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All About Human Resources and Talent Management

Guidelines for staffing analysis, recruiting, screening, hiring and developing human resources are included in the books Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business and Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision for Nonprofit Staff.

© Copyright Carter Manama, MBA, PhD

Sections of This Topic Include


Human Resources Applies to Any Size of Organization
Human Resource Guidelines Apply to For-Profits and Nonprofits
Clarifying Some Terms -- Human Resource Management, Human Resources, HRD, Talent Management

Field and Roles of Human Resources and Talent Management

Another Look at Definitions
Role of Human Resources Function in Organizations
---Ask HR What It Is Like to Work in HR
---Additional Resources About Roles of Human Resources
---Boards and Human Resources
Challenges Facing Human Resources Function
--- If You Want a Seat at the Table, Learn the Business
---Additional Resources About Challenges Facing Human Resources
Future of Human Resources Function
Talent Management -- New Movement in Human Resources

Major Functions of Human Resources and Talent Management

Getting the Best Employees
Paying Employees (and Providing Benefits)
Training Employees
Ensuring Compliance to Regulations
Ensuring Fair, Safe and Equitable Work Environments
Sustaining High-Performing Employees
Nonprofit Human Resources

Evaluation of Human Resources Practices

Evaluation of Human Resource Management and Supervision Practices

General Resources About Human Resources

General Resources About Human Resources
Some Blogs About Human Resources

Also consider
Related Library Topics

Learn More in the Library's Blogs Related to Human Resources and Talent Management

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Human Resources and Talent Management. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library's Career Management Blog
Library's Human Resources Blog


Human Resources Applies to Any Size of Organization

This Topic Applies to Any Size of Organization

All organizations have people -- they have human resources. Regardless of the size of an organization or the extent of its resources, the organization survives -- and thrives -- because of the capabilities and performance of its people. The activities to maximize those capabilities and that performance are necessary regardless of whether the organization refers to them as Human Resource Management, Human Resource Development or Human Resources -- or has no formal name for those activities at all.

Those activities are the responsibility of all people in the organization. Thus, members of organizations, regardless of size or resources, will benefit from using the resources referenced from this topic.

Human Resource Guidelines Apply to For-Profits and Nonprofits

These Human Resource Guidelines Apply to For-Profits and Nonprofits

The vast majority of resources in this topic apply to nonprofits as well as for-profits. There's a misconception that there is a big difference in managing human resources in for-profit versus nonprofit organizations. Actually, they should managed similarly. Nonprofits often have unpaid human resources (volunteers), but we're learning that volunteers should be managed much like employees -- it's just that they're not compensated with money; they're compensated in other ways. Managing volunteers is very similar to paid staff -- their roles should be carefully specified, they should be recruited carefully, they should be oriented and trained, they should be organized into appropriate teams or with suitable supervisors, they should be delegated to, their performance should be monitored, performance issues should be addressed, and they should be rewarded for their performance. Also, organizations should consider the risks and liabilities that can occur with volunteers, much like with employees. So nonprofit organizations should consider the resources in this topic as well.

Clarifying Some Terms -- Human Resource Management, Human Resources, HRD, Talent Management

The Human Resource Management (HRM) function includes a variety of activities, and key among them is responsibility for human resources -- for deciding what staffing needs you have and whether to use independent contractors or hire employees to fill these needs, recruiting and training the best employees, ensuring they are high performers, dealing with performance issues, and ensuring your personnel and management practices conform to various regulations. Activities also include managing your approach to employee benefits and compensation, employee records and personnel policies. Usually small businesses (for-profit or nonprofit) have to carry out these activities themselves because they can't yet afford part- or full-time help. However, they should always ensure that employees have -- and are aware of -- personnel policies which conform to current regulations. These policies are often in the form of employee manuals, which all employees have.

Some people distinguish a difference between HRM and Human Resource Development (HRD), a profession. Those people might include HRM in HRD, explaining that HRD includes the broader range of activities to develop personnel inside of organizations, e.g., career development, training, organization development, etc.

The HRM function and HRD profession have undergone tremendous change over the past 20-30 years. Many years ago, large organizations looked to the "Personnel Department," mostly to manage the paperwork around hiring and paying people. More recently, organizations consider the "HR Department" as playing a major role in staffing, training and helping to manage people so that people and the organization are performing at maximum capability in a highly fulfilling manner. There is a long-standing argument about where HR-related functions should be organized into large organizations, eg, "should HR be in the Organization Development department or the other way around?"

Recently, the phrase "talent management" is being used to refer the activities to attract, develop and retain employees. Some people and organizations use the phrase to refer especially to talented and/or high-potential employees. The phrase often is used interchangeably with HR -- although as the field of talent management matures, it's very likely there will be an increasing number of people who will strongly disagree about the interchange of these fields.

Many people use the phrase "Human Resource Management," "Human Resource Development" and "Human Resources" interchangeably, and abbreviate Human Resources as HR -- HR has become a conventional term to refer to all of these phrases.

Thus, this Library uses the phrase "Human Resources" and the term "HR," not just for simplicity, but to help the reader to see the important, broader perspective on human resources in organizations -- what's required to maximize the capabilities and performance of people in organizations, regardless of the correct phrase or term to be applied when doing that.


Another Look at Definitions

The introduction, at the top of this page, offers definitions of common terms and phrases to help the reader to first understand the topics and their organization in this overall topic in the Library. It will round out the reader's knowledge and understanding to review a variety of definitions. Remember that, more important than getting the definitions "right," is recognizing the purposes and activities that the following resources refer to.

Human Resource Management
What is Human Resource Management?
Forget HR Job Descriptions
Human Resources
What's What
What is Human Resource Development?/
What is the Human Resource Department?
Human Resource Management (description of it)
Human Resource Management Basics

Role of Human Resources Function in Organizations

Ask HR-What is it like to work in HR

© Copyright Sheri Mazurek

A question I frequently get from those individuals outside of HR is, “What is it like to work in HR?” Well, the answer to that question can vary greatly by HR professional and organization.

Human Resources (HR) can include a broad spectrum of specialties within organizations. Some examples of specialties include recruiting, payroll, policy, safety, training and development, and performance management. In smaller organizations, the HR professional may handle all of those specialties and in larger organizations, each specialty is most likely its own department.

The roles within HR can vary greatly as well as with many departments from the purely administrative to the executive. Another related and perhaps more important question that is often discussed is, “what should HR be doing?” For me, HR’s primary purpose is to ensure that the right people are working in the right places to accomplish the organization’s goal.

In other words, HR is responsible to develop programs that will attract, select, develop, and retain the talent needed to meet the organizational mission. So whether you are an HR department of one or a combination of multiple departments that include hundreds of employees, your primary responsibility is talent management.

Here’s a quick test to see if your programs are aligned and focused on the primary purpose of HR. See if you can answer the following questions.

  1. What is the primary mission of the organization?
  2. What talent is needed to meet the mission?
  3. Which programs do you have in the following areas:
    Identifying and Attracting Talent?
    Selecting and Hiring Talent?
    On boarding Talent?
    Developing Talent?
    Retaining Talent?
  4. How is program success measured?
  5. In what areas do we need to improve?

If you can’t answer these questions, you have some work to do.

Additional Resources About Roles of Human Resources

Overcoming Top Myths In HR
What is it like to work in HR
Human Resources Careers
You want to work in HR?
Ask HR What It's Like to Work in HR
The New Year is Approaching -- Plan It Well
Paths to Careers in Human Resources
Are HR Staff Professionals?
Is It Time to Outsource Your HR?
Sometimes HR Sucks -- That's Why We Love It!
HR Degree Vs. Self-Development for an HR Job?
How are you Representing?
HR’s Number One Priority-Depends on Who You Ask
Who Says Talent Isn’t First?
Long Live HR
It’s Not My Job
IS HR Selling Santa Claus?
From One HR Nerd To Another

Boards and Human Resources

What not-for-profit board directors need to know about human resources
The Talent Intelligent Board

Also consider
Professionalism in Consulting

Challenges Facing Human Resources Function

If You Want a Seat at the Table, Learn the Business

© Copyright Sheri Mazurek

In many companies HR does not occupy a seat at the strategic planning table. Who’s to blame?

The answer to this question is hotly debated and often clear lines are drawn between those in HR and those in other functions. Many HR professionals blame the leaders for not seeing the value of their function to the organization, while some managers see HR as the roadblock to doing what needs to be done.

In a 2005 article written by Fast Company Magazine’s Keith Hammonds, Keith purports all the reasons “Why We Hate HR.” If the title itself isn’t enough to put a HR professional on the defense, then providing the declaration that “HR people aren’t the sharpest tacks in the box” as the first reason certainly will. His assertion in the article is that those who enter the HR field are not business people and are ill-equipped to understand business. He quotes a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study that identified which coursework HR professionals found most beneficial to their success in the field to support his message that the majority of those working in the field do not see understanding business as necessary to their success. The results showed that coursework in communications, business law, and ethics were most beneficial.

A recently released SHRM survey of HR leaders indicates the same finding. The respondents in the U.S. indicated that strategic thinking is one of the top five competencies needed for senior HR leaders; however, business knowledge was not listed. While the lineage of the field of HR coupled with the introduction of legislation to protect employers may have contributed to stereotypes that exist in the field about the HR profession, our failure as HR professionals to recognize that we are business people charged with the company’s most valuable assets will certainly continue to harbor those stereotypes we so emotionally defend. If you want a seat at the table, learn the business of business and speak the language of the executive team.

Additional Resources About Challenges Facing Human Resources

By Giving Up the Quest for ROI, Can HR Make Itself Indispensable?
Critical to Align Performance With Organizational Goals
HR on the Offense
Simplicity At the Other Side of Complexity -- Paradox of 'Business Orientation of HR
Is HR Too Important to Be Left to HR?
Dramatically Increase Your Influence
Seven Ways to Build Credibility
Human Resources: Ten Things to Ask Yourself
Overcoming the Myth of the Paper Trail #1
Overcoming the Myth of the Paper Trail #2
Are You Listening to the Water Cooler Discussions?
Sally's First Day
Are HR Staff - Professionals
No Need to Have A Conversation-Just Create a Policy
Get Out of Your Office
A Human Resources Fable
Scary Things in HR

Future of Human Resources Function

The Future of Human Resources and Social Media
Emerging Trends in Managing Human Resources
HR and OD -- What Does Future Hold?
Predictors and Promises for the Future of Human Resources
What's Your Focus for 2011?

"Talent Management" - New Movement in Human Resources?

Many people are beginning to use the phrase "Talent Management" to refer to the activities of attracting, developing and retaining employees -- three activities also addressed in the sections below. For general overviews of talent management, see:
Talent Management


Getting the Best Employees

Regardless of the nature of the organization, it must identify the most important roles in the organization and then recruit, orient, train and organize people to effectively perform those roles.

Staffing -- Workforce planning
Staffing -- Specifying Jobs and Roles
Staffing -- Recruiting
Staffing -- Outsourcing (having services and functions performed by non-employees)
Staffing -- Screening Applicants
Staffing -- Selecting (Hiring) New Employees

Paying Employees (and Providing Benefits)

The following link is to a resource that will help you establish suitable policies and procedures for compensating employees and for providing benefits in the most equitable and fair manner.

Benefits and Compensation

Training and Developing Employees

Development is more than conveying information to employees -- it's guiding and supporting them to evolve that information into knowledge that can be applied as skills in order to achieve the goals of the organization and its people -- and it's guiding and supporting those people to learn at the same time.

Career Development
Employee Orientation
Leadership Development
Management Development
Personal Development
Supervisoral Development
Training and Development

Ensuring Compliance to Regulations

Fortunately, compliance is no longer is seen by many as the primary role of Human Resources -- it's just one of the roles. However, compliance is as important today as ever, especially considering the diversity of people in the workplace, including their diverse values, opinions and perspectives.

Personnel Polices and Records
Employee Laws, Topics and Issues
Ethics - Practical Toolkit

Ensuring Fair, Safe and Equitable Work Environments

The care and cultivation of human resources should consider at least the following topics -- the topics often are addressed as official programs in the workplace.

Diversity Management
Dealing with Drugs in the Workplace
Employee Assistance Programs
Ergonomics: Safe Facilities in the Workplace
Dealing with HIV/AIDS in the Workplace
Personal Wellness
Preventing Violence in the Workplace
Ensuring Safety in the Workplace
Supporting Spirituality in the Workplace
Diversity Management

Sustaining High-Performing Employees

Employee Performance Management
Group Performance Management
Interpersonal Skills
Personal Productivity
Retaining Employees

Nonprofit Human Resources

As noted in the introduction to this topic, guidelines to managed human resources in nonprofits are very similar to those to manage in for-profit. See the above paragraph These Human Resource Guidelines Apply to For-Profits and Nonprofits. After reviewing the above resources, nonprofits could review the resources from the following link -- the resources mention they are nonprofit-specific.
Nonprofit Human Resources


General Resources About Human Resources

Additional Information for Nonprofits
Human Resources and the Internet
Dr. John Sullivan's List of Articles
Checklist to Review Nonprofit Human Resource Practices
Human Resources IQ
Business Forms Used by HR Professionals
Hr Village
Legal Guides and Links
Policies and Procedures
Try this HR Experiment
What I Learned from My Students

Some Blogs About Human Resources Human Resources
Evil HR Lady
hr bartender
HRM Business Practices and Notes
Human Resources
KnowHR Blog
Mister HR's Blog
Workplace Prof Blog
Human Resources

For the Category of Human Resources:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

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