We often hear the term Human Resource Management, Employee Relations and Personnel Management used in the popular press as well as by Industry experts. Whenever we hear these terms, we conjure images of efficient managers busily going about their work in glitzy offices.
In this article, we look at the question “what is HRM ?” by giving a broad overview of the topic and introducing the readers to the practice of HRM in contemporary organizations. Though as with all popular perceptions, the above imagery has some validity, the fact remains that there is much more to the field of HRM and despite popular depictions of the same, the “art and science” of HRM is indeed complex. We have chosen the term “art and science” as 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.
As outlined above, the process of defining HRM leads us to two different definitions. The first definition of HRM is that it is the process of managing people in organizations in a structured and thorough manner. This covers the fields of staffing (hiring people), retention of people, pay and perks setting and management, performance management, change management and taking care of exits from the company to round off the activities. This is the traditional definition of HRM which leads some experts to define it as a modern version of the Personnel Management function that was used earlier.