What Is Human Resources Management? | HRM Definitions – Functions – Objectives – Evolution of HRM from Personnel Management

What Is Human Resources Management Every organization, large or small, uses a variety of capital to make the business work. Capital includes cash, valuables, or goods used to generate income for a business. For example, a retail store uses registers and inventory, while a consulting firm may have proprietary software or buildings. No matter the industry, all companies have one thing in common: they must have people to make their capital work for them. This will be our focus throughout the text: generation of revenue through the use of people’s skills and abilities.

First, academics, with minds opened by the Hawthorne experiments, led the movement to effectively manage people. Now, eager consultants and zealous staff experts nurture it. Fortune writes of personnel directors as the “new corporate heroes.” Library shelves overflow with people management books, and a hundred new ones appear yearly. Two hundred documented attempts are going on to improve the quality of work life (QWL), and three nationally known institutions have charters to improve productivity and QWL.

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Since Hawthorne, successive waves of people-problem solutions and programs have washed and tumbled industry. In some desperation, managers have steadily invested in supervisory training, organizational behavior, interpersonal behavior, T-groups, sensitivity training, employee attitude surveys, job enrichment, flexible benefits, and expanded fringe benefits—bigger pensions, subsidized insurance, more holidays, shorter work days, four-day weeks, and canned communications packages—and now companies are attempting to revive the “work ethic” with human resources departments. Big programs, but where are the payoffs?

What Is Human Resources?
What Is Human Resources?

The seven HR basics

When we talk about Human Resource Management, several elements are considered cornerstones for effective HRM policies. These cornerstones are:

  • Recruitment & selection
  • Performance management
  • Learning & development
  • Succession planning
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Human Resources Information Systems
  • HR data and analytics
  • What is Human Resource Management?
  • Human Resource Management, or HRM, is the practice of managing people to achieve better performance. It’s about optimizing company performance through better management of human resources.
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What is a Human Resource?


Human Resources are all the people that in one capacity or another work for or contribute to an organization. These people can be (full-time) employees, contractors, freelancers, or any other kind of contingent worker.

What are the basics of Human Resource Management?

Recruitment & selection, performance management, learning & development, succession planning, compensation and benefits, Human Resources Information Systems, and HR data and analytics are considered cornerstones of effective HRM.

Worker Protection

Safety is a major consideration in all organizations. Oftentimes new laws are created with the goal of setting federal or state standards to ensure worker safety. Unions and union contracts can also impact the requirements for worker safety in a workplace. It is up to the human resource manager to be aware of worker protection requirements and ensure the workplace is meeting both federal and union standards. Worker protection issues might include the following:

  • Chemical hazards
  • Heating and ventilation requirements
  • Use of “no fragrance” zones
  • Protection of private employee information
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For these reasons and countless others, human resource departments and HR managers are vital components of business operations today, and will maintain an important place in workplaces around the world in the future.

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