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DSST Human Resource Management Study Guide

Updated: Feb 14

DSST Human Resource Management Exam Outline

Preparing for the DSST Human Resource Management Exam requires a clear understanding of its topics.

Our study guide provides a comprehensive overview of these concepts, enabling you to focus your studies effectively and confidently approach the test.

With our guide, you'll have the resources to navigate the exam successfully and achieve your goals.

Get ready to excel in your studies and ace the test!


Table of Contents


1. An Overview of the Human Resource Management Field

People sitting waiting for an interview.
An Overview of the Human Resource Management Field – 8%

Historical Development

Human resource management (HRM) traces its origins back to the early 20th century, notably with the establishment of the first formal HR department by the National Cash Register Company in 1901.

Throughout the 20th century, HRM evolved, gaining prominence in the 1970s as it emphasized employee relations and strategic workforce planning.


Human Resource Functions

The HR department serves various critical functions, including recruitment, selection, training, and development of employees.

Additionally, it manages employee relations, administers benefits, and ensures compliance with labor laws and regulations.


Role and Qualifications of the Human Resource Manager

The HR manager plays a pivotal role in overseeing all HR functions.

To excel in this role, they must comprehensively understand labor laws, HR best practices, and effective communication and problem-solving skills.


Ethical Aspects of Human Resource Decision-Making

Given the significant impact of HR decisions on employees' lives, ethical considerations are paramount.

HR professionals must uphold ethical standards and integrity in decision-making to foster a positive work environment and promote employee well-being.

By incorporating these revisions, the content becomes more transparent and engaging for readers, effectively conveying essential information about human resource management.


DSST Human Resource Management Trivia Question # 24


2. Human Resource Planning

Human Resource Planning with a team of people.
Human Resource Planning – 9%

Strategic Human Resource Planning

Strategic human resource planning is vital for aligning HR activities with the organization's objectives.

It ensures that HR strategies and initiatives support the achievement of business goals.


Workforce Diversity and Inclusion

Workforce diversity encompasses the various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives employees bring to the organization.

Inclusion involves creating an environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and included, irrespective of their differences.


Job Analysis and Design

Job analysis involves examining and defining the tasks, responsibilities, and qualifications required for a particular job.

On the other hand, job design focuses on structuring jobs to maximize efficiency, productivity, and employee satisfaction.


3. Staffing and Talent Acquisition

Human Resource Management Staffing and Talent Acquisition.
Staffing and Talent Acquisition – 11%


Recruitment involves identifying and attracting qualified candidates to fill open positions.

Its primary goal is to find individuals with the necessary skills and qualifications to effectively meet the organization's needs.



Selection is evaluating and choosing the most suitable candidate for a position.

It typically involves various methods such as interviews, aptitude tests, and reference checks to assess candidates' qualifications and fit for the role.


Promotions and Transfers

Promotions recognize and reward employees who have demonstrated exceptional performance in their current roles by moving them to higher-level positions.

Transfers, conversely, involve moving employees to new positions or locations within the organization based on their preferences or organizational needs.


Reduction-in-Force (RIF)

A reduction-in-force (RIF) occurs when an organization reduces its workforce due to budget constraints or strategic changes.

RIFs can be voluntary or involuntary and often involve layoffs or job eliminations.


Voluntary Turnover, Retirement, and Succession Planning

Voluntary turnover refers to employees leaving the organization voluntarily, while retirement involves employees opting to exit the workforce permanently.

Succession planning entails identifying and developing potential future leaders to ensure a smooth transition into critical roles.


DSST Human Resource Management Trivia Question # 95


4. Training and Development

Manager giving an office presentation.
Training and Development – 9%


Onboarding integrates new employees into the organization and provides them with essential information, resources, and support to facilitate a smooth transition.

It often involves orientation sessions, job shadowing, and mentorship programs to help new hires acclimate to their roles and the organizational culture.


Career Planning

Career planning involves setting individual career goals and devising strategies to achieve them.

It encompasses exploring career options, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and creating actionable plans for career advancement or transition.


Principles of Learning

The learning principles elucidate the fundamental concepts underlying how individuals acquire knowledge and skills.

These principles, including repetition, reinforcement, response variability, and extinguishing behavior, inform the design and implementation of practical training and development initiatives.


Training Programs and Methods

Training programs aim to enhance employees' competencies and performance levels through structured learning experiences.

Various training methods, such as classroom instruction, on-the-job training, and e-learning, cater to diverse learning styles and organizational needs.



Evaluation entails assessing the effectiveness and impact of training programs to determine their alignment with organizational objectives and the extent to which they meet employees' developmental needs.

Evaluation methods, such as pre-and post-tests, focus groups, and surveys, provide valuable insights into program outcomes and areas for improvement.


Development Programs

Development programs foster employees' professional growth and enhance their skills, knowledge, and abilities.

These initiatives, which can be conducted internally or externally, offer opportunities for ongoing learning, career advancement, and personal development tailored to individual and organizational goals.

By briefly outlining each aspect of employee development, the revised content offers a comprehensive understanding of the processes and strategies involved in nurturing a skilled and motivated workforce.


5. Performance Management

Office workers cheering.
Performance Management (Appraisals) – 12%

Reasons for Performance Evaluation

Performance evaluations serve multiple purposes in assessing an employee's job performance.

They are instrumental in identifying areas of improvement, setting achievable goals, and providing constructive feedback to enhance individual and organizational effectiveness.



Performance appraisal techniques encompass various methods aimed at evaluating employee performance comprehensively.

These techniques may include goal setting, where specific objectives are established for employees to achieve; 360-degree feedback, which gathers input from multiple sources to provide a holistic assessment; and Forced Distribution, which categorizes employees into predetermined performance levels based on a bell curve distribution.



Despite their importance, performance management encounters several challenges.

Subjectivity in the evaluation process can lead to biased assessments and inaccurate performance ratings.

Additionally, reliance on outdated methods, such as annual performance reviews, may hinder the effectiveness of performance management systems and fail to capture real-time feedback and developmental needs.

Addressing these challenges requires implementing fair and transparent evaluation processes while embracing modern approaches to performance management.


DSST Human Resource Management Trivia Question # 162


6. Compensation and Benefits

Woman lying on the ground with a lot of cash.
Compensation and Benefits / Total Rewards – 12%

Job Evaluation

Job evaluation entails assessing the relative value of different jobs within an organization.

Standard methods for job evaluation include ranking, grading, and point factor systems, which help establish a systematic approach to determining the worth of various positions.


Wage and Salary Administration

Wage and salary administration involves the process of setting and managing compensation levels for employees.

This encompasses conducting job analyses to determine job worth, establishing pay rates, and developing equitable pay structures to ensure fair compensation practices across the organization.


Compensation Systems

Compensation systems are frameworks designed to reward employees for their organizational contributions.

These systems may be based on various factors, including performance, seniority, or specific skills and competencies, to motivate and retain talent while aligning rewards with organizational goals.



Benefits programs provide employees additional financial support beyond their base wages or salaries.

These programs can include mandatory benefits such as social security contributions and voluntary benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and wellness programs.

Benefits are crucial in attracting and retaining talent while enhancing employee satisfaction and well-being.


7. Safety and Health

Two workers testing for their body tempurature.
Safety and Health – 12%

Occupational Accidents and Illness

Occupational accidents and illnesses can include injuries and illnesses on the job.

Chemical exposure or workplace violence can cause occupational accidents and illnesses.


Quality of Work Life and Wellness

Work-life and wellness quality can be improved by creating a positive workplace environment.

Quality of work-life and wellness programs can include stress management training and fitness facilities.


Workplace Security

Workplace security is designed to protect employees from potential hazards.

Workplace security measures can include security guards and surveillance cameras.


Employer Responsibility

Employer responsibility for safety and health includes complying with safety and health regulations.

Employer responsibility for safety and health also includes providing employees with information about potential hazards.


8. Employment Law

Two people discussing a contract.
Employment Law – 12%

Equal Employment Opportunity Laws

Equal employment opportunity laws, such as the Civil Rights Act Title VII, ADA, and ADEA, aim to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

These laws protect employees from unfair treatment based on characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information.


Compensation and Benefits-Related Laws

Compensation and benefits-related laws, including ERISA, FMLA, and FLSA, govern wages, hours, and employee benefits.

These laws ensure fair compensation practices and protect employees from being denied benefits due to factors such as pre-existing conditions.


Health, Safety, and Employee Rights Laws

Health, safety, and employee rights laws, such as OSHA and WARN, prioritize the well-being of employees by regulating workplace conditions and ensuring their rights are upheld.

These laws guarantee employees the right to a safe and healthy work environment, free from potential hazards and unfair treatment.


9. Labor Relations

Essential works protesting at a rally.
Labor Relations – 10%

Role of Labor Unions

Labor unions serve as representatives for employees, negotiating with employers to secure favorable wages, benefits, and working conditions for their members.

Additionally, they advocate for employee rights and work to address workplace issues and grievances.


Labor Laws

Labor laws, such as the NLRA, Taft-Hartley Act, and Civil Service Reform Act, regulate the relationship between employees and employers, safeguarding workers' rights and prohibiting unfair labor practices, discrimination, and retaliation.


Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining is the negotiation process between employers and labor unions to establish employment terms, including wages, hours, and working conditions.

Through collective bargaining, agreements that benefit both parties and are legally binding are reached.


Unionized vs. Non-Unionized Work Settings

In unionized work settings, employees are represented by labor unions, whereas in non-unionized settings, there is no union representation.

Unionized workplaces typically have negotiated collective bargaining agreements that outline employment terms, while non-unionized workplaces may lack such agreements.


Contract Management

Contract management involves overseeing and ensuring compliance with the terms of collective bargaining agreements between employers and labor unions.

This includes implementing agreed-upon provisions and addressing any disputes or grievances that arise during the contract period.


10. Current Issues and Trends

City workers protesting on the street.
Current Issues and Trends – 5%

Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)

HRIS are computer systems used to manage and process employee data, facilitating functions such as performance tracking and policy compliance monitoring within organizations.


Changing Patterns of Work Relationships

This encompasses evolving work structures like virtual offices, contingent employment arrangements, and autonomous work groups driven by technological advancements and organizational restructuring.


Global HR Environment

Managing a workforce across different countries and addressing cultural diversity, legal compliance, and global market dynamics characterize the challenges of the global HR environment in a connected world economy.


Social Media

Social media platforms serve as tools for communication, engagement, and brand promotion within organizations, enabling connections with employees and customers while fostering company culture and values.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

CSR involves managing business operations responsibly to meet social and environmental obligations, while sustainability focuses on maintaining long-term environmental and social well-being.

Both concepts emphasize ethical business practices and community engagement.


11. Conclusion

Two coworkers high fiving at the job.

DSST Human Resource Management

The DSST Human Resource Management exam delves into essential topics like labor unions, labor laws, collective bargaining, and contract management.

Moreover, it explores contemporary issues such as human resource information systems, evolving work relationships, and the global HR landscape.

Now equipped with knowledge of the exam's scope, it's time to take proactive steps toward success.

Begin by reviewing the exam material thoroughly and engaging in practice with sample questions.

By preparing diligently, you enhance your likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome.

Empower your journey towards success by enrolling in our online preparation course today.

Best of luck with your exam preparations!


12. Student Resources


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