The importance of studying human resources management is that it teaches you how to achieve business success through managing a team. Managing human resources is about being successful because the company has used their talent to their best ability.

What is Human Resources Management?

People are the most valuable assets a business has. With a good team of confident, capable, dedicated people working for a company, the firm has far better odds of being successful. Consider a restaurant with poor service – how likely are you to return if you’ve felt it’s inattentive or inadequate? Not likely, and that’s not good for the restaurant, is it? Hiring, firing, training and managing the staff is all part of what human resources management is.

Human resources management is kind of like casting a movie. With the right actors in the right roles, a movie is far more prone to find an audience and be a hit. The wrong actors, though, is almost certainly a path to box office failure.

To get the most out of people, it helps to understand how to motivate people, train them and discipline them. These are all skills practiced by those who are great at managing human resources. Whether you’re aspiring to greater roles in a company or you simply want to be more effective in your existing job, studying human resources management can be the gateway to getting more out of everyone around you.

The Importance of Human Resource Development

The best managers and executives don’t just task people to jobs – they put people in roles where they can shine. After all, the better an employee does, the better the department or company does, and then everyone wins. Sometimes, finding that “shining role” means seeing past what the person has been doing for the company and finding a way to tap into any unleashed potential.

By excelling at human resource development, it’s possible to take the team one has and turn them into an even harder-hitting, better-playing team. In so doing, hidden talents sometimes emerge, opening the door to new operational or economic opportunities. And those hidden talents and surprise strengths can mean it’s possible to find internal talent that’s perfect for heading up a new project, filling a role in a new division or even playing a leadership role among other employees.

By developing existing employees in a company, managers can improve loyalty, reduce turnover and save both time and money on personnel searches. But it’s a mistake to think that human resources development is solely the domain of the human resources department. The truth is, understanding human resources management is advantageous throughout a company’s hierarchy.

HR Management’s Relevance to Employees

For 1,500 years, people have turned to Sun Tzu’s masterwork “The Art of War” to better understand how to be victorious in battle. In it, Tzu wrote, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Understanding the functions of human resource management as an employee is akin to knowing the enemy, because they’ll understand the motivations and reasoning behind why HR and management make the choices they do. Moreover, they’ll gain insight into what’s rewarded, what’s not, what’s sought after by the management and why.

Understanding the ins and outs of payroll, raises, bonuses and advancement can be like a road map to career advancement. It can give the employee insights into being hired, asking for increased responsibilities, competing with others and gaining promotions.

Entrepreneurs and Human Resource Management

When starting out with a new company, entrepreneurs are often taking huge gambles that they hope can turn into a lucrative opportunity. Some entrepreneurs have previously worked in management and may have some experience in leading others, but the opposite is equally true. Still, it doesn’t matter how good their idea is, because success is all about execution and follow-up.

If a business owner doesn’t have a handle on their human resources from early days on, they can get taken advantage of in all kinds of ways – employees shorting their hours, slacking off when management isn’t around, engaging in petty infighting, not giving their best and more. Beyond that, they can be missing out on getting the most from employees, which in turn hurts the bottom line and compromises the company’s future.

From “The One-Minute Manager” through to “HR Disrupted,” there are a litany of books available on human resources management, and any business owner should be reading them just as often as they read books dealing with other business strategies. Success can sometimes come down to simply inspiring and rewarding employees for thinking outside the box and going the extra mile. Companies like Google can testify to the value of empowering employees – and the best-selling book “Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead” can explain how.

Lessons in Leadership

Leadership transcends business. From church to the Boy Scouts, leaders are everywhere, and human resources management is the key to doing it better. There’s nothing about hiring or firing, payroll or benefits behind many of those leadership opportunities, but they’re still focused on getting the most out of people. Whether it’s incentivizing the bat boy to be quicker on getting the bat out of the way in minor league games or it’s charging up the Girl Scouts to think outside the box with selling cookies, there’s a lot to learn about how to make people work hard and strive for greatness.

It's said that leadership isn’t a job title – it’s about setting examples and taking action. “If you’re not leading, you’re following,” as another saying puts it, but it’s so true. Reading about business management styles and how to lead people can carry over into all avenues of life. All that’s needed is some imagination and innovation in transferring those lessons to daily interactions.

A Tale of Two Styles

Two of the most legendary CEOs in the modern era have been Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, competing in the same industry but with completely different leadership styles. Gates was famous for his “participatory empowerment” method of management – encouraging people to speak up and contribute and to be a part of whatever was going on. Jobs, on the other hand, was considered an authoritarian who called all the shots and didn’t allow people to challenge him.

While Steve Jobs was considered a visionary of little compare, he was not noted for getting the most out of people – instead, he dictated the direction Apple would go in, and to great success. Gates, though, he got people to innovate in all areas of the company and Gates was noted for having people build their careers based on their strengths.

The legacy is clear today. Thanks to Gates’ management style, when he left Windows, the company stayed strong and stocks didn’t waver in their value and their market share continues to grow because employees stepped up to fill his shoes. But upon Steve Jobs’ illness and death, Apple was shaken to the core, because they’d lost their leader and no one had truly been groomed to take over in their innovation and creation. Great leaders build great employees, and those employees go on to be great leaders too – and that’s all part of understanding human resources management.