Human Resource Management In The 21st Century


Back in the day, Human Resource Management (HRM) was viewed as a process or department that managed payroll, benefits, claims and compensation. However, as today’s workforce has evolved, so has the HRM function evolved to suit the needs of people in the 21stcentury. In many organisations, the HR Department has always been viewed as a cost centre for the organisation – which means it brings in no revenue instead it costs the organisation money to run this function.


In today’s context, the HR Department is no longer a cost centre, instead it can be seen as a profit centre. How is this? By working to enhance the productivity of employees, controlling attrition and monitoring performance levels. In fact, in the context of the 21st century, HRM has become such a crucial function so much so that organisations who fail to place sufficient importance in HRM are more inclined to fail in their business aspirations.


HRM also involves managing people effectively to help them improve their efficiency levels and assigning resources to critical areas of the business. For instance, if the HR Department does not assign enough resources to a service organisation’s customer service department, service levels are affected thus driving customers away. This will, in turn lead to the organisation losing its profitability.


HRM is also about Talent Management – which is a set of HR processes designed to attract new employee into the company, motivate and retain current employees as well as engage both existing and potential employees. Simply put, talents are employees or potential employees. The goal of talent management is to create a high-performance, sustainable company that is able to meet its operational targets and corporate objectives.


Talent management can include the following functions in HRM namely, workforce planning, recruiting, on-boarding or orientation of new employees, performance management, coaching, succession planning, rewards and recognition as well as learning and development. These are all initiatives to ensure that the organisation’s employees are happy, satisfied and motivated to perform at optimum levels, thus increasing the organisation’s profitability and revenue generation.


In corporate Malaysia, Talent Management has become a popular buzzword and many fresh graduates may fail to grasp the concept of talent management and how it works within the organisation. Therefore, for those considering applying for positions in HRM, learn about talent management and its many facets. To put it simply, think of talent management as a chain supporting the organisation and what happens if any of the links in the chain breaks or fails. Therefore it can be safely concluded that talent management is of the utmost importance in today’s organisations.



HRM in the 21st century needs people with analytical thinking, those who can plan strategies as well as those with innovative ideas, because HRM is no longer about managing salaries instead it is about managing people to help the organisation be more profitable. Hence, nowadays, there are mathematician, statisticians, engineers and even accountants in human resource roles, so that they are able to carefully calculate, strategise, engineer and implement plans for the organisation’s HR capacity. 



By Christina Thomas

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