A report on Interpersonal Communication Skills and its use in the discipline of HR management

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Interpersonal Communication Skills

Executive Summary

Interpersonal skills are an important part of business and corporate world due to its capability of solving complex human problems. Individuals with good interpersonal skills help in influencing the behavior, attitude and opinion of others which helps in improving social bonding. The present report will focus on the importance of questioning, listening and feedback in relation to human resource management of a particular organization. 


The human resource department of an organization is primarily responsible for training and recruiting employees, performance management and grievance handling of employees, negotiation of salary and leadership development for the long term benefits of the company. Moreover human resource professionals provide emotive support for empowering employees in difficult and stressful situations for optimum performance. Hence interpersonal communication is extremely important for HR managers for getting into the mind of employees and solves critical issues related to work and outside. 

Interpersonal Communication and its importance in Human Resource Management 

The three most important part of interpersonal communication comprises of questioning, listening and feedback. As per Karnieli-Miller et al. (2018), most individuals look forward to speak more and hear less. This creates miscommunication and the flow of information gets diverted. Human resource professionals ask questions during interviews and listens carefully every single reply from a potential job seeker. The quality of listening, Aros and Gibbons (2018),                                    said differentiates between the selection of an average candidate compared to someone with exceptional merit and credentials.  Questioning and listening during the interview process is the basic parameter based on which the long-term goals, aspirations and opinions of an employee can be understood. Additionally employees during appraisals often complain about stagnant growth, unsuitable job roles and extreme work pressure which devaluates their performance. 

O’Sullivan and Carr (2018), have categorically suggested that the “Shannon-Weaver Model” is most appropriate for individuals who have to interact frequently with outsiders and a lot of information needs to be processed. Basically the model breaks down the communication channel into sub-systems to analyze the medium which suits target audience. For instance, during lectures in a training class the usage of a PowerPoint presentation with speakers is a suitable audio-visual medium to address a large gathering. Human resource professionals often face a large group of people for administrative or operational purposes and hence the instruction medium, process and language keeps on changing. Also Han et al. (2018), have noticed that effective interpersonal communications generate feedbacks which provide scope for the company and the department to improve their business methods. 

In the words of Olson et al. (2018), human resource is a discipline which needs to focus on the value of outcome in different situations for an individual. Due to this, “Social Exchange Theory” has been a very prominent school of thought which advocates that people try to reduce costs and maximize rewards. Based on the rewards they receive they develop a relationship with perceived outcomes which is in sync with corporate practices. During appraisals the human resource managers evaluate the performance of an employee and promote the employee or are retained in the same position and pay scale. The “Social Exchange Theory” also suggests that to move up the hierarchy a person tends to develop an affinity with an individual who can help him/her reach the desired position. Although García-Carbonell, Martín-Alcázar and Sanchez-Gardey, (2018) have challenged this theory saying that outcome based relationship with higher management becomes problematic the moment an employee realizes that his intentions will not be fulfilled at this moment. This leads to anxiety, demotivation and anger against the senior management leading to a slump in performance. 

Feedback, as told by Shum, Gatling and Shoemaker (2018), helps in motivating an employee and improve performance. Furthermore the human resource management of a company gives continuous feedback on the performance of an employee based on technical, communication and leadership skills. For e.g. an employee who has a very good performance might be aggressive while communicating with colleagues or subordinates. Zahl, Schrader and Edwards (2018), in a detailed research have said that often the aggression is due to personal life issues and grievances which are unheard of. Listening and feedback helps these employees to express their problems clearly. Detailed feedback regarding behavioral issues will help an employee to take a break, spend quality time and return to work with an improved interpersonal skills. 

As suggested by Huang et al. (2018), surviving in a competitive market requires companies to keep changing their policies frequently. Often it requires terminating employees or reshuffling their positions which is a very difficult task for the human resource department. Hence they explain the reasons for the difficult stand the company is taking to reduce the dissent which requires maximum interpersonal skills. Chernyak-Hai and Rabenu (2018), have observed that questioning employees on their future goals and career objectives helps in selecting deserving candidates who are willing to work for a longer period of time. As human resource professionals often have to negotiate salary and job roles and responsibilities frequently hence indulging in a two way communication is important. The opinion of the company has to be communicated to the employee through the human resource department. Hence the alternative opinion of the employees also needs to be heard and this requires good listening skills along with questioning and feedback.

Gillespie and Schiffman (2018), was of the opinion that managing human resources needs a lot of empathy, foresight, mindfulness and integrity. These qualities help in solving conflicts which arise due to difference in cultures, opinion, skills and expertise. This is because building a trustworthy relationship between an organization and the employee depends on the achievements the employee acclaimed in his tenure. Also Kamimura et al. (2018), in a study have said that during difficult times when company’s growth is slowing down, or has got into a scandal attrition rate increases manifold due to insecurity. During these times asking the employees about their issues and listening to the problems they are facing improves the confidence level of the employees. Listening is the most valuable thing here, as specific reasons which are bothering the employees can be sorted out and internal conflicts can be minimized. 

Moreover stakeholders like creditors, government, subsidiaries also look to invest and stay connected to a stable organization which values its employees. Interpersonal skills, as said by Aros and Gibbons (2018), are the basis on which the peaceful coexistence is possible in a multicultural environment within an organization. Human resource has been a discipline which has been focusing heavily on employee welfare, training and compensation management all of which needs questioning and listening skills. Hence development of interpersonal communication has been helpful for human resource managers to tackle internal issues and have benefitted from it. 

Potential challenge in implementing interpersonal skills

One major problem in engaging employees through an inclusive interpersonal approach is the inaccurate perception which influences the outcome of a discussion or strategic initiative. This happens from both the employee as well as the human resource management team. Han et al. (2018), in a detailed study have observed that negative perceptions often create hindrance in problem solving process in an organization. For instance, if an employee has issues with Europeans, and his/her manager or the human resource team is headed by a European then even genuine ideas will be viewed with suspicion, due to the disliking factor. 

Stereotyping is a big issue in the present world due to greater usage of the social media platform and biasness based on community, ethnicity, gender and nationality. This was agreed by Olson et al. (2018), who observed that hereditary traits and biases continue to be an important factor in judging others. Hence feedbacks given to employees are seen as solutions which would benefit the company, as human resource department is supposed to be looking into the interest of the organization. This currently is one of the biggest challenges in implementing interpersonal communication skills in enterprises.  

Conclusion and Recommendation

The report have highlighted the important of aspects of interpersonal communication skills and its use in the discipline of human resource management Most companies have benefited from human resource managers having expertise in these skills as they can bring the best employees to te company and upgrade them to take important positions in the organization. 

It is recommended that human resource managers need to focus more on paying attention to employees, as it has been often found that senior managers give away casual advice for serious problems leading to discontentment. Also many human resource professionals assume beforehand the issues that an employee has and give generic solutions which need to be rectified. This is because problems of every individual are different and unique solutions have to be provided to resolve the problems.

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