What Is Human Resources?


What Is Human Resources? Ask any member of a Human Resources department to explain the importance of their role, and that of the department, and you would get a different answer, this isn’t because they have a lack of direction (in most cases anyway).  It’s because, along with a number of generic duties, HR have to adapt their strategy based on the company culture, its people and its own strategy.

So, What is Human Resources?

Wikipedia describes Human Resources as:

Human resources is the set of individuals who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector or an economy. “Human capital” is sometimes used synonymously with human resources, although human capital typically refers to a more narrow view; i.e., the knowledge the individuals embody and can contribute to an organization. Likewise, other terms sometimes used include “manpower”, “talent”, “labor” or simply “people”.

The professional discipline and business function that oversees an organization’s human resources is called human resource management (HRM, or simply HR).”

As you can see from the above definition, there is no mention of any specific duties that are consistent, no matter which organisation the department exists within.  This is because every company is unique in a number of ways, including:

  1. The number of employees
  2. Employee personalities
  3. Company culture
  4. The size of the Human Resources Department
  5. The tools at the HR department’s disposal
  6. The location of the business

Dealing with people (and an individual) is a tricky skill to master.  Saying the wrong thing to someone, or making an assumption, could mean the difference between resolving an issue quickly and fairly, and an uncomfortable situation causing all sorts of problems within the business.

Employee morale is an important responsibility that HR are partly, if not fully, responsible for.  Ensuring that the workforce are happy is key to maximising productivity within the business.

Human Resources are also responsible for the business’s most important asset, the employees.  Department or section Managers have a responsibility for their direct subordinates, however, HR are responsible for all employees wellbeing and concerns.
When new employees join the company, HR will be the department that makes sure that all processes in respect of their enrolment are completed.  Similarly, when an employee leaves the business, HR will usually carry out exit interviews  and may be involved in any disciplinary proceedings leading up to an employee being dismissed.

Just a few of the qualities that an HR professional should possess are;

  • Time Management 
  • In depth knowledge of the company industry
  • Clear understanding of personal, departmental and company objectives and goals
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work under pressure and to be empathetic yet impartial
  • The ability to adapt to situations.
  • Discretion and trustworthiness


As you can see from the above, Human Resources can be defined in numerous ways due to the multitude of scenarios they have to deal with on a daily basis.  As such their role in a business is as varied as it is vital.

Currently Social Media & SEO Marketing Executive at CIPHR, previously a CIPHR Senior Account Manager and previously still, a Senior Service Desk Analyst :)