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Human Resource Management: Overview and Importance

Human Resource Management: Overview and Importance 

– Coursera 

Human resource management, or HRM, involves coordinating, managing, and allocating human capital, or employees, in ways that move an organization’s goals forward. HRM focuses on investing in employees, ensuring their safety, and managing all aspects of staffing from hiring to compensation and development.

HRM careers may specialize in compensation, training, or managing employees. Most HRM professionals hold a bachelor’s degree and some go on to pursue a master’s degree. HRM professionals at all levels can also earn professional certifications to help build knowledge and increase earning potential. HRM’s goal is to build a company culture and carry out its mission and overall goals through the management of employees.

Definition of Human Resource Management (HRM)

Human resource management is organizing, coordinating, and managing an organization’s current employees to carry out an organization’s mission, vision, and goals. This includes recruiting, hiring, training, compensating, retaining, and motivating employees.

HRM staff also develops and enforces policies and procedures that help ensure employee safety. The HRM team manages adherence to federal and state laws that may work to protect employees’ private information and ensure their physical safety and mental and emotional well-being. Organizations of varying sizes and industries rely on HRM to keep business running smoothly and efficiently.

Purpose of human resource management (HRM)

The methodology behind HRM recognizes the value employees bring to an organization, also known as human capital. Investing in employees and strategically supporting their needs can improve employee satisfaction and employee motivation. Employees who are well trained, competent, valued, and supported by their employers will likely have the skills and incentive necessary to carry out the organization’s goals.

Let’s look at the purpose behind HRM in more depth:

Develop employees’ skills.

HRM aims to create a highly skilled workforce and boost confidence and competence so that employees are motivated to contribute. A human resource manager or department might provide:

  • Tuition reimbursement programs
  • On-the-job training
  • Mentorships within an organization
  • Career development programs to help employees explore their potential

Foster a productive workplace culture.

HRM has a strong focus on company culture and job satisfaction. Much of what motivates employees comes from the culture in which they work. Employee engagement programs can foster an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture. Although culture can be challenging to measure and quantify, it’s an important function of HRM to retain and recruit employees.

Protect employees.

HRM also protects employees. Human resource (HR) professionals manage legal documents, policies, and regulations, identify what applies to their organization, and find effective ways to educate employees and enforce company policy. HRM aims to be an ally or partner to employees. HRM emphasizes employee development while protecting employees from discrimination, workplace hazards, and unfair compensation.

Basic elements of Human Resource Management (HRM)

The human resource management field includes recruiting new hires, evaluating employee performance, ensuring fair compensation and benefits, training employees and supporting education and development, and protecting the health and safety of all employees. These are critical cornerstones of the work of HRM professionals. From crafting a job posting to providing continuing education options, HRM functions at all stages of an employee’s journey with an organization. To be an effective HRM professional, you will need a mix of personal and technical skills like recruitment strategies, creating compensation plans, and communication and team building.


An effective recruitment process is at the foundation of HRM. If you can recruit good talent, you can build on their skills and invest in employees for years to come as they add value to the organization. Equally important is company culture. You want employees that add to the culture of the organization. Some common recruiting tools HRM may use include job aggregators like Indeed or Simply Hired, video interviewing, or even social media sites like LinkedIn.

Evaluation and performance management

HRM uses data to track employee performance to ensure a highly trained and capable workforce. The data compiled can also be used to change staff training methods, implement a merit-based system for raises, and more. HRM professionals use formal measures like performance reviews and informal methods like interviews or surveys.


Compensation can mean salary, commission, benefits, time off, and other non-monetary benefits. HRM looks to the industry standard to set salary rates, commission rates, and benefits. This ensures fairness and allows for a consistent company standard. Some organizations may use performance reviews to adjust an employee’s salary, among other measures.

Employee development and learning

Engaged employees are effective employees. HRM understands the importance of a workforce that is challenged but also supported. Most employees want opportunities for advancement and to feel competent and valued in what they bring to an organization. Part of HRM is providing these learning opportunities to employees. This might include tuition reimbursement programs, on-the-job training options, conferences, conventions, or certification programs. Aside from individual learning, HRM can also use employee development and learning to help employees adapt to organizational changes, such as system upgrades, technology shifts, and new policies.

Employee health and safety

The safety and well-being of an organization’s employees are critically important aspects of HRM. Employee health and safety covers a lot, such as safety against harassment, discrimination, or bullying in the workplace. It can mean physical safety that would involve building fire code compliance. It can also mean adherence to labor laws that protect an employee’s rights in the workplace. Safety in the workplace means cybersecurity or safeguarding an employee’s personal information. A lot goes into protecting all aspects of employees’ health and safety, and it is the job of HRM professionals to ensure that protection. A few ways HRM professionals may go about this is by installing security cameras, enforcing internet usage rules, implementing a zero-tolerance policy, or creating restricted access areas.

Careers in human resource management (HRM)

You can find many different careers in HRM, with varying points of entry into this field. Most positions in HRM require at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field. You can also earn certifications to help you find the best position within the vast field of HRM. HRM professionals have important jobs that can be both rewarding and fulfilling. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the human resources management field is expected to grow 7 percent from 2021-2031, or about 12,600 new jobs, on par with the national average.

How to get started in human resources management

There are different options for launching a career in human resources management. They often include a combination of education, experience, certification, and networking. Read on to discover ways you can begin preparing for a career in HRM.

Consider degree opportunities.

Sixty-seven percent of HRM professionals hold a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, psychology, or a related field, and 14 percent have a master’s. Common HR degree coursework includes workplace diversity, business ethics, labour relations, strategic HR, and workforce planning. Some programs may also require internship experience.

As you gain an HR education, be sure to build important skills like performance management, customer service, payroll processing, communication, leadership, and organization. In addition, familiarize yourself with popular HR software programs like ADP Workforce Now, Bamboo HR, and Workday.

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