What Is Human Resource Management?

Beyond Hiring and Firing: What is HR Management?

The HR manager and business people have many meetings in the board room.
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Human Resource Management (HRM) is the function within an organization that focuses on the recruitment of, management of, and providing direction for the people who work in an organization. As you can imagine, all of the processes and programs that are touched by people are part of the HR kingdom.

The HRM department members provide the knowledge, necessary tools, training, administrative services, coaching, legal and management advice, and talent management oversight that the rest of the organization needs for successful operation.

 

Many HR departments are responsible for organization development that generates the culture of the organization. They are charged with oversight responsibilities to ensure that their organization appropriately builds teams and inspires employee empowerment.  

Additional activities sponsored by HR management can include employee and community outreach. They are frequent mentors and members of employee teams that address philanthropic giving, employee engagement activities, and events that involve employee families.

Human Resource Management and Line Managers

HRM functions are also performed by line managers who are directly responsible for the engagement, contribution, and productivity of their reporting staff members. In a fully integrated talent management system, the managers play a significant role in and take ownership responsibility for the recruitment process. They are also responsible for the ongoing development of and retention of superior employees.

Organizations also perform HRM functions and tasks by outsourcing various components to outside suppliers and vendors. The tasks that are most frequently outsourced are those that take HR time and energy away from the HR activities that provide the most strategic value to the company.

This outsourcing most frequently involves payroll functions, but vendors and external consultants can help an organization with HRM in many ways.

Specifically, many HR departments outsource background checking, benefits administration, training such as sexual harassment training, temporary staffing, and the production of employee handbooks, policy manuals, and affirmative action plans.

HRM's Changing Focus

HRM is the organizational function that deals with or provides leadership and advice for dealing with all issues related to the people in an organization. HRM, as such, deals with compensation, hiring, performance management, organization development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training. 

HRM is also a strategic and comprehensive approach to managing people and the workplace culture and environment. Effective HRM enables employees to contribute effectively and productively to the overall company direction and the accomplishment of the organization's goals and objectives.

HRM is moving away from traditional personnel, administration, and transactional roles, which are increasingly outsourced. The HRM function is now expected to add value to the strategic utilization of employees and to ensure that employee programs recommended and implemented impact the business in positive measurable ways.

The New Expectations of HR

Gone are the days when HR staff received direction from the executive team as to their priorities and needs. HR is now expected to sit at the executive table and recommend processes, approaches, and business solutions that improve the ability of the organization's people to effectively contribute.

The new role of HRM involves strategic direction and HRM metrics and measurements to demonstrate their value. Employees who work in HRM must demonstrate their value by keeping their employer and company safe from lawsuits and the resulting workplace chaos. They must perform a balancing act to serve all of an organization's stakeholders: customers, executives, owners, managers, employees, and stockholders.

It is difficult to underestimate the importance of an effective, modern HRM function within an organization.

An employee who retired from HRM twenty years ago would not recognize the competence and capability of the best HRM organizations today. You can choose to move your HRM function out of the dark days and into the light. Organizations that do—are best served.

More About Human Resource Management

Here are additional resources offered on this HR site that will help you expand your knowledge and thinking about the use of HR within your organization.

More About Careers and Jobs in Human Resource Management

These resources tell you more about how to explore a career in HR and how to find a job in HR. Interested? Keep reading.