What is Human Resource Management (HRM)? 2023 Complete Guide

November 29, 2022 Workhuman Editorial Team
reating hr processes for people management

For something that’s so vital for everyday tasks in any given organization, human resource management (HRM) can still be a hard concept to grasp sometimes.

Perhaps the reason some people don’t understand the full extent of the HRM process is that it’s so extensive that it touches pretty much every cog in the wheel. Plus, it keeps changing as time goes on, so HRMs need to follow all the rising trends and tools to be efficient.

So, what is HRM all about, how does it work, and why should you bother understanding it? That’s what we set out to find!

What does HRM really mean?

Well, from the name itself, you could tell that HRM is all about “handling” or “managing” an organization’s staff, but what does that actually mean?

The gist of HRM is that it’s a set of programs, practices, and policies that deal with employee recruitment, training, and retention.

However, a simpler way to look at it is by considering it a bridge between management and staff.

HRM human resource management

Why does HRM matter?

Aside from keeping the cogs running smoothly, HRM is vital for organizational culture, productivity, and risk mitigation.

If it’s done right, you should be able to see its impact in aspects like:

  • Purposeful allocation of all the company’s resources for a higher ROI
  • Boosted efficiency in employee hiring, training, and retention
  • Better education and development (both personal and work-related) for the workforce
  • Clear and observable stances on important social issues derived from the core values

How has HRM changed through the years?

Back in the day, HR was basically payroll, essential on-the-job training, policy compliance, record keeping, and maybe a few events here and there for morale.

Today, the scope is much more comprehensive. The focus of HR has expanded more than ever, driven by the globalization of business and the increasing importance of human capital in the organization.

Employee growth has been a major aspect for a while, but as we head into 2023, we’re seeing it shift slightly to focus on a couple of key principles:

  • A focus on the future: Programs should provide employees with the skills they need to be successful in the future, not just in the present.
  • A focus on the whole person: Programs should not just focus on job-specific skill sets only. Instead, they should address the whole person, including their personal and professional development.

What programs does the human resource management process cover?

The HRM process includes identifying the workforce needs and recruiting the right people before orienting and onboarding them. Then, HR staff needs to manage the employees’ performance and provide development opportunities.

Let’s take a closer look at the top five HRM roles, how they work to serve the organization’s goals, and what trends you can expect for the near future:

1. Training and development programs

While training and development are often used interchangeably, there is a distinction between the two.

For one, training refers to activities that teach employees the specific skills they need to perform their jobs. Meanwhile, development refers to activities that help employees improve their long-term goals and career prospects within the organization.

To make the most out of this process, you might be on the look for a trending training and development in HRM example to add to your organization:

  • On-the-job training: This type of training takes place within the work environment and allows employees to learn new skills as they perform their duties.
  • Classroom training: Classroom training takes place outside the work environment and can teach employees new skills or knowledge.
  • eLearning programs: With the increasing popularity of online learning, it’s no surprise that eLearning programs will continue to grow in the workplace. These programs allow employees to learn at their own pace and according to individual needs.
  • Gamification: Gamification is a great way to engage employees and make learning fun. By incorporating elements of gameplay into educational material, the trainees are more likely to retain information and be motivated to learn.
  • Virtual reality training: Virtual reality is another trend on the rise in the training and development world. This immersive technology can create realistic simulations that allow employees to practice new skills in a safe environment.

2. Compensation and benefits programs

With the ever-changing workforce landscape, companies need to keep their employees happy and engaged. As it happens, compensation and benefits are common ways to do that.

The possibilities here range from competitive base pay and bonuses to stock options. Yet, health insurance ranks high on the priority list. In fact, 88% find it to be the most desirable benefit of all! Other popular benefit programs include on-site child care, flexible work hours, and telecommuting.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to follow here. Instead, HR managers need to be skilled enough to be able to adjust fair and in-demand compensations within the company’s resources.

3. Recruitment and long-term onboarding programs


Did you know that a strong onboarding program can help you boost employee retention by a whopping 82%? That sounds impressive. Yet, you don’t get that kind of results without human resources managers who really know their stuff when it comes to recruitment and onboarding.

Here are some trends that HRMs could consider in the coming years:

Recruitment process outsourcing

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a growing trend where an external provider manages all or part of an organization’s recruitment process.

The RPO provider assumes responsibility for some or all of the recruitment activities, from sourcing and screening candidates to onboarding new hires. They could also design and implement new recruitment strategies, as well as manage the organization’s recruitment budget.

So, all in all, RPO can be a cost-effective solution for organizations that don’t have the internal HRM base to manage their recruitment process effectively. The RPO market even has a forecast expansion with a CAGR of 13.9% until 2030!

Personalized and predictive analytics

With the ever-growing pool of data available, we can only expect to see more and more HRMs relying on predictive analytics for recruitment programs. Below you’ll find an example of predictive HR analytics.

The main appeal here is that it allows the HR staff to identify the best candidates for open positions, making the whole onboarding process more personalized.

Employee referral programs

Employee referral programs are a great way to tap into your existing workforce to find quality candidates.

Plus, employees who refer candidates are often more likely to have a vested interest in seeing their referrals succeed. So, you can see some peer-to-peer training in cases like this.

Social Media Recruiting

It might sound unconventional at first. However, it’s actually an HRM trend that you can see implemented in recruitment programs from organizations like Kroger and ShoreTel.

With the vast majority of the workforce using social media, it’s no surprise that this is a handy recruiting tool. So, if you know where to look, this kind of approach can help you reach many potential candidates quickly and easily.

Long-term onboarding

Onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee into the company and getting them up to speed with the company’s culture, values, and expectations.

However, the key here is going long-term with a comprehensive program that extends beyond the first few months of employment. You can even go up to a year or more.

Here’s what the process can entail:

  • Extended shadowing periods: New hires will shadow experienced employees for prolonged durations to better understand their new roles.
  • Personalized learning experiences: Aim for onboarding that’s customized to each individual based on their specific needs and learning preferences.
  • Continued support after the first year: Rather than being left to fend for themselves after the first year, new employees will continue to receive support from the organization during the entire duration of their employment.

While long-term onboarding programs may take more time and resources to implement, they can be well worth the investment!

4.   Employee relations programs

human resource manager

Perhaps one of the most well-known roles of a human resource manager is employee relations (ER) programs.

You’ll see the impact of an ER manager in aspects like improved communication and collaboration between employees and upper management. They can also help to create a more positive work environment and resolve conflict.

Here’s how they can do that:

Employee assistance programs (EAPs)

EAPs provide employees with confidential counseling and support services to help them deal with personal and work-related problems.

Many HRM managers can use this as a chance to target specific issues within the workforce.

Employee engagement programs

With the rise of employee burnout, many companies are searching for ways to improve engagement.

Engagement programs increase employees’ satisfaction and commitment to their job and the organization as a whole. These programs often involve activities such as team-building exercises, recognition and reward programs, and communication initiatives.

HR staff might even opt for software solutions like Workhuman’s Moodtracker® and Social Recognition® to gain insights into the engagement level and show appreciation when needed.

See how Moodtracker can help your leaders get the insights they need to stop disengagement in its tracks.

Try it for free today!

Diversity and inclusion programs

Ideally, you’ll want the HRM to come up with diversity and inclusion programs that foster a culture of respect and understanding for all employees. However, that’s often easier said than done.

Odds are, you’ll need a delicate balance between unconscious bias training, mentorship programs, and employee resource groups.

Flexible work arrangements (FWAs)

Flexible work arrangements have been around for a while, but they have taken on new significance in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

FWAs can take many different forms, from telecommuting and flexible hours to compressed work weeks and job sharing.

In the current business context, FWAs can also help organizations to be more agile and responsive to change. After all, it gives the employees wiggle room in terms of when, where, and how they work.

In fact, 87% of the employees will opt for flexible arrangements if given a chance to do so. That’s why you might want to consider adding some extra options to your HRM plans.

5. Health and safety programs

An effective health and safety program should address the specific risks present in the workplace, and it’s the HR manager’s role to review and update these programs regularly.

Here are a few ways to tackle these aspects of HRM:

Employee wellness programs

Most businesses nowadays offer some kind of employee wellness program as part of their benefits package, but there’s more to it than basic health insurance and dental coverage.

The programs could include fitness and nutrition programs, stress management, mental health support, and other services.

That said, there are several things to keep in mind before implementing employee wellness programs:

  • The programs should be voluntary. Employees should not feel pressured to take part, as this can lead to resentment.
  • Wellness programs should be personal rather than one-size-fits-all. They should be based on a needs assessment and consider the different employees within the organization.
  • The program should be affordable and accessible. Employees shouldn’t have to pay any additional fees for the program or need to take time off from work.

Safety training

Safety training

The HRM process can also attempt to identify and avoid potential hazards in the workplace to reduce the risks.

Common safety training programs include:

  • First aid and CPR training
  • Emergency preparedness training
  • Workplace violence prevention courses
  • Hazard communication training


You may think of ergonomics in the workplace as making sure your office chair is at the right height or that your computer screen is at eye level. However, it’s developed into much more than that.

For people in the field of HRM, ergonomics means analyzing how employees interact with their work environment and how to optimize that interaction for higher safety, health, and productivity.

There are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about ergonomics in the workplace:

  • It’s essential to consider the ergonomics of the entire office, not just individual workstations.
  • Ergonomics is not just about furniture; it also includes factors like lighting and noise levels.
  • Businesses should consider the needs of all employees, not just those who are already experiencing pain or discomfort.


With a better understanding of the nitty-gritty details of the HRM process, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions:

Key takeaways

In the modern business context, HRM principles and programs play a vital role in connecting upper management to employees, from recruitment to ergonomics.

As businesses adapted to the new trends over the years, so did the human resource managers.

So, it might be time to reflect on your HRM process and update it with some new trends, programs, and tools to keep your organization as efficient as it could be!