What Is a Human Resource?

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This illustration answers the question, What does the human resources department do? This includes

 Elise Degarmo © The Balance

The question that readers of this Human Resources content ask most often is: “What is the definition of human resources or a human resource?” This article offers a definition that answers this question and points you to the wealth of resources available to you at this site, TheBalanceCareers.com.

What Is a Human Resource?

William R. Tracey, in "The Human Resources Glossary," defines Human Resources as: "The people that staff and operate an organization," as contrasted with the financial and material resources of an organization. 

A human resource is a single person or employee within your organization. Human resources refer to all of the people you employ.

Human Resources is also the function in an organization that deals with the people and issues related to people such as compensation and benefits, recruiting and hiring employees, onboarding employees, performance management, training, and organization development and culture.

Human Resources staff is also responsible for advising senior staff about the impact on people (the human resources) of their financial, planning, and performance decisions. Managers rarely discuss the effect of their decisions on the people in the organizations. It is often predictable that decisions are driven by more easily measurable processes such as finance and accounting.

Human Resources evolved from the term: personnel, as the functions of the field, moved beyond paying employees and managing employee benefits.

The evolution of the HR function gave credence to the fact that people are an organization's most important resource. People are an organization's most significant asset.

As an organization's most significant asset, employees must be hired, satisfied, motivated, developed, and retained. See how the new roles of the HR employees have evolved to better fulfill these needs.

About This Human Resources Content

Human Resources is also this section of TheBalanceCareers.com where you can find information about everything from a single human resource to the field, the career, managing people, and contributions of HR within your organizations.

Are you looking for information about human resources management, human resources development, how to manage and supervise people, or how to work with people at work? Here are the resources you need to start, manage and develop your human resources department and all of the people aspects of your business and work.

New to Human Resources?

Before you plunge into the intricacies of recruiting and hiring, and the rest of the information on the site, are you interested in fundamental information about Human Resources?

A frequently asked question received from readers is: What is the Human Resources function? These fundamental human resource questions are answered in the FAQ. A management pro? Move on. If you are just starting out or have basic questions about Human Resources and/or getting into the HR field, check out the HR FAQ.

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Motivation, Coaching, Training, and Education for Employees

Looking for information about any aspect of human resources, motivation, coaching, training or education for your business or organization? You've found the right resource. Here are all the resources you'll need to effectively start, manage and develop your human resources department and all aspects of your business. Find information about motivation, coaching, training or education.

Career Education, Self Help, and Job Search

What can you do to build your career? These articles provide career builders, career education, career planning, career counseling, career development, and job search information for you. Look for job openings, job-hunting essentials, executive search strategies, temporary employment ideas, and more. Boost your own career or locate staff by exploring these job search and employment sites.

Four Types of Visitors Will Benefit From This HR Section

These Human Resources articles offer support and assistance to four types of visitors:

New to This Human Resources Section?

Are you new to these resources? Take a look at the resources linked here. They will get you started and tell you quickly what information is available about every aspect of the field of HR.

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