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History of HR in India

Introduction: In good old days of nineteenth century, in Europe, there was the concept of slaves as part of the slavery system prevailing at that time. Human beings and labour were looked down upon. There used to be Jobbers/Masters who used to flog the slaves, with leather whips to drive them to work. This gradually changed to the concept of human welfare and after Industrial revolution and after world war I & II, concepts of Factories and canteens, discipline, time keeping, payments and recruitment came into existence. This led to a greater emphasis on’ labour management’. Earlier it was known as ‘Labour Management’, then ‘Personnel Management’, then ‘Human Resource Management’ and in recent times as ‘ Human Resource Development’.

The 1960s and 1970s:

There was increase in Personnel Management work due to employment legislation. Up to the early 1970s, the state of the economy was characterised by full employment — there was high focus on recruitment, selection, training and compensation. There was labour shortage and, thus, focus was on retaining skilled labour and increasing the skills of existing workforce. Trade Unions came in and labour legislations were introduced.

The 1980s: Movement from Personnel Management to Human Resource Management:

Personnel management adapted to the market economy where senior personnel executives worked on issues like future of the company, analysis of existing business objectives, revising the objectives with better ways of achieving them. Training and Development became an important HRM Function.

The 1990s: Post-entrepreneurial phase for Human Resource Management:

There was a complete change in the focus from individualism to collectivism. There was concern for teamwork, core workers with high commitment to work, flexible work hours, wages determined by market forces rather than on bargaining between management and trade unions.

Workers were expected to work beyond mere descriptions of their jobs. The focus changed from tactical to strategic approach to human resource management which aims to develop human potential of the organisation for organisational success.

Modern day HR: The buzz word today is ‘Human Resource Development’. Unlike HRM, here the main objective is not just identifying an individual employee’s existing potentials but also those capabilities innate in him. HRD aims at bringing out the hidden potentials of an employee and help him develop as an individual. Training and Development tools are extensively used to train and upskill the employees at all levels.

Conclusion: The HR Function today, is undergoing rapid transformation, in the present day VUCA world of business, where Gig Economy is spreading its roots, in a highly disruptive business environment. IT revolution has changed the ways of conducting business. Recruitment has become Talent Acquisition, there are Compensation and Benefit professionals dealing in payment systems, Compliance Professionals dealing in Labour Legislation and so on. HR Professionals are playing a critical role in promoting business. Today, they are seen on the Boards of many Companies, are impacting Company strategies and are acting as Business Managers. HR is going great guns and has a long way to go……

Blog written by : PK GUPTA



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