What is Human Resources (HR)?

Definition: Workforce or personnel employed at an organization. The word is commonly used to denote the entire group of people working at an organization.

What Does Human Resources (HR) Mean?

Human resources is often a synonym of labor, human talent, human capital and manpower. Any company or institution develops its mission through a combination of different resources. These can be classified as technological, physical, financial and human. No matter the field where the organization operates in, human resources are required in some extent. In general, the service industry requires a greater level of human resources if compared to manufacturing activities, especially at highly automated industries. The term is frequently applied to the department managing the workforce of a company.

This is the unit responsible of all processes related to personnel, such as recruiting, hiring, training and payroll. In addition, this department is generally in charge of compliance with labor laws. Because of the importance and at the same time complexity of managing those processes, the most successful companies consider the Human Resources Department as highly strategic. Nowadays it is understood that employee’s performance and contribution to organization goals is closely related to the effectiveness of the human resources function.


Bristen & Neil Inc. is a manufacturing company that grew considerably since its creation five years ago. It operates now with 780 employees located in three cities. The company success was the outcome of exceptional efforts made by the founders and owners, who are very innovative and action-driven people. Although the initial achievements were certainly extraordinary, the owners realized that growth and profitability rates declined over the past year. A consultant firm was hired to research the reasons. The consultants then found that many employees were not motivated to perform well because of low salaries.

Others are not properly trained to do the assigned job. Some workers are unhappy because the founders never visit their workplace and therefore think that their work is not significant enough. The newest workers did not understand well their responsibilities. As a consequence of the consulting project, some radical decisions were made to solve the main problems. The first signal of change was to structure a strong, highly professional Human Resources Department. This example shows that process related to and focused on human resources must be a priority to guarantee sustainable accomplishments.

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