Human Resource Management:Definition, Objectives|Functions

Human resource management is concerned with the recruitment, selection, controlling, motivation, training and development of human resources in an organization to achieve the goals or objectives of the organizations.

Human resource is the most important asset of any organization; its management is seen as an integral part of the general management activities of organizations.

The objectives of human resource management includes:

  • To create and maintain an atmosphere that can enhance the fulfillment of organizational goals.
  • To motivate the personnel to achieve organizational goals.
  • To obtain the right personnel both in quality and quantity.
  • To design and develop an efficient organizational workforce that can respond to changes in technology and other work logistics.
  • To achieve and maintain good human relationship between employer and employees and among the employees.

The Need for the Creation of Personnel Department in an Organization

  • To enhance the administrative efficiency and convenience in handling personnel matters.
  • To enhance more effective co-ordination since all the records of employees are maintained in a single department.
  • To save time in handling personnel issues through prompt attention to them by a specific and designated department.

Functions of Human Resource Management

  • Staffing the organization through recruitment, selection and placement.
  • Training and self development of employees.
  • Developing and maintaining sufficient motivations for workers by providing incentives and other staff welfare packages.
  • Reviewing and auditing man-power plan and management in the organization.
  • Carrying out personnel appraisal and evaluation for purpose of promotion and advancement.
  • Keeping record of personnel data services.
  • Developing rules, regulations guidelines and policies to guide personnel management in the organization.
  • Getting involved in collective bargaining, contract negotiation, handling of grievances and staff relations.

Sources of Manpower Recruitment

Manpower could be recruited from internal or external sources.

Internal Source: The internal source of recruitment encompasses those personnel already in the organization that can further be utilized through promotion, transfer or recall from lay-off or retirement. Using this source of recruitment is usually considered important because it serves as motivation tool and for improvement of performance and productivity.

Lower level managers, through this method of recruitment is also made to attain greater heights in the organization. This internal source has the disadvantage of protecting inefficient employees from the needed competition for potential employees from outside the organization.

External Source: this source of recruitment encompasses all the applicants who are not currently in the employ of the organization. They include newly qualified applicants, unemployed persons and the underemployed persons and the underemployed either in the country or from outside.

The advantage of using the external source for recruitment lies basically in the fact that new employees come into the organization with new vigor, skills, initiative, new ideas, enthusiasm and new spirit of competition. Though, it has the disadvantage of creating room for selection of wrong candidates particularly in the circumstance of biased selection process.

The Recruitment Avenues for External Sources of Recruitment

  • Recruitment through advertisement: Advertisement in newspapers, magazines, journals and the internet could be used to attract candidates for employment. This is usually the case for skilled employees and white collar jobs.
  • Recruitment through groups, organizations, association and clubs: This group could be used to bring to the notice of their unemployed members about existing job vacancies and to apply for them. Organizations or group could do this through publishing of vacancies in the news bulletin or journals. This is obtainable among professional groups.
  • Recruitment from institutions of higher learning: institutions like universities, polytechnics, college of education could be used as avenues for external recruitment.
  • Recruitment through employment agencies and consultancy firms: external recruitment could be done through employment agencies and consultancy firms. Such organizations usually charge fees for service rendered in the direction.
  • Selection: the second major activity in the employment process is selection. Selection basically entails the process of choosing, from the list of applicants for a position. The selection criteria are in terms of academic qualification, skills, abilities and attitudes among other factors required for successful performance in the given position.


  • Initial screening of candidates: this is the first process involved in removing unqualified candidates that applied for the job. At this stage candidates without the basic qualification and experience would be delisted.
  • Filling of application forms: after screening and delisting of unqualified applicants, qualified applicants would be given an application form to fill. The essence of the application form is to enable the organization get detailed information about the applicant. Such information includes age, work experience and interest.
  • Test administration: at this stage, the candidates are tested to ascertain the suitability for the position being sought. Test at this stage could take the form of, physical test, personality test, skills test, interest test, intelligence test and aptitude test to measure the candidate’s ability to understand and benefit from a training programme.
  • Induction and Orientation: on this stage, the applicants that are selected are inducted and given orientation. Induction is a well planned introduction of new employees to the organization, their departments, their co-workers and their jobs.

Orientation is the process of preparing and equipping new employees to function effectively in their new job or position by informing them o their duties. The new employees are also through orientation made to know the company policy towards holidays, sick leaves, retirement and fringe benefits.

  • Placement: at this final stage, employees are placed in their new offices and given necessary things to work with.

Problems of Personnel Management in Nigeria

  • Quota System or Federal Character: the federal character principle applicable in Nigeria makes it difficult for the selection and placement of personnels on the basis of merit. Under quota system anybody can be selected for a position even if he/she is qualified or unqualified for the position.
  • Problem of Manpower Mix: in some instances, wrong people are employed into positions different from their area of specialty and this is caused by corruption and favouritism. For instance, an engineer maybe employed to work as an accountant.
  • Lack of Qualified Manpower: qualified manpower for employment particularly in high technical areas are actually lacking in Nigeria. This is usually as a result of poor education and production of half baked graduates that lacks skills.
  • Lack of Resources for Manpower Training and Development: most organizations in Nigeria lacks well established human resource management that can ensure that personnel’s are well trained for the job and they also lack training facilities for their staffs. Moreover, the managers and the supervisors of these organizations lack the necessary skills to help in the on-the job training.
  • Disparity in Wage Rates: the wide disparity in wage between the private and public sectors and even between organizations within the public sectors results to high labour turn over as people continue to look for better working conditions and salaries.


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  • Howe, S. (1995), Essentials of Human Resource Management. London AP Publication Ltd.
  • Ewim, N. and Ubochi, I (2007) Principles of Personnel Management in Nigeria. Lagos: Dominican Publishers.
  • Onah, R.C (2005), Public Administration. Nsukka: Great AP/EXpre Publishers.