Human Resources (HR)


Human resources (HR) are the set of workers, as well as any natural person who is within (or directly linked to) an organization, sector or economy. Also, in business administration, it refers to the management of workers within a given organization.

Human resources are the set of workers, of employees, owned by an organization, a certain sector, as well as an economy as a whole. Any natural person who has a link to an organization, sector or economy, is considered a human resource. In turn, within business administration, the concept refers to the management that the company carries out with its workers. From hiring to firing, it's the job of the human resources department.

In other words and regardless of the perspective from which we approach it, human resources refer to all those people who, in one way or another, maintain a relationship with any economic agent or the economy itself.

History of human resources

The history of human resources really transcends any modern fact. We are talking about the fact that, since the first companies and business associations were created, human resources were present. However, this management was not as professionalized as when the concept emerged; product of research and the advancement of business and economic sciences.

It was in the fourteenth century when the concept as such emerged. This is how the economist John R. Commons used it in his studies and works. It was in his book "Distribution of wealth", published in 1893, when he mentioned the term "human resources". However, the work did not have great relevance among the members of the academy, which caused that the low impact of the work did not give relevance to such a broad concept and that, later, it would end up being considered a whole field of study.

However, as early as the 20th century, the term began to have greater academic exposure. The economist E. Wight Bakke, in his works, uses the term resources to refer to the relationship between employees and employers. So do more large-scale economists, thus giving relevance to the concept. The most notable case occurs after the appearance in the writings of the economic theory of the economist Frederick W. Taylor. Economist who introduced the concept, leading to subsequent analyzes that, throughout the 20th century, gave shape to the term.

Human resources functions

Within an organization there are numerous departments. Within these is the human resources department. From this department any management that has to do directly with a worker, or several, of the company is carried out.

Among the functions that it has to perform, despite the fact that there is a great list of actions that correspond to it, we could highlight the following:

  • Administrative management of personnel.
  • Recruitment and staff selection.
  • Training and professional development.
  • Labor Relations.
  • Prevention of occupational risks (PRL).
  • Performance evaluation.
  • Social benefits.
  • Planning of the workforce.
  • Job analysis.
  • Description and remuneration of the job.

Although there are another series of tasks that the department must undertake, this relationship that we are discussing brings together many of the most basic functions that this department must perform.

Examples of human resources

As we have been commenting throughout this article, human resources is a very broad concept, which encompasses a field of study that is increasingly being analyzed by academics in the field of business and economic sciences. This is why this is an increasingly widespread concept, very present in society.

In order to better illustrate the scenario, we have compiled different events involving human resources, to be able to typify the tasks with real examples:

  • A person is hired by a company. For this, administrative procedures must be carried out so that the person is linked to the company. That task would be carried out by the human resources department.
  • A company feels that its workforce is unmotivated, performing at a rate well below requirements. In this example, the human resources department would also intervene in this situation.
  • A company needs to hire a person to cover a maternity leave. Human resources personnel are in charge of carrying out this personnel process and selecting the candidate.
  • A company acquires new machinery for the company. Employees who are going to use this machine must take a course to acquire the knowledge. Here, in this example, this staff would again be in charge of preparing the necessary training.

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