Human Resource Management definition

The management of an organisation’s workforce with overall responsibility for every aspect of human capital including recruitment, selection, training, performance management, employee engagement, leadership and culture strategy and compliance with employment law.

Human Resource Management, also known as human capital management, developed in the 17th century when English economist Sir William Petty placed an economic value on labourers and used their estimated value to demonstrate the power of England. In the 19th century, the epidemiologist William Farr proposed that a person’s future earnings should be characterised as wealth, just as assets were.

From the 19th century onwards, the concept continued to develop – the value of life insurance started, for example, to be based on an individual’s future earnings. John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith wrote on human capital and its value.

Human Resource Management software is becoming more popular as a way to manage all aspects of the HR function and be able to feed data regarding all aspects, such as recruitment, into a central database.


Get the latest from HRZone

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.