HR Evolution its Origin Different phases during and post-pandemic

HR Evolution

At a time when technology is increasingly advancing in all sectors of society, the HR timeline is no different. The evolution of HR meant that the sector, which previously was only occupied with bureaucratic tasks that were basically time and attendance, admissions and dismissals, took on a leading role in the company, thanks to the automation of the area.

That’s right! In the same way that in the Industrial Revolution, steam engines had impacts on manual labor, modern HR enabled the use of technological tools. Data analysis and artificial intelligence are used to optimize various processes, such as recruitment and selection, evaluation, training and development of its professionals.

Thus, there is more time for HR to be strategic in its decisions and focus on actions to develop the most precious asset that exists within an organization, which are people .

However, this was not always the case. In order for you to better understand the evolution of HR and how this department has evolved, we have prepared content that will address the main phases of the Human Resources area and how they impacted the lives of employees, professionals and managers. So, read on!

HR Evolution – The Origin

The Human Resources area is linked to the Second Industrial Revolution , between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Initially, the sector was called “Industrial Relations”, as its performance was more present within the industries. The area took care of the more administrative and bureaucratic tasks of supervising the workers’ performance.

At first, there was no concern for the health and well-being of the employee. Furthermore, they were seen only as labor.

But shortly after the end of World War II, in most industrialized countries a social condition of full employment began to exist . Something that guaranteed advances in the lives of workers, supported by the expansion of the so-called “Social Welfare State” model. It was the beginning of the evolution of HR.

Thus, HR stopped focusing on the adequacy of workers to the company and became concerned with offering benefits to employees and also seeking ways to motivate and engage them . So that they could produce more and better, bringing the best results for the company.

Furthermore, at the same time, new administrative theories emerged, such as Maslow’s pyramid of needs . This and other studies brought new perspectives to the area. Thus, the HR sector started to have a more humanized approach within organizations.

Different phases of HR evolution

At the same time that changes occur in society, human resources continue to follow trends in people management within organizations. Check now the main moments of the sector since its origin and the evolution of HR to the present day.

1-traditional HR

Also known as operational HR, this management model can be understood as a performer of administrative tasks in the sector. It involves actions such as recruitment, selection and training of employees.

Furthermore, traditional HR does not work with people management strategies , such as people analytics. Thus, he cannot obtain solid data on motivation and engagement. Nor in relation to the results that employees are bringing to the company. Therefore, it is not possible to measure the impacts of the processes carried out.

You might think that this HR model no longer exists. However, unfortunately, especially in small and medium-sized companies, most HRs still work in an operational way.

But with RH 4.0, today, the industry can count on a variety of software and tools that are accessible to any company , regardless of its size. Thus, the trend is for the migration to technological HR or 4.0 to occur , which you will learn more about in the next topic.

2-Technological HR

The concept of technological HR or 4.0 was presented for the first time in Germany, in 2011, during the Hannover Fair, based on a project of the country’s government strategies, focused on technology. Such innovations enable HR to be more strategic and leverage employee productivity through data intelligence software.

Thus, HR 4.0 is considered the most current version of the Human Resources area and has talent management as one of its main pillars. That’s because the technological HR sees employees as the main assets of companies.

Therefore, adapting to the new professional in the market becomes essential for the survival of organizations. These professionals are known as Millennials, that is, born at the turn of the 20th century.

According to Millennials, they are not the ones who adapt to the corporate environment, but the companies that must adapt to their style of work . So, for this generation, it is important that technology is related to the organization’s processes.

In this scenario, the technological HR becomes a fundamental part to attract, develop and retain these talents. This is because RH 4.0 and its trends came to improve and facilitate not only the Human Resources area, but also all sectors within the company, through the automation of processes and data collection.

Still, in the technological HR, the replacement of piles of papers and Excel spreadsheets for software and digital tools, streamline the massive processes, allowing the area a more strategic action within the organization .

Finally, all this evolution brings the best for the team’s talents. In addition to reducing turnover and contributing to achieving the best results.

3-Agile HR

This management model is part of RH 4.0 and can be defined as a set of good practices adopted by the segment that has as its origin the purposes of the agile methodology .

It is a methodology that emerged in 2001, after the publication of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. This document was signed by 17 developers and has a set of fundamentals, aimed at making the creation of systems more agile without compromising the quality of the final product.

Within the organizational environmentagile HR is applied to the development of a healthy work environment and culture . Thus, it creates an environment that adapts quickly to change and helps to build and support capable, engaged, independent and collaborative teams.

In this way, as the technological HR allows a panoramic and systemic view of all areas and employees of the company, it manages to have a strategic position to implement new practices and organizational processes that are more agile. Thus, HR is able to accelerate innovation and digital transformation in all areas of the organization.

4-HR during and post-pandemic

Even in the face of so many automated technological HR processes, which today enable most companies to function despite the current pandemic scenario   — such as a home office, digital point system or conference meetings — relying on software with data intelligence is something which has become essential for managing people in times of crisis. 

That’s because good HR software helps in identifying the behavioral profile of each employee. Thus, it is easier to work on strategies and actions to motivate and engage each team member in the face of this “ new normal for organizations ”.

Still, with behavioral mapping data in hand, HR can list what risks and opportunities each profile offers and how they react in a time of great transformation, such as what the labor market is going through due to the pandemic.

Thus, Human Resources can separate these professionals into groups and be more effective in offering the support that the employee needs, according to their strengths and weaknesses. This is because, even if some profiles are easily adapted to work at home office, for example, others tend to paralyze. 

Therefore, an HR professional who uses predictive data analysis tools and has strategic thinking, assumes a leading role in the midst of the crisis.

5-Post pandemic scenario

The same will happen in a post-pandemic scenario , where HR needs to have a strategic plan for the resumption of activities in the organizational environment and also for the company’s recovery in the market.

Understand that the employee before and during the quarantine will not be the same from the moment the work routine returns to normal . He acquired new habits, a new routine and new values.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of HR to make people management even more efficient. HR must be able to leverage productivity in a much more dynamic way, with readiness, flexibility and adaptability.

In this scenario, data collection and analysis will be key pieces to understand how the team is reacting again to a new scenario and also in the effectiveness of decision making in companies.


The evolution of HR follows the main changes taking place in our society. The trend is for it to continue to adapt according to the business and social scenario — always focusing on understanding the needs of professionals and enhancing human capital.

In addition , with a more strategic role, due to the advancement of technology in the sector, HR is no longer just an isolated sector and has become a strong ally of managers and leaders in successful companies.

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