Brief History of Human Resources and HR Management
Human Resources is a business function, which manages, leads, facilitates and provides tools for the human capital management in the organization. HR sets strategic processes and procedures, runs difficult and complex communication campaigns as the organization attracts the best talents from the job market, retains them with the attractive compensation packages or it develops them in talent development programs. HR runs many processes, which are crucial for the modern organization. We cannot believe that the successful business could exist without the Recruitment and Staffing, Compensation and Benefits, Training and Development or the Leadership Development. However, in the past the companies did not use any of the HR value added processes. The story of Human Resources started as evidence of all employees. It dealt with issues and requests. Nothing more was expected to be delivered. The HR Management history is fascinating. The wars usually change the path of Human Resources in organizations and society.
The history of Human Resources starts to be interesting with the evolution of the large factories. It was in the 18th century. The rapid development of new industrial approach to work changed the world dramatically. The quick and cheap production became a priority for many industries. The factories hired thousands of workers, who worked up to 16 hours a day. Soon, many entrepreneurs discovered that satisfied employees are more effective and can produce more than depressed employees. Many factories started to introduce voluntary programs for employees to increase their comfort and satisfaction. On the other hand, the government started to intervene to introduce some basic human rights and the work safety legislation.
The second rapid development of Human Resources started in the beginning of 20th century. Most organizations introduced the Personnel Management. The personnel department had large responsibilities. It was dealing with issues, introducing the new law requirements. It had the responsibility for the implementation of different social and work place safety programs. Everything was focused on the productivity of employees. The regular productivity increments were the key measure for the management of employees. The significant change was introduced after the 2nd World War because the military developed many training programs for new soldiers. After the war, the training became a respected process in personnel department.
During this period, the trade unions evolved. The trade unions changed the rules of the game. The employer got a strong partner to discuss with. Trade unions introduced many improvements at no significant costs for the employer. Today, trade unions are not as strong as they were used to be, but many organizations still benefit or suffer from a strong presence of trade unions in their factories.
The real HR Revolution began in 70’s of the 20th century (see Early HR Management). The technology and the globalization have changed the rules of the game. Most HR Functions are running complex HRIS solutions, which make information about employees available anywhere and anytime to managers and HR Professionals.
The economy of the wealthy western countries shifted towards the services economy. The quality of services became the crucial competitive advantage. HR became necessary because the structure of the workforce changed. The leadership development was the right answer.
Managers and leaders have to think global today; they have to understand to different cultural backgrounds. The corporate culture cannot be country specific; it has to reflect many nations working for the organization. This is a fantastic opportunity for Human Resources. Human Resources Management is global today. The global HR policies drive processes in different countries, but the processes produce comparable results. The employees relocate from country to country.
The future of Human Resources is bright. The globalization cannot be stopped because nations collaborate. The organizations become less country specific, and they cannot identify themselves with one country.
New technologies will bring other revolutions to offices. The commute working is standard today, but it will become a norm. The technology will connect employees as they would sit in the next cubicle.
iPads will allow quick and instant access to information about employees and managers will be able to make all decisions and approvals online.
However, the future of Human Resources will be about new networking methods and how to make employees know each other.