Cultural sensitivity allows you to navigate a diverse workplace while showing respect and understanding for employees' cultural, ethnic, and religious differences. In HR, it helps you:
Removing bias from recruiting, hiring, and training practices
Helping resolve conflicts relating to cultural differences
Reducing cross-cultural communication challenges
Cultural sensitivity starts with listening to and learning from colleagues and employees.
You can bolster your cultural sensitivity skills by volunteering in a multicultural setting, taking a cultural sensitivity night class, or earning an online human resources certificate featuring a cultural sensitivity course.
Confidentiality is the ability to keep private information secure. Employees expect human resources professionals to keep sensitive information private, such as medical records. You may also have legal obligations to protect certain information depending on your location.
Managers also require human resources to keep sensitive information secure, including:
Layoffs or closures
Workplace restructuring and expansion
Workforce data or reports
Lawsuits and other legal matters
You can build your skills by developing awareness of your surroundings when discussing sensitive information, respecting others' boundaries, and handling private materials from others carefully.
Human resources professionals use locks on cabinets, file rooms, and other storage areas to protect sensitive information.
Adaptability is the ability to adjust to change and remain flexible. Becoming more adaptable means being able to pivot in response to organizational changes, such as:
New training and development models
Introduction of new technology
Plant closings and layoffs
Changes to roles and responsibilities
New regulatory or compliance requirements
Mergers and company reorganization
Adaptable workers know there's more than one way to do things and can change tactics when necessary.
You can become more adaptable by taking night classes, attending workshops, or earning an online human resources degree. Most human resources certificates and degrees feature coursework in organizational change, which teaches adaptability techniques such as setting goals and asking for feedback.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share others' emotional states. You need empathy in a human resources job because employees may want support for issues including:
Being laid off
Loss of a spouse or family member
Birth and adoption
You need to be able to listen without judgment to employees' problems. You also need to be able to provide emotional support when you need to share negative feedback or lay them off.
You can cultivate skills in empathy through volunteer work, reading literature, or talking to new people.
If you want to pick up skills for human resources careers, challenge yourself by talking to people from different backgrounds than yourself.
Human resources careers help organizations reduce barriers to communication and understanding. You can get ready for this vocation by reducing those barriers in your own life.
This article was reviewed by Krystal Covington, MBA
Krystal Covington, MBA, is a business growth strategist with 15 years of experience in marketing and public relations. Her company, Go Lead Consulting, provides clients foundational tools to build new client and customer relationships.
Covington founded Women of Denver, one of the largest privately held membership organizations in Denver, Colorado. Her program helps women increase their business acumen, sharpen leadership skills and connect with other high-achieving women. Covington received her MBA from Western Governors University in 2012.
Krystal Covington is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.