6 Skills People Operations Professionals Need in 2022

October 19, 2021
6 Skills People Operations Professionals Need in 2022

In the new workplace of remote and hybrid schemes, chatbots, and constant communication, it’s clear that the skill set required for effective People Operations in 2022 is significantly different than in the decades before. While communication has always been a key element to HR, professionals are now asked to wear many hats and interact with more people than ever before. As paperwork becomes automated, People Operations becomes more about fostering culture than keeping files straight. So we asked HR and business leaders what they consider to be the most important skills today. These are the top 6.

1. Collaboration

Connected and collaborative teams can boost profits by 21%.

Whether employees are in the office, working from home, or somewhere in between, it’s clear that they need to be working off each other. As businesses break down their siloed departments and create a more interdisciplinary atmosphere, creativity and productivity have skyrocketed. In fact, connected and collaborative teams can boost profits by 21%. And as the head of People Operations, you need to be able to lead this change at your organization. Having a collaborative, open mindset is critical for fostering a dynamic work culture. Eduardo Perez, the founder of Musician Authority, believes a collaborative mindset and being a team player is one of the most important skills today. “You'd think that in a career like HR, teamwork would be expected, yet it's so in-demand that it's among the top 5 abilities listed on job advertisements,” says Perez. “This could represent HR professionals' attitudes toward the company's broader goal rather than the regulations and duties that make up their everyday employment. Instead of just working with the existing HR systems, I wish that more applicants were focused on change and growth.”

2. Customer service

Customer service has always been a significant part of company culture. But in the age of usability testing and intuitive technologies, it has become even more important. For HR and People Operations, creating an enjoyable employee experience can take some lessons from customer service. Make it easy for employees to adjust to employees, listen to their complaints, and help them feel heard. Given what we already know about employee burnout, turnover, absenteeism, and other negative behaviors, consider how similar these customer service statistics are:

  • 58% of consumers will switch companies due to poor customer service
  • Almost 60% of customers feel that long wait times are extremely frustrating
  • Businesses can grow revenue up to 8% above their market with better customer service

People Operations should be able to take key learnings from customer service and apply them to improving employee relations internally. In the same way, customer service retains buyers, enhancing employee support and experience in the workplace can boost retention, reduce turnover costs, and improve the bottom line. “HR representatives need to be driven by helping people,” Daivat Dholakia of Force by Mojio said. “HR is a tough field at times. Being passionate about improving employee experience will help you get through the busy days.”

3. Conflict resolution

About 85% of all employees experience conflict in the workplace. Nearly half of that is related to personal egos, while the rest can be attributed to workplace stress, workloads, or discrimination. Regular conflict in the workplace not only demotivates your employees, but can also cause sickness, poor communication, and project failure. While clashes may be unavoidable, you can reduce the amount or prevent escalation through understanding conflict resolution techniques. Mediation is a critical skill in today’s world, where we rely on written communication rather than verbal cues to determine workplace attitudes. “HR professionals will be required to step in when conflicts between employees and managers or employees and their colleagues arise, which is why they need sharp skills when it comes to de-escalating conflicts,” Jesse Thé, CEO of Tauria, said. “HR professionals need to mediate and negotiate until a middle ground is reached where both parties are satisfied; if they can't achieve this, they might make the situation even worse.”

“HR professionals need to mediate and negotiate until a middle ground is reached where both parties are satisfied; if they can't achieve this, they might make the situation even worse.”

4. Cultural competence

By 2044, groups traditionally seen as minority group will become the majority in the United States. This means that it’s more important than ever that work environments become inclusive and open to individuals from all backgrounds. However, diversity and inclusion are not just checkboxes on your to-do list. Encouraging an inclusive workplace takes time and cultural competence to succeed. Cultural competence is when you are able to communicate respectively across cultural boundaries to accomplish objectives. “Understanding of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and the importance it plays within an organization: Companies are familiar with EEO and Affirmative Employment (AE), also known as Affirmative Action,” said Diana Dibble, President of Design to Delivery Inc. ”EEO is the legal protection. However, DEI is conceptual and deals with the work environment and the personality of employees. HR is key to a successful DEI plan. They can implement inclusivity as part of the company's values and identity, and can implement DEI training, particularly for management and supervisors.” For your initiatives to succeed, you will need more than awareness training. For the next decade and beyond, understanding the nuances to create a culturally competent workplace.

5. Curiosity

The workplace has changed over the years, and now, it’s common for employees to work from any location. From Zoom to Slack to other innovative technologies, there is a lot to learn. This is no different for People Operations or HR. One often-overlooked skill is curiosity. As technology continues to change and adapt, HR professionals should be interested in following these events and pivoting when needed.

“The HR field is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to be willing to grow and develop with it."

“The HR field is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to be willing to grow and develop with it,” said Ewelina Melon, Head of People at Tidio. “The one passionate about growing spreads this passion onto everyone around, which significantly helps in HR operations.”

6. Empathy

Empathy matters — more than you might think. In fact, 60% of employees would be willing to take a pay cut if their employer was more empathetic. And nearly 80% would leave their current employer for a more empathetic one. Other studies have found that empathy boosts creativity, innovation, and negotiation skills. For leaders in HR and People Operations, empathy is the cornerstone of your skill set. Thomas Jepson, the founder of Passion Plans, believes that empathy is the biggest skill required for the workplace. “There's always so much talk about technical upskilling, but people forget the human element,” Jepson. “If you can't work with people, you likely won't be able to achieve a whole lot. If you have empathy, it will be easier to understand where others are coming from, and ultimately their motives.” However, there is a fine line between empathy and pity. You want to listen and respect your employees, not make them feel small. “As a person with a disability, I get a lot of pity from people. There's nothing worse!” added Jepson. “I do appreciate when people understand that there are certain things I'm not able to do the same way, but I don't want a pity party either. Whether in a work setting or not, empathy is a strong skill to possess.”

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