Qualities and Qualifications

Personal attributes: The personnel manager, as in case of any other manager, must have initiative resourcefulness, depth of perception, maturity in judgment and analytical ability. Freedom from bias would enable the personnel manager to take an objective view of management and workers. He must thus have intellectual integrity. Moreover the personnel manager should be thorough with labor laws. An understanding of human behavior is essential to enable him to be familiar with human needs, wants , hopes and desires, values , and aspirations without which motivating people can be an onerous task.

The personnel manager should possess other personal attributes like:

1) Intelligence: This includes skills to communicate, articulate, moderate, understand, command over language, mental ability and tact in dealing with people intelligently, ability to draft agreements, policies etc.
2) Educational skills: Personnel manager should possess learning and teaching skills as he has to learn and teach employees about the organizational growth, need for and mode of development of individuals etc.
3) Discriminating skills: Personnel staff should have the ability and discretion to discriminate between right and wrong between just and unjust, merit and demerit.
4) Executing skills: Personnel manager is expected to execute the management’s decisions regarding personnel issues with speed accuracy and objectivity. He should be able to streamline the office, set standards of performance while coordinating controlling and creating productive work spaces.

The personnel manager is expected to have leadership qualities, deep faith in human values, empathy with human problems, visualizing future of employees , organization , government , trade unions, society etc.

Experience and training: Previous experience is undoubtedly an advantage, provided the experience was in an appropriate environment and in the same area. Training in psychological aspects of human behavior, labor legislations and more specifically in personnel management and general management is an additional benefit. Experience in an enterprise in some other executive capacity can also help towards an appreciation of the general management problems and a practical approach in tackling personnel concern issues.

Professional attitudes: professional attitude is relevant particularly in the Indian context. The personnel manager’s job, as in the case of other managers is getting professionalized. He should have patience and understanding and the ability to listen before offering advice. As mentioned earlier, he should have the knowledge of various disciplines like technology, engineering, management, sociology, psychology, philosophy, human physiology, economics, commerce and law. He must be able to combine social justice with a warm personal interest in people which must be secured by an uncommon degree of common sense, compassion and integrity.


The job of personnel managers is complex. Meeting the ever increasing needs, aspirations and expectations of employees is not easy. To complicate his role further, top management expects the personnel manager to:

1) Convey its commands, instructions policies and programs to employees in an effective way:
2) Liaison with line managers smoothly.
3) Look after the safety and welfare of employees.
4) Take care of the legal provisions governing the workplace.
5) Offer expert advice on issues relating to human resources planning, recruitment, training, appraisal, compensation etc.

In Union management relations the personnel man is expected to absorb frayed tempers, notes of discontent and disagreements while creating a dialogue and bringing abut peace. While discharging the above duties and responsibilities he is not expected to lose sight of his moral and social obligations towards employees and the general public.

The question of prescribing a set of qualifications for personnel manager, in view of the expanding list of tasks, makes the search or a suitable candidate rather challenging. Keeping the diversity, elasticity of the personnel Manager’s job in mind, the following educational qualifications may be necessary to achieve success, in addition to the personal attributes already mentioned.

1) Degree from a recognized University
2) Postgraduate degree / diploma in HRM / HRD/ Labor Welfare / Social Work / Psychology / Industrial Relations / MBA what specialization in HRM.
3) Degree in Law (desirable qualifications)
4) Knowledge of Local language
5) More importantly possessing HR mastery, implying knowledge and understanding of areas such as staffing development, appraisal rewards, team building and communication.

Source: HRM by VSP