The field of human resource management deals with what was formerly called the “personnel function.” People in this field provide services to organizations in the area of recruiting, staffing, training, counseling, compensation and benefits, safety, equal opportunity and affirmative action, and labor relations. There are a number of laws that impact on this area. They deal with:
- How people are paid.
- Work and environmental safety.
- Equal opportunity and discrimination issues.
- How benefits are administered.
- Issues covered by the National Labor Relations Act, which defines collective activity in the work place.
A growing area of human resource management is in the development and management of human resource information systems (HRIS). The human resource function also frequently implements programs that deal with productivity improvement and total quality management.
This field deals with people; therefore, an understanding of psychology and sociology is essential. An understanding of the changing nature of work and the work force, including issues of cultural diversity, is also important. The ability to communicate orally and in writing with individuals and groups is essential.
Studies that are considered essential to the field of human resource management include:
- Human resource management.
- Compensation and benefits administration.
- Training and development.
- Employment and labor law.
- Affirmative action and cultural diversity in the workplace.
- Business mathematics.
- Managerial psychology, industrial psychology or organizational behavior.
Additional studies in the field of human resource management could include:
- Recruitment and selection.
- Executive or sales compensation.
- Human resource information systems.
- Performance appraisals.
- Employee assistance programs.
- Total quality management or productivity improvement.
- Labor economics.
- Wage and price theory.
- Security and safety.
Because human resources professionals perform many of the functions of other managers, supporting studies could include:
- Corporate finance.
- Business history or labor history.
Practitioners in the field need to understand how organizations function and how change is implemented. Other supporting studies could be directly related to understanding the kind of organization the person plans to work in. These could include nonprofit management, retail management, manufacturing technology, health care administration and other similar types of organizational studies.