Human Resource Management: Complete Guide

Human Resource Management: Complete Guide

A planned and all-encompassing method of managing people as well as the environment and culture of the workplace is called Human Resource Management. It is usually abbreviated to HRM. When done successfully, it enables employees to contribute efficiently and productively to the achievement of the organization’s goals and objectives as well as the overall corporate direction.

For the rest of the company to run smoothly, the department members supply the expertise, essential resources, training, administrative support, coaching, legal counsel, management guidance, and talent management oversight.

Definitions of Human Resource Management

According to Armstrong (1997), Human Resource Management can be defined as “a strategic approach to acquiring, developing, managing, motivating and gaining the commitment of the organization’s key resource – the people who work in and for it.”

The process of managing people in organizations in a structured and thorough manner is the basic definition of HRM. This addresses the fields of staffing (hiring people), retention of people, pay and benefit setting and management, performance management, change management, and handling leavers from the firm. This is the customary definition of HRM, which prompts some experts to characterize it as a contemporary interpretation of the function of people management that was previously employed.

The management of people in companies from a broad perspective, i.e., managing people as a group in a relationship between management and employees, is covered by the second definition of HRM. This strategy concentrates on the goals and results of the HRM function. This means that the HR role in modern firms is focused on making the “employment relationship” fulfilling for both management and employees, as well as on the ideas of people enablement and people growth.

Human resource management is “resource” based, whereas personnel management is “workforce” centered. The main distinction is that HRM today focuses more on planning, monitoring, and control, as well as on achieving management objectives such as providing and deploying people. The answer to the question “what is HRM?” is that it revolves entirely on the people in organizations, regardless of the definition we use.

This organizational task of managing all matters relating to the people in a company is known as human resource management. It includes, but is not restricted to, pay, hiring and performance management, organizational development, safety, wellness, and benefits, as well as employee motivation, communication, managing policies, and training.

Organizations in the twenty-first century no longer view the HR manager or people manager as someone who handles the tasks listed in the conventional manner. Most businesses have distinct departments in charge of things like staffing, payroll, and retention. Instead, the HR manager oversees controlling employee expectations in relation to management goals and balancing the two to guarantee both employee satisfaction and goal accomplishment.

Brief history of Human Resource Management

French asserts that nine interconnected causes have contributed to the development of contemporary human resource management. A concise history of human resource management has been built using these nine sources. But first, let’s look at those nine sources. Considering each separately. For instance, 

  • The rapid advancement of technology accelerated the specialization of labor during the Industrial Revolution.
  • The beginning of free collective bargaining under rules established for employers and unions.
  • The trend toward scientific management.
  • Primitive industrial psychology.
  • Outside of the Service Commission’s formal boundaries, government employees practice.
  • The growth of staff experts and the combining of these expert staff units.
  • Human relations activism.
  • Behaviorist disciplines.
  • The legal rulings and social laws from the 1960s and 1970s. 

There are various sources that show how HRM generated. The invention of machinery, the coupling of human power to machines, and the building of massively populated factories were the three hallmarks of the Industrial Revolution. The quantity of items that workers could manufacture increased significantly as a result, as did the degree of job specialization. The revolution’s catchphrase became “division of labor.” This was clearly outlined by Adam Smith in his division of labor at a pin factory book, Wealth of Nations.

The main benefits of this division of labor were highlighted by Charles Babbage in his book On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures. The training time for new employees was greatly reduced because only one task needed to be learned. However, Adam Smith noted the drawbacks of this work division. 

Karl Marx also underlined how the division of labor and capitalism had psychological effects. The way capitalists open one machine and connect it to another is exactly how they handle a worker. As a result, the worker stopped being drawn to his work and instead started to hate it. He is deprived of the labor process’s intellectual potential by them.

Functions of Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management functions can be classified into the following three categories.

  • Managerial Functions
  • Operative Functions
  • Advisory Functions

Managerial Functions

Human Resource Planning

In this HRM task, the quantity and kind of workers required to achieve corporate objectives are identified. An essential component of this role is research; data is gathered and evaluated to determine the organization’s present and future needs for human resources as well as to forecast how changing employee attitudes, behaviors, and values will affect the business.


In an organization, duties are distributed among the participants, relationships are established, and actions are coordinated to achieve a shared goal. The employees build relationships with one another so that they can work together to achieve the organization’s goal.


Through effective direction and motivation, it is possible to motivate employees at all levels and make them offer the most to the firm. Utilizing the full capacity of the workforce is attainable through command and incentive.


Following planning, organizing, and directing, the actual performance of the workforce is examined, confirmed, and contrasted with the objectives. Control measures must be implemented if it is discovered that the actual performance differed from the plan.

Operative Functions

Recruitment and Selection

One of the most crucial HR tasks is finding and hiring talent, which involves much more than just attending job fairs and reviewing resumes. This crucial HR activity includes creating job descriptions, posting job opportunities, vetting, and interviewing applicants, and assisting managers in making the best recruiting choices. While achieving the company’s larger objectives of luring a diverse, multigenerational workforce, HR managers must also do this. They must frequently assist with the hiring and onboarding process by making job offers, settling salaries, and enrolling new staff in benefit plans.

Job Analysis and Design

Job analysis is the process of describing a job’s nature and outlining the human needs, such as education, training, and experience, that are necessary for that job to be performed. Job design seeks to outline and organize tasks, responsibilities, and duties into a single unit of work for the accomplishment of specific goals.

Performance Appraisal

Performance evaluation, improvement identification, and achievement recognition are all ongoing processes in performance management. Performance evaluations are routinely conducted by many firms, frequently once a year, with additional reviews when requested by the employee or manager.

Employers have the option of disciplining an employee for poor performance or policy violations or developing a performance improvement plan with deadlines for completion. Employees may be terminated for grave offenses or put on probation with a termination clause. Every disciplinary procedure should be described in detail in the handbook, and supervisors should receive training on how to carry it out effectively.

Training and Development

This element of human resource management aids in giving workers the knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs well. Both new hires and current employees can participate in training and development programs. Through training and development, employees are prepared for higher-level responsibilities. 

On-the-job training may involve orientation to familiarize staff with the policies, practices, and resources of the organization; instruction in the skills and tools required for certain jobs; safety training; attendance at company strategy meetings; and compliance training. Some businesses offer educational incentives to pay for extracurricular learning activities. These can include seminars, conventions, and even college courses.

Employee time or benefit money must be invested in an employee’s development. However, increased quality, productivity, engagement, and retention are benefits of education and training. Due to a tightening labor market and the way technology is changing professions, Deloitte recently recognized the need to enhance learning and development as the top problem among its 2019 Global Human Capital Trends. To provide development opportunities that deliver results, consider these HR best practices:

Administration of wages and salaries

Human resource management decides how much should be paid for certain jobs. Employee compensation is determined by human resource management and includes things like wage administration, salary administration, incentives, bonuses, and fringe benefits. Establishing price ranges for roles, placing individuals within those ranges based on their qualifications, and changing pay to acknowledge milestones and accomplishments are all parts of compensation management. 

Additionally, it involves overseeing performance rewards like year-end bonuses and sales commissions. Setting corporate strategy and collaborating with front-line managers and supervisors to guarantee fair and competitive pay practices throughout the organization may fall within the purview of the HR manager.

You can create an equitable compensation program by following these steps:

  • Benchmark your compensation plans: To make sure that your pay is fair, check with a reputable organization that distills wage information by industry and location. Such organisations include Glassdoor, Pay Scale, etc. For compensation benchmarking, you can also pay consultants or buy surveys.
  • Verify pay for bias: Setting regulations and offering training is insufficient to stop bias from affecting salaries within an organization. Conducting frequent audits across gender, color, age, ability, and other factors protected by antidiscrimination law is the only way to ensure your pay practices are fair and compliant.

Employee Welfare 


Services, benefits, and facilities offered to employees for their well-being fall under this category.


The organization views its human resources as an asset. Employee churn is not viewed favorably by organizations. The goal of human resource management is to retain the organization’s top performers.

Labor Relations

This task involves interacting with workers who are represented by a union in human resource management. To have a greater say in matters affecting pay, benefits, working conditions, etc., employees band together to create a union. The activities that affect a company’s connections with its employees collectively constitute employee relations. 

A happy workforce is produced by good employee interactions, which can give businesses a significant competitive advantage. According to a recent World Economic Forum research, contented workers produced 13% more than unhappy ones. So what motivates workers? Make use of the following: 

  • Look beyond pay: Prudential’s recent Pulse of the American Workforce survey
  • Reward candor (creating a culture where difficult messages can be heard and handled constructively is key to a high-performing work environment), 
  • Use surveys to boost morale
  • Live your corporate values: Like any relationship, employee relations are founded on core values such as honesty, loyalty, fairness

Personnel Research 

Human Resource Management. Complete Guide
Human Resource Management. Complete Guide

Human resource management conducts personnel research to learn what employees think about pay and benefits, promotions, working conditions, welfare programs, leadership, etc. These studies aid in understanding employee retention, turnover, termination, and other issues.

Personnel Record

This role includes keeping track of, maintaining and retrieving information about employees, including application forms, employment histories, working hours, earnings, absences and presenteeism, turnover, and other information.

Compliance with Labor Law

It is crucial to make sure that your procedures abide by local, state, and federal laws to protect your staff members and your business. Policies to stop harassment or discrimination based on race, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information should be part of your compliance program. 

Under federal law, certain traits are protected. Many governments also forbid discrimination against workers based on their gender identity and sexual orientation. Complaints of harassment and discrimination frequently focus on hiring and firing procedures, pay parity, promotions, employee behavior, managing employee leave, relationships among staff members, and retaliation for complaints.

In addition, laws limiting employee breaks and legislation mandating companies to offer leave for purposes like jury service, military duty, pregnancy, illness, and disability exist. Depending on where your firm is located and how big it is, different laws may apply to it. To be sure you’ve met all the requirements, consult your legal team.

Safety and health of workers

A crucial part of human resource management is ensuring a secure and healthy workplace. It involves activities including developing safety regulations, offering wellness programs for employees, and carrying out emergency planning. Employers who implement safety initiatives can receive discounts from insurers on workers’ compensation and other company coverage. Your healthcare premiums might be lowered by wellness initiatives. Make sure to discuss these advantages with your representative and utilize them.

Safety at work is governed by the bodies depending on the country. For instance, in the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the body that governs safety at work. They provide small businesses services like a free on-site consultation service, safety program guidelines, and an online danger identification tool.

Advisory Functions

The human resource management is an expert in managing human resources and can offer guidance on issues involving the organization’s human resources. Advice from the human resource management can be useful for:

Top Management advised

The top management receives advice from the people manager regarding the creation and assessment of personnel programs, policies, and processes.

Recommendations to Department Heads

The head of human resources provides guidance to the heads of various departments on issues including manpower planning, job analysis, job design, hiring, placement, training, and performance evaluation.

Related: Functions of Human Resource Management: Ultimate Guide

 What is Human Resources Manager?

What is Human Resources Manager?

A person in charge of an organization’s administrative and organizational operations is known as a human resources (HR) manager. The HR department is often led by the manager, and it serves as a vital link between management and workers.

Related: What is a human resource manager?

HR managers are employed in almost every sector. An HR manager is often required to oversee hiring, training, and the organization and growth of the business culture if a company has employees.

HR Manager’s Daily tasks:

  • Organize and manage the activities of the human resources team 
  • Consult with other department heads to learn more about their staffing and training requirements
  • Organize and manage employee benefit plans
  • Direct disciplinary actions and mediate workplace conflicts
  • Monitoring recruiting, training, selections, and interviews

To optimize employee value and make sure that everyone is operating as productively and efficiently as possible, this includes collaborating with the administrative team. The following groups of specialties are frequently used in larger businesses with more specialist human resources management roles:

  • Conducts training sessions and onboarding for new and seasoned employees as part of HR development.
  • Employment and workforce planning: Aids in identifying new talent for the business
  • Employee relations is in charge of employee engagement, engagement programs, and other employment-related duties as well as helping to negotiate collective bargaining agreements, settle grievances, and negotiate union contracts.
  • Risk management includes conducting audits, keeping track of accidents, creating health and safety plans, and working to ensure that all workers are safe.
  • Total rewards: Manages employee benefits and compensation plans

HR Career Development

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 9% increase in employment for human resource managers by 2024. This is quicker than the national average for all jobs in the country. Human resource managers are required to assist businesses and organizations in adapting to the various work ethics and work styles of the younger generation. To ensure that their businesses follow the complicated and constantly changing employment rules, businesses need human resource managers.

Qualifications for Human Resources Managers

A human resource manager often needs at least a bachelor’s degree to land an entry-level job. A graduate degree, such as a Master of Science in Human Resource Management, is nevertheless required by some businesses. Because they are armed with key skills including ethics, training, and development, managing culture and morale, and organizational strategy, graduates with a master’s degree in human resource management are better prepared to succeed in their jobs. 

Skills of HRM Manager

Skills of HRM Manager

Excellent communication skills

Professionals in human resources need to communicate flawlessly. Any HR worker must possess great communication skills while dealing with individuals on the job. They conduct interviews, develop corporate policy, and communicate with individuals on the phone or via email all the time. HR managers can handle employee complaints with empathy and efficiently handle any internal problems by using effective communication.

Related:Skills of a manager: Ultimate guide

Developing Relationships

One of the key elements to bringing a company together is developing partnerships between the HR division and other departments. This aids in optimizing the success and potential of the company. Workplace relationships frequently require a lot of consideration and discussion. 

There are also some informal contacts that require your attention (consider the vendors and dealers that bring things to your office). Therefore, for all departments to succeed together, HR professionals must prioritize developing relationships with them.

Capability for Change

Every day, the corporate world is evolving. And you can’t get too comfy; you must change with the times. These will give HR managers the chance to reevaluate the company’s current rules and create fresh ones that are more pertinent and efficient. Since HR managers actively contribute to corporate strategies and decision-making, they must anticipate the need for changes.

HR professionals must devise fresh strategies to keep employees engaged and actively seek to find ways to keep them. This is necessary for establishing a healthy work environment.

Technical Competencies

HR managers need to be able to adjust to new technology as the world becomes more and more digital. The range of responsibilities that HR managers are required to perform includes:

HR experts have an advantage when managing tasks and more thanks to technological expertise. Social media platforms, for instance, enable them to advertise job positions online and connect with more individuals. Additionally, while recruiting and hiring, Talent Acquisition Software (ATS) greatly facilitates their work. Therefore, having strong digital abilities is essential for HR workers.

Continuous Learning 

Learning is an ongoing process, as they say. The same is true for all HR specialists. Modern workplace cultures call for greater management, encouragement, expansion, and development. Your ability to outperform the competition will always depend on how well you implement current HR trends and deepen your understanding of the subject. Successful HR managers therefore seek to gain an understanding of the advantages of new HR research findings and link them to the current trends in the HR industry.

Insightful Thinking

Critical thinking is defined as “Self-guided, self-disciplined, thinking which seeks to reason at the highest degree of quality in a fair-minded approach” by renowned scholar Linder Elder. One of the most crucial skills for everyone in HR is critical thinking. It is crucial to conduct a thorough situational analysis before making judgments, whether you are selecting a new employee, negotiating pay increases, or handling employee complaints.

HR workers can deal with a challenging circumstance more easily by using critical thinking to help them see things from a logical perspective. Critical thinking can be used to reconstruct or present perspectives and ideas that are most suitable for the workplace, whether it be for conflict resolution or dealing with a problem among the employees.


An organization benefits from structure, but HR management also needs a lot of flexibility. Daily job responsibilities change, and unforeseen problems can happen at any time. It is impossible to forecast whether or when a benefit provider will suddenly change its policy or when a workplace injury may occur.


Those of you who are parents or who still have memories of elementary school certainly know what tattling is. When someone is tattling, they may occasionally make a goofy noise or stick out their tongue. Other times, grievous allegations of harm or bullying are made in complaints.

This is also how an HR manager lives.

Technology in Human Resource Management

Technology in Human Resource Management

The technology may play a variety of tasks, including selecting candidates for interviews, recruiting candidates, handling benefits administration, and protecting confidential employee records. For this purpose, a wide variety of hardware or software is available. Depending on their requirements, businesses can either employ third-party software or develop their own. 

For instance, Technology alters how human resources departments communicate with employees, keep records, and evaluate employee performance. Technology improves HR procedures when used properly. When misused, it might obstruct the management of the company’s human resources. Effective HR procedures increase the advantages and reduce the issues.

Related: What is an HRIS? A Complete Guide

Internet-Supported Changes in Recruitment

Connecting with job searchers required a phone call, facetime, or a letter prior to the internet and email. Companies frequently post job openings online in the twenty-first century and ask applicants to submit their applications via an online applicant tracking system. That saves HR a ton of time that they would have otherwise had to spend on paper resumes or personal calls.

However, the effectiveness of the system for the candidates isn’t usually considered in HR procedures. Online forms can make it difficult to distinguish between a stellar performer and a slacker due to their common format. In fact, a poorly designed system with muddled instructions and delayed response times may discourage job seekers from applying with a company.

Cloud-based HR

Your HR department may be located remotely if you have a remote team. This is where complete cloud-based HR platforms the resource management of the future come into play. Existing all-in-one HR solutions, like the one used by Buffer, incorporate several different, essential components of HR management, including payroll, benefits, time management, onboarding, and collaboration tools.

Using cloud-based HR software is gradually spreading beyond globally dispersed teams. Because it is considerably more scalable, it is perfect for firms that are expanding quickly because it enables HR experts to work with real-time data. The employee self-service model also gives workers better control over their data, benefits, and duties while providing businesses with more useful tools to assess their performance.

Employer Branding

Companies have been enhancing their reputation and the image they project to both potential and current employees for years now by embracing social media. The brand and reputation of a firm significantly affect not only the hiring process but also the organization’s financial performance by lowering the cost per hire and attracting more competent candidates.

If local organizations haven’t already done so, they should do so because this is by no means a passing fad. And once more, technology may be helpful from expanding job boards and corporate review websites to career sites integrated with HR software and social networking tools (like an Instagram scheduler).

The most effective company branding, hyper-targeted social ads, employee success stories, and job offers all contribute to drastically reducing the audience and connecting with the proper people. The process of developing an employer brand heavily relies on employee advocacy. 

Employees may access pertinent, personalized material through platforms like LinkedIn Elevate or smarp, and you can encourage your coworkers to share their own content to solidify their position as brand ambassadors for your business.

P.S. Here’s a fascinating post with HR experts discussing their preferred employer branding resources.

Growing and Learning

Best practices for effective collaboration in the workplace
Best practices for effective collaboration in the workplace

Employee training is moving more and more into the digital sphere due to remote work, one of the major HR trends, and this change enables it to benefit from the newest HR Tech advances employing gamification, AI, and AR/VR. Online employee training is becoming necessary as the field moves toward customized, self-paced courses that accommodate different learning preferences of employees.

Technology also opens up a lot of opportunities for creating customized career paths based on the potential of each employee, identifying skill gaps, and assessing work requirements. For this aim, HR Tech tools like PathSavvy or Talent Guard are suitable examples.

Analytics and Automation Using AI

Everything in today’s world revolves around data, therefore data management in human resources is crucial especially as teams expand. Today’s HR managers have access to a variety of tech and tools, from straightforward surveys and employee feedback tools to sophisticated analytics systems. When discussing cutting-edge platforms, consider Peakon. Managers can crunch the data to discover what motivates and engages employees with the aid of this industry-leading platform for measuring and enhancing employee engagement.

Higher Data Security

Payroll’s practice of issuing actual paper paystubs is virtually entirely obsolete. And in addition to the apparent pro-environmental advantages, this means that we must adopt new strategies for protecting delicate employee data in the long run. Strong data security for both candidates and workers will become a major priority for HR and a requirement for software developers as a result of the cloud storage of data, the expansion of employee HR self-service platforms, and changes in data protection regulations like GDPR

That is why businesses must set up processes and procedures to ensure the data is properly maintained and processed, and tech providers must develop and implement steps to preserve the data that clients entrust them with intact and secure. This will undoubtedly be a major trend in the tech sector as a whole, and to give users more control over their data, existing HR solutions will need to be extensively redesigned.

Blockchain is one of the technologies that experts believe will drastically change this particular industry. Virtually anything can be subject to blockchain transactions, including financial information, employment history, and personal information. It will be fascinating to see how blockchain, in conjunction with other technology, affects the security of our data.

However, the golden rule when it comes to trends of all types, whatever the industry, is one – never follow them blindly. Has your biggest competitor just implemented a shiny tool for team training or performance (and boasts about it)? Good, ask yourself whether you truly need this exact tool, too. Maybe trying an all-in-one HR tool will perform better. Or creating a customized HR app will meet your employees’ needs more precisely?

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