What are Human Resources?

We explain what human resources are, their history, functions and importance. In addition, the administration of human resources.

What are Human Resources?

In administration , Human Resources (HR) is called to everything related to the personnel that is part of the work team of an organization , as well as to the dynamics necessary for its formation, stimulation, hierarchy, etc.

All this must be managed in the right way, like any other business resource, and for this there is the Human Resources administration.

The term “Human Resources” was first used in the book Distribution of wealth by John R Commons, published in 1893. This term began to be used in the early twentieth century , as the idea that workers and staff of a company were part of its ” capital “, that is, of its economic generation assets.

Within the framework of the complex debates regarding labor, salary, motivational and other policies that occurred in the twentieth century, the understanding of Human Resources was developed as a field of study that merited efforts and reconsiderations.

In fact, there are several Human Resources management models, based on product demand, in job segments, in personnel flow or in integrated planning, among other trends.

Today, HR is an indispensable and central element in the dynamics of selection, hiring, motivation , orientation, training and dismissal of personnel, as well as in the design of positions, manuals, salary policies and even business leadership same.

What is Human resources management?

The HR Administration is the discipline in charge of the planning, organization, development and coordination of the personnel of an organization or company, not only from the point of view of macroscopic management, but also of its selection, training and employee stimulation mechanisms .

Every human resources administration aims to build and train the personnel of which an organization is composed. It captures the most suitable individuals for job vacancies, and designs the mechanisms of orientation, motivation, redistribution and instruction of said human team that best suit the organization.

Types of human resources in an organization

Below are some of the most common types of HR in this much-needed area of ​​any business.

1- Compensation and Performance Management

These types of human resource workers develop, implement, and administer company rewards and benefits policies, including salaries, bonuses, pensions, life insurance, and sometimes health plans.

Compensation and Performance Management General Requirement

A general requirement for this type of HR is a degree in human resource management.

It is quite useful for this area to have a master’s degree in management or human resources, as well as a minimum of five years of experience in the field or in a related field.

2- Specialists in training and development

These human resource specialists direct and oversee employee training and development programs.

Typically, a training and development specialist will work with training managers and employee supervisors to develop performance improvement measures, conduct orientation sessions, and organize on-the-job training to help employees maintain and improve their skills. Working skills.

Can be divided into two

This specialty is fragmented into even more specialized HR work, as an organizational development consultant and responsible for training and development.

What is necessary for this position?

A degree is required, often in business administration or management. An MBA and more than five years of experience in human resources may also be required.

Discover What functions are specific to financial systems?

3- Specialists in employment, recruitment and hiring

Also known as recruiters, these specialists recruit and hire workers. They can visit job fairs and college campuses to find promising candidates for the organization.

In the same way, these types of personnel are trained to examine, interview and test candidates, and they can also check references and expand job offers.

Educational requirement for an employment, recruiting and hiring specialist

A degree in psychology or business administration is often expected in this field.

4- Human Resources Information Systems Analysts

Professionals in this field coordinate, communicate, and implement changes in human resource information systems.

Is a particular title required?

Typically a degree in information systems or a related field is required. This is one of the types of HR that can also advance to HR Manager or Senior Business Analyst.

5- Managers of the Employee Support Plan

They are sometimes referred to as Employee Wellness Managers, Work and Family Program Managers, and Work Life Managers. These HR professionals are charged with overseeing programs to improve employee safety and well-being and promote work-life balance.

In the same way, they are able to administer health and safety regulations and practices at work, health and fitness plans, medical examinations, flexible hours programs, restaurant and recreation services, care programs for children and the elderly and health services. advice.

Functions of the HR department

Among the functions of any Human Resources department are:

  • Provide employment guidance and even legal to the workers of the company, in order to comply with the law and at the same time maintain an ideal working environment.
  • Describe the responsibilities of each position in the company and design the guidance material that workers require to perform it.
  • Perform personnel selection tasks to replace positions, open new positions or appoint directors.
  • Carry out the training , improvement and professional growth of workers.
  • Ensure diversity and convenience in jobs , facing the existing market and the growth needs of the company.

Importance of Human Resources

Human Resources are a strategic area for all types of organizations, especially in times of high labor competitiveness and in demanding markets.

The only way to have the right equipment is through an intelligent management of these resources . This is particularly important in public administration , since state institutions are governed by specific criteria in this area, since they are resources belonging to all.

On the other hand, a company that does not take care of its human resources will be training skilled workers that other companies can then hire and thus grow. Nothing in an organization is as valuable as its work team.

Human resources planning

Human resources planning is the process in which the forecast of the needs related to human resources of a company or organization is analyzed and determined. This type of needs includes the forecast of demand for personnel, depending on the needs of the organization at a global level.

The planning can give rise, among others, to processes of selection of new personnel and training activities of retraining of workers.

Examples of human resources

As we have been commenting throughout this article, human resources is a very broad concept, which encompasses a field of study that is increasingly being analyzed by academics in the field of business and economic sciences. This is why this is an increasingly widespread concept, very present in society.

In order to better illustrate the scenario, we have compiled different events involving human resources, to be able to typify the tasks with real examples:

  • A person is hired by a company . For this, some administrative procedures must be carried out so that the person is linked to the company. That task would be carried out by the human resources department.
  • A company feels that its workforce is unmotivated, performing at a rate well below requirements. In this example, the human resources department would also intervene in this situation.
  • A company needs to hire a person to cover a maternity leave. Human resources personnel are in charge of carrying out this personnel process and selecting the candidate.
  • A company acquires new machinery for the company. Employees who are going to use this machine must take a course to acquire the knowledge. Here, in this example, this staff would again be in charge of preparing the necessary training.

Surprising HR selection examples

Deutsche Bahn

This important company of German origin is dedicated to logistics and mobility. A couple of years ago they had a large percentage of the workforce close to retirement age, so they needed to renew it with new workers who had specific skills, since they would have to fill highly qualified positions, such as an electrician or train conductor.

For this he devised an innovative method in which he took advantage of new technologies. This consisted of visiting the job fairs with Virtual Reality glasses that recreated and made the candidates experience what it meant to carry out those positions. In this way, those who were really interested and prepared came forward.


One of the most cutting-edge and avant-garde companies in the world today could not be absent in terms of original personnel selection methods . In this case, up to twelve interviews are carried out with the candidates in which one can find questions as varied as: ‘how can you escape from a mixer that is going to start working in less than a minute?’, or ‘how many piano tuners are there in the world?’

Google as a surprising example of HR selection


The well-known brewery came up with a completely different and original recruitment technique. In this case, they were looking for a professional to incorporate into their marketing department. Recruitment was based on the premise that if all job interviews are the same and are composed of the same type of questions in which the candidates have already studied the answers, how is it possible to identify talent?

To do this, he devised a completely innovative method that was far from all the established canons: he generated various situations to make the candidate feel uncomfortable , and even some in which there were situations in which some kind of danger occurred. Who was selected? The candidate who performed best and handled all situations in the best possible way.


Unilever as an example of HR selection

Maybe Unilever is not familiar to you, but if we talk about Frigo, Dove or Hellmann’s, surely you already know that we are talking about the multinational that produces them. Its way of selecting personnel is based on artificial intelligence and gamification , and is established in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain.

Through this avant-garde selection method, it recruits the professionals that make up its staff. It is specially designed for those who have recently completed their studies, and it is integrated into a program in which candidates choose to do an internship in the company, working in various departments of different international locations, for which they will perform the most diverse functions.

To do this, they first fill out a completely online job application form, and instead of sending a written resume, they provide the profile they have on LinkedIn . Subsequently, their emotional, social and cognitive abilities are evaluated through twelve short online games. In this way, they assess the functions for which the candidates are best qualified and if their profiles fit what the company is looking for.

Next, the candidates have to be recorded using a digital device solving real company problems within a specified period of time.

Finally, the selected candidates spend a day at one of the Unilever locations where they meet with the staff of the area of ​​work for which they are being selected, and even briefly meet with a manager, so that the recruiters will observe how they develop in the reality of the business in order to evaluate the candidate.

Marriott Hotels

This hotel chain came up with a game that was posted on Facebook . Through this, the players lived the virtual experience of running a restaurant, in this way they felt what it was like to experience the tremendous rhythm of the kitchen, management, budget control, employee training , customer complaints, sudden absences of staff, etc.

In this way they selected the people who interested them for their real hotels.


This well-known Swedish home furnishings and accessories company came up with an original way to recruit large numbers of employees when it settled in Australia. This consisted of using their own packaging so that together with the furniture instructions sheet they also carried the job application .


L'oreal as an example of surprising Human Resources selectionIn this case, the well-known cosmetics firm developed an online game through which candidates did the work of virtual managers , and even went with their boss around the world developing new products.


Both the British and the Swedish have devised original methods to select their professionals . In the case of the British, it does so through Virtual Reality . Get them to practice combat skills, training techniques, and even tank driving.

In the case of the Swede, what they did was even more original. They installed a booth in one of the main squares in Stockholm. Inside her was a young man who was locked up and could not leave her unless someone took his place. In this way, they were able to verify those who really had a vocation to serve the citizens.


These are the 8 surprising HR selection examples that some companies have carried out or are currently doing.

Responsibilities of the Human Resources department

The main functions and responsibilities of the human resources department include the processes of recruiting new members for the team, managing employees and processing dismissals or dismissals in the team. In addition to this, it also takes care of:

  • Write the job offer
  • Search for candidates
  • Candidate moderation
  • Recruitment and staff selection
  • Onboarding of new workers
  • Transfer management and time control
  • Management of vacations and absences
  • Professional development
  • Compensation plan development
  • Employee assistance plan
  • Relocation
  • Payroll management (and incidents)
  • Flexible remuneration management
  • Variables management
  • Report creation
  • Document management
  • Collecting employee data
  • Legal aspects
  • Mediation between employees
  • Layoffs and casualties
  • Etc.

History of human resources

The history of human resources really transcends any modern fact. We are talking about the fact that, since the first companies and business associations were created, human resources were present. However, this management was not as professionalized as when the concept emerged; product of research and the advancement of business and economic sciences.

However, already in the 20th century, the term began to have greater academic exposure. The economist E. Wight Bakke, in his works, uses the term resources to refer to the relationship between employees and employers. So do more large-scale economists, thus giving relevance to the concept. The most notable case occurs after the appearance in the writings of the economic theory of the economist Frederick W. Taylor. Economist who introduced the concept, leading to subsequent analyzes that, throughout the 20th century, gave shape to the term.

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