• Course Introduction

        • Time: 24 hours
        • Free Certificate
        Human resource management (HRM), also called human capital management, refers to how organizations strategically allocate their most valuable resources – their employees – to areas of the company where they will be the most productive. HRM requires more than a strong human resources department: it requires smart, capable team managers working together with the human resource (HR) department to carry out common goals. This cooperation involves careful strategizing, good leadership, and other solid business practices. Companies often maintain their competitive advantage by holding onto resources other businesses lack. Having the right employees separates highly successful firms from their competitors.

        As a discipline, HRM dates back to the early 1900s, but its most strategic components result from transitions that took place in the workforce in the late 1960s. When it passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Congress mandated that all organizations adhere to laws that now govern how they treat and respond to complaints from their employees. At the same time, businesses began to realize the advantage they gained when they integrated women and minorities who were transitioning into the workplace. Increasing diversity created cultures that reinforced and supported their missions and visions.

        Everyone has a core belief system that is shaped by our individual circumstances and experiences that guide our perceptions and beliefs. We often gravitate toward the situations we understand and make sense to us. To effectively manage human capital, business professionals often have to step outside of their comfort zone to support innovative practices and make strategic decisions that are in the best interest of the company rather than support a static culture they may consider to be more "comfortable".

        We discussed the basics of managing human capital in BUS208: Principles of Management. In this course, we introduce more advanced topics, such as how to identify your business's needs to carry out a proper recruitment and selection process. Training, development, and performance evaluations can help you shape each employee into an ideal firm resource. Providing adequate compensation and incentives can help you retain these precious resources within the firm.

        Although you may not be planning for a career in HRM, this course will help you appreciate that much of your career success will depend upon working with the right people.

        • Course Syllabus

          First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

        • Unit 1: The Nature of Human Resources

          Employers often profess that their employees are their most valuable resource in their recruitment materials, press events, and corporate values statements. During the past 50 years, U.S. corporations have focused more heavily on human resource (HR) management, especially with the rise of its service-based economy.

          In this unit, we review the role human capital management plays in any organization. We explore the nature of HR management strategies and planning, the legal framework for equal employment for managing diversity, and affirmative action. Note that we could devote entire courses to these complex and diverse topics. For example, the U.S. federal government created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to ensure individuals receive fair and equal treatment in employment-related activities. In this unit, we introduce these topics so you can focus on the core of human capital management in the rest of the course.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 13 hours.

        • Unit 2: Strategic Human Resource Planning and Staffing

          Now that we have discussed the core components of HR strategy, let's explore how to identify human capital by assessing and defining all of the jobs within an organization. Recognizing the best people to hire can be difficult. Job descriptions often do a poor job of detailing the employment environment. By conducting a proper job analysis of all of the roles within a firm, hiring managers can best identify the abilities future employees should possess for specific jobs. The keys to success often depend on your ability to learn on the job, correct mistakes, and manage a stressful situation, rather than your knowledge of a particular computer program. In this unit, we explore how to translate the demands of a job into an accurate job description.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

        • Unit 3: Recruitment and Selection

          Identifying the abilities job candidates should have to succeed in a position is much easier that identifying these traits within a job applicant. An employer can accumulate a pile of resumes after posting a position opening on the company website or job board. But how many resumes are worth reviewing and how many candidates are worth interviewing? You do not want to simply choose the best candidate from the applicant pool; you need to find the best person for the job.

          Businesses use many recruitment methods. For example, some use specialized recruiting firms; most ask their employees for recommendations. Next, they must determine whether each applicant has the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. Critics argue that the interview process is weak because it is too subjective. In this unit we explore several subjective and objective measures to identify the best candidate, such as finding those who share the company's ideas about its goals and objectives, and individuals who can provide the organization with a strategic competitive advantage.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.

        • Unit 4: Training and Development/Career Planning

          Once you have completed the recruitment process, the HR department if often charged with training and developing this new human capital. You can think about this training as the process businesses use to inform new members about the specific components of the jobs they have assumed. Consider this process as a way to offer continuous improvement and an opportunity to develop and update your human capital to be successful on the job. In the same way, career planning, often called succession planning, involves mapping the growth of your human capital and building strong relationships with the management team.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

        • Unit 5: Performance Management and Measurement

          Many businesses define success as an individual's ability to live up to the demands of their position. With proper job analysis, it should be easy to quantify the level of success or failure of each employee. However, managers can be distracted by certain irrelevant biases during the employee performance review process. For example, they can be subject to leniency, or the proclivity to be "too nice" because they dislike confrontation or are afraid to hurt their employee's feelings. The halo effect refers to a tendency to focus on one positive aspect of an employee's performance, such as the ability to meet their sales quota, rather than look at their overall contribution to the organization. Recently, many companies have incorporated "360 degree" approach in which employees also review their managers and co-workers to find ways to increase company-wide productivity and performance. Business managers should explore various types of appraisal systems to determine the one that best fits their organization's culture and strategy.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

        • Unit 6: Compensation and Benefits

          When hiring new employees, business managers must decide how much they will compensate their potential new human capital. Since this expense is often their highest overhead cost, employers need to understand this element of financial planning to avoid business failure. A generous compensation package can be an important recruitment tool: some employees value direct financial compensation while others prefer to receive more indirect benefits, such as healthcare, child care, and tuition reimbursement.

          During times of recession, employers often have more leverage to decrease employee salaries and benefits because they have a larger pool of eager unemployed workers to choose from. However, retaining good people with appropriate compensation and benefits, during periods of low and high growth can foster a productive and committed workforce that appreciates a proper work/life balance. Meanwhile the growing disparity between executive and employee pay continues, as firms continue to align executive compensation with overall company performance. In this unit we explore this issue and others pertaining to employee compensation and benefits.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

        • Unit 7: Safety, Health, and Wellness

          From the most basic level, employers should send their employees home in the same manner in which they arrived. The U.S. Congress considered the concept of workplace safety so important that they created a special department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to administer the safety and well-being of employees in the workplace. Every workplace environment must comply with OSHA regulations. Employers should also consider the health and wellness of their human capital: healthy employees boost workplace performance and productivity, take fewer sick day benefits, and build stronger, more long-lasting relationships with their employers. When an employee or potential employee sees that their employer is concerned about their personal well-being, they are more likely to remain a part of that organization.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

        • Unit 8: Labor Relations and Internal Employee Relations

          In our final unit, we discuss labor and employee relations and conclude with a brief exploration of how ethical concerns pervade all aspects of human resource management. Employers and employees have specific expectations. Employers should create an environment that is attractive to potential and current employees. When discrepancies occur, labor unions, third parties hired to represent the collective interest of the employees in certain industries, can help strengthen the employer/employee relationship.

          Employee relations is the subfield of human capital management concerned with preventing and resolving workplace challenges. It encompasses the way employers: gage poor performance and impose disciplinary action, identify and promote policies and procedures, and communicate awareness of rules, laws and regulations. These activities ensure employers and employees can achieve efficiency, equity, and voice in the workplace.

          Efficiency relates to the ability to achieve workplace goals with a minimal investment of resources.

          • Employers seek efficiency by engaging the most productive employees while using the least amount of resources.
          • Employees seek efficiency by balancing their time contributions with their economic output to their employer.
          • Employers and employees want workplace processes to be structured so they feel they are making a valuable contribution.
          • Efficiency addresses the questions: Does your employer respond appropriately to the amount of work you are contributing? Is your employer helping you be successful? Do you believe your employer has your best interests in mind?

          Equity refers to the ideal employer/employee partnership. The business environment is not a democracy: employers expect employees to follow their workplace rules and business processes. However, you should feel that your workplace environment is stable and fair. Is there room to grow and do more? Are employees treated like subordinates or true partners?

          Employers and employees frequently feel their voice is not being heard. Most organizations try to help both sides open these critical avenues of communication, such as by creating an open-door policy, offering opportunities for respectful listening during meetings, and providing an anonymous tip or complaint hotline.

          When the employer appears to be holding all the cards, since they can fire employees who do not comply with their wishes, representatives from labor and employee relations may need to step in to negotiate and restore balance to promote efficiency, equity, and voice.

          Companies also need to employ ethical decision making and legal compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Unfortunately, individuals sometimes violate professional and ethical codes of conduct, and ignore the policies written to protect the employee, organization, customers, and the community at large. Meanwhile, companies lose billions of dollars in class action lawsuits when ethical lapses occur.

          We conclude this unit by exploring explore the issues and challenges human resource professionals face to ensure these codes of conduct, codes of ethics, and company policies are disseminated, acknowledged, followed, and reflect the values and mission of their organization.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.

        • Study Guide

          This study guide will help you get ready for the final exam. It discusses the key topics in each unit, walks through the learning outcomes, and lists important vocabulary. It is not meant to replace the course materials!

        • Course Feedback Survey

          Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

          If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

        • Certificate Final Exam

          Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

          To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.