Student Question

What is human resource management and its functions, and how has it changed throughout the years?

Quick answer:

Human resource management (HRM) is how a company regulates and organizes the people it employs. Throughout the years, HRM has focused on improving the working conditions and the overall lives of employees.

Expert Answers

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As the name implies, human resource management (HRM) refers to the way a business organizes and regulates the people it employs.

HRM is built on the belief that people are assets. For a company to be successful and accomplish its goals, it needs people to carry out certain roles. How these people are managed can compel them to work harder and, thus, bring the business greater profits.

HRM emphasizes the human element of work. To foster loyalty and dedication, HRM might focus on an employee’s emotional and psychological needs. A business that treats its employees as multidimensional humans ideally creates a bond between the employee and the company that motivates the employee to stick by the company and maximize their labor potential for their employer.

Throughout the years, HRM has tended to revolve around the welfare of employees. Robert Owen is often considered the founder of HRM. In 1799, Owen bought a mill in a United Kingdom village and revamped its policies. Previously, children as young as five were working fifteen-hour days. Owen raised the minimum age to ten and outlawed corporal punishment. Eventually, Owen banned child labor altogether and helped provide his employees with education and housing.

Presently, HRM takes a similar holistic approach toward employees. Current HRM strategies try to ensure that working conditions aren’t exploitative or injurious. Some companies, like Alphabet (the parent company of Google), provide employees with housing.

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