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Human resource management – definition and importance

Human resource management (HRM)

Human Resource Management (HRM) is about managing human resources in an organisation. Human resources need to be managed appropriately. As a subject of academic studies, HRM emphasises on a number of issues such as organisational design, human resource planning, performance management, employee relations and HR services.


Definition of Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management refers a ‘strategic approach to managing employment relations which emphasises that leveraging people’s capabilities is critical to achieving sustainable competitive advantage, this being achieved through a distinctive set of integrated employment policies, programmes and practices’ (Bratton & Gold, 2007 cited in BPP Learning Media, 2010, p.12).


Readers and experts of HRM can look into it from both operational and strategic perspectives. Work schedule, performance appraisal, motivating employees, dealing with employees issues are some of the operational aspects of HRM. On the other hand, achieving competitive advantage for the company through the human resources is an example of strategic human resource management.


Difference between Human Resource Management and Personnel Management

Readers of HRM sometimes come across another phrase called ‘personnel management’. Some managers believe that there are some differences between these terms, while others rarely believe that there is any difference at all. However, in order to bridge the gap between these differing opinions,some people argue that personnel management is the old name of human resource management. Personnel management is administrative in nature, while human resource management is strategic in nature.


Importance of Human Resource Management

HRM plays an important role in business. There is no doubt that robots are already on the stage of the world, however, it does not diminish the significance of human resources. Without skilled people and their appropriate utilisation, organisations are highly like to fail. Most of the companies understand it, and that is why they are committed to their employees. This commitment is very often reflected in the policies and human resource practices of companies.


However, many companies are also accused of poor HR practices. Poor pay, use of child labour in developing countries, and aggressive management styles are some of the accusations brought forward against some companies.


In a nutshell, HRM is a very important area in business. Appropriate human resource strategies make employees committed to the companies and create a good corporate image. No wonder why working in Google is a dream job for an uncountable number of people in the world.


Last update: 09 August 2023


BPP Learning Media (2010) Business Essentials: Human Resource Management, London: BPP Learning Media Ltd.

Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.