Almagul Atauovna Imangaliyeva
- Email: email@example.com
- Thesis title: 'Soft skills in HR practice: How do HR managers acquire and improve their soft skills?'
- Supervisors: Professor Irena Grugulis, Dr Hugh Cook
2016 - MA HRM, University of Leeds Business School in Leeds, The UK.
2010 - MBA, International Academy of Management in Almaty, Kazakhstan
2005 - BA in Economics, University of Economics in Almaty, Kazakhstan
1997 - BA in Teaching English as a foreign language, University of World Languages and International Relations in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
1) 2009 - 2015 Risk Management Coordinator, North Caspian Operating Company, Atyrau, Kazakhstan;
2) 2006 – 2008 Performance Improvement Coordinator, Agip Corporate Office in Den Haag, The Netherlands;
3) 2003 – 2005 Advisor, Agip District Office in Atyrau, Kazakhstan;
4) 1995 – 2003 Interpreter, Tengizchevroil JV between Kazakhstan Gov. & Chevron.
I am broadly interested in all HR professional skills. In particular, my present research examines which soft skills are needed and useful to HR professionals. Soft skills include ‘communication, problem-solving, team-working, an ability to improve personal learning and performance, motivation, judgement, leadership and initiative’ (DfEE, 2000: 24). Robles (2012: 453) suggests ‘soft skills are interpersonal qualities, also known as people skills.’
The search for soft skills in the HR profession became necessary during my MA HRM study whilst searching for literature on what skills HR professionals should possess. Although, taught lectures covered HR technical skills in: recruitment and selection, remuneration, performance appraisal, training and development, industrial relations and employment law, still one lecture on soft skills was missing. For this reason, this project examines the soft skills that HR professionals possess and use at work.
The research questions are: a) What soft skills are used by the HR professionals? b) How are they used? c) How to acquire and develop these soft skills further? Certain themes are investigated:
- Conflict Management. The HR’s role as a workplace conflict advisor is downplayed at the national level. But, at the organisational level, the in-house HR expertise in workplace conflict is invaluable and un-substitutable due to a complexity of dealing with ‘disciplinary issues, grievances, employment tribunals, regulatory compliance, investigations.’ (Roper 2020: 20). This theme will be explored further in this research;
- The balance of hard and soft skills. Grugulis and Vincent’s (2009) study shows that while practicing only technical skills is insufficient, an emphasis on developing soft skills but neglecting technical skills is also a losing battle. In order to be effective, workers need the correct balance of both skills (Grugulis in Wilkinson and Redman, 2013: 158). Therefore, the insights on individual experiences of HR practitioners on how both sets of skills are used and the benefits gained from these skills separately or in combination are welcome;
- Transactional vs Transformational. Transactional means HR related administrative matters like: recruitment, payroll, policies, investigations and terminations. Transformational means HR’s role influencing the overall organisational strategy at the top leadership level. There is a plethora of scholarly debate about these two conflicting roles of HR. For instance, Francis and Keegan (2006: 231) urge the HR profession ‘to reflect seriously on the consequences of a dominant business/strategic partner framing of HR’ and request an ‘agenda addressing human and economic concerns in current and future models of HRM’. This research will shed more light on how to resolve this tension.
The objective is to examine which soft skills are needed and useful to HR professionals and discover ways of acquiring and developing these skills. There is an abundance of literature on HR managerial competencies, however, little work examining ‘how these might be acquired and which ones prove most valuable in carrying out HR tasks’ (Buckley and Monks, 2004: 41). This research is timely, due to the need for more understanding and debate on this important topic, since knowledge of the soft skills of HR professionals is central to this work.
It is anticipated that the research results will inspire further research in order to fill eventually the existing knowledge gap. Therefore, a solid reliable factual base will be produced, analysed and shared with wider academic and business communities as well as with general public to raise interest and need for researching further. The inspiration is that this new academic understanding will be especially useful to students aspiring to become a new generation of HR practitioners, who can actually make the difference and be influential in building a healthy and fair working environment at their workplaces.
- MA HRM, University of Leeds Business School in Leeds, The UK
- MBA, Academy of Management in Almaty, Kazakhstan
- BA in Economics, University of Economics in Almaty, Kazakhstan
- BA in Teaching English, University of World Languages & International Relations in Almaty Kazakhstan