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What are Human Resources: Meaning and Functions

Any company or organization works driven by a series of elements that, in economics, are called production resources and that can be of different types: raw materials, machinery, personnel, ...

The importance of each of them varies according to the activity and, nevertheless, in any company, there is an essential typology: human resources. Without human resources, be they workers, technicians, managers, ... the operation of companies is not possible.

What are Human Resources: Meaning and Functions

But what exactly are Human Resources?

The first definition considered human resources as the stock of knowledge and skills accumulated by workers. Subsequently, this definition has been completed until reaching definitions based on the multidimensionality of attributes that characterize people and that they use in their performance in the organization.

One of the most complete definitions, that of Barney and Clark (2007), defines human resources as the knowledge, experiences, skills, and commitment of employees with the company, as well as their relationships with other colleagues, subordinates or bosses, including, in addition, its relations with those not belonging to the company, such as, for example, suppliers, customers, etc.

This definition not only includes the skills and knowledge of the people who make up the organization but also includes the social relationships in which the employees participate, as well as their attitudes and affects in relation to the organization.

And why are they considered a competitive advantage?

Currently, the business sector is characterized by increased competition and, in these circumstances, the fact that a company has differential advantages over the competition is revealed as a fundamental requirement for its survival. These competitive advantages that, at first, may have their origin in external aspects of the company, for example, acquisition of new technologies, require, however, to be used favorably by the entire company so that they are truly a competitive advantage.

Thus, the differences between companies are marked more by intangible factors, such as the capacities or abilities of their employees, the existence of an organizational culture towards innovation, ... than by tangible factors, such as technologies or assets that, priori, they can be acquired by anyone and, therefore, do not add competitive advantages.

From this perspective, human resources are, without a doubt, the most valuable asset that an organization has. The need to manage this valuable resource has meant that, in companies, an area is dedicated to its management and direction, the so-called human resources management who, through the implementation and control of a set of specific activities, tries to acquire, retain and / or develop said resources.

Human resource management will therefore be concerned with planning human resources, recruiting and selecting staff to perform each job, and evaluating staff and the tasks performed. It will also be responsible for the maintenance of human resources and their development, to finally carry out a control of this.

For its part, the term human resources in the usual context of the organization or company itself encompasses three different meanings:
  1. Human resources as a function or department , refers to the operating unit that functions as a staff organ (advisory) for those recruitment, selection, training, remuneration, internal communication, job security activities, ...
  2. human resources as human resources practices , refers to how the company executes its recruitment, selection, training, remuneration, internal communication, job security operations, ...
  3. Human resources as a profession, refers to professionals who work full time in positions directly related to human resources.
What are Human Resources: Meaning and Functions What are Human Resources: Meaning and Functions Reviewed by communication etiquette on 8:12 AM Rating: 5

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