Course Syllabus

Welcome to BUS301: Human Resource Management

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Saylor Student Handbook.


Course Description

Examine business practices and laws that help business managers create a better and more effective working environment. Subjects include job analysis, recruitment, training, performance measurement, compensation, safety, and labor relations.

Course Introduction

US firms maintain their competitive advantages by holding on to resources their competitors cannot obtain. What do we mean by "resources?” The term "resources” can refer to anything from rights to a certain oil field, the patent on touchscreen technology, or an exclusive contract with the government. More often than not, however, a company's most valuable resources are its employees. Often, having the "right” employees - the individuals capable of developing iPhones or finding new oil fields - separates the highly successful firms from their less successful competitors. As you begin the journey of this course, you might be saying to yourself, "My company may say I am its most valuable resource, but it really do not treat me like I am valued.” This feeling is one of many elements associated with managing human capital.

In the United States, the subfield of Human Resource Management (alternatively known as Human Capital Management) has a history that dates back almost a century, but the most strategic components of this course emerged as a result of transitions in the workforce in the late 1960s. After the passing of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all organizations were mandated by the Federal Government to adhere to specific laws, which governed how an organization should respond to and treat their human capital. The transition of women and minorities into the workplace and their resulting contributions to business success incentivized organizations to develop a better understanding of how to integrate all employees into a culture that would reinforce and support the vision and mission of a business.

Human Resource Management refers to the practice of strategically allocating the most valuable resources - people - to the right areas of a firm. This practice involves careful strategizing, good leadership, and other solid business practices. Human Resource Management requires more than a strong human resources department; it requires smart, capable team managers working in conjunction with an HR department to carry out common goals.

The key to understanding and applying the concepts of this course revolves around learning how to become uncomfortable. What exactly does that mean? Every one of us has a core belief system shaped by our individual experiences, situations, and circumstances. This belief system informs and guides our perceptions (i.e. what we believe is or is not valid/applicable to the situation or circumstance with which we are dealing). We naturally gravitate towards those things with which we have some understanding, and we have an intrinsic bias against those things that do not make sense to us, that we perceive as unethical, or that make us uncomfortable. To effectively manage human capital, you have to learn how to step outside of your comfort zone and make strategic decisions in the best interest of the company, rather than those that make you "comfortable.”

You know the basics of managing human capital from your Principles of Management course (BUS208), but this course will introduce you to more advanced topics in the field. You will learn that identifying the best employees begins with identifying the firm's needs and carrying out a proper recruitment and selection process. Training, development, and performance evaluations can then shape the selected employee into an ideal firm resource. Finally, adequate and incentivizing compensation can keep those resources with the firm. This course will cover all these topics and more.

Though you may not be planning to pursue a career in human resource management, much of your career success will depend upon working with the right people. This course will help you appreciate and leverage this fact.

This course is comprised of the following units:

  • Unit 1: The Nature of Human Resources
  • Unit 2: Strategic Human Resource Planning and Staffing
  • Unit 3: Recruitment and Selection
  • Unit 4: Training and Development/Career Planning
  • Unit 5: Performance Management and Measurement
  • Unit 6: Compensation and Benefits
  • Unit 7: Safety, Health and Wellness
  • Unit 8: Labor Relations and Internal Employee Relations


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • define human resource management;
  • identify human resource management functions and current trends;
  • explain why human resource professionals have developed into strategic partners within organizations;
  •  explain why strategic human resource management is necessary to attract, recruit, and retain valuable human capital;
  • explain the importance of corporate culture within human resource management, which includes ethics and social responsibility;
  • identify key laws and legislation that shape how human capital decisions should be made;
  •  identify the key elements and contexts of affirmative action, and use the insight to support making informed decisions regarding diversity when managing human capital;
  •  define strategic human resource planning;
  • identify why effective planning is vital in human resource management;
  • define and explain how to conduct a job analysis, and discuss the validity of an analysis in support of other key human capital functions;
  •  describe how to effectively manage human capital and properly assess knowledge, skills, and abilities to find valuable resources (people);
  • explain   how to develop a personnel plan;
  •  develop strategies for recruiting, selecting, onboarding, and retaining valuable human capital;
  •  create strategies to support the training and development of human capital;
  • describe the impact that career/succession planning has on human capital;
  •  explain the distinction between performance management and performance appraisals;
  • conceptualize HR strategies to improve overall organizational success;
  •  identify and apply the concepts/issues associated with compensation and benefits to create an attractive environment that draws valuable resources to an organization;
  •  identify key laws and legislation with regard to compensation and benefits that shape how human capital decisions should be made;
  •  differentiate among direct financial compensation, indirect financial compensation, and non-financial compensation and give examples of each;
  • identify and apply the concepts associated with employee safety and health in support of effectively managing human capital;
  •  identify key laws and legislation with regard to safety and health that shape how human capital decisions should be made;
  •  describe the purpose of wellness programs within today’s organizations;
  •  define the concept of labor relations;
  •  identify key laws and legislation with regard to labor relations that shape how human capital decisions should be made;
  •  define the concept of internal employee relations; and
  •  identify key laws and legislation with regard to internal employee relations that shape how human capital decisions should be made.

Throughout this course, you'll also see related learning outcomes identified in each unit. You can use the learning outcomes to help organize your learning and gauge your progress.


Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are readings, lectures, video tutorials, and other resources.

All course materials are free to access, and can be found through the links provided in each unit and subunit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will instruct you as to what specifically to read or watch at a given point in the course, and help you to understand how these individual materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also access a list all of the materials used in this course by clicking on Resources in the course's "Activities" menu.


Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you may take it again as many times as needed, following a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Saylor Certificate of Completion.

There are also 7 unit assessments and other types of quizzes in this course. These are intended to help you to gauge how well you are learning and do not factor into your final course grade. You may retake all of these as many times as needed to feel that you have an understanding of the concepts and material covered. You can locate a full list of these sorts of assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course's "Activities" menu.


Earning College Credit

This course provides students the opportunity to earn actual college credit. It has been reviewed by Qualifi, a UK Awarding Organization. Once a proctored final exam is successfully completed, the course can count as three credits towards a special degree track at City Vision University. You can read more about this program here.

It has also been reviewed by Brandman University and can applied as credit towards a degree by students who are currently enrolled or plan to enroll at Brandman. You can read more about this special program here.

If you are seeking to earn college credit at Brandman or City Vision, you must take and pass the version of the exam titled "Proctored Final Exam." That exam will be password protected.

Note: There is a 14-day waiting period between attempts of the Direct Credit final exam. There is no imposed wait period between attempting the non-credit certificate-bearing exam and the credit exam. Some credit exams have a maximum number of attempts allowed, which will be detailed on the exam's instructions page.


Tips for Success

BUS301: Human Resource Management is a self-paced course in which you the learner determines when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or predetermined schedule to follow. While learning styles can vary considerably and any particular student will take more or less time to learn or read, we estimate that the "average" student will take 87.75 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular (daily, or at least weekly) progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so below we've compiled a few suggested study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories as you read. This can help you differentiate and contextualize concepts and later provide you with a refresher as you study.
  • As you progress through the materials, take time to test yourself on what you have retained and how well you understand the concepts. The process of reflection is important for creating a memory of the materials you learn; it will increase the probability that you ultimately retain the information.
  • Although you may work through this course completely independently, you may find it helpful to connect with other Saylor Academy students through the discussion forums. You may access the discussion forums at


Suggested Prerequisites

In order to take this course, you should:

Technical Requirements

This course is delivered fully online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one, free of charge, here. Although you can access some course resources without being logged into your account, it's advised that you log in to maximize your course experience. For example, some of the accessibility and progress tracking features are only available when you are logged in.
  • If you plan to attempt the optional credit recommended final exam that accompanies this course, then you will also need access to a webcam enabled computer. A webcam is needed so that our remote proctoring service can verify your identity, which will allow Saylor Academy to issue an official transcript to schools on your behalf.

For additional technical guidance check out Saylor Academy's tech-FAQ and the Moodle LMS tutorial.



There is no cost to access and enroll in this course. All required course resources linked throughout the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, activities, etc are accessible for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

This course does contain an optional final exam that will provide students an opportunity to earn college credit. Access to the exam itself is free, though it does require the use of a proctoring service for identity verification purposes. The cost for proctoring is $25 per session.

Last modified: Friday, March 29, 2019, 2:53 PM