Human resources management (HRM) is an essential component of virtually all businesses and organizations. HR professionals aren’t only tasked with staying up-to-date with ever-changing employment laws and insurance policies, but they also must act as liaisons between management and employees and as advocates for employees, as well.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in human resources management, it’s helpful to understand the many facets of the work.
The human resource management discipline also focuses on maximizing employee productivity and taking preemptive measures to protect the company from any issues that may arise concerning the staff. In a general sense, the human resources department helps to uphold the company’s culture and core values.
What is Human Resources Management (HRM)?
Human resources management,often abbreviated as HRMor HR, is an organizational function that focuses on the strategic management of its employees. In today’s business world, the relationship between an organization and it’s human resources department is a strategic partnership.
According to Kathleen Egger, a lecturer for the Master of Science in Human Resources Management program within Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies, “Human resources is not just an administrative function anymore. It is about understanding how the business itself functions so that we can then advise on the best practices moving forward.”
“The traditional HR role is changing very rapidly,” adds Carl Zangerl, faculty director for the program. “In many organizations now, the expectation is that the HR team is really a business partner [with a specialized focus on] deploying, training, engaging, and getting the most productivity out of their people.”
Rising Importance of the HRIT Role
More and more aspects of the workplace are becoming technologically advanced, and the human resources department is no exception. Many companies are now creating specialized information technology roles within their team, often referred to as HRIT specialists. As this role is being shaped, it is rapidly growing in strategic importance. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it is vital for human resources staff to have a working knowledge of information technology because HR touches everyone in an organization and has to deal with many data privacy and integration issues.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Another trend in human resource management is the increasing importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning. One of the biggest advantages of AI technology is the ability to streamline the application process. Instead of requiring HR staff to spend countless hours reading hundreds of resumés and cover letters, AI allows complex programs to do the same work in a fraction of the time.
Even with this advanced technology, organizations will still rely on skilled professionals to handle the complex and nuanced situations that machines can not.
Technology to Measure Engagement
Just as technology is shifting many other aspects of human resource management, it is also impacting the way companies are measuring employee engagement. In 2019, for the first time, more companies are expected to use nontraditional methods to measure engagement than annual surveys, a popular metric intake method of the past.
In a 2015 study, SHRM found that 89 percent of medium-to-large companies utilized standard surveys to assess employee engagement while only 30 percent made use of advanced technological methods—such as analyzing computer usage data—to discover how employees were interacting with emails, websites, and more. The field has made a massive shift toward using these more advanced means of gathering information in just three years.
An Emphasis on People Management
It’s well documented that happy, well-managed teams often result in a successful organization; this isn’t a new concept. As the structure of the modern workplace continues to evolve, however, the need for effective leaders has become increasingly critical.
“More and more organizations are realizing their people are their biggest asset,” Zangerl says. “And [they’re realizing] that they really need to pay more attention to how they organize people to do different jobs.”
Zangerl believes that with the consistent restructuring of teams, and the corporate world’s overall lean into the gig economy, the general scope of HR teams’ work has developed into “a much more complex task of trying to organize these people and resources.”