Human Resource Management

Human Resources Management (HRM) – formerly the management of personnel – is the set of practices implemented to administer, mobilize and develop the human resources involved in the activity of an organization.

These human resources are all employees of any status (workers, employees, managers) belonging to the organization but also – and more and more – linked to it by relationships of subjection (thus, the collaborators of the subcontractors are considered part of the scope of the company's human resources).

At first, this function is heard from an operational perspective. It is about administering a staff that can be numerically important and divided into different levels of hierarchy or qualification: (payroll management, labor law, employment contract, etc.).

In a second step, the function acquires a more functional dimension. The aim is to improve the cross-functional communication between services and processes and to implement employee development throughout their stay in the organization (career management, job and skills forecast management or (GPEC), recruitment (selection), training, etc.)


Human resources management takes place at all stages of the life of employees in the company, including their entry and departure. It can be broken down into multiple tasks: job definition, recruitment, career management, training, payroll and compensation management, performance evaluation, conflict management, social and union relations, motivation and staff involvement, communication, working conditions, selection, and equity (distributive justice, interactive, etc.).

In order to value skills, motivation, information and organization, it is possible to give the necessary attention to certain management tools:

  • recruitment. By assessing skills and motivation when recruiting, we make sure we have adequate staff in number and qualification;
  • training and coaching. In order to improve the level of competence of employees, but also to improve their motivation (training can be a reward and it is often more motivating to do a job that we know how to do);
  • the positive motivation (reward: congratulation, bonus, promotion, training…) and negative (sanction: reprimands, reduction or cancellation of a bonus, demotion, or even dismissal).


Positive motivation and negative motivation are each effective. The penalty may be demotivating for the person concerned. But we must relativize this fear because it appeals to the principle of responsibility and exemplarity. It also returns the individual to the group. The latter can badly live unethical behavior when they are out of play. This can be a factor of demotivation when an absence of sanction is in fact an imbalance between the one who devotes himself and the one who does nothing. The concern for fairness must guide the administrator. From this point of view, the management of human resources must also integrate in its administrative practice, the notion of group or team: through communication and transparency. It is essential that the employee has the necessary information to accomplish his task, and has a clear idea of the evolution and objectives of the company itself and its environment. Today, the abundance of information has made it necessary to put in place information management systems, such as knowledge management systems; by planning and controlling the progress of tasks. Optimizing the organization, ie scheduling tasks and assigning them to the most competent people available, improves the efficiency of execution; by the personnel administration. It is customary to say that good management of human resources is reflected first and foremost by reliable staff administration. In this case, it is about securing its workforce by ensuring a rigorous payment of salaries and bonuses, by following the management of attendance and absences, overtime, scheduling leave, organizing replacements, etc.

This point is essential because it characterizes a part of the contractual obligations (statutory for a civil servant) of a company (of a public service) towards his employee. When the company goes through a crisis, the role of human resources is paramount. A crisis, even financial, is often born of a human error. It is the duty of human resources managers to put in place a recovery plan and this involves the appointment and monitoring of an effective response team. From identification to the end of the crisis, human resource management is the key variable that the future of the structure may depend on.

Cost Management

An issue of human resources management is the management of costs, for example those related to turnover or absenteeism…


The concept of enterprise seen as a "social body" is inducted and developed in the early twentieth century, among others by practicing managers and France Henri Fayol. From this perspective, human resources management is a true function of the company.

The human resources departments carry out their missions and functions in collaboration with the other departments and field managers in a logic of objectives set by the company (the Association or the Administration). For example, human resources management is considered – in some organizations – as co-responsible for areas such as production or quality management.

It is possible to identify many tasks for this function that are:

  • the administration of the personnel (it is in this aspect that the function starts to exist and to be perceived in the company):
    • registration, monitoring and control of individual and collective data of company personnel;
    • the application of legal and regulatory provisions in the company;
    • the preparation of committees and meetings;
    • the maintenance of order and control and the work of pointing.
  • management in a broad sense (this term covers three areas):
    • the acquisition of human resources: through employment management, recruitment programs, career plans, transfers and promotion, job analysis and evaluation of people;
    • compensation management: by analyzing and developing positions, salary grid, remuneration policy, profit-sharing and participation ;
    • training management: by identifying needs, developing training plans, implementing training actions and evaluating results.
  • communication, information: The tasks of the human resources department in this area are:
    • The definition of outward-oriented publications and the design of messages,
    • The design of the company's social balance sheet (proving to be an annual obligation for organizations with more than 300 employees),
    • Management of the means of communication: corporate journal, posting, audio-visual, systematic meetings;
  • improving working conditions. In this matter the main themes are:
    • health and safety at work and in journeys,
    • the ergonomics of working conditions,
    • prevention of psychosocial risks and occupational diseases.

HRM requires the mobilization of various knowledge and expertise: management, economics, law, sociology, psychology


It is possible to distinguish the following theoretical approaches:

Life cycle of the employment contract

The most frequently encountered approach is the human resource management approach as the life cycle of the work contract progresses. This makes it possible to approach the relationship of the organization with its employee recruiter to his departure from the company (retirement, dismissal, resignation…). It must necessarily be complemented by a collective vision through processes such as social and union relations, information systems, social management control…

HR Manager

Another approach taken in the book Manager HR holds for human resources four essential missions which are:

  • build the organization: what is known as the "labor market" on which wages are determined does not look like a stock market. Its operation is, in part, "internal" to the company and depends on the procedures and architecture (vertical and horizontal division of labor) built by the HR manager;
  • mobilize the organization: it is not enough for employees to have the required skills. They still have to want to use them. This will depend on what the company will offer them: compensation (overall), working conditions, development prospects, as many aspects that it is up to the HR manager to get in shape;
  • equip the organization with the required skills: today's skills will be obsolete tomorrow. Recruitment, training, forward-looking management of jobs and skills are all means that can be used to achieve the necessary transformation of qualifications;
  • regulate the organization: dysfunctions are the normal way of functioning of the organizations that the HR manager must however master to avoid that their expression threatens the survival of the company. It must also control the external effects on the social system, that is, assume what is considered to be the "social responsibility" of the company.

Human Resource Champions

Human resources would have four essential missions according to the book Human Resource Champions:

  • be the partner of the company's day-to-day strategy (HRD as a business partner);
  • manage and accompany change (the HRD "project manager" of training and skills development policies);
  • administer the daily newspaper (the "manager" HRD: pay, administer, meet legal obligations, etc.);
  • assist employees (the HRD "coach").


The evaluation of human resources management is a crucial process in the evaluation of an organization's action plan. It can be based on established criteria or results recorded after an implementation of human resource strategies in an organization. Management assessment allows a complete review of human capital policies within an organization and an adjustment of its action plan.

It is important and often very necessary to methodically evaluate policies and human resource management practices. To achieve the expected success, it would be imperative to make a good assessment that allows for constant improvement. This step is like an evaluation that determines organizational performance. So, it can be either strong or weak. In the case where the latter is to be weak, it is necessary to highlight all the negative points of the human resources function and subsequently to determine the source of these problems. They can be seen in the implementation of management policies or in the plan itself. If the problem stems from the application of human resource policies, managers will tend to oppose changes in their strategic plans. In addition, employees may also have this attitude towards sudden changes as this will tend to give them new responsibilities. To avoid conflict it is important to have regular assessments to apply the changes in a consistent way as sudden application of changes causes conflict. "One of the major hurdles for managers and the HR Department is the indifference of the current HR systems to increasingly cross-cutting missions and projects. Thus, the participation of the technicians of a laboratory in a transversal mission will degrade their productivity ratio within their production unit. And it will be the same for all other members of cross-functional teams, whether marketing, legal, IT, research… ".

Cases of forced ranking practices, or forced under-registration, in some companies are progressively unveiled. This involves underestimating an employee to fill quotas of bad employees and being able to dismiss them for professional incompetence, such as the cases reported at Sanofi or in the automobile sector.


The purpose of an evaluation and development interview is to identify the differences between the skills available to an employee and the requirements of the position they occupy (as defined by their specifications) in order to determine the objectives. development priorities. This assessment can take place as part of the annual evaluation interview, or be the subject of a specific interview

Revision and Repositioning

In order to make an adequate assessment of the management of human resources, it is sufficient to compare the objectives set with the final results using the evaluation and correction criteria. These criteria must reflect the expected results, the aim of which is to measure the relevance of the actions undertaken to achieve the objectives set, taking into account the various partners of the organization. Finally, the results of the evaluations must provide corrective measures that will improve and reposition the human resources management policies of an organization so that it is effective in its internal and external environment.

The typical example of an evaluation within a company in the human resources function is the management of working time thanks to the modulation agreement which will make it possible to set objectives and to compare them.

The modulation agreement is a system of adjustment of the working time concluded with the representatives of the personnel, according to the rhythm of the company in the form of compensation and allowing to remain in the annual legal duration of work (from 1600 to 1607 hours depending on whether the year is leap or not). In addition, the maximum effective working time must not exceed 48 hours in the same week and 44 hours per week on average over a reference period of 12 consecutive weeks. At the end of the so-called reference period the company is able to compare the hours worked by each employee with those provided for in the agreement.

The life of a company is made of so-called period of high or low activity and that because of the seasonality of its activity or the variations of the orders for example. Employees are therefore required to work more or less overtime, the modulation agreement will adjust the pace with that of the organization. This device allows to calculate the real working time of the company on the limits imposed by the agreement, to adjust the working hours on the pace of the company, to avoid the extra hours during periods of high activity and partial unemployment in periods of low activity and therefore to consider these eventualities only when the schedules exceed the limits imposed by the agreement. There are different mandatory mentions of the modulation agreement. First, it must include a reference period ranging from 1 to 3 years for certain branch agreements, notice periods on changes in working hours knowing that the weekly duration over one year must not exceed 1600 hours, the devices relating to the taking into account of variables such as the remunerations, absences, movements of the payroll during the period of reference. But also the mention of the reasons (social, economic) of the setting up of this agreement, the modalities concerning the conditions of recourse if it exceeds the limits of the agreement (partial unemployment, right of use of compensatory rest). In addition, the decisions of the modulation agreement must take into account the criteria leading to the variation of working time, the consequences for the life of the company, the working conditions of the staff.

In addition to these mandatory information, the agreement may also consider independence of the remuneration on the actual schedule and determine the calculation methods. In addition, in case of changes in working hours, the agreement must stipulate the formalities concerning the period of notice, in the absence of stipulation, employees must be informed within 7 days before the date of modification.

At the end of the so-called reference period the company is able to compare the hours worked by each employee with those provided for in the agreement. If it is below the forecast provided by the agreement, it is the responsibility of the latter and if it is above it can set up a surcharge system overtime.

Note that without an agreement, the company can still arrange its hours in the form of a maximum working week of nine weeks for companies with less than 50 employees and four weeks for those with more than 50 employees (Article D. 3121-27 and D.3121-28 of the Labor Code).

Regarding the posting requirements of the employer, the agreement must be communicated once a year to the representative bodies of the personnel according to article L.2323-1 of the work code. In addition, the employer must post the collective work schedule provided for in the agreement by including the number of weeks in the qualifying period. For establishments where there is a conventional application of the organization of working time, the hours worked from the beginning of the reference period until the end of the period or the departure of a salaried employee. company must be mentioned on a document in addition to the last payslip. Finally, the employer must make available to the labor inspectorate for one year, documents recording the hours of work of each employee.

With respect to the legal framework, it was section L-3122-9 that established the possibility for companies to establish a modulation of working time. Then the law of 20 August 2008 No. 2008-789 "concerning renovation of social democracy and reform of working time" to simplify regulation of working time by relaxing and giving more importance to collective bargaining.

Subsequently, the law of August 8, 2016 facilitated the negotiation of a modulation agreement by increasing the adaptability of companies to the fluctuations of their activity and added a new specificity to the use of this agreement that of the "development of employment "for example if the company wants to conquer new markets.

Contribution of IT solutions

The assessment of human resource performance involves organizational work to define individual performance and coordination indicators for the use of these indicators. The use of software solutions makes it easy to access many talent management indicators and highlight the performance of key employees in the organization. These include the frequent use of HRIS. An independent study analyzing the issue has thus shown that French companies and administrations use three different expertise related to the use of software in the evaluation of the performance of the human resources function: consulting, outsourcing and decision-making.

While talent management and HR performance assessment solutions have historically appeared on the market through specialists in one of the three areas of expertise, general solutions also appear. There are many IT solutions, called HRIS, internalisable or SaaS that allow the management of human resources:

  • Skills management
  • Planning management
  • Payroll management
  • Training management
  • Recruitment management
  • Occupational risk management

Digitization of the human resources process

The Human Resources function does not escape the digitization process. In a few years, the evolution of new technologies has pushed companies to evolve. The field of human resources is today particularly concerned by this phenomenon.

This digitization consists in the use of new technologies and new information and communication technologies (NICTs) in order to make all the functions of human resources more efficient. Digitization is today a way to optimize the management of the HR service by reducing time-consuming tasks. By this we mean the numerous documents (papers) associated with the human resources department. The dematerialization of these documents is therefore logical in purely administrative HR processes (pay, leave, absences…)

The Human Resources functions most impacted by digitization are:

  • Recruitment: Traditional recruitment is giving way to new processes today. We are talking today about online recruitment, that is to say recruiting that uses a set of computer tools (smartphones, videoconferencing, virtual shows…) but also recruitment 2.0 that is to say a recruitment that uses internet tools (application on sites, digital pool…)
  • Payroll management: The use of different payroll software now allows HR departments to focus on more "social" tasks, such as management, the social climate or the well-being of employees.
  • Training: The field of training is a function that is really impacted by digital. Even though "face-to-face" training remains a safe bet for employee training (with continuing education in particular), new methods are becoming more and more important. In addition to online training and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), there are now new forms of training such as Blended learning (blended learning, the training provided according to several cumulative learning methods: face-to-face, asynchronous distance and synchronous distance). virtual classes, " serious games ", engagement platforms… These new courses have a much lower cost than traditional training.




Direction and Strategy

  • Human Resources Director
  • Human Resources Manager

Management of employment, careers and skills

  • HR Development Manager
  • Manager of skills management
  • Career and Mobility Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Human Resources Officer
  • Human Resources Assistant

Social relations

  • Responsible for social relations
  • Diversity Manager
  • Social Law Lawyer
  • Specialized lawyer
  • Disability Task Manager

Personnel Administration

  • Person in charge of personnel administration
  • Payroll Manager
  • Payroll accountant
  • Manager Personnel Administration


  • Hiring coordinator
  • School and University Relations Manager
  • Recruitment officer
  • Researcher
  • Direct approach consultant
  • Replacement


  • Training Manager
  • Training Officer


  • Compensation and Benefits Manager
  • Payroll and compensation manager
  • Payroll Analyst
  • Compensation Officer

HR information systems

  • HR Information Systems Manager
  • HRIS Manager and Pay System
  • E-HR Manager
  • Responsible for the HR intranet
  • HRIS specialist consultant

Change management

  • Consultant


  • Internal communication manager

International Human Resources Management

  • Global HR Director
  • Expat Officials
  • International Mobility Manager

Social management control

  • Responsible for studies or social reports
  • Research Officers


  • HR studies and dashboards
  • ergonomist
  • Social auditor
  • Social Marketing Consultant
  • Coach

Professional associations

HR professionals can be members of associations.

In France, there is for example the ANDRH (National Association of Directors of Human Resources). Young professional associations also help to keep each other regularly informed At the European level, there is the European Association for People Management (EAPM). In Quebec, the CRHA (Order of Advisors in Human Resources Authorized).

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