HR Basics: Human Resource Management

HR Basics is a series of short courses, designed to highlight what you need to know about a particular human resource management topic. In today’s HR Basics, we define human resource management with a simple model.

Before we explore the model, lets define human resource management. Human Resource Management comprise the formal systems designed to manage people in an organization. To best understand human resource management, we will look at a brief history, understand the roles human resource management plays in organizations and review a model to best organize the functional areas of human resource management.

What is now called human resource management has evolved a great deal since its beginnings around the year 1900. Personnel departments, which emerged as a clearly defined field by the 1920s (at least in the US), was largely concerned technical functions. What began as a primarily clerical operation in larger companies concerned with payroll and employee records began to face changes with the social legislation of the 1960s. HRM developed in response to the increase in competitive business organizations experienced by the late 1970s as a result of deregulation and rapid technological change. In the 1990s, globalization and competition required human resource departments to become more concerned with costs, planning, and the implications of various HR strategies for both organizations and their employees.

The role of human resource management professionals has dramatically evolved over the years. If an organization has a formal HR group (perhaps a department) there are typically three different roles that group might play in the organization.

The strategic role links human resource stagey with organizational mission and the work of people in the organization. The operational role manages functional human resource activities and serving an ‘employee champion.’ And the administrative role provides recordkeeping, process administration and compliance efforts.

The pinwheel human resource management model suggest that the management of human resources in an organization centers eight key functional areas. These functions are a collection of specialized human resource management work. For each functional area, Human Resource Professionals are responsible for key activities.

This human resource model should give you context to understand and apply the important role human resource management plays in today’s organizations.