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What does HR mean?

Glossary definition

What does HR mean?

HR stands for human resources.

This used to be known as personnel. Nowadays, the term is increasingly being replaced by ‘People’.

In an era of employee engagement, it can be unhelpful and dehumanising to think of the people who power your organisation as ‘resources’.

The term ‘human resources’ refers to the people who work in a company. The human resources or HR department is the team that usually looks after employee management and development.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • Data administration
  • Recruitment
  • Pay and benefits
  • Training
  • Talent management
  • Absence and grievance management
  • Health and safety
  • Working practices and policies.

Increasingly, HR or People leaders are playing a strategic role at board level, providing vital insight into the employer brand and the current and future workforce as key success factors in business growth.

Productivity, motivation, talent and working practices are all strategic People issues that affect profitability, competitiveness and ability to attract and retain the right people.

The old HR role is broadening to become a more proactive and business-critical discipline instead of a mainly administrative function.