Some of the most important characteristics of Human Resource Management are as follows:
Nothing moves unless a piece of paper moves and no paper can move, unless a person moves. Even if there is total automation, the organization will require a person to on the button. This shows how important manpower is to any kind of organization.
All organizations, irrespective of size or extent of its resources, commercial or not for profit, have people – they have human resources. Organisations survive and thrive only because of the Concept of Human Resource Management.
History of HRM is as old and complex as the history of work and organization. HR is the most important asset possessed by any organization. The strategists talk about sustainable competitive advantage. It is the HR which helps to hold the advantage.
Human Resource management is a process and philosophy of acquisition, development, utilization, and maintenance of competent human force to achieve goals of an organization in an efficient and effective manner.
Concept of HRM contains two versions – the hard version and the soft version. The hard version or variant emphasizes the need to manage people in ways that will obtain added value from them and thus achieve competitive advantage.
On the other hand, soft version is concerned with treating employees as valued assets, a source of competitive advantage through their commitment, adaptability and high quality. Today’s HRM is a combination of both the versions. HRM is management of human energy and capabilities.
The art and science of HRM is indeed very complex. HRM is both the art of managing people by recourse to creative and innovative approaches; it is a science as well because of the precision and rigorous application of theory that is required.
Development of HRM covers all levels and all categories of people, and management and operational staff. No discrimination is made between any levels or categories. All those who are managers have to perform HRM. It is pervasive also because it is required in every department of the organisation. All kinds of organisations, profit or non-profit making, have to follow HRM.
First, it is a process as there are number of functions to be performed in a series, beginning with human resource planning to recruitment to selection, to training to performance appraisal.
To be specific, the HRM process includes acquisition (HR planning, recruitment, selection, placement, socialisation), development (training and development, and career development), utilisation (job design, motivation, performance appraisal and reward management), and maintenance (labour relations, employee discipline, grievance handling, welfare, and termination). Second, it is continuous, because HRM is a never-ending process.
HRM is not a profit centre. It serves all other functional departments. But the basic responsibility always lies with the line managers. HRM is a staff function – a facilitator. The HR Manager has line authority only within his own department, but has staff authority as far as other departments are concerned.
The HRM function has to be discharged in a manner that legal dictates are not violated. Equal opportunity and equal pay for all, inclusion of communities in employment, inclusion of tribal’s (like Posco or Vedanta projects) and farmers in the benefits and non-violation of human rights must be taken care of by the HRM.
It is encompassing welfare, manpower, personnel management, and keeps close association with employee and industrial relations. It is multi- disciplinary activity utilising knowledge and inputs from psychology, sociology, economics, etc. It is changing itself in accordance with the changing environment. It has travelled from exploitation of workers to treating them as equal partners in the task.
HRM is performance oriented. It has its focus on results, rather than on rules. It encourages people to give their 100%. It tries to secure the best from people by winning the whole hearted cooperation. It is a process of bringing people and organization together so that the goals of each are met. It is commitment oriented.
HRM is about people at work both as individuals and a group. It tries to help employees to develop their potential fully. It comprises people-related functions like hiring, training and development, performance appraisal, working environment, etc.
HRM has the responsibility of building human capital. People are vital for achieving organizational goals. Organizational performance depends on the quality of people and employees.
HRM is a philosophy and the basic assumption is that employees are human beings and not a factor of production like land, labour or capital. HRM recognises individuality and individual differences. Every manager to be successful must possess social skills to manage people with differing needs.
HRM in its scope includes Personnel aspect, Welfare aspect and Industrial relations aspect in itself. It is also integrated as it concern with not only acquisition, but also development, utilisation, and maintenance.