HR Management’s Early Stages
For centuries, the agriculture was the leading economic sector. The factories did not exist. The people were not free, and they could make a free choice of their career. The word career did not exist as well. The industrial revolution changed the history of humans and nations. The mass production allowed the significant decrease of prices. The people gained some freedom. Human Resources did not exist at the moment, but the new factories required people, who could take care of the workforce. Some basic management principles started to evolve. The work had to be organized.
The first HR practices and the basic HR processes can be found in ancient China. The Chinese government introduced first rules and procedures for the selection of the government employees. The rules were straightforward, but they were working well for the ancient society. HR had evolved before ancient Rome was ruling the known world.
However, the real revolution started with factories, which employed thousands of employees. Wages were extremely low, and the labor force was cheap. The managers and owners simplified the production and steps in production to reduce the induction time of the new worker. The working conditions were terrible. The work and safety was non existent.
The large factories and industrialization were the foundation of the basic management of Human Resources. The people were cheap, and they were easy to replace. They were far cheaper than the machinery in the factory. The usual length of the working day was from 12 to 16 hours, at least 6 times a week. The wage was low and allowed to fulfill just the basic needs of the worker. The specialized function was not a basic requirement of the quickly growing factory. The salaries were low, and the calculation of salaries was easy. The only worked hours were paid; no overtimes or other salary items existed.
Many factory owners used fear as the main motivational tool. The factory was hiring tremendous numbers of new employees, and it fired everyone, who was a troublemaker. No complaints were allowed. The employees were not motivated positively; they were motivated to avoid certain behaviors.
In the second phase of the industrialization, the government stepped in the process. The basic health and safety laws were introduced. The factories had to introduce basic safety standards for employees. The working hours were shortened and employees got a right to have a break during the day.
The smart factory owners noticed the positive affects of the employees’ satisfaction on the productivity and performance. They noticed first signs of the potential competitive advantage. The smart factories started to introduce the new social programs for employees. The factories started to contribute to social life and started to support communities essential for workers.
Human Resources of the modern age begun as the social care of the employer. The factory invested into social programs, because the programs had a positive return in the productivity. The roots of Human Resources are purely economical.