The advancement of technology and the improvement of systems has changed the way businesses do virtually everything. These advancements also prompted changes in management style and requirements, particularly for an HR leader.

In the past, an HR leader was tasked with less complex responsibilities like record keeping, compliance, fostering employee relationships, and hiring and firing employees in a local office. Today however, HR pros often find themselves in constant contact with people all over the world, and many tasks that formerly needed to be completed manually are now run through automated systems. Today’s HR leaders find themselves responsible for strengthening the culture of a company, managing fast-paced changes, and empowering employees to protect the business.

In the ever-evolving world of HR, hiring the right leader is key. Here are a few qualities you should look for when hiring your next HR leader:

Good Communication Skills

Above all, HR leaders must be excellent communicators. Their role is to ensure both employees and management are working together effectively. They communicate via email, video chat, phone, or in person; and they have to excel in all of these in order to successfully be the face of your hiring organization.

Technologically Savvy

Technology is growing at increasingly fast rates and has taken the place of many formerly man-powered activities like record keeping, employee education systems and more. Your HR leaders need to be aware of the ways technology can help or hinder your growing business and how to leverage new technology to run their teams more efficiently.

Conflict Negotiation Skills

Conflict is inevitable in the workplace. HR leaders must be able to help employees manage conflict constructively. HR managers simply cannot be effective without problem-solving skills, no matter the size or industry of their organization.

Strong Sense of Advocacy for Employees

Often, upper management is unaware of how employees are feeling about day-to-day events in the office. HR managers can keep them in the loop. When it is discovered that employees need an advocate for change in the workplace, HR must relay these concerns back to management with conviction and empathy.

Strong Sense of Advocacy for Management

Along with the ability to advocate for employees, HR leaders must protect the culture of the company and help employees understand decisions made by upper management. A strong sense of empathy and above-average communication skills certainly play into this as well.

Ability to Read People

A lot of HR requires looking at the “grey area” and relying on gut instinct, especially when hiring people and dealing with conflict. A good HR leader will have this sense of intuition that will enable him or her to effectively read between the lines and understand the frustrations or motivations of employees/potential employees at a deeper level.

Ability to Multi-Task

HR professionals could potentially be managing employees across the globe, performing many different activities or projects throughout the day, and communicating with employees at all levels of the company. They must know how to bridge gaps in communication and seamlessly transition from task to task while running things efficiently.

Ability to Empower People

If employees do not feel valued, their contentment, desire to improve, and the quality of their work will reflect that. Effective HR leaders know how to listen to challenges employees are facing and help them overcome them. They help employees grow and improve their skills to advance in their careers or earn the promotions they’ve been after.

HR adds significant value to your business – you can’t afford to have a less than optimally functioning HR department. Employees who feel valued and who are prepared for changes, while consistently being reminded of the culture of their workplace, can be the determining factor in a thriving business or a business that falls short. If you want a thriving business, it is crucial for your HR leaders to have these skills.