Humans are an organization's greatest assets; without them, everyday business functions such as managing cash flow, making business transactions, communicating through all forms of media, and dealing with customers could not be completed. Humans and the potential they possess drive an organization. Today's organizations are continuously changing.
Organizational change impacts not only the business but also its employees. In order to maximize organizational effectiveness, human potential—individuals' capabilities, time, and talents—must be managed. Human resource management works to ensure that employees are able to meet the organization's goals.
"Human resource management is responsible for how people are treated in organizations. It is responsible for bringing people into the organization, helping them perform their work, compensating them for their labors, and solving problems that arise" (Cherrington, 1995, p. 5). There are seven management functions of a human resources (HR) department that will be specifically addressed: staffing, performance appraisals, compensation and benefits, training and development, employee and labor relations, safety and health, and human resource research.
Generally, in small organizations—those with fewer than a hundred employees—there may not be an HR department, and so a line manager will be responsible for the functions of HRM. In large organizations—those with a hundred employees or more—a human resource manager will coordinate the HRM duties and report directly to the chief executive officer (CEO). HRM staff in larger organizations may include human resource generalists and human resource specialists. As the name implies, an HR generalist is routinely involved with all seven HRM functions, while the HR specialist focuses attention on only one of the seven responsibilities.
Prior to discussing the seven functions, it is necessary to understand the job analysis. An essential component of any HR unit, no matter the size, is the job analysis, which is completed to determine activities, skills, and knowledge required of an employee for a specific job. Job analysis are "performed on three occasions: (1) when the organization is first started, (2) when a new job is created, and (3) when a job is changed as a result of new methods, new procedures, or new technology" (Cherrington, 1995).
Jobs can be analyzed through the use of questionnaires, observations, interviews, employee recordings, or a combination of any of these methods. Two important tools used in defining the job are (1) a job description, which identifies the job, provides a listing of responsibilities and duties unique to the job, gives performance standards, and specifies necessary machines and equipment; and (2) the job specification, which states the minimum amount of education and experience needed for performing the job (Mondy and Noe, 1996).
Cherrington, David J. (1995). The Management of Human Resources. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Mondy, R. Wayne, and Noe, Robert M. (1996). Human Resource Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Nadler, Leonard, and Wiggs, Garland D. (1986). Managing Human Resource Development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.