History of Human Resources Management

Complaints. Safety issues. Resignations.

With all these concerns piling up, one American company decided to try something completely different. Historians say John Patterson, owner of the National Cash Register Co. in the early 1900s, was pushed to brink. He decided to launch a personnel department within his company.

His new department, designed to handle employee-related concerns, may have helped kick off a new era in the United States, but human resources (HR) history actually reaches back much further.

Some HR historians trace it back to ancient China and even Italy’s Machiavelli for their recognition of leadership styles, as well as the importance of managing people, rewards, and recognition. And while most HR managers probably wouldn’t OK any ancient styles of reward or recognition, those roots represent a beginning, say experts.

Other early HR practices filled more of a “caretaker” function, keeping only the most basic employee records. The need for HR grew around the time of the Industrial Revolution when regulations were placed on the number of hours factory workers could safely log.

With the beginning of World War I, other personnel initiatives were added for defense factories. Similar initiatives followed in World War II, including health and safety, morale, and training. HR offices, known then as personnel, were becoming a hub of activity.

HR Management as we know it today evolved between the 1960s and 1970s. Over the years, changing regulations and a huge transformation by technology has caused most companies to designate a department of Human Resource Management to support employees.

What started in ancient times as a management technique and later as a department to deal with compliance has today transformed into a department that’s more than essential. Today, HR managers aren’t just administrating; they’re helping companies plot strategy. And what else are they doing? They’re writing the next generation of history for HR management.

But HR managers don’t have to tackle all this alone. At ClearStar, we support companies with screening that’s designed to exactly fit their needs. Contact us today for more information.

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