Human Resource Management Basics

Function, Department, and Job Fundamentals

Are you looking for basic information about human resource management as a function or department within a company? Do you want to better understand the contributions of your HR staff and department? Considering a career in HR? You've arrived at the right place.

This resource will explain HR jargon and practices, detail HR acronyms and abbreviations, and take an in-depth look at what people who work in human resource management do and how their department is organized.

What Exactly Is Human Resources?

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One of the most frequently asked questions about Human Resources is: "What is the definition of human resources?" William R. Tracey, in The Human Resources Glossary, defines human resources as, "The people that staff and operate an organization… as contrasted with the financial and material resources of an organization."

This article also offers another meaning for HR, as well as the evolution of the term "human resources," and more.

What Is a Human Resource?

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The short answer is that a human resource is a person. Here's a bit more information about human resources, along with a guide to all the human resources information on This is a good starting point for exploring all the HR resources offered.

What Is Human Resource Management (HRM)?

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Human Resource Management is the function within an organization that focuses on recruitment, management, and the direction of the people in the organization.

It focuses on compensating people and on managing a positive, employee-oriented, productive culture. Human resources management is also performed by line managers in an organization. 

What Is the Human Resource Department?

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Looking for information about the HR department? It's the entity organizations form to organize people, relationships, goals, and work.

The goal of a department is to support the accomplishment of the organization's overall business goals. Departments are usually organized around providing functions such as human resources, marketing, administration, and sales.

Find out more about the HR department and how it serves your organization.

What Does a Human Resource Manager, Generalist, or Director Do?

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Human resource managers, generalists, and directors are the people who staff and operate the human resources department. Learn about the people who work in human resources, including job descriptions for the HR director or manager, generalist, and assistant.

What Is the Importance of Human Resources Management?

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Find out why your human resources staff and function are critically important to your business. Are you using their capabilities and competence to help them contribute all they can? 

Sample Human Resource Management Job Descriptions

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Sample human resource management job descriptions give you a basic template for developing job descriptions in your organization.

Sample job descriptions also give you an idea of what other organizations expect from employees doing the featured job. 

What Is Human Resource Development (HRD)?

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Human Resource Development (HRD) is the framework for helping employees develop their personal and organizational skills, knowledge, abilities, and experience. The purpose is to help employees operate more productively for the company and to advance their own skills. 

Human Resource Development includes such opportunities as mentoring, employee training, employee career development, performance management and development, succession planning, coaching, key employee identification, tuition assistance, and organization development.

Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

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The Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is a software or online solution for the data entry, data tracking, and data information needs of the human resources function within a business.

The HRIS helps HR staff use the employee information needed to manage employees and operate a business. 

Human Resources Job Titles

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Want to know the job titles of people who work in HR jobs? These are the typical titles used by employees who work in HR jobs. Feel free to use them in your organization with modifications for your workplace, of course.

Do you have additional questions about HR? Find out the answers to frequently asked questions about HR.