Human resources is the set of individuals who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector, or 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", "labour", 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).
Pioneering economist John R. Commons used the term "human resource" in his 1893 book The Distribution of Wealth but did not further build upon it. The term "human resource" was subsequently in use during the 1910s and 1920s as was the notion that workers could be seen as a kind of capital asset. Among scholars the first use of "human resources" in its modern form was in a 1958 report by economist E. Wight Bakke.
The term in practice
From the corporate objective, employees have been traditionally viewed as assets to the enterprise, whose value is enhanced by further learning and development, referred to as human resource development. Organizations will engage in a broad range of human resource management practices to capitalize on those assets.
In governing human resources, three major trends are typically considered:
Demographics: the characteristics of a population/workforce, for example, age, gender or social class. This type of trend may have an effect in relation to pension offerings, insurance packages etc.
Diversity: the variation within the population/workplace. Changes in society now mean that a larger proportion of organizations are made up of "baby-boomers" or older employees in comparison to thirty years ago. Advocates of "workplace diversity" advocate an employee base that is a mirror reflection of the make-up of society insofar as race,...