What is Human Resource Management?

Very broadly defined, Human Resource Management (HRM) covers all of the activities that managers and human resources engage in to attract, retain and reward a high quality workforce that will contribute to the organization's mission and goals. In the HRM curriculum at Metropolitan State University, we emphasize the fact that all managers are human resource managers. HR professionals and the management team of an organization must ensure that the organization effectively utilizes employees to accomplish its mission and goals. Together the HR professional staff and managers must make strategic choices about work design, recruiting, hiring, termination, performance appraisal, training and development, compensation and benefits, employee rights, unions, safety and health, and a myriad of other employee related issues.

The human resource departments in organizations have been growing in size and importance due to expanding legal regulations, rapidly changing technology, rising health care costs, projected labor shortages and global workforce issues, so job prospects in this field are strong.

There are some common misconceptions about HRM as a field. Many people still think that the main, or only, requirement for working in human resource management is having good interpersonal skills and a desire to work with people. This is definitely not true. HRM professionals and all managers need a good liberal studies background to help them understand the complexities of human behavior. In addition, they need a strong knowledge base in business, nonprofit management or public administration. In other words, they need to understand the organizational context in which they are, or will be, working. Finally, they need to have a broad strategic management approach to HRM practices which focuses on the external environment, the internal environment of the organization and a broad systems perspective to relate HRM philosophy and practices to the strategic plan of the organization. Thus, the HRM major at Metropolitan State requires a good foundation of general education courses and knowledge gained from business and management courses in addition to specialized HRM courses.

The College of Management at Metropolitan State offers two programs in HRM. We have an HRM major for students wishing to work as an HRM professional in an HR dept. We also offer a minor in HRM for students in other majors who wish to prepare themselves for effectively supervising people in future leadership/management positions. You can complete both the HRM major and minor in the classroom, via online courses or a combination of the two course delivery modes.

  • Major in HRM: This program is designed primarily for students who plan to work as a profession in the HRM function in business, government or nonprofit organizations. Examples of job titles are personnel representative/manager, interviewer, recruiter, job analyst, compensation specialist/manager, labor relations specialist/manager, training specialist/manager, manpower planner, employment specialist/manager and manager of employee relations. Persons with HRM majors may also work in employment/staffing agencies, consulting firms and government agencies related to the areas mentioned above.
  • Minor in HRM: This program is designed for students who need a good understanding of HRM practices to perform effectively and innovatively in positions such as manager, team leader, project manager, etc. HRM combines well with the business disciplines such as marketing, accounting, finance, etc. and it also supports nonbusiness disciplines such as psychology, communications and graduate studies in law, etc. You can enhance the marketability of your major with this minor. In addition, having a second area of study on your transcript provides another opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from other job or graduate school applicants.

Sequencing your learning: prerequisites and recommended courses.

  • Read the catalog course descriptions carefully: Be sure to take prerequisite courses prior to registering for HRM courses. You will also note in the catalog that there are preparatory courses that HRM faculty members recommend that you take before registering for HRM courses. These are not required but are highly recommended based on faculty experience in the classroom. Students who have taken the recommended courses often do better in their HRM studies.

Links for more information

To learn more about the degree requirements, visit the Undergraduate Catalog or the Advising section of the website. To learn more about the field of HRM, visit http://www.shrm.org. If you plan to major in HRM and work in the field, it is important that you acquaint yourself with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the largest professional association in the field. Student memberships are available and will be very helpful when taking your HRM courses. You will also want to investigate local HRM organizations that may provide you with job networking opportunities. Some of the organizations in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN metropolitan area include the Twin Cities Human Resource Association (TCHRA), Human Resource Professionals (HRP) and the Twin Cities Compensation Network (TCCN).