It is a paradox of the human history that best things evolve as the requirement of the army or the sophisticated state administration. The history of the modern Human Resources Management is not a deviation from this general rule of the human history. However, the HRM background is older than expected. Army and navy were the first users of advanced techniques to develop their staff. They defined required standard, and they made successful career paths. They were built around the strong leadership. Just compare it to today´s HR Management. The background of Human Resources is an interesting case study. The effort to develop the staff was driven by high investments into weapons and ships. The investment into tools was so significant that the additional investment to staff was an efficient investment of money. The motivation was the same as we use HR Management today. The organizations and states of old days wanted to build a competitive advantage. They needed to protect their interests. The specialized, trained and skilled workforce was a part of the success. We can find several examples of the successful HR Management in the history of the modern civilization.
Sparta was one of the most-successful cities in the ancient Greece. It was not just a city; it was a leading city for the large part of ancient Greece. It was a military society and state that designed the unique system of the development of male citizens as soldiers. Ancient Athens valued the philosophy, art and education. Sparta was focused purely on wars, and it protected the entire ancient Greece from other nations.
Sparta built the modern and highly efficient army that was one of the best armies in the ancient world. All males were trained and highly motivated to join the army and protect the interests of Sparta with the weapon in the hand. Sparta developed a unique development system for young boys and they shared a common vision and mission.
Sparta developed a system of the sophisticated development of available Human Resources. Each male was trained to be a soldier and shared the same vision. The entire society valued successful soldiers. The education started during the childhood, but it continued as an adult education. It was a highly efficient Human Resources Management. With limited resources, one small city was able to command most of the Greece and defeat Persians.
In ancient China, the emperors recognized the importance of an effective management. They required officials and officers that were able to administer the country effectively and based on rules given by the central government. They were expected to understand to the law, able to read and govern the country in the name of the emperor.
China designed the first recruitment process in the human history. The government defined the key requirements, skills and competencies of the public officer. The state followed a simple recruitment procedure to identify the best talents among candidates. The education and development procedures were in place to govern the country effectively. It was one of the best tools to manage the satisfaction of citizens.
Each advanced society recognized the importance of the education and development system. It recognized how valuable human capital is. They were ruling the world, not because of weapons, but they managed their human capital effectively. These two societies were running expensive systems, but they were effective and they outperformed their neighbors. These are two examples that a good HR Management system evolved even in the past.