What is Human Resources?
There are two main definitions of the term human resource within a business context. The first definition of human resource is an employee that works for a business, also referred to as human capital.
The second definition of human resources refers to the field that manages human capital within a company, regularly abbreviated as HR or HRM. Business processes involved in managing people in the workplace range from talent acquisition to conflict mediation.
In order to function effectively and efficiently, businesses require a variety of assets ranging from raw materials to human capital. A company's human capital is its most valuable and significant asset and unsurprisingly requires a significant amount of time and money to properly manage.
In exchange for compensation, a human resource trades their expertise, labor, or time. Often times, a human resource will trade a combination of knowledge, time, and labor for profit.
The ideal objective of managing human capital is the improved longevity, success, and profitability of an organization. The outcome of a successful HR department is high performing, engaged, and satisfied employees.
Your human resources department is involved with virtually every part of the employee experience, from talent acquisition to exit interviews. Clear best practices and standardized HR policies ensure employees are managed as effectively as possible throughout their entire employment at your business.
HR professionals know that keeping their employees engaged and happy leads to improved employee performance and productivity. As a result, your company reaps the financial rewards of investing directly into your workforce.
Employee retention rates are highly influenced by your human resources department and their efforts. 94% of employees report that they would stay longer at a company if the company invested in their careers.
HR is also responsible for keeping the work environment safe, including employment law adherence and addressing harassment allegations. When employees feel protected in the workplace, they will have a less stressful employee experience overall.
There are different employee types but regardless if an employee is full time, freelance, or any other classification, they are still considered a human resource to the organization that compensates them for their work. For large corporations with many different employee classifications, performance management may be much more complex.
As automation becomes more prevalent in the modern-day workforce, many businesses are considering renaming their HR department. Other businesses have found it more productive and profitable to break down their traditional HR department into specialized roles, for example, through establishing a compensation benefits manager or employee recruitment specialist position.
What is Human Resources Management?
Human resources management can be defined in two different ways, depending on the context in which it is used. The first definition refers to the organizational field that manages human capital within a company, regularly abbreviated as HR, or referred as human resources.
The second definition refers to the practice of managing people within the workplace, including the overall work environment and company culture, regularly abbreviated as HRM. Essentially, HRM is responsible for everything that directly affects a business's employees.
Without human resource management, a company would not be able to function efficiently or effectively. While a small business may be able to function sufficiently with a single HRM professional on staff, larger corporations generally necessitate larger HRM teams to keep up with their employee management requirements.
While previously human resource management focused on personnel, transactional, and administrative roles, their focus has shifted to a more strategic, value based role. The more traditional roles that HRM professionals filled before are now regularly outsourced, while inhouse HRM team members work towards measurably improving employee utilization and strategic development.
Human resources management seeks to provide employees with motivation and a personal connection with the company's larger values and objectives. In order to accomplish this, HR management may employ employee engagement boosting exercises and mentorship opportunities.
For larger corporations especially, HRM teams must keep various parties content simultaneously, ranging from stockholders to business owners. Unsurprisingly, many HRM positions require the completion of a degree program and/or a certificate program to make sure candidates are qualified for such a complex and significant occupational role.
The Importance of HRM
Due to the uncomfortable conversations and piles of paperwork that employees associate with human resource management, the department is often patronized and largely misunderstood. Although HRM is often stigmatized as an inhumane and unpleasant department, it is absolutely crucial to a company's success, profitability, and longeitvity.
Many of the benefits that HRM brings a company are actually the result of crossdepartmental collaboration. Valuable functions HRM helps provide your business include-
1. Talent acquisition and management- Recruiting, onboarding, and training top talent employees is a primary HRM responsibility. Even after an employee has acclimated to their new role, human resources must continually develop and manage employee talent throughout that employee's entire tenure at your business.
Ongoing talent management may include performance management and development opportunities. Many successful companies offer advancement opportunities such as a certificate program or degree program to their employees.
2. Company culture- Beyond business administration tasks, a main objective of HR professionals is providing and maintaining a positive company culture. The best HR professionals know that even one toxic employee can bring down the entire company culture if not swiftly and appropriately addressed.
One company culture related HR responsibility is commemorating important workplace events, including employee birthdays or work anniversaries. Not only do these team building events boost employee engagement levels but they positively influence your business's company culture overall.
Employees enjoy working for a company that makes them feel valued, secure, and appreciated. The resources management for extracurricular employee activities that your HRM team oversees provides significant benefits to both your company culture and work environment.
3. Strategic goals- HRM is responsible for not only recommending strategic goals to your employees, but for your organization as a whole. HRM is especially involved whenever a business is revising or updating their strategic objectives, missions, or values.
HRM is particularly active whenever there is a shift in your business, whether introducing a new product or a significant change in your business's mission.
The Top 7 Functions of HRM
HRM supports your business functioning as effectively and efficiently as possible. Top functions performed by your human resource management team include-
1. Job design- An HR manager may list desirable traits, qualifications, and requirements that a prospective candidate must have within a job description. Your HR management team decides whether a position requires previously completed degree programs or a specific certificate program in order for a candidate to be considered.
In order for your employees to appropriately perform their role at your business, they must be presented with a clear job description and understand their responsibilities.
2. Hiring- HR management should not only source but also thoroughly screen candidates before they are officially hired. After the initial screening process, each candidate is then subject to various interview processes in order to verify that their skills, education, experience, and personality are a good fit for your organization.
Finally, HR is responsible for supplying the prospective candidate with an official job offer and any additional required paperwork.
3. Training and development- HR plays a crucial part in onboarding and training new employees. A great HR department works with employees far after the initial onboarding process, producing consistent development opportunities for your staff members.
4. Salaries and benefits- When hiring managers request info on prospective salaries, your HR manager can provide them with market-based salary recommendations. Insurance, paid time off, and other compensation benefits are also traditionally drafted by HR professionals.
Keep in mind, your employee benefits program is a top incentive for prospective employees. A great HR team will not only research and recommend employee salaries and benefits but also implement them.
A solid salary paired with an attractive benefits package is enticing to top talent employees. Outstanding compensation results in higher productivity levels and heightens your company's reputation.
5. Performance management- Employee output must meet or exceed business objectives in order for a company to succeed. Performance management requires measuring and analyzing the performance of not only individual employees but the entire organization.
Best practices for performance management range from project management to the development of an incentive program. Increasing the performance of employees, departments, and the entire organization is the main objective of performance management.
6. Workplace relationships- Mitigating workplace conflict is a fundamental human resource function. Whenever there is any type of inter employee tension, HR professionals should request info from the employees directly and intervene as necessary.
Smart Goals for Any HR Team
A significant responsibility of HRM is creating and maintaining company objectives. Thankfully, there are many tools available to assist with goal setting, maintenance, and management.
The SMART goal model is a great implementation for any human resources team. The SMART model aims to create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
For example, your HR team could decide to break up the above listed functions into six separate categories in order to develop SMART goals for each category. For salaries and benefits, SMART goals may include a salary comparison with competitors at a specific point in the quarter. For training and development, SMART goals could include a formal check-in at the completion of the training process to request employee feedback.
Human resources management personnel can connect with other managers on staff to educate them on how to use the SMART model to form goals for their specific departments. Incorporating the SMART model into your business best practices greatly increases goal setting effectiveness.
How Does HRM Benefit Employees?
An outstanding human resource manager seeks to not only benefit their entire organization but also each individual employee. Human resource managers benefit your employees in various ways, ranging from employment law protection to resolving interpersonal workplace conflicts.
Creating and maintaining a positive work environment and company culture increases employee retention rates and overall workplace productivity. Evaluating the high labor costs and time drain of replacing an employee, your HR team should always consider employee retention a top priority.
Mitigating workplace conflicts and providing mediation can greatly improve interemployee relationships. When employees get along with one another they are more productive and have higher satisfaction rates.
Training and development initiatives equip employees with both transferable skillsets and valuable work experience. If there is room for an employee to advance within your organization, your HR team will identify and develop individual employee career tracks.
HR professionals are an indispensable resource for explaining complex information to employees. For example, if a manager at your company cannot provide an employee with information about a specific benefit, the manager can direct the employee to request info from your HR team directly.
When your HR team invests heavily in your employees, everyone in your organization profits. A great human resources team can make all the difference in your business's success, longevity, and profitability.
- A human resource is defined as either an employee working for a business or the field that manages human capital within a business.
- Human resources management is defined as either the field that manages human capital within a business or the practice of managing employees in the workplace.
- Valuable HRM functions include promoting a positive company culture and creating SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
- A human resource department is responsible for a variety of tasks ranging from talent acquisition to employment law compliancy.
- An outstanding human resources team can provide a business with increased longevity, success, and profitability.