What Is the Difference between Personnel Management and Human Resource Management?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Personnel management and human resource management are two interrelated concepts that deal with the management of employees in an organization. One of the differences between them is that personnel management focuses more on managing the image of an organization through the maintenance of a good relationship between the organization and its employees. Human resources management benefits an organization by managing human capital, which deals with the sourcing for talent to fill the various positions within an organization. Also, personnel management has been around longer than human resource management.

Another way of explaining the difference between the two concepts is by looking at the motivation behind the establishment of the two departments. Personnel management is an offshoot of the concern for the welfare of employees in the marketplace. It was established to serve as a liaison between employees or labor unions as well as the management of companies. This department addresses various issues regarding the welfare of various employees with the objective of developing and maintaining a cordial relationship between the organization and its employees.


One other difference between personnel management and human resource management is the fact that personnel management is an older concept than human resources. Increased competitiveness in the market and the realization by organizations that there is a lot of potential to be harnessed from human capital helped to create human resources. Personnel management is more concerned with aspects like the negotiations with labor representatives, the handling of employee complaints, and the proper application of any applicable labor laws for the region.

By looking at the responsibilities of the two types of management, it becomes clear that human resources is concerned with the identification of the manpower requirements of the company. When the needs have been identified, the human resources department will take the necessary steps to recruit qualified applicants. The process of filling manpower needs may include training employees and engaging them in personal developmental activities like seminars, conferences and leadership training.

Human resources management may help in the advertisement of vacancies in the organization through various sources, including the media and the company Web site. This department may also oversee such procedures as the promotion of employees and the transfer of employees from one branch to another. The human resources within a company monitors the development and performance of the various employees with a view to identifying those who may need further training or those who are not performing up to expected standards.


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Post 2

This might just be personal perception, but I tend to think of personnel departments as worker focused while human resource departments are company focused. But this might just be a grudge I have with the human resource department at my own company.

I always get the feeling that they are trying to do as little as possible for the people that work there while doing everything they can to shift employee benefits into the coffers of the company. It really feels antagonistic at times. I wish I had an advocate within the company but it feels more like I have an enemy.

Post 1

I think the nature of personnel management and human resource management depends a lot on the company. Companies treat both of these departments differently depending on their institutional character.

I have seen companies that do well by their employees and others that seem to treat them as an afterthought. I wish that I could say that human focused companies always succeed and bottom line focused companies always fail but this has not been my experience. There are examples of both happening.

But in this day and age it is really mandatory that any company with more than a few dozen employees have some kind of human resource management. There are so many concerns and conditions to consider that it is really the only way to run a business responsibly.

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