Human Resource Management (HRM) focuses on the management of the human capital assets of a business. The discipline views employees as an invaluable asset to the company and works to communicate this value to upper management. Members of the human resources department study how an employee’s work, happiness, and productivity contribute to the overall success of the organization. Professionals working in a human resources capacity are employed by the organization to create people practices, policies, and strategies that maximize each individual employee’s performance and contributions while protecting the company’s reputation and assets.
The human resources concept has been around since the late 18th century when leaders of the industrial revolution were forced to consider the health and well-being of their manufacturing workers. In this stage of the game, management realized that an employee’s health and well-being was directly correlated to their productivity. The concept has evolved into a more strategic approach since the revolution. The discipline has taken flight as a result of recent labor laws and the rise of a younger workforce who has brought in a new wave of expectations.
Each company’s human resources department is structured differently and includes different functions and objectives. The size of an organization has a huge impact on the prevalence of human resource practices and the how well these practices are performed. A small business might have a single HR professional who focuses on compensation and benefits. This person may have additional duties in finance or office management. Larger companies may have an entire team dedicated to the human resources function and each member of the team may focus on a specific function. Larger companies may also have room for more strategic human resources positions like training and development, engagement, and talent development.