Human vs human resources

Published : 26 Jan 2023 08:52 PM | Updated : 26 Jan 2023 08:52 PM

We commonly use the term Human Resour­ces in the job which refer to the employees or workers of any organization. The department or unit within organization that is dealing with employees or workers is also addressed as Human Resources Department.

By definition, resource is money, materials, human and other assets that can be utilized by an individual or organization in order to function effectively. According to safeopedia.com, resources are essential elements of a business, including land, capital, material, machines, time, energy, manpower, management, knowledge, expertise, and information. A resource is something that can be used for making profits or benefits, whether that be a source, supply, or support.

So, while we talk about Human Resources, it refers human as resources. Now the question is whether human is resources by default or human in needs to be transformed into resources. We all know that human cannot be resources by default. So, how and when human become resources?

From the definition, we learned that resource is utilized for making profits or benefits. So, when human can be used for making profits or benefits, they will be treated as resources. There is only way to make human enable for making profits or benefits. And that is the capability of human to perform specific work or tasks in a defined work setting which refers specifically to the competency. Thus, the ultimate solution for human to become resources is following: Human + Competency = Human Resources

Understanding competency is very simple. Competency is the ability to apply the set of related knowledge and skills to perform specific tasks successfully in a distinct work setting. In short, “the ability to do something successfully or efficiently”. That means, you will be competent for any specific work when you have knowledge about that work or you know what and how to do, you have required skills to do that work and you are willing to do the work. So, competency is the combination or mix of knowledge, skills and behavior.

Bangladesh is a very fertile land of human with a total population of 165 million. According to the estimation of The Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, Bangladesh is the fourth highest among the top 20 countries of origin for international migrants. It is estimated that there are 13 million Bangladeshis living abroad for overseas employment. But, unfortunately majority of the migrants are unskilled which means human were migrated not human resources. The consequence reflects on the remittance. Being the country of 4th highest diaspora, Bangladesh is the 7th highest remittance earning country. In 2020, average monthly income of an Indian diaspora was 384 USD where it was 140 USD for a Bangladeshi. So, an Indian diaspora has earned almost 3 times more than a Bangladeshi has earned. This is the difference of human resource and human; as India has sent mostly skilled labor where Bangladesh has sent majority unskilled. According to the Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU), around 74% of the laborer who migrated in 2021 are unskilled. 

Above all, there are a huge number of young populations remain unemployed in the country despite of having opportunity to export skilled labor around the world. So, finally if human (who are capable / active) do not become resources; do they become burden?

Mohammed Ismail Sharif is Acting Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Human Resources, icddr,b