The role and status of human resources management (HRM) has evolved over the years with increasing realization of the importance of effective use of human resources in achieving high levels of efficiency and effectiveness in any organization.
The HRM function in early twentieth century had a humble beginning as a clerical function record, analyse, and present data and information required for payment of wages to the workmen and for other similar routine work. Slowly the the role of this function expanded help managers in some the activities connected with maintaining discipline among workers. They also started providing help in activities such as recruitment, performance evaluation, and pay fixation. At this stage the person heading this function was called labour officer or personnel officer.
With increasing activities of labour unions the role of the personnel function was expanded to cover handling the various routine issues related with labour union. This role got expanded to include greater participation in formulation of plans and strategy to deal with labour unions. They also undertook the responsibility for monitoring the general industrial relations environment and participating in negotiations with labour union.This function was generally called industrial; relations functions.
Over a period the role of this function started to become more proactive, advising the the supervisors and managers on appropriate ways of handling discipline issues. Up to this time this function was labeled as personnel management. But beyond this some personnel managers, aided by experts from the field of behavior sciences, started to take much more active role looking at ways of improving contribution to the total organizational efforts. This resulted in new insights in to areas such as recruitment, training, motivation and team working. With this the personnel department were gradually recognized as important source of help in improving the contribution of employees towards organizational effectiveness in many different ways. In recognition of this the function was renamed as HRM.
Like all different business functions the HRM function also continues to evolve and improve.