What Is Human Resources?

What Is Human Resources page image

People seeking an interesting career often ask us the same question - what is human resources - because it can frequently be                                                                      shrouded in mystery.

Several sources have come up with their own definitions to try and state what human resources or HR is. For example Wikipedia describes it as the workforce of a business or organization. Some authorities have suggested it is the value people bring to a company. Others believe the value is not the people but the knowledge and abilities they inject.

For the purposes of this HR Training Courses website we use the more widely accepted description which is the people and their associated working disciplines.

Human resources explained

People who work in the department of human resources are thought of as the organization's human resource management or HRM. Their remit is to manage the workforce.

A well managed and successfully motivated workforce is essential to the success of the business. Therefore a company will employ the very best HR specialist it can find. It will look for people who have undertaken extensive training in a range of human resource practices.

The human resource manager has one main function. It is to design and implement strategies necessary to achieve the company's commercial goals. Goals might vary from one organization to another but often include:

  • New innovation
  •  Productivity
  •  Product development
  •  Market development
  •  Employee development
  •  Profits
  •  Share price

Often the HR team will work alongside colleagues from other departments. For example, market development projects could result in a team comprised of human resources administration, marketing specialists, production engineers and advertising agencies all working together.

HR adds value to a business

If the human resources department does not add value to the organization then it is simply an overhead to be eliminated. That is why the human resources salary is usually amongst the higher levels to attract good HR staff who are capable of achieving success for their employers.

The human resources manager and his or her team has many instruments to help achieve success including the following:


This very specialized activity is one of the prime reasons why the HR department exists. Finding, interviewing and hiring good people is a highly skilled process. Strong performers with relevant skills need to be found. Just as important is the elimination of weak performers if they cannot be better motivated and trained.

Workforce planning and development

Before the right people can be employed decisions must be made about the type of people needed; what skills must they have, what age group should they be in, how well qualified are they and many more factors that must be considered.


Pay too much and the business will not make sufficient profits. Pay too little and it will not attract the right people.

Salaries and wages are compensation to employees for what they contribute to the company but businesses often look at other incentives to motivate the workforce.

Human resources courses

Human resources training is essential in order that HR employees can keep up to date with the rapidly changing requirements in today's businesses. Fortunately a wide range of high quality human resources training programs is available either online or from offline suppliers.

For offline courses a human resource worker would need to be able to travel to the training center unless it is to be provided at the place of work. One important benefit of online courses is that people can access them from anywhere in the world.

Training and development

Progressive companies need their workforce to keep up to date with industry techniques and processes. Also, the people employed get satisfaction out of on-going training programs.

Job analysis

The way to determine whether working decisions are helping the company and its workers comes down to detailed analytical procedures. Without the information it is not possible to get an accurate picture of how the business is progressing.

Industrial Relations and Employee Relations

Here is where negotiating skill are of paramount importance. HR staff could be involved in discussions with unions, legal or government authorities and the company' workforce.

Organization Development

No organization stands still. It either goes forward to success or backwards to oblivion.

Good organizational development manages new challenges and opportunities ensuring successful change through planned and controlled progress.

Human resources training and development

That is a brief answer to the question, "What Is Human Resources? To be a great HR manager you will need commercial acumen, consultancy skills, an ability to innovate, courage to take charge of situations and enjoy working with people. Fortunately you will find hr training courses to develop your own skills.