HR Pro Needs Business Knowledge

May 28, 2002 ( - Knowledge of business fundamentals is the most important skill that a human resources professional can bring to the table, a survey found.

Just under 30% of those responding listed business acumen as a key skill while about 20% said an HR executive needed leadership skills to “consult, coach, influence, and inspire,” according to a survey by Gatti & Associates, an HR recruiter.

Rounding out the top five HR skills were:

  • strategic thinking and action, mentioned by 18% of the sample,
  • technical human resources competence, listed by 17.7%, and
  • the ability to operate as a change agent, cited by 16.6%

As important attributes, respondents also listed communications skills, relationship skills, being results driven, personal integrity, and having a customer-service orientation.

The survey covered 350 HR professionals around the country.