Human Resource Management (also referred to as human resources) is the part of an organization which focuses on recruiting, managing and directing the organization's employees. Human Resources Management includes hiring, training, motivating and compensating employees. It also incorporates organizing the employees within the organization and determining the human needs of an organization, and looking out for the health, safety, and benefits of the employees.
Human Resource Management is important because the strength of most organizations, companies, and businesses depends upon the people working for it and how efficiently those people function within the company. Good Human Resource Management creates an effective and healthy work environment and culture and can help a company reach its goals.
The B.F. Goodrich Company was one of the first to have a corporate department which dealt directly with employee management and employee concerns. B.F. Goodrich put this department together in 1900, and the National Cash Register company developed a similar department in 1902 to handle wage distribution, record-keeping and employee concerns. At that time there was a large influx of immigrant workers into the work force, and employee management also involved helping immigrant workers obtain housing and medical care and adjusting to life in the U.S. Labor unions also became more powerful at this time, which meant an increased need to adhere to employment laws.
The National Labor Relations act (1935) and studies conducted around that time led to a shift in focusing on employees' efficiency to improving employee satisfaction and through worker satisfaction increasing efficiency. A lack of skilled labor after WWII also caused companies to focus on employee retention to bolster employee retention.
The Equal Pay Act (1963), Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970) all helped to advance the role of human resources in the workplace because they were needed to help avoid lawsuits (which remains a role of human resources professionals today). By the end of the 1970's human resources professionals were part of almost every large and medium sized company, and human resources management was an established college program. During the 1980's and 1990's higher education levels led to an increase in professional workers, and corporate restructuring led to a reduction in middle management jobs--both of which affected human resources. More women in the work force and competition from international companies also increased the need for effective human resources management.