The role of human resources has changed a great deal since it was first conceptualized in 1893. Over the years, the responsibilities of human resources departments have grown to encompass everything from recruitment to conflict resolution. The current technological climate is set to bring about another transformation in the world of human resources. Technology is giving human resources departments the equipment they need to be able to drive sustained business growth.
How Human Resources has Changed Over Time
The first example of the term human resources was by the pioneering economist John R. Commons in his 1893 book The Distribution of Wealth. The concept came into play in the mainstream of business in the early 1900s. Human resources departments, known in the early 1900s as personnel administration, focused mainly on hiring, firing, evaluating and compensating employees. The beginning of human resources represents a shift in the business landscape, as the rights of workers were acknowledged by employers. However, the early practice of human resources failed to recognize employee relationships at either a personal or organizational level. The period between 1924 and 1932 has become known as the ‘Industrial Psychological Era’ as an increasing amount of research shed light on the fact that productivity depended on more than the physical conditions of the workplace.
Human resources continued to evolve over time, but the next marked shift occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. Businesses were experiencing increased levels of competition due to globalization, deregulation and rapid technological change. The change to human resources at this time was not purely a result of increased market pressure. Social change also motivated a transformation in the business-employee relationship. The most prominent examples of this social change is seen in the US legislature of the 1960s. The Equal Pay Act and Civil Rights Act began to pass fairer employee practices that put pressure on legal compliance on human resource departments. Advancements in psychology also played a role, such as human motivation theories like Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory and Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory, which illustrated the importance of employee engagement.
Human Resources Today
Human resources now encompasses everything on the people side of management. Research and history have shown businesses that in order to be as productive and successful as possible, an effective human resources department is vital.
Technology is set to transform the way how effectively human resources departments fulfil their role. Inpulse.com offers human resources analytics and employee engagement solutions that enable managers to decrease turnover and improve employee experiences with data. Human resource analytics provide businesses with the vital information they need early so that the departments can act swiftly, discovering critical areas or further enhancing the employee experience.
The world of human resources has come a long way its formal conception back in the late 1800s. The value of engaged and productive employees is now a fundamental principle of any successful business. Technology is set to transform almost every business operation in the future. The effects of technology on human resources are already being felt today. Transforming the business landscape by increasing the speed and extent to which business can manage their employees most effectively.