possess to carry out the responsibilities of your position. A clearer definition of your role and its responsibilities comes by identifying the four competencies of an HR manager.


The four competencies of an HR manager are personal attributes, core, leadership and management, and role-specific competencies. Each is both a source of information and a tool for measuring performance. As a source of information, each defines a set of criteria or expectations, including skills, knowledge, abilities and behaviors that define excellent performance for a specific role within HR management. A comparison of your skill set against standard expectations provides a way to measure performance. The more closely your skill set matches these expectations, the higher your level of performance.

Personal Attribute Competencies

Personal attributes include expectations that apply to everyone working in the HR department. Expectations relating to the personal attribute competency include honesty, integrity, commitment, results oriented actions and continuous learning behaviors. These reflect in your ability and willingness to self motivate, self assess, work as a team and adapt well to change.

Core Competencies

Core competencies include the knowledge, skills and focus you need to perform daily tasks. These relate to your role as an HR manager with expectations that include, for example, a thorough understanding of HR laws and policies and the ability to monitor and support legal and ethical business practices. Talent management expectations include the process and procedures you develop to select, hire, train and/or retrain employees. Assessment and measurement skills are essential to identify, address and monitor HR programs and activities. Also essential is the knowledge and ability to be an employee advocate. As the person in the middle, you work to balance the needs of your company against those of its employees and work to develop and maintain good employer/employee relationships.

Management Specific Competencies

Leadership and management competencies focus on tasks that motivate as well as those that manage. Tasks you perform range from those with a companywide focus to tasks that focus on individual employees. Critical thinking skills and in-depth knowledge of strategic plans, staff and employee roles are essential to set and monitor goals that achieve company objectives. Communication and networking skills are important to promote teamwork and inspire and create open channels of communication. Negotiating and conflict resolution skills are also a critical element of leadership and management competencies.

Role Specific Competencies

Role specific competencies relate specifically to HR management specialties. Your role as an HR manager may focus on an area such as training, compensation, benefits or recruiting and hiring. Each of these roles require specialized, technical knowledge, skills that support program development and the ability to implement each.