Human Resources is the common name for the corporate function that deals with all staff-related matters. Commonly abbreviated as HR, it might also be known by other names, from the traditional ‘personnel’ to more modern versions like ‘people operations’ or ‘talent success’. Whatever the name, successful HR will normally not just manage the bureaucracy of staff joining and leaving, but can find themselves handling everything from training and development to disciplinary issues.
The development of the HR function has matched changing views of what makes organizations succeed. The traditional personnel department may just have handled the administration in organizations where people were employed and paid to complete simple tasks. As work has changed, and we learn more about human motivation, HR functions have also evolved, looking after reward, terms and conditions, and even acting as the organizational conscience, maintaining policies that nurture the type of staff the organization wants.
If you are writing an essay about HR, the wide variety of HR functions between organizations and over time offers plenty of potential topics.
One obvious choice might be to look at the way HR functions have evolved, from that simple admin to the more dynamic function that exists now. You could also look at what ‘good’ HR looks like. Does a simple organization, for example a manufacturer, need the same type of HR as a business that employs mainly knowledge workers or creatives.
You might even consider what the value of HR is. Traditionally, it’s a business overhead, an essential cost, but a department that doesn’t add to a company’s profit. But you might want to argue that the impact of HR has a direct effect on staff morale and productivity, and, therefore, its bottom line.
Whatever topic you write about, it’s important to provide strong evidence. The amount of writing about organizations, from formal research down to informal blogs, grows every day. And you might have personal examples to add color, whether it’s from a part-time job or even a previous career. Ultimately, when you are considering HR, it’s about how it adds to an organization, and that means understanding the impact it has on the people within it.
So, try looking through the samples on this page. They will help you see different people’s points of view on HR and create your own masterpiece!