What is Human Resource Development (HRD)?

The field of HRD or Human Resource Development encompasses several aspects of enabling and empowering human resources in organization. Whereas earlier HRD was denoted as managing people in organizations with emphasis on payroll, training and other functions that were designed to keep employees happy, the current line of management thought focuses on empowering and enabling them to become employees capable of fulfilling their aspirations and actualizing their potential.

This shift in the way human resources are treated has come about due to the prevailing notion that human resources are sources of competitive advantage and not merely employees fulfilling their job responsibilities.

The point here is that the current paradigm in HRD treats employees as value creators and assets based on the RBV or the Resource Based View of the firm that has emerged in the SHRM (Strategic Human Resource Management) field.

The field of HRD spans several functions across the organization starting with employee recruitment and training, appraisals and payroll and extending to the recreational and motivational aspects of employee development.

Indeed, one reason for the emergence of the RBV or the SHRM paradigm is that with the advent of the service sector and the greater proportion of companies in the service sector, employees are not merely a factor of production like land, labor and capital but in fact, they are sources of competitive advantage. This is characterized by many CEO’s calling employees their chief assets and valuing their contribution accordingly. As a matter of fact, many IT and Financial Services companies routinely refer to employees as the value creators and value enhancers rather than just resources doing their job.

What this has meant is that the field of HRD has become prominent and important for organizations and has morphed into a function that takes its place among other support functions in organizations and indeed, it is the main driver of competitive advantage.

Human Resource Development

Further, the field of HRD now has taken on a role that goes beyond employee satisfaction and instead, the focus now is on ensuring that employees are delighted with the working conditions and perform their jobs according to their latent potential which is brought to the fore. This has resulted in the HRD manager and the employees of the HRD department becoming partners in the organization’s progress instead of just yet another line function.

Further, the HR managers now routinely interact with the functional managers and the people managers to ensure high levels of job satisfaction and fulfillment. The category of people managers is a role that has been created in many multinational companies like Fidelity and IBM to specifically look into the personality related aspects of employees and to ensure that they bring the best to the table.

Finally, HRD is no longer just about payroll or timekeeping and leave tracking. On the other hand, directors of HRD in companies like Infosys are much sought after for their inputs into the whole range of activities spanning the function and they are expected to add value rather than just consume resources.

With this introduction, we will be moving into the module covering HRD with each aspect of the HRD function and the associated topics being covered here. It is hoped that the readers would gain an overall perspective about HRD after going through the HRD module.

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