The “H” in HRchitect and the History of HR

November 3, 2020


Although literally, the “H” in HRchitect stands for “Human”, which is the foundation of our consulting firm, symbolically the “H” in HRchitect represents much more. I’ll dive into this in greater detail shortly.

Since 1997, HRchitect has been offering consulting services for a variety of HR technologies, but the genesis of HR itself can be traced back to 18th century Europe well before any of the modern HR technology systems existed. As a matter of fact, the terms “Human Resources” and “Human Resource Management” have really only become mainstream over the past two decades. Prior to that, what we now know as HR was typically termed “personnel administration” (at least within the United States), emerging as a clearly-defined field in the 1920s. Traditional personnel administration included all activities centering around the aspects of hiring, training, compensating employees, etc., which was considered a “staff” function in many companies. With the meteoric rise of technology and other factors such as social, economic activities, and globalization, business leaders began to put more focus on strategic planning to anticipate future changes. Often these changes impacted an organization’s employees, thus the personnel administration group’s function expanded to encompass the human/people side of management; enter Human Resources as we know it today where HR is a strategic function and HR leaders are responsible for the entire employee lifecycle from hire to retire.

HR Fact
It’s believed that the first personnel management department began at the National Cash Register Co. in the early 1900s, according to an HR Magazine article. After several strikes and employee lockouts, National Cash Register Co. leader John H. Patterson organized a personnel department to handle grievances, discharges, and safety, as well as training for supervisors on new laws and company policies impacting employees. (

Let’s take a moment to reflect on how far we in Human Resources have come since the 1900s, and the lightspeed at which our organizational function is progressing in 2020 and beyond, fueled by ever-changing HR technology. At HRchitect, we find it a helpful exercise to reflect on our roots, and part of that includes reflecting on what the “H” in HRchitect means to us. Here is what it means to me:

H – Human interactions, not just automated responses

H – Honest feedback and advice for our clients

H – Happy clients and employees

H – History of leadership and management

H – Helpful consultants

H – Hassle-free & flexible HR technology support plans

H – Hot vendor news available on our website

H – Highly respected in the industry


HRchitect can help your organization prepare for the future of your workforce, from helping you create an HR technology roadmapevaluating and selecting your new HCM system, supporting your existing HR technology systems and everything in between.

The landscape of HR technology is ever changing. Keeping up with these changes isn’t your day job, but lucky for you, it’s ours. Let HRchitect help you better prepare for your organization’s future now and for years to come.


Learn more about May Huffer

May has over 15 years of B2B outside sales experience that ranges from Retail to HCM Management Systems. She joined HRchitect in 2013 as a Regional Sales Manager and leads the sales efforts in the 24 state eastern region of the US as well as eastern Canada. May has worked with clients from mid-market to enterprise scale, who have deployed solutions ranging from Core HR systems to Workforce Management.