Human resource management (HRM) is the practice of recruiting, hiring, deploying and managing an organization's employees. HRM is often referred to simply as human resources (HR).
A company or organization's HR department is usually responsible for creating, putting into effect and overseeing policies governing workers and the relationship of the organization with its employees.
What is human resources?
Human resources is the term -- first used in the early 1900s and then more widely in the 1960s -- for the people who work for the organization, in aggregate.
HRM is really employee management with an emphasis on those employees as assets of the business. In this context, employees are sometimes referred to as human capital. As with other business assets, the goal is to make effective use of employees, reducing risk and maximizing return on investment (ROI).
The modern HR technology term, human capital management (HCM), has come into more frequent use than the term, HRM, with the widespread adoption by large and midsize companies and other organizations of software to manage many HR functions.
Human resource management functions
Areas of HRM oversight include the following:
Almost all areas of HRM have sophisticated software that automates varying degrees of many HR processes. For example, job candidate recruiting has seen enormous growth in the number of software platforms and systems that help both employers and job seekers to electronically match organizations and candidates with each other and then help manage the interviewing and hiring processes.
While some HRM software systems started out on premises, nearly every area of HR tech -- especially HCM systems -- is moving to cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) platforms.
Expert Mary E. Shacklett offers advice on how to determine your organization's human resource management needs and priorities before buying HRM software. Read her in-depth explanation of different types of human resources management software and determine which HR tool is the right choice for your organization.