What Is Human Resource Management (HRM)?

Kaitlin Edwards | Dec 16, 2023

What Is Human Resource Management (HRM)?

Human resource management is a branch of business that supports employees in a company. HR managers work to foster positive and constructive relations between employees and upper management, as well as ensure a secure workplace environment.

Human resources emerged in the early 20th century as part of a movement toward workplace reform. At the time, “employment clerks” worked in factories to maintain workers’ rights. They focused on improving conditions in the workplace, raising salaries, and combatting labor shortages by encouraging employment efforts.

Today, almost all large companies have extensive human resources departments. While having one is not required by law, experts agree that companies with 50 employees or more should consider human resource management.

HR professionals have many responsibilities, including recruiting employees, mediating disagreements, and maintaining employee benefits. They often wear many hats, and their duties can differ based on the industry they are involved in.

Company managers and officials have been known to be wary of human resources, as there is a common belief that human resources professionals serve employees rather than businesses as a whole. However, successful human resource management practices can improve company functions and benefit all parties.

What Does Successful Human Resources Management Look Like?

Successful human resources management can make a difference in a company’s culture and endeavors. A major part of human resources focuses on people management, as employee relations and experience can make or break a business.

Successful human resources management is reflected in how smoothly a company operates, as well as the satisfaction of its employees.

A Positive Workplace Culture

One of the biggest signs of successful human resource management is a positive workplace culture.

Some markers of positive workplace culture include:

  • Constructive communication between employees and management
  • Appreciation for employees and recognition for hard work
  • Employees that work as a team toward goals and have a sense of belonging
  • Respect and trust between employees as well as managers or supervisors

Human resource management maintains a positive workplace culture by tending to employee needs and offering support where they can. This involves setting expectations for how company members communicate and deal with one another to ensure all parties are respectful and honest and that conflict is sufficiently mediated.

In a positive workplace, employees work together efficiently to complete tasks and overcome hurdles. They feel secure in the workplace and can express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions. This can help company operations and day-to-day tasks run more smoothly.

Robust Employee Development

A company or business where employees are actively improving their skills and becoming more adept at their jobs likely has a successful human resources department — one that has taken the time to partner with employees in their professional development.

Human resource management does not only aim to support relations within the workplace or to support employees emotionally and socially. It also helps with training and development and career development overall.

A few ways a human resources department can encourage employee development include:

  • Administering regular training programs or workshops for both new hires and existing employees
  • Encouraging or mandating workers to take courses in their fields of work throughout their period of hire that the company gives them access to
  • Providing one-on-one mentoring to employees regarding how they can improve their performance or achieve their career goals

When employees are given the chance to learn more and expand their skills, they can transition into higher-level positions and build their careers. This not only benefits employees but also benefits the companies they work for — employees who become better at their jobs and can propel the business further.

Fair Compensation

One of the most important signs of successful human resource management is when employees are being paid fairly according to their positions and job tasks.

Underpaid employees are more likely to be unhappy at their jobs than those who receive fair wages. They may not feel that their efforts are properly recognized or appreciated. This can have negative effects on company culture, as well as employee performance.

Human resources departments can help ensure employees are receiving the pay they deserve while keeping a company compliant with salary transparency laws for prospective workers.

What Are the Operational Functions of Human Resources Management?

While the specifics of HR responsibilities may differ depending on the type of company or industry, the basic duties are often very similar. Here are some of the main HR functions.


One of the most well-known functions of human resources is to oversee the recruitment process and hire new employees. They are responsible for assessing new or prospective employees and deciding whether or not they would be a good fit for their company.

Talent acquisition includes writing job descriptions, reviewing applications, and conducting background checks. They also guide new employees through onboarding.

Policy Development

Human resources management heavily involves developing workplace policies. HR managers set guidelines for how difficulties are resolved in the workplace and help enforce laws that maintain secure workplace environments. With these standards, employees know what’s expected of them, and they feel empowered to report threatening or inappropriate behavior.

Examples of policies that may be put in place by an HR department include:

  • Codes of conduct to maintain professionalism in the workplace
  • Consequences for sexual harassment, discrimination, and verbal or physical violence
  • Attendance policies

Human resources are also largely responsible for enforcing policies and dealing with any transgressions from employees and other staff. HR employees often act as vital mediators who clarify expectations, help solve interpersonal conflicts, and promote harmony among staff.

Benefit Administration

Alongside managing payroll, human resources departments are also tasked with providing employees with benefits, as well as ensuring employees receive the benefits packages they are entitled to.

Benefits range from retirement or investment programs to healthcare plans and paid family or medical leave. HR managers help employees choose the right benefits for their lifestyles and set budgets to offer these benefits.

Performance Management

After staffing, HR managers often help oversee the performance of new and existing employees and their career paths through regular evaluations.

HR can support underperforming employees through mentoring or skill development. It can also help overachieving employees progress in their careers and receive promotions.

If an employee is not completing their allotted tasks, a human resources department may also be responsible for determining whether or not they are a good fit for your business.


Human resources departments keep a company in good legal standing by ensuring that it is compliant with local laws governing business policies and worker’s rights. HR personnel must stay up to date on regulations to enforce them in the workplace.

To manage HR compliance successfully, human resources professionals rely on a variety of tools. For example, Mosey’s compliance platform can help ensure that your company remains compliant with state and local business laws for HR, payroll, and taxes.

Health and Safety

Through policy development, human resources management helps keep workers healthy and safe. For example, they can set rules that will prevent accidents as well as make sure buildings and workspaces are up to code with legal safety standards.

They also ensure the company has the correct safety certifications to operate successfully and hold employee training sessions for workers to understand how to maintain a safe workplace. In some cases, they may also be charged with helping employees maintain their mental well-being.

What Are the Challenges of Human Resource Management?

While successful human resource management can have positive effects on a company, the many responsibilities an HR department has are not always easy to navigate.

Here are some common challenges of human resource management.

Workplace Engagement

Positive company culture is important in any business, but it can be difficult to keep employees encouraged and passionate about their jobs. Employees may lack a sense of belonging or strong leaders to keep them going. In these cases, HR managers incorporate team-building initiatives to promote a healthy culture.

Because business regulations are often shifting, human resources departments are tasked with changing company policies to remain compliant with employment laws. Lack of compliance can lead to fines and lawsuits.


Employee retention involves keeping employees satisfied while developing their skills. To maintain employee engagement, HR must ensure workers are devoted to their jobs and are given opportunities within the company through good talent management.

Increasing Costs

Employees must be paid fairly in accordance with their jobs, and companies must stay financially viable. Increasing costs and economic downturns may pressure HR departments and business managers to make salary cuts to keep businesses running.

Maintaining Organizational Effectiveness

Human resources departments oversee all of a company’s employees, which can range from dozens to hundreds of people.

To practice successful human resource management, departments must first maintain good organizational practices that scale with company growth. HR managers use strategic planning to keep everyone in a company aware of organizational goals. Company stakeholders work with HR managers to create metrics and monitor how well they are reaching their goals.

What Tools Make Human Resource Management Easier?

Human resource management practices can pose many challenges, but good management skills and HR tools can help managers maintain a productive work environment.

Human Resource Management System (HRMS)

Human resource management systems (HRMS) are software applications that help human resources personnel organize employee data. This software files performance charts, records salary changes, and serves as a platform for benefits data, as well as other employee information.

Using HRMS platforms can help HR representatives more easily oversee many employees and stay organized.

Compliance Platforms

Companies follow different labor laws depending on their state and city, and this web of regulations is often complicated when the company employs remote workers. Many HR departments use compliance platforms to help them complete the due diligence required to follow the law.

Mosey’s compliance platform is an easy-to-use tool that can help HR personnel determine the legislation and policies relevant to their companies. Schedule a demo with our team to learn more about how Mosey works and how it can benefit your HR operations.

Simplifying HR Compliance With Mosey

Running a business can feel complicated at times — especially when it comes to compliance. If you’re navigating HR compliance, Mosey can help by keeping all of your compliance necessities in one place. Mosey even automates steps along the way to take the guesswork out of it and keep your business running smoothly.

Plus, you can monitor upcoming legislation so you’re aware of new policies on the horizon and stay prepared for any changes. With Mosey, you can make compliance streamlined and simple.

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