human resources

plural noun

Definition of human resources

1 : personnel sense 1a hiring more human resources
2 : personnel sense 2 Human resources will contact you about your interview. the company's human resources department

Examples of human resources in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Companies also should be more active in managing the changes brought on by the transaction in areas such as human resources, customers and suppliers. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Divestments Often Dent Share Prices of Sellers," 27 Feb. 2019 Workers from Puerto Rico began arriving in February 2018, said Rob Trax, vice president of human resources for the Americas at Thetford Corp., Norcold’s parent company. Erin Ailworth And, WSJ, "In Need of Workers, the Midwest Recruits From Puerto Rico," 14 Feb. 2019 The outlet notes that Targum was allegedly let go after a complaint was made to CBS’s human resources department. Megan Stein, Country Living, "An 'NCIS: New Orleans' Executive Producer Was Fired From the Show," 3 Feb. 2019 Jason Halbert, the head of human resources, this week announced plans to leave the company. Maureen Farrell, WSJ, "Two Snap Executives Pushed Out After Probe Into Inappropriate Relationship," 18 Jan. 2019 Photo: AJC Photography Karin Hurt was taken aback when her bosses at a previous employer offered her a major increase in responsibility, to head human resources for a $6 billion unit, with a modest raise during a merger. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "How to Navigate Yet Another Office Shakeup," 14 Jan. 2019 Last week, Tesla added Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison—a close friend of Mr. Musk—and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, global head of human resources for Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., to its board as part of the SEC settlement. Tim Higgins, WSJ, "Tesla Shares Sink on Model 3 Delivery Miss, Price Cut," 2 Jan. 2019 Meanwhile, a former human resources manager with Planned Parenthood told the Times that doctors’ notes were seen as excuses by pregnant employees for working less. Anna North, Vox, "Planned Parenthood is facing criticism for its treatment of pregnant workers," 21 Dec. 2018 Areas affected by the layoffs include engineering, human resources, marketing and account management. Lara O’reilly, WSJ, "Ad-Tech Company OpenX Lays Off Around 100 Staff," 18 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'human resources.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of human resources

1915, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about human resources

Share human resources

Statistics for human resources

Last Updated

4 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for human resources

The first known use of human resources was in 1915

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for human resources

human resources

plural noun

Financial Definition of human resources

What It Is

Human resources is an organizational function related to the procurement and retention of talented employees.

How It Works

All companies deal with human resources in some form or another, even if they don't have dedicated human resource departments. That's because human resources goes far beyond hiring; the function also deals with (among other things) maintaining morale within the organization; creating motivational compensation plans; creating and maintaining performance-appraisal programs; ensuring that important information about benefits, laws, and employment issues is disseminated; and helping employees maintain and develop their skills.

Sometimes the payroll function is part of human resources; sometimes it is part of accounting.

Why It Matters

Human resources recognizes that people are assets rather than liabilities in companies. In order to keep these assets optimally productive, human resources is there to make sure a company hires the right employees, fires the wrong ones, develops employees with potential, keeps everyone happy, and ensures that companies and employees are fulfilling their legal obligations to each other.

One can measure the effectiveness of the human resources function through various ratios such as cost per hire, employee turnover rates, training return on investment (ROI), and benefit costs per employee. However, human resources is as much of an art as it is a science because it deals with some of the more emotional aspects of labor management.

Source: Investing Answers

human resources


English Language Learners Definition of human resources

: a department within an organization that deals with the people who work for that organization
: a group of people who are able to do work

Comments on human resources

What made you want to look up human resources? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!