In a traditional model of human resources, employees move through employment in a typical progression from hiring to separation or retirement. Although employees still continue this pattern, some organizations have changed how they structure HR services. Small business owners can choose to assign HR functions to a manager or an HR department, but someone must carry out the three phases of HR management. If an owner assumes all HR duties, this takes a big chunk of time, leaving less time for other business activities, such as sales and customer service.
The field of human resources management evolved in the mid-1980s when two different groups of scholars advocated models for a strategic approach to HRM. These groups pioneered the Michigan School of HRM and the Harvard Framework of HRM. The Michigan School's four components were selection, appraisal, rewards and development. The Harvard School also used these components but emphasized the importance of a "central philosophy or a strategic vision" that general managers must provide for the HRM function. Employees moving through the phases of employment experience these aspects of a company's HRM model in dealing with managers and the HR staff.
In the first phase of HRM, managers work with the HR department to establish a plan for filling a vacant position. This includes writing a job description and advertising the job with the minimum and preferred qualifications. The goal is to attract a diverse pool of viable job candidates. A business uses its own methodology for screening applicants and selecting a finalist for the job offer. After a candidate accepts the job, the next phase of HRM begins.
In the next phase of employment, the employee receives a placement into a position, is oriented by a manager to the work group and the organizational culture and receives initial training. The length of this phase varies in each organization. Some employers use an on-the-job training model and some classroom training, and other employers require new employees to complete basic training before they can report to their work site. Training helps employees understand what they must do to perform correctly.
The third phase takes a different form in each organization. Managers must ensure that employees receive feedback about their performance after the training phase so they can improve. Managers also provide tools to motivate employees, including compensation and rewards, along with different development opportunities, including on-site and off-site training programs and chances to work independently and with other workers on projects of increasing difficulty. The goal of development and management of employee performance is for employees to achieve and sustain high levels of performance.