Human Resources: what is HR and everything about the concept

The HR concept was born from the need to take care of a company’s workforce. Something that goes from the process of recruiting and dismissing people to the work of keeping employees motivated, productive and trained.

It can go unnoticed by many people – even though the Human Resources sector is an area known to everyone in a company.

And do you know how important it is to understand the concept of HR ? The ease with which it can be planned to yield more and more. And not just for hiring and firing professionals .

To show the enormous relevance of Human Resources in a company, in this post we will explore:

  • what is human resources;
  • what is the origin of Human Resources;
  • how the HR concept is applied in companies;
  • difference between HR from the past and HR from the present;
  • what is the responsibility of the human resources sector;
  • what are the HR challenges in companies;
  • how a strategic HR works;
  • what is Intelligent HR ?;
  • what is the knowledge of those working with Human Resources;
  • what are the careers within Human Resources;
  • what the future of the HR concept will look like.

In addition, we will point out the best careers to be followed in this professional segment. Good reading!

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What is human resources?

The Human Resources were gradually developed as a response to own commercial growth that was driven by the industrial revolutions .

It is worth noting that the HR concept is directly related to a company’s most valuable assets: its workforce . Resources, in turn, are linked to all kinds of solutions used to produce a business – from technology to infrastructure.

Thus, it is easy to see that Human Resources conciliate and act in the interests of the company with those of employees, and in accordance with labor laws .

This meaning of HR translates into several stages, responsibilities and activities, summarized below (and which will be explored in more detail below):

  • act in the selection and filtering of qualified professional profiles for the positions in the company;
  • take care of the management and monitoring of the behavioral profiles of each employee ;.
  • seek and provide financial incentives for the company;
  • institute and take care of the company’s internal policies;
  • promote training ;
  • take care of all labor matters ;
  • work on the motivational aspect of professionals.

Among other activities that you certainly must have identified according to the busy routine in your company.

Do you want to know how to plan all these tasks and succeed in each one? We recommend that you download the free HR Planning eBook ! Answer the form and receive:

What is the origin of Human Resources?

The concept of HR dates back to the last decades of the 19th century, when the industrial revolution had already accelerated mass production.

Ideally, the sector was designed to mediate the goals of a company with the personal goals of its respective professionals. Something that still holds.

But time has shown that the HR concept was far from being that simple. In the mid-1930s – after the popularization of Human Relations Theory – it was realized that the results of a company were linked to psychological factors .

Factors that have everything to do with the moment experienced by its employees. That is to say: it was not enough to demand productivity, just. The focus also became the consideration for people’s well-being.

The subject was enhanced by the social configuration that was established in the post-war period, between the 1940s and 50s. That was when new administrative theories – such as Maslow’s pyramid of needs – emerged , exposing new perspectives.

Among them, that an HR concept would be more impartial in the search for results , but without losing attention to the development of professionals in this process .

How is the HR concept applied in companies?

HR is largely responsible for internal relationships . Its position is highly strategic , whether for immediate decisions and in the short, medium or long term.

An example of this is its performance before, during and after the definition of a job and salary plan . The Human Resources evaluate the kind of job profile for each company’s position, identify leaders and position themselves ahead of the evaluated changes.

In addition, this sector also acts as a structural and institutional pillar for the individuals who perform their activities there. That includes:

  • the professional development of all;
  • attention to the motivational and productive aspects of each one;
  • the ability to solve internal problems.

It should be borne in mind that the HR concept is impossible to be practiced without a good configuration, within the company. So, next, we will explore this division and understand HR responsibilities .

What is the difference between HR from the past and HR from the present?

The concept of Human Resources is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of a company. It has a strategic role in the business structure and, therefore, it must always be up to date .

However, there are still many companies that adopt HR practices from the past , without updating or innovating. Is your company like that too? Check out what these actions are.

HR concept from the past

The HR of the past was that sector mostly operating , which took care of the bureaucratic and operational procedures of the hiring and remuneration processes.

They focused on processes such as:

  • hiring;
  • salary;
  • benefits;
  • vacation;
  • absences.

In addition, the departments of that time accumulated in extensive paperwork and had the organization of documents as an exhaustive part of their work routine .

But, the main thing is that the Human Resources departments of the old model did not have a strategic vision of the company.  Which made them simply a bureaucratic department to deal with employee issues.

If your HR still follows this model, it is necessary to reassess the practices adopted by your company ! Since you don’t want to take the risk of your company falling behind in the market, do you?

Gift HR concept

The HR of the present is much more than a bureaucratic sector. He makes use of the strategy to optimize the processes and resources in the company as much as possible.

It is an area that has learned to be aligned with the objectives and goals to be achieved and, therefore, is able to perform its functions with much more precision. Some of them:

  • recruitment and selection ;
  • search for new talents;
  • analysis of professional profiles;
  • creation of management guidelines;
  • employee evaluation;
  • training of people.

In addition, this type of HR is always on top of technological innovations , adding software and new tools to the processes, according to demand. This makes the HR of the present much more optimized and efficient than the HR of the past .

But that’s not all: HR is now much more aware that a company’s most important asset is human . So, there is also a much greater appreciation of employees , which is positive for the company as a whole.

It is evident, then, that changes are needed to improve the routine of the Human Resources sector . Therefore, it is up to managers and employees to always be aware of HR trends to create a good relationship between employees and the company.

What is the responsibility of the Human Resources sector?

The size of an HR sector is equally proportional to the size of the company . But this does not prevent, for example, that micro-companies have the same number of job divisions as a large company.

In order for the organization to be the key element in conducting a harmonious and productive process , Human Resources can be divided as follows:


The human capital is one of the most important assets of the company . It is he who defines who will stand out in the market and who adds value to the company’s capital . This makes the supply sector one of the most important in HR.

He is responsible for measuring and anticipating the workforce needed by the company, in addition to the types of talent essential to achieving determined business goals.

In summary, we can say that the supply sector is the area in charge of the process of recruiting and selecting candidates, as well as market research .

Human Resources Application

This part of the Human Resources sector is responsible for defining where the newly hired professionals will be allocated.

To this end, this HR subdivision performs several job and salary analyzes . Such practice is intended to promote the match with the market and the company’s structure, ensuring that they are adequate to the functions performed.

Another important role of the application of human resources is to promote integration among employees , introducing the new employee to the company’s routine and functions. In addition, it works with t reinstatements and performance evaluations .


This is undoubtedly one of the most important HR sectors . This is because he works to ensure that employees are motivated and remain in the company through rewards .

To this end, it promotes motivational actions in the company, either through the career plan or even through bonuses and bonuses, thus reducing the turnover rate and the absenteeism rate .



The maintenance area is also related to the employee’s motivation. However, it is directly focused on the company’s motivational cycle .

This means an unremitting work to evaluate remuneration, work routine, performance – individual and collective – and even the turnover index of that enterprise.

In other words, it is an HR sector that is always looking for improvements to the quality of the employee’s work , with the ultimate goal of satisfaction and, mainly, the increase or maintenance of productivity .


The development area is responsible for keeping employees always updated and developing their skills, so that they can keep up with current trends .

For this reason, this area promotes internal training and courses for employees and is also responsible for the evaluation and identification of internal talent .

Some of the courses and training that can be applied by this sector are:

  • Mentoring;
  • Career planning;
  • Leadership training;
  • Motivation training;
  • Technical training;
  • and many others.


When performing all these processes mentioned above, it is necessary to create a way to measure the results and analyze the main indexes to know if they are being effective and if they are optimized to the maximum within the HR concept .

With the digital transformation , this process monitoring is getting easier and easier . This is because this area currently makes use of various technological tools and software , which streamline and automate processes.

What are the HR challenges in companies?

With an increasingly dynamic labor market and a routine full of responsibility and actions to be taken, it is not uncommon for obstacles to arise in the day-to-day activities of any Human Resources sector.

Furthermore, with transformations and new trends emerging all the time, it is to be expected, in fact, that these challenges will expand and become even more complex .

The ideal is to map all of them, knowing each of their characteristics, in order to solve them even more efficiently. Therefore, check out the main challenges of the profession below .

Leadership development

One of HR’s challenges is to develop and train leaders , so that there is continuity in the company’s actions after the departure of current leaders or for the occupation of new positions.

This task starts from the identification of talents and goes to the effective training of leaders . However, HR often fails in this process, especially when it comes to developing internal leadership .

This is because the process is complex and requires the sector to be able to take these individuals out of their comfort zone and guide them in the right way.

In addition, the lack of prior behavioral study of leaders can be very damaging . Since this could avoid a lot of expenses with the preparation of professionals who are, in fact, unsuitable for the job .

Thus, Human Resources professionals face an undertaking full of obstacles so that they can take advantage of the company’s internal talents.

Working with a collaborative culture

For very traditional companies, the dissolution of a plastered hierarchy is also a task that requires effort from the HR sector . For that, it is the job of reformulation for that.

It is not easy, but it is significant that the current leadership realizes the benefits of delegating more, generating autonomy for employees and encouraging collective work.

The figure of a centralizing leader is increasingly distant from reality , and it is a challenge to show this to leaders, especially in more traditional companies .

However, this is a challenge to which HR professionals must dedicate themselves in depth, as it has the potential to improve both productivity and the quality of employees’ work.

Productivity with less stress

Another challenge for Human Resources professionals is the punctual balance between productivity and the well-being of employees .

When done without planning, this issue can highlight stress at work : the relentless search for results, but without changing the flow of processes . This proves to be a huge detriment to productivity itself.

Therein comes the importance of collective work and HR intermediation in this: management and Human Resources must meet periodically and discuss solutions to always make work more dynamic and assertive.

In addition, it is the role of HR to find ways to make the routine more productive , either by suggesting new methods and techniques , by granting benefits or by inserting tools that optimize interpersonal relationships .

What is often missing is an escape valve for the work routine . HR can promote this and further improve the employee’s relationship with the company in the process. So it is always good to keep an eye on these issues .

Solution: invest in financial well-being

We live in a time when HR must take on, once and for all, its multifunctional and strategic side for the qualification of the workforce of its companies.

Often, taking the reins of conditions external to the work environment, but which impact on the professional routine. This is the case with financial well-being for employees.

And as an example of this practice, a new modality reached the Brazilian market – wages on demand.

The CareerBuilder survey, conducted in 2017, attested that 78% of respondents are barely able to settle accounts with their salary .

In addition, of the more than 3,000 respondents, about ¾ of them also attested that they have one or more accumulated debts. Clear sign that something needs to be changed, agree?

On- demand pay is a modality that has been gaining momentum in the market and aims to add flexibility so that employees receive for hours worked, but not yet paid. Something that alleviates many of the financial problems – and those generated by the challenges of closing accounts.

Let’s look at a simple example: if the company has the habit of making payments for its human resources only on the 30th, or on the fifth business day of each month, professionals are limited to that .

If a pending account will earn interest in that period when there is no more money in the account, the debts will accumulate. However, with the offer of the salary on demand, the professional can receive the payment of the days already worked whenever he wants. Best of all, he has the flexibility to plan his month.

We recommend that you read this article to better understand on-demand pay . In it you will understand the features of Xerpay , a corporate benefit of payments on demand.

Dealing with different generations of the labor market

If you work in a company with more than a dozen employees, you probably have realized that, today, conflicts between people of different generations are very common .

This is because it is very common for employees of the most diverse ages to exist within a company , ranging from the 1960s to the early 2000s. And these generations have very different characteristics and ways of thinking.

Thus, it is necessary for HR to act with a mediating and strategic posture , with the intention of creating harmony between teammates.

However, this is not an easy task , but it can be performed with an open dialogue and the creation of moments of interaction . In this way, employees can get to know each other and destroy the barriers of intergenerational prejudice .

In addition, it is interesting to value the strengths of each generation and work by sharing them with each other for the growth of the team as a whole. This is an opportunity to show that everyone is valued!

For this, it is important to know the particularities of each generation and develop the group’s emotional intelligence , so that everyone knows how to express and process how they are feeling.

These practices generate not only harmony in the team, but increase productivity and avoid conflicts . In addition, they can prevent boring situations like gossip at work .

Retaining talent

Despite the optimization of processes within the concept of Human Resources , talent retention remains one of the most challenging processes for this sector .

This is because this is a job that depends on several factors , external and internal, and requires a lot of strategy and planning, which start from the beginning of the recruitment and selection process .

One of the critical points is the issue of organizational culture . It profoundly influences the decision of employees to remain, or not, in the company, since it shows the purpose of that business.

The company must be committed to seeking something beyond profit and show this to its employees in practice. Because, with a mission, employees are motivated and have a horizon of results to achieve.

>> Want to understand what are the first steps to promote talent retention in your company? We recommend that you access the Xerpa digital book. In it, you will get the right insights to start an effective plan for your company! Click here and access it right now.

But not only that, it is also necessary to focus on a career plan for employees . This will give them the prospect of growth within the company and, consequently, less reason to seek vacancies in the market.

Furthermore, focusing on a good employee benefit package is essential. The interesting thing is to add as many advantages as possible. Without breaking the budget, of course.

Time and workplace flexibility

The flexibility in the work environment can be a valuable tool to increase productivity and provide more gas to reviewers. However, there is still a very big barrier in relation to these practices.

So, it is the role of HR members to create a flexible work culture , where there is an opportunity for changing routines and environments.

This can be done gradually , according to the HR concept of your company, with the insertion of the home-office regime in just one day of the week or with the creation of a reduced schedule for any task that does not need to be performed 8 hours a day. day in an office.

Gradually, you will realize that there is much more space for flexibility within the work environment . Even entire sectors can benefit from a remote working regime , for example.

Therefore, it is essential, at least, to include some possibility of flexibility for employees , even if limited. This will already help to increase creativity and decrease stress .

Horizontal Management

Make an horizontal management is not easy. Often, the hierarchy of companies is quite rigid and leaves no room for change.

However, to meet the current competitive market, it is necessary to look for ways to face the challenge of horizontal management . For this, HR must play the difficult role of facing the company’s leadership .

Another aspect that makes this challenge even more difficult is the need to have a lot of confidence in employees . Since they have to deliver at work.

However, with a well-assembled team and trained HR, it is possible to have great results with this form of management, increasing productivity and the organization of the work environment.

Technological HR

Finally, it is worth mentioning that another challenge that can often scare HR professionals is technology .

In constant evolution and always full of new tools for the Human Resources area , technology needs to be a partner in the sector for real growth of the company.

However, often, due to stagnant mentality and resistance to changes, technological evolution becomes a difficulty and even an enemy of traditional HR processes .

Therefore, it is necessary to constantly update and keep an eye on market innovations . Thus, you will be able to take advantage of the multitude of advantages that a technological HR can provide, such as process optimization and task automation.

How does a strategic HR work?

To be able to overcome all these challenges, it is necessary to act strategically . Check out some ways that HR can act to achieve the objectives and goals of the company .

Strategic vision

The first step in implementing a strategic HR is to incorporate a strategic vision of the business . But what does it mean?

Having a strategic vision means understanding the business model you are working with with complete accuracy: understanding goals, objectives, difficulties, potential and even the corporate culture.

This is a very basic point, but one that is neglected by many sectors of Human Resources , which ends up harming even the most basic processes of the company.

Data analysis

Metrics and data analysis are essential tools for the smooth running of a company. This also applies to the company’s Human Resources department!

Therefore, in a strategic HR , it is interesting to use data analysis software to monitor the sector’s performance . These analyzes can be focused on the most diverse aspects, everything will depend on the company’s strategy.

The advantage of using them is that they provide a broad and simplified analysis of metrics that were once very difficult to measure within HR. In addition, a well-done data analysis can point out points for improvement that even the manager is unaware of!

Search for innovation

The search for innovation and optimization of the ways of working must be something constant and present in all areas of the company . But, for that, it is necessary that it be present first in HR, which is the base of the employees’ structure .

Promoting a search for innovation , it is possible to make many advances in the strategic scope, especially if this search is accompanied by the adoption of new technologies and an appropriate organizational culture .

Looking at human capital

The human capital takes into account various attributes and characteristics of the employee . Companies with strategic HR know how to use this information to make productivity even higher.

But not only that. Thinking about strategic HR with a view to human capital is to understand the importance of this for the overall success of the company and to realize that this is a two-way relationship.

Therefore, to create an HR that follows the new trends, it is necessary to generate an environment that allows the growth of this human capital, valuing employees, regardless of their role in the general structure of the company.

Use of technology

The use of technology , as we have already discussed here, is a tool of great value for a company’s HR . So, to have a truly strategic sector, it is necessary to make use of it in the best possible way.

In other words, a strategic HR is one that goes hand in hand with advances, adopting new tools and incorporating new software into the routines of the company’s employees .

But more than that, it is the type of HR that seeks an innovation mindset , in which technology is an ally to business growth.


A very useful and practical way to optimize HR functions is to implement the behavioral assessment of employees in the routine of this sector.

This is because it can be used in behavioral analysis , creation of professional profiles, performance, among others, improving the choice of future employees of the company and also the relationship of the company with current employees, especially in training processes.


Professionals who work – independently or not – in the process of analyzing and searching for individuals  and who can offer companies better results from their knowledge and skills, are a differential in the structure of a strategic HR .

The headhunters play their role with much more expertise and therefore optimize time and resources , especially when it is necessary to find a very specific professional for a position.

Interim management

The Interim management is hiring HR professionals for a specific period , and in which these people will play an important role in the conduct of certain projects – as a skills training, for example.

This hiring method generates an optimization of resources and much more agility in meeting demand, since it will not be necessary a long and bureaucratic hiring process for a simple process.



Within the concept of strategic HR , outplacement works as a reallocation of professionals , helping them to continue their career paths through new opportunities.

This can be a tool for the growth of the company , since, at the same time, it improves its image before the market and generates more trust between company and employee.

corporative education

The corporate education is a process that can be of great value to the HR and the company as a whole, since it works with the training staff through teaching techniques and methods .

In this context, the strategic advantage is that the employee can learn from highly specialized professionals , which will generate much more expertise for this employee in his area. This, of course, results in an increase in productivity .

What is the concept of Intelligent HR?

The RH Smart is one of the latest concepts of the Human Resources and relates to the digital trends . It seeks to guarantee employees of every company that there is maximum efficiency, but in a motivating situation of good working conditions .

We can say that the Intelligent HR concept, in a nutshell, is:

“An intelligent department that reduces the bureaucracy of processes, integrates information and values ​​what really matters: the human being”

This means that it is important to invest in technological advances and innovation in general, however, one cannot fail to observe the human being in the first place .

So, Intelligent HR focuses on providing better working conditions through knowledge of the profile of employees, a good organizational culture, all while keeping an eye on the market .

In short, it means working incessantly and intelligently to generate better living and working conditions for employees and achieving, as a consequence, an increase in productivity and profits.

What is the knowledge of those working with Human Resources?

Now that we have thoroughly explored the concept of HR, will we understand what are the competencies and skills sought by professionals in this segment?

Some of the main characteristics sought by companies in their employees are:

  • Technical capacitation;
  • Systemic and analytical view;
  • Negotiation skills;
  • Technological knowledge;
  • Leadership skills (retaining talent, engaging and managing conflicts);
  • Agility (manage time well, be aware of changes);
  • High communication skills.

This combination of qualities is decisive for the Human Resources professional to be able to move between positions in this sector.

In addition, it is essential for companies to place all their expectations in a cohesive and productive team.

For the professional, working on the development of the aforementioned characteristics can even yield a series of paths in your career, did you know?

What are the careers within Human Resources?

If you were interested in the concept of Human Resources after reading this article or just want to know if your HR sector has all the necessary employees, know that there is a huge variety of professionals that can compose the staff of HR .

So, there are many possibilities for action, since the HR structure of a company will depend a lot on its size, number of employees, area of ​​operation, etc. Check out some of them here.

1. Human Resources Analyst

The analyst is an employee who may have several specialties within the Human Resources sector . He is responsible for the processes and actions related to his sector, which are relevant to the specialty.

In addition, the HR analyst can perform the following tasks:

  • recruitment and selection
  • definition and organization of positions and salaries;
  • implementation and maintenance of training ;
  • maintenance events and processes;
  • benefit management;
  • among other functions.

2. Work safety technician

The occupational safety technician is another essential professional for the proper functioning of the HR sector . This is because he is responsible for creating strategies to prevent accidents at work .

It is also part of their duties to keep the work environment well signposted . This must be done by creating a well-organized safety map to prevent employees, visitors and even the public from getting hurt.

3. Human Resources Specialist

The Human Resources specialist is the professional who intends to plan the HR routine . He is the one who idealizes the recruitment and selection processes and can also elaborate rules to be followed by the sectors.

However, his work will be segmented according to the area in which he should work,  as in:

  • recruitment;
  • training;
  • development of specific strategies;
  • coaching;
  • consulting.

Therefore, if this professional is linked to recruitment, he only performs specialized and specific functions in that area.

4. Human Resources Coordinator

The Human Resources coordinator’s main function is to ensure that all labor standards and laws are properly and correctly complied with . This encompasses all of the company’s processes, including hiring , firing , retirements and many others.

In addition, certain functions of the Personnel Department are also under your responsibility , that is, payment of benefits, salaries, absence control, holiday scheduling, etc.

5. Business Partner

This employee is a strategic consultant for the HR department . It has the function of observing the company’s business objectives in relation to the Human Resources sector .

In addition, the Business Partner must be someone who knows the internal processes and strategies well, so that, in this way, he can carry out his role as an adviser with ownership, aligning the company’s expectations with those of HR.


6. HR Manager

It is a highly prestigious position , and one who knows the sector as a whole, since he will take care of his own team, and evaluate his performance in the company in general.

7. Training and development management

Career for those who like to share knowledge and develop the skills of others .

With the management of training , the Human Resources professional helps in polishing the individual – alone or in a group – from a series of activities, such as:

  • workshops;
  • speeches;
  • group dynamics;
  • conferences;
  • theoretical and practical exercises.

The idea here is the identification of a need and the subsequent execution of a project that helps to minimize such a need or problem based on professional training.

8. Human Resources Director

The Human Resources director has the responsibility to delegate the functions of the sector and ensure compliance with them . For this, he must focus on planning and the appropriate management of employees.

So, within its scope of responsibility is promoting courses, events, training and lectures and other measures that seek the improvement of employees .

That done, he must also monitor the results, analyzing the reports produced and paying attention to the performance of employees. Only then will the HR sector be able to function properly.

What will the future of the HR concept look like?

It is important to analyze that the concept of HR has been metamorphosed continuously since its first conception , almost 150 years ago.

Now, we live in a period of dynamism and anticipation of urgencies . This sector, so essential for the market, is, therefore, the first contact of an enterprise with new trends for its development.

These innovations are numerous and keep coming. For this reason, it is essential that your employees are always trained and keep an eye on market innovations .

Check here one of the best new trends that hit the HR sectors in Brazil and worldwide :

Machine Learning

The Machine Learning is a trend that is spreading to all areas of knowledge. HR couldn’t be left out, could it?

It refers to the ability of machines to learn from their programmed behaviors , in order to improve processes automatically, make decisions and even solve problems.


Another interesting trend, similar to Machine Learning, is the chatbot . It is widely used in the areas of HR for facilitating various routines and providing greater agility in responses.

The tool serves both to meet internal demands, improving communication with employees and creating greater engagement, and for communication with the external public, especially in recruitment and selection processes.

Skills development

The development of skills is a very modern trend that focuses on long-term growth of the employee’s career through the creation of new skills .

This is a practice that helps the company to retain talents and to be able to occupy positions with succession of leadership , which is very positive. In addition, it is also a methodology capable of evaluating the profile of the employee in greater depth, making the company able to reward more directly positive attitudes towards the company.

This strategy is so effective and positive that, according to an Impulse survey , several large companies in the market, such as Itaú, Unilever, Nestlé and Avon are already adopting it ! What are you waiting for?

Now, so that you can also improve the HR concept in your company and apply all these new trends , here’s our invitation: subscribe to our newsletter and don’t miss any of our tips and news for the HR sector.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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