The Evolution of Human Resources Management
|Time Period||Key Developments||Impact on Organizations|
|Mid-1920s||Managers handle hiring and firing. Central office emerges for personnel duties.||Offloads some responsibilities from managers. Early stages of dedicated HR departments.|
|1930s||Rise of big unions and labor laws.||Elevates role of Personnel department. Leads to need for greater employee representation and labor law compliance.|
|World War II||Establishment of personnel manager role to recruit and retain employees.||Accelerates development of HR functions and policies. Enhances focus on employee retention.|
|1947||Formation of Personnel Management Association.||Increases visibility of Personnel function. Creates platform for sharing best practices.|
|Late 1950s||PMA changes name to Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).||Further validates the HR function. Enhances professionalism of field.|
|Modern Era||HR becomes integral part of organizations. Delivers a wide range of services.||Contributes to business success through recruitment, training, employee relations, and compliance. Establishes HR as key strategic partner.|
|Future||Continued evolution of HR practices in response to changing business demands.||Ensures HR remains relevant and vital. Cements HR's role in enabling organizational success.|
|Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938||Provided worker protections and further elevated role of Personnel departments.||Required adherence to new regulations and stimulated development of modern HR functions.|
|Post-World War II||Emergence of compliance requirements and development of specific employee policies and procedures.||Elevated importance of Personnel departments, reinforcing their crucial role in organizations.|
|Late-20th Century to Present||Evolution of HR into critical strategic function. Introduction of innovative HR practices and technologies.||Supports strategic business goals. Enhances overall performance and competitiveness.|
This article provides an overview of personnel/human resources history, beginning in the mid-1920s when managers handled their hiring and firing. As responsibilities for managers increased, a new department, referred to as the central office, was created to handle personnel duties. Then, with the rise of big unions in the 1930s, labor laws were made, and the role of Personnel was elevated.
During World War II, the personnel manager was established to recruit and retain employees. The emergence of the Personnel Management Association (PMA) in 1947 increased the visibility of Personnel. In the late 1950s, the PMA changed its name to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Today, human resources is an integral part of any organization, providing a wide range of services to ensure the business's success.
Related Course: Hr Certificate Programs
The Early Years of Human Resources
The Rise of Big Unions in the 1930s
The Turning Point of World War II
The Growing Credibility of Human Resources
Personnel/human resources have a long and storied history, dating back to the mid-1920s. During this time, managers handled hiring and firing while office employees took care of other employee-related tasks. However, as managers' responsibilities began to expand, they had less and less time to focus on the employment process. This led to the emergence of a new department, unofficially referred to as the central office, which was tasked with recruiting, screening, and referring applicants for hire.
The scope of responsibility for this department, now called Personnel, gradually expanded to include directing recreational and social programs, organizing athletic teams, and arranging company picnics and dinners. Unfortunately, PersonnelPersonnel lacked administrative authority, which the rest of the organization did not take seriously.
The turning point for Personnel came in the 1930s with the rise of big unions. The unions provided a unified voice to represent the interests of employees and pushed for better working conditions and higher wages. This led to the emergence of labor laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which provided protections for workers and gave Personnel a more significant role in the organization.
The following central turning point for Personnel was World War II. With millions of men and women entering the military, companies had to find new ways to recruit and retain employees. This led to the emergence of the personnel manager, who was tasked with finding and keeping qualified employees. This role also included ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations and developing and implementing employee policies and procedures.
The credibility of Personnel grew as the twentieth century progressed. The emergence of the Personnel Management Association (PMA) in 1947 provided a platform to share best practices and foster collaboration between personnel managers. This increased the visibility of Personnel and helped to legitimize the role within the organization. In the late 1950s, the PMA changed its name to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), further cementing the importance of the human resources function.
Today, human resources is an integral part of any organization, providing a wide range of services to ensure the business's success. From recruiting and training to employee relations and compliance, human resources play a vital role in the success of any organization. As the part of human resources continues to evolve and expand, the importance of this function will only continue to grow.
People are the heart of any successful Human Resources Management strategy; the evolution of HRM is a reflection of the changing needs of its people.
Yu Payne is an American professional who believes in personal growth. After studying The Art & Science of Transformational from Erickson College, she continuously seeks out new trainings to improve herself. She has been producing content for the IIENSTITU Blog since 2021. Her work has been featured on various platforms, including but not limited to: ThriveGlobal, TinyBuddha, and Addicted2Success. Yu aspires to help others reach their full potential and live their best lives.