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11 Things That Top HR Managers Do

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High performing company cultures are built of teams that have talented people, guided by great leadership and great management. So what kinds of things do the top HR managers do that make them excel?

Great HR managers are able to engage their employees in a positive way that not only increases employee morale for a happier workplace, but helps the company retain top talent, and actually impact the profitability of the company.

Why Not All Managers Can Achieve Greatness

A lot of times, you’ll see employees promoted into managerial positions as a reward for great achievement at a job that has nothing to do with managing or leading a team. Someone can be a great sales rep, graphic designer, or financial analyst, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the right skillset, personality, or even desire, to be managing others.

In fact, Gallup finds that companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time.

This puts everyone at a disadvantage.

The newly appointed manager is not able to utilize their talents that made them so successful in their more tactical role.

Their team is not in the best position to succeed without a true leader in charge.

And now the company is losing efficiency where the true value of their employees was coming from to begin with.

6 Characteristics Of Great HR Managers

Not everyone is cut out to be a great leader. But those who are, have some common characteristics that can be spotted for future hiring.

A Shareable Vision

Great managers have vision. They understand the company’s mission and are able to communicate it, get their employees to align with it and inspire them to drive it.

The Ability To Motivate

A stagnant team that is just going through the motions won’t reach full potential (or maybe they have low potential to begin with). A great manager will be able to motivate their staff, especially in times of adversity. This is where their vision comes back into play.

When a team has a shared vision, they’ll be more motivated to achieve it together, actually making the manager’s job of motivating much easier.

They Have Ambition

Just as they will motivate their employees to excellence, great managers will have the personal ambition to over achieve their goals and reach new heights, not only individually, but as a group.

They Are Transparent

Great managers are transparent. This helps them quickly build trust, create an open dialogue amongst their team, and not only build relationships with their employees, but between the employees as well. This team culture, along with their shared vision, strengthens the bond that will drive success that isn’t otherwise achievable by individuals.

Professional, Yet Friendly

Professionalism of a manager is an obvious prerequisite, but a friendly level of professionalism helps to build better relationships and earn real respect (not just fear) from their team members. Having a more friendly environment with a foundation of professionalism and respect makes for a much happier workplace, which means better results (disengaged employees actually lead to  $550 Billion, with a B, in lost productivity).

They Are Organized

Particularly important for great HR managers is their ability to be organized. Keeping compliant with all state and federal laws requires having and knowing where all of your proper documentation is. This goes for employee benefits, labor laws, healthcare information, and everything else your company needs to keep running up to code.

5 Actions Of Great HR Managers

Beyond just characteristics, great HR managers need to take action.


HR departments are the main liaison between the company and its employees. Being able to communicate key messages in a way that isn’t corporate or offensive to employees is an underappreciated art form.

When your manager understands the mission of the company, and has their team’s vision aligned with that mission, it makes communicating internally much easier.

Handle Problems Appropriately (And Privately)

No matter how great a leader you are or how great your team is, there are always going to be some kind of errors or problems. Knowing how to appropriately handle an issue of an employee’s work has a strong effect on how comfortable and confident the team will be in themselves and each other.

Humiliating someone in a group email or in an open office space is not (usually) the place for addressing problems. Knowing how to handle problems appropriately makes a manager much better at their job.

Appreciate And Celebrate Accomplishments

Publicly appreciating someone’s accomplishments will make them feel really good. It will make others feel really good about being a part of the team. It will give everyone confidence in each other.

Showing appreciation for a job well done will make everyone feel valued, and it will inspire everyone to keep improving.

Build A Team Culture

The characteristics of a great HR manager will instill a great culture within the team members (notice the repetitive use of “team” in here?) and make them want to work together, and for each other.

Take Accountability

This is something that a great HR manager will not only have for themselves, but will instill in the culture of their team.

“If accountability is not working in your organization, then every effort toward performance improvement will be inefficient and ineffective.”

Taking accountability shows commitment and responsibility to your team. All great managers know the importance of accountability, how to take it themselves, and how to embed it within the culture of their employees.

Want To Learn More About Being A Great HR Manager?

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