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What is Human Resource Management: Definition and Career Opportunities


Is your boss overbearing? Report to HR. Do you have a conflict with a colleague at the office? Let HR handle it. Do you need to hire more staff? Talk to HR about it. As long as it concerns workers, the HR department knows best – and they most often do, because they are supposed to be experts in human resource management (HRM). So what is human resource management, and why does knowledge of it give the HR department so much superpower?

Human resource management refers to all employee-specific processes. It involves recruiting, hiring, firing, and managing a company’s employees. If you referred to human resource management as employee management, you would not be wrong.

The human resource department of a company (also known as the HR guys or simply HR) is responsible for ensuring that employees are effective and productive, minimizing conflicts between employees and the organization’s management, and upholding the company’s work culture and ethics. Although the term, “Human Resource Management” is now considered redundant with “Human Resource” as a better alternative, the duties of the HR department remain the same.

What does Human Resource Management Entail?

The duties of the HR department typically depend on the company. For small organizations, human resource management may only involve recruitment, conflict resolution, and employee compensation. However, for large companies and corporations, human resource management may cover staff training, immigration and visa handling, promotion, retirement, talent management, employee compensation, and handling legal concerns as well.

Generally, human resource management seeks to:

  • Ensure that all employees have a pleasant work experience and enjoy job satisfaction.
  • Improve employees’ work productivity and promote consistent delivery of value-filled output.
  • Uphold the company’s work culture and ethics.
  • Implement helpful policies regarding employee behaviors and work attitudes.
  • Maintain law and order in the workplace
  • Make smart recruitment decisions that will contribute to the company achieving its goals faster.

A typical HR Manager is responsible for:

  • Employee recruitment, onboarding, retrenchment, and retention.
  • Assigning job roles and stating job descriptions and requirements.
  • Outlining employee compensations and benefits – these must suit the company’s budget and culture, and still be effective at promoting the worker’s productivity.
  • Draft pay system and salary range for new and existing employees. He is in charge of deciding bonus percentages and merit awards.
  • Ensuring that the company’s work ethics and employer-employee relations are in line with the provisions of the Labor Act.
  • Overseeing performance reviews and rating employees’ productivity levels.
  • Conducting staff training, and facilitating further development of the company’s best minds.
  • Initiating employee recognition and appreciation.
  • Facilitating team-building activities to ignite the team spirit among the members of a company’s workforce.

Job Positions in Human Resource Management

While some organizations may simply hire an HR Manager and a Project Manager and call it a day, large companies and corporations equip their HR department with human resource management professionals who specialize in different areas of the field. Career opportunities in human resource management include:

HR Manager

The duties of a typical HR Manager have been listed in an earlier session. However, in a large company with an HR department of specialized professionals, the HR Manager oversees the activities of the department and ensures that they run smoothly. He is the conflict resolution specialist within his own team.

Project Manager

The project manager regulates the activities of members of a team working towards executing a common project and assigns tasks accordingly. He is the authority figure for project planning, execution, and management.

Recruitment Coordinator

This professional manages the recruitment process, sets the screening criteria, and reviews interview results to select the candidate who is the best fit for the organization.

HR Analytics Specialist

This is the HR specialist with critical thinking skills. Surveys and other means of data collection passed among employees periodically are prepared and analyzed by him.

Learning and Development Specialist

This office collaborates with the staff training officer(s) to prepare growth opportunities for employees. Together they organize webinars, workshops, seminars, learning conferences, and so on.

Staff Training Officer

The Staff Training Officer collaborates with the Learning and Development Specialist to organize events that may be enlightening and educative to all staff members. He is specifically responsible for hosting the onboarding sessions for new employees to prepare them for their stay in the company and acquaint them with regular office procedures.

In recent times, however, most companies outsource this office and contract professionals from staff training agencies to perform these duties.

HR Technology Specialist

The HR Technology Specialist is the go-to guy for advice on how to use necessary software and applications, and information management-related inquiries.

Benefits Officer

This professional is in charge of sorting employee benefits and allowances. He works closely with the finance department to set percentages for how much each employee receives in form of benefits. Merit bonuses, paid allowances, health insurance quota, and so on, are within his jurisdiction.

Compensations Specialist / Salary Negotiations Officer

This HR specialist is in charge of salary estimation for employees. Complaints concerning salary delivery, pay cuts, salary increment, and so on, are directed to his office.

Conflicts Resolution / Dispute Settlement Officer

As the name suggests, this is the company’s first call in the events of the conflict. Erring employees, troublesome managers, overbearing clients, and so on, are reported to his office.

HR Assistant

The HR Assistant helps with all the paperwork and runs relevant errands for the department.

Performance Manager

This professional is in charge of performance review and related affairs. He is responsible for reviewing office policies and making adjustments when necessary, to improve employees’ work productivity and job satisfaction.

Talent Management and Promotions Manager

The Promotions manager is in charge of in-house recruitment for senior-executive officers. He oversees the screening tests, selects the right candidates, and helps them settle in their new office.

Hiring Manager / Recruiter

The Hiring Manager / Recruiter posts and follows up with applications for the company’s vacancies. He gets on calls with promising candidates and conducts interviews. Most companies in recent times outsource this job position to recruitment agencies on a contract basis.

Transfer / Relocations Manager

This professional coordinates transfers of deserving employees to a different department or branch of the company. He also helps them settle in, in their new place of assignment.

Skills Required for Effective Human Resource Management Include:

  1. Good verbal and written communication skills.
  2. Interpersonal relations skill
  3. Conflict resolution and problem-solving skills.
  4. Active listening skills.
  5. Project management skills.
  6. Customer service relations skills
  7. Time management skills
  8. IT skills and knowledge of Information management
  9. Knowledge of the use of database systems and operating systems.

Digital Tools and Software Used in Human Resource Management

HR managers typically employ the use of various digital tools and software in the course of carrying out their daily activities. Digital tools have come in handy for improved productivity across all career paths. While there is some software recently developed for HRM specifically, most of the duties of a human resource professional can be performed using some general digital tools. These include applications for:

  • Scheduling like Slack
  • Conducting interviews like Zoom and Google Meet
  • For preparing, spreadsheets, timesheets, and payrolls like MS Excel
  • For preparing presentations and staff training materials like MS PowerPoint

A key software that is one of the typical HR Manager’s best tools, is the ATS. ATS is short for Applicant Tracking System. It is used by recruiters to track the recruitment process, review applications, manage job descriptions and job postings, and so on.

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