HR Disciplines 

We have organized content on the SHRM website according to the HR Disciplines featured on this page.


SHRM Online’s Benefits Discipline deals with the various forms of indirect employee compensation—commonly referred to as “benefits”—that employers use to attract, recognize and retain workers. It includes designing and administering benefits such as paid leave, insurance, retirement income and various employee services, as well as various benefits mandated by federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Business Leadership & Strategy

SHRM Online’s Business Leadership Discipline deals—from an enterprise perspective—with the processes and activities used to formulate objectives, practices and policies aimed at meeting short- and long-range organizational needs and opportunities, and focused in particular on human capital issues. It includes the strategic planning process and the process of aligning the human capital management plan with the strategic plan.


SHRM Online’s Compensation Discipline deals with the various forms of direct compensation—that is, employees’ pay—that employers use to attract, recognize and retain workers. It includes designing and administering compensation systems including base pay, differential and incentive pay, and overtime.


SHRM Online’s Consulting Discipline deals with the practice of delivering all aspects of human resource management as an external provider, and with the professional and business issues associated with operating such a practice, including client development, contracts, client management and the like.


SHRM Online’s Diversity Discipline deals with the differences and similarities that make individuals unique, such as individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences and behaviors, as well as how organizations can leverage those qualities in support of business objectives.

Employee Relations

SHRM Online’s Employee Relations Discipline deals with maintaining a positive, productive and cohesive work environment. It includes the processes of analyzing, developing, implementing and administering the employer-employee relationship; performing continuing evaluation of it; managing employee performance; ensuring that relations with employees comply with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations; and resolving workplace disputes.

Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility

SHRM Online’s Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility Discipline deals with organizational and personal values and their expression in business decision making and behavior. It emphasizes organizational codes of ethics but includes relevant legal requirements. This discipline deals with the social impact of business decisions in the area of employment practices, corporate governance, and sustainability and philanthropy, as well as with the role of the human resource profession in improving the quality of life of employees, their families and the community at large.

Global HR

SHRM Online’s Global HR Discipline deals with all aspects of HR within the worldwide context—including U.S.-based entities doing business internationally and non-U.S.-based entities operating in their own locale or worldwide. It includes matters such as management of global workforces, expatriation and repatriation, HR practices and laws around the world, and those arising in specific countries and regions.

Labor Relations

SHRM Online’s Labor Relations Discipline deals with the elements of formal labor-management relations—protected activities, unfair practices, union organizing, recognition and representation elections—as well as collective bargaining and contract administration. Legal issues

Organizational & Employee Development

SHRM Online’s Organizational and Employee Development Discipline deals with organizational performance and the means by which it develops its human resources. Resources address improving organizational effectiveness and training employees to meet current and future job demands. Other resources address change management, coaching, leadership development, succession planning, social networking, knowledge management, measurement systems and outsourcing employee development.

Public Policy

Safety & Security

SHRM Online’s Safety and Security Discipline deals with enterprise and employee safety and security. It includes the organization’s efforts to prevent and/or mitigate loss, risk to or from personnel, threats to its physical assets, damage to its technology and intellectual property, and risks arising from all elements surrounding the work environment.

Staffing Management

SHRM Online’s Staffing Management Discipline deals with strategies, tactics and processes for sourcing, recruiting, hiring and retaining the human resourcesneeded to support business objectives as home and abroad. It includes sources on pre-employment screening and testing, contingent staffing, retention strategies, recruitment technologies, recruitment process outsourcing and workforce planning.


SHRM Online’s Technology Discipline deals with the use of technology of all types and in all functional areas of human resources in support of human resource and business goals. It includes matters involving human resource information systems, automated scheduling and timekeeping systems, thetechnology aspects of workplace security, trends in technology, effective practices, and vendor and software selection.