[LTR] The role of HR Manager is vital in any organisation, since finding the right employees and keeping them, is key to the success of every business. Yet HR Managers are frequently and often expectantly, tasked to assume responsibility for a huge number of functions, including recruitment, training, communication, payroll, employee relations, health and safety and performance management to name just a few.

Little wonder then that the HR Manager needs to take time out to look at their own personal development in order to climb the career ladder. Here are some of the key areas that all HR Managers should consider in their development.

Firstly, understand the business in which you are working. HR Managers must have a core set of skills that are transferable across any business type but by understanding the key objectives specific to their current employer, the HR Manager can more accurately aid development of employees. Taking time to understand the type of skills employees need in your company means you can keep up to speed with the relevant courses and training aids available for that specific skill set. In certain trades, there may also be skills and qualifications that employees must attain before they can progress further or even operate legally.

One key skill to develop is that of time management. It is vital that the HR Manager keeps up to date with their workload, particularly when it involves compliance and health and safety issues. Many find that compiling a daily to-do list and then placing the tasks in order of priority, is a helpful exercise.

Being pro-active and acting as an agent for change is another key skill. Start within your own function, looking at how things could be improved, both for the benefit of your department and for the workforce as a whole. Produce a plan and a set of key recommendations which can be simply implemented. Where possible, become involved in any business change initiatives, offering practical and proactive advice on any human resource issues that may arise.

Paramount is the need to invest in Human Resources training - for your self as well as other employees. In the first instance, you may need to look at training for the core requirements of your HR Manager role and thereafter, for refresher courses, particularly relating to changes in legislation and compliance issues. There is also a wealth of courses available to assist in gaining the skills; to build relationships with other employees, improve interview and selection techniques, develop coaching and mentoring skills and effectively build and maintain an ongoing HR strategy for your business.

Finally, establish professional credibility with other employees. Learning more about their specific roles and understanding their needs is vital and can prevent the illusion of seeming detached or aloof. Where appropriate, participate in training courses which other employees are enrolled on, so that you can speak from experience. Take time to listen to the views and ideas of employees, many of whom will often be best placed to suggest valuable improvements.