Any business or company is driven by a series of elements which in economics are called production resources and which can be of different types: raw materials, machinery, personnel, ...
The importance of each depends on the activity but, within any company, there is an indispensable typology: human resources . Without human resources, be these employees, technicians, directors,… the company's operation would not be possible.
But what is considered a "human resource"?
The first definitions considered human resources as the set of knowledge and skills accumulated by employees. Later, this definition was completed until reaching a definition based not only on knowledge and skills but also on personal characteristics that affect work in the company.
One of the most complete definitions, that of Barney and Clark (2007), describes human resources as knowledge, experience, skills and commitment of employees to the company, as well as relationships with the rest of colleagues, also including relationships with salespeople. , customers, etc.
This definition includes not only the skills and knowledge of the people who make up the company but also the social relationships of the employees, as well as the emotional relationships and bonds that bind the employee to the organization.
Why are human resources considered a competitive advantage for the company?
Today, the business sector is characterized by increased competition and, in these circumstances, the fact that a company is competitive is a prerequisite for its survival. These competitive advantages, which at first may originate in external aspects of the company, such as the acquisition of new technologies , require a conscious and efficient use by the whole company for this to be truly an advantage.
The differences between companies, therefore, are made up of both intangible factors such as the skills or abilities of employees, the existence of an organizational culture open to innovation, ... and of material factors such as technologies which, a priori, can be acquired by anyone.
From this point of view, human resources constitute the most precious active part a company has at its disposal. The need to manage this very important resource has developed within companies an area that is totally dedicated to this, the area in charge of managing human resources which, by putting into practice and controlling a series of activities, hires, retains or form those resources.
The management of human resources, therefore, consists in hiring and selecting the staff to occupy each job and giving an evaluation of the staff and the activity carried out. It will also be responsible for retaining human resources, taking care of its training.
Within the current concept of a company, the term human resources includes three different meanings:
Lowe’s is one of the biggest and the most popular companies in USA offering home-improvement and hardware products. A self-service human resource system called “My Lowe’s Life” has been created for the 265.000 employees to help manage the employee’s needs.