Human Resource as a profession has undergone a great deal of evolution over the years. HR function started as Labour Welfare and then focus was shifted to Industrial Relations to deal with trade unions. After some years it became Personnel Management to handle proactive functions like recruitment, induction and performance appraisal. The next emphasis was on HRD to develop competencies of individuals to meet organizational goals. HRM was the next in this evolution to depict wider framework and resultant focus. Now it is simply Human Resource or HR.
Looking at the genesis of HR and Management education in our country, they started with establishment of Social Work education by Tatas in 1936 by founding Tata Institute of Social Sciences at Mumbai. Objective was to study social issues and problems including labour and impart education in social work to meet emerging need of trained manpower.
In 1949 XLRI was started at Jamshedpur by a Jesuit priest Father Quinn Enright. XLRI also initially offered programme in Labour Relations. So management education in the country started with HR function. XLRI is considered as the oldest management institute in India. IIMs, both Calcutta and Ahmedabad were started only in 1961.
If you go through management literature you will understand HR is very close to Management. Read Principles of Management and it sound very much like people management. Actually a major focus of management function is about managing people.
Being termed as staff function in management, for long HR was playing the role of a back office function. The demarcation of line and staff is no longer relevant and as a function now HR has been moving to front line or centre stage. In the last 5 years HR is actively involving in business whether it is merger, acquisition or changes in operational process. HR has been developing new models to meet the challenges thrown by new technologies, processes and organizational changes.
Though HR function has its beginning and growth in manufacturing, this sector as a whole could not help HR to gain the required acceptance or prominence.
It is the IT industry that helped HR to gain prominence .IT industry is people centered. IT industry gave much to HR by way of tools, techniques, instruments and concepts. Skill matrix, competency mapping, six sigma, PCCM level certification etc to name a few.
In service industry too HR is prominent and an active partner in running the business.