Human resources is the department or division of a business, corporation, or organization that manages all aspects related to its personnel, including recruiting employees, training and career development, overseeing compensation packages, managing benefits plans, and other duties that serve to maximize a company's business and its employees' satisfaction with their jobs. Simply, the function of the human resources industry is to produce competent personnel and to keep employees productive. More than 939,000 people work in human resources and related fields today.
As an increasingly large portion of the U.S. economy has come to depend on service industries—businesses in which the main product is not an item sold in a store but rather is a set of actions performed for a client by the business's employees—the growth of the human resources (HR) industry has increased proportionally. Meeting these increased demands has resulted in the field of human resources evolving from its early role whose primary responsibilities included hiring and training workers, managing a company's payroll, and dealing with labor issues to now being charged with a broader, more conceptual, and strategic set of responsibilities that may include setting up job classifications and employee benefits systems or working with top management to develop plans to optimize use of company employees. In large, multinational corporations, an international human resources department is often created to meet the needs of U.S. citizens working in foreign countries, as well as people from other countries working in the United States.
Human resources professionals are generally employed in one of two major areas: large or medium-sized companies in any kind of industry; and personnel consulting firms that help other companies find qualified employees, both on a permanent and temporary basis. Any organization with many employees, whether a bank, oil company, or fast food restaurant, needs personn...