Human Resource Management 101

Human resources is used to describe both the people who work for a company or organization and the department responsible for managing resources related to employees. The term human resources was first coined in the 1960s when the value of labor relations began to garner attention and when notions such as motivation, organizational behavior, and selection assessments began to take shape.

Human resource management is a contemporary, umbrella term used to describe the management and development of employees in an organization. Also called personnel or talent management (although these terms are a bit antiquated), human resource management involves overseeing all things related to managing an organization’s human capital.

Human resource management is therefore focused on a number of major areas, including:

  • Recruiting and staffing
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Training and learning
  • Labor and employee relations
  • Organization development

Due to the many areas of human resource management, it is typical for professionals in this field to possess specific expertise in one or more areas. Just a few of the related career titles for HR professionals include:

  • Training development specialist
  • HR manager
  • Benefits specialist
  • Human resource generalist
  • Employment services manager
  • Compensation and job analysis specialist
  • Training and development manager
  • Recruiter
  • Benefits counselor
  • Personnel analyst


Job Descriptions for Key Human Resources Positions

To better appreciate the scope of the human resources field and the many jobs within it, the SHRM organizes HR professionals into the following categories (Set forth below, with slight modification, is information drawn from the SHRM and originally published in the SHRM Survey: HR’s Evolving Role in Organizations and Its Impact on Business Strategy.):


Early-Level HR Professionals

Early-level HR professionals are specialists who perform a specific support function or generalists with limited experience. Their work includes supporting HR initiatives, executing tasks requested of management, and performing tactical or transactional tasks.

Typical job duties for early-level HR professionals include:

  • Identifying ways to improve operational efficiency
  • Networking with HR peers, both internally and externally
  • Conducting initial investigations for HR-based transactional issues
  • Seeking ways to improve HR process, transactions, and outcomes

Their job titles often include:

  • HR assistant
  • Junior recruiters
  • Benefits clerk


Mid-Level HR Professionals

Mid-level HR professionals are generalists or senior specialists who are most often responsible for managing projects, programs, or initiatives, implementing plans designed by senior management, and delegating tasks to early-level staff members.

Their job titles often include:

  • HR manager
  • HR generalist
  • Senior HR specialist

Typical job duties for mid-level HR professionals include:

  • Overseeing interactions with vendors/suppliers to maintain service quality
  • Facilitating conflict resolution meetings
  • Conducting initial investigations of HR issues
  • Participating in creation of HR interventions
  • Serving as point person on projects and tasks
  • Fielding issues with senior management guidance
  • Resolving conflicts due to cultural differences
  • Enforcing policies consistently
  • Analyzing data and reporting findings and trends


Senior-Level HR Professionals

Senior-level HR professionals are considered experienced generalists or specialists who are responsible for developing and leading implementation plans and analyzing business information.

Their job titles often include:

  • Senior HR manager
  • Director
  • Principal

Typical job duties for senior-level HR professionals include:

  • Creating organizational issues, changes, and opportunities
  • Implementing case and pilot studies to address specific problems
  • Evaluating all proposed business cases for HR projects and initiatives
  • Developing business strategies with top leaders of the organization
  • Evaluating potential ethical risks and liabilities to the organization
  • Providing mentoring/training on cultural trends and practices
  • Making departmental/functional decisions
  • Designing long-term business solutions in partnership with HR customers


Executive-Level HR Professionals

Executive-level HR professionals serve as the most senior leaders of the HR management team. They are organizational leaders and designers of human capital strategy.

Their job titles often include:

  • Chief human resource officer
  • Vice president

Typical job duties for executive-level HR professionals include:

  • Designing strategic HR and business solutions
  • Supervising HR investigations with legal counsel
  • Leading HR staff in maintaining or changing organizational culture
  • Championing the HR function and organizational mission and vision
  • Communicating HR vision, practices, and policies to other stakeholders
  • Maintaining expert knowledge of global economic trends
  • Empowering senior leaders to create and ethical environment to prevents conflicts of interest
  • Sponsoring process improvement initiatives using evidence-based solutions


Get certified in Human Resource Management

In partnership with the Human Resource Certification Institute®,USA (HRCI®) and the UK Human Resource Institute® (UKHRI®), Palmsland Consult offers training and certification preparation courses to HR Professionals at all career levels.

Prepare to become an Associate Professional Human Resource International® (aPHRi®), Professional Human Resource International® (PHRi®) and Senior Professional Human Resource International® (SPHRi®), or start with the Human Resource Proficiency course to level up.

Palmslands human resource management training features regularly updated content, downloadable resources, and quizzes you can access at your own pace.

Gain the skills to provide critical support to both employees and management. Our HR courses help professionals gain vital skills that can be used immediately on the job and can increase earning potential.

No matter your level of experience, there is a human resource management course right for you. Browse and click on the courses that suits your experience below to register.

   HR Proficiency Certification


  • No OF LESSONS: 6 Course Lessons
  • CERTIFICATE: UK Certification
  • SKILL LEVEL: Entry Level
  • 700+ Enrolled Learners

   aPHRi Certification Prep


  • No OF LESSONS: 6 Course Lessons
  • CERTIFICATE: US Certification
  • SKILL LEVEL: Entry Level
  • 300+ Enrolled Learners

   PHRi Certification Prep


  • No OF LESSONS: 6 Course Lessons
  • CERTIFICATE: US Certification
  • SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate
  • PRE-REQUISITE: 2 years practice
  • 60+ Enrolled Learners

   SPHRi Certification Prep


  • No OF LESSONS: 4 Course Lessons
  • CERTIFICATE: US Certification
  • SKILL LEVEL: Advance
  • PRE-REQUISITE: 4-5 years Practice
  • 10+ Enrolled Learners