Human resource management (HRM or simply HR) is the management of human resources. It is designed to maximize employee performance in service of an employer’s strategic objectives. HR is primarily concerned with the management of people within organizations, focusing on policies and on systems. 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). 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.
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. 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 is a business field focused on maximizing employee productivity. Human Resources professionals manage the human capital of an organization and focus on implementing policies and processes. They can be specialists focusing in on recruiting, training, employee relations or benefits. Recruiting specialists are in charge of finding and hiring 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 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 themselves 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.
Businesses are moving globally and forming more diverse teams. It is the role of human resources to make sure that these teams can function and people are able to communicate cross culturally and across borders. Due to changes in business, current topics in human resources are 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. 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.