Human resource management

Human Resource Management [HRM or HR] is the management of human resources. It is designed by the HR Department[ by whom?] to maximize employee performance in service of an employer's strategic objectives. [1] [2][ need quotation to verify] HR is primarily concerned with the management of people within organizations, focusing on policies and on systems. [3] HR departments are responsible for overseeing employee-benefits design, employee recruitment, training and development, performance appraisal, and rewarding (e.g., managing pay and benefit systems). [4] HR also concerns itself with organizational change and industrial relations, that is, the balancing of organizational practices with requirements arising from collective bargaining and from governmental laws. [5][ need quotation to verify]

HR is a product of the human relations movement of the early 20th century, when researchers began documenting ways of creating business value through the strategic management of the workforce.[ citation needed] It was initially dominated by transactional work, such as payroll and benefits administration, but due to globalization, company consolidation, technological advances, and further research, HR as of 2015 focuses on strategic initiatives like mergers and acquisitions, talent management, succession planning, industrial and labor relations, and diversity and inclusion.

Human resources focuses on maximizing employee productivity.[ citation needed] HR professionals manage the human capital of an organization and focus on implementing policies and processes. They can specialise on recruiting, training, employee-relations or benefits. Recruiting specialists find and hire top talent. Training and development professionals ensure that employees are trained and have continuous development. This is done through training programs, performance evaluations and reward programs. Employee relations deals with concerns of employees when policies are broken, such as in cases involving harassment or discrimination. Someone in benefits develops compensation structures, family-leave programs, discounts and other benefits that employees can get. On the other side of the field are Human Resources Generalists or business partners. These human-resources professionals could work in all areas or be labor-relations representatives working with unionized employees.

In startup companies, trained professionals may perform HR duties. In larger companies, an entire functional group is typically dedicated to the discipline, with staff specializing in various HR tasks and functional leadership engaging in strategic decision-making across the business. To train practitioners for the profession, institutions of higher education, professional associations, and companies have established programs of study dedicated explicitly to the duties of the function. Academic and practitioner organizations may produce field-specific publications. HR is also a field of research study that is popular within the fields of management and industrial/organizational psychology, with research articles appearing in a number of academic journals, including those mentioned later in this article.

Some businesses globalize and form more diverse teams. HR departments have the role of making sure that these teams can function and that people can communicate across cultures and across borders. Due to changes in commerce, current topics in human resources include diversity and inclusion as well as using technology to advance employee engagement. In the current global work environment, most companies focus on lowering employee turnover and on retaining the talent and knowledge held by their workforce.[ citation needed] New hiring not only entails a high cost but also increases the risk of a newcomer not being able to replace the person who worked in a position before. HR departments strive to offer benefits that will appeal to workers, thus reducing the risk of losing corporate knowledge.


Antecedent theoretical developments

The Human Resources field evolved first in 18th century Europe from a simple idea by Robert Owen and Charles Babbage during the industrial revolution. These men knew that people were crucial to the success of an organization. They expressed that the well being of employees led to perfect work. Without healthy workers, the organization would not survive. [6] HR later emerged as a specific field in the early 20th century, influenced by Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856–1915). Taylor explored what he termed "scientific management" others later referred to "Taylorism", striving to improve economic efficiency in manufacturing jobs. He eventually keyed in on one of the principal inputs into the manufacturing process—labor—sparking inquiry into workforce productivity. [7]

Meanwhile, in England C S Myers, inspired by unexpected problems among soldiers which had alarmed generals and politicians in the First World War, set up a National Institute of Industrial Psychology, [8] setting seeds for the human relations movement, which on both sides of the Atlantic built on the research of Elton Mayo and others to document through the Hawthorne studies (1924–1932) and others how stimuli, unrelated to financial compensation and working conditions, could yield more productive workers. [9] Work by Abraham Maslow (1908–1970), Kurt Lewin (1890–1947), Max Weber (1864–1920), Frederick Herzberg (1923–2000), and David McClelland (1917–1998), forming the basis for studies in industrial and organizational psychology, organizational behavior and organizational theory, was interpreted in such a way as to further claims of legitimacy for an applied discipline.

Birth and development of the discipline

By the time enough theoretical evidence existed to make a business case for strategic workforce management, changes in the business landscape (à la Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller) and in public policy (à la Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal) had transformed the employer-employee relationship, and the discipline became formalized as " industrial and labor relations". In 1913 one of the oldest known professional HR associations—the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)—started in England as the Welfare Workers' Association; it changed its name a decade later to the Institute of Industrial Welfare Workers, and again the next decade to Institute of Labour Management before settling upon its current name in 2000. [10] Likewise in the United States, the world's first institution of higher education dedicated to workplace studies—the School of Industrial and Labor Relations—formed at Cornell University in 1945. [11] In 1948 what would later become the largest professional HR association—the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)—formed as the American Society for Personnel Administration (ASPA). [12]

In the Soviet Union, meanwhile, Stalin's use of patronage exercised through the "HR Department" equivalent in the Bolshevik Party, its Orgburo, demonstrated the effectiveness and influence of human-resource policies and practices, [13] [14] and Stalin himself acknowledged the importance of the human resource, such as in his mass deployment of it in the Gulag system. [15]

During the latter half of the 20th century, union membership declined significantly, while workforce management continued to expand its influence within organizations.[ citation needed] In the USA, the phrase "industrial and labor relations" came into use to refer specifically to issues concerning collective representation, and many[ quantify] companies began referring to the proto-HR profession as "personnel administration".[ citation needed] Many current HR practices originated with the needs of companies in the 1950s to develop and retain talent. [16]

In the late 20th century, advances in transportation and communications greatly facilitated workforce mobility and collaboration. Corporations began viewing employees as assets rather than as cogs in a machine. "Human resources management" consequently,[ citation needed] became the dominant term for the function—the ASPA even changing its name to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 1998. [12]

" Human capital management" (HCM [17]) is sometimes used[ by whom?] synonymously with "HR", although "human capital" typically refers to a more narrow view of human resources; i.e., the knowledge the individuals embody and can contribute to an organization. Likewise, other terms sometimes used to describe the field include "organizational management", "manpower management", "talent management", "personnel management", and simply "people management".

In popular media

Several popular media productions have depicted HR. On the U.S. television series of The Office, HR representative Toby Flenderson is sometimes seen as a nag because he constantly reminds coworkers of company policies and government regulations. [18] Long-running American comic strip Dilbert frequently portrays sadistic HR policies through character Catbert, the "evil director of human resources". [19] An HR manager is the title character in the 2010 Israeli film The Human Resources Manager, while an HR intern is the protagonist in 1999 French film Ressources humaines. Additionally, the main character in the BBC sitcom dinnerladies, Philippa, is an HR manager. The protagonist of the Mexican telenovela Mañana Es Para Siempre is a Director of Human Resources.

Other Languages
български: HR мениджмънт
čeština: Personalistika
Deutsch: Personalwesen
norsk: HRM
Tiếng Việt: Quản trị nhân sự