Management & Leadership

The Role of Psychology in Human Resource Management (HRM)

Nov 03, 2021 | By Saranne Durham
The Role of Psychology in Human Resource Management (HRM) - SACAP

Both Psychology and Human Resource Management (HRM) are people-centred. The increasing acknowledgement of how interrelated these two fields are shows that the role of psychology in HRM is significant. In fact, many of those who graduate with a psychology qualification have successful and fulfilling careers within the HRM field.

What is a People-Centred Approach?

Having a people-centred approach means that people are the primary focus and their wellbeing is the goal. It’s about collaboration, building relationships, maintaining them and creating connections. Within this context, the focus is what someone is able to do and supporting them to achieve their aspirations. Hence, it’s about supporting someone within the context of where they are working and their life circumstances. So that they are able to leverage their abilities and maximise their own potential.

What is Human Resource Management (HRM)?

HRM has five focus areas:

  1. Human Resource Planning and Strategizing.
  2. Employee Recruitment, Selection and Introduction.
  3. Performance and Reward Management.
  4. Talent Development and Training.
  5. Administration of Labour and Employee Relations.

Thus, HRM is focused on the hiring, firing, development and management of employees. HRM personnel are also responsible for conflict resolution and maintaining employee wellbeing within a workplace. This means that understanding how people think and what makes them do or not do something is quite important. Overall, the focus of HRM is on people and maintaining their wellbeing within a company context.

What is Psychology?

Essentially, those who study psychology learn to understand the interactions between our brain functions, mental processes and our behaviour. As such, Psychology can be summed up as the study of mind and behaviour. Psychology is important because it helps us understand and explain why people do things. By being able to do this, psychologists are able to assist people with issues. Such as those within work and personal relationships. As well as stress, anxiety, financial difficulties and trauma. Psychologists aim to assist someone to understand, deal with and overcome challenges within their lives. Thereby, ideally, enabling them to create a well-balanced life and equipping them with the tools to deal with future difficulties.

“Psychology and Human Resource Management both have a people-centred approach and work hand in hand with each other.”

The Importance of Corporate Wellness

Corporate wellness is also known as workplace wellness. It is a focused attempt within a company to create a healthy and happy workplace environment. Usually this is headed up by someone from the HRM department. One of the results of an enjoyable work environment is that there is less turnover within a company. A higher retention of staff, translates into employees having a good cross section of company and industry knowledge. It also results in less need to constantly train people, ahead of them being able to perform within their jobs. As well as attract staff of a higher calibre when there is a job opportunity at the company. All-in-all a higher staff retention rate links to increased productivity, which means improved profits for those companies.

Another part of corporate wellness is the introduction of programmes which facilitate health screenings and health education. Some companies also introduce exercise programmes or support employee sports teams. A company with healthier employees is usually one where the average sick days are less and job performance is better.

Where Psychology and Human Resource Management Meet

Very few people are able to compartmentalise life to the extent that different contexts of their lives don’t impact each other. For example, someone who is experiencing financial difficulties might become distracted at work and their productivity decreases or mistakes increase. Likewise, you could be constantly on edge if there is constant friction between you and your boss. This may result in you being short tempered with family and friends.

People who are able to manage their stress levels, maintain a healthy work-life balance and enjoy their work situation, are at an advantage. This is because they tend to be able to communicate better, are able to focus well and have good self-confidence. Which often translates into better relationships with others and a successful career. In essence they are good colleagues and productive employees.

The Advantages of having a Psychology Qualification within HRM

If you work within HRM, being having the specific training to understand how people think and the underlying reasons why they do things is an advantage. It makes untangling issues between employees easier and conflict resolution processes shorter. You are likely to be better at giving the right advice, assistance and support to employees when required to. As well as be able to provide good guidance to management during disciplinary and remedial processes. Maintaining and tweaking corporate wellness will also benefit from the expertise of those with a Psychology qualification. This is because you are able to see what’s really motivating people to participate and persevere within a programme. It will also help provide back-ground insight into what has derailed it or disincentive participation.

Where to Study

SACAP has a number of qualifications to equip you to work within HRM. Within the Management and Leadership Facility, you can apply to study a Bachelor of Applied Science (Majoring in Psychology and Human Resource Management) or a Bachelor of Social Science Honours in Human Resource Management. For more information contact us or enroll online.

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