HRM Vs Personnel Management

Robert Owen is regarded as the father of personnel management- Human resource management Vs Personnel managementHuman resource management has changed a lot for the past 100 years. Arena of human resource management has been widening with the increase of importance of employees who are core for running any business. Indeed HRM was evolved from personnel administration or personnel management, which deal with the staff or workers who were not looked as most valuable assets and investment for an organisation .

Personnel management was mainly concerned with the administrative tasks that did with organising an organisation, such as record keeping and dealing with employee wages, salaries and benefits. The personnel officer, in charge of personnel management used to look after labour relations such as problems with trade unions or difficulties between employers (those who employ workers) and their employees. Besides the said functions of personal officer, the major role was to ensure the factory or organisation was in compliance with all the labour laws applicable to them. No doubt today's HR managers are also following the footsteps of the then personal officers but the approach towards the employees has changed.

Today human resource have become foremost criteria and fundamental resource for setting up any business. Unlike in the personal management, today HR managers are focusing on the training and development of the employee so as to develop the skills and knowledge to match with organisation's needs.

Personnel management used to emphasis on seniority of worker and working hours in order to decide remuneration but whereas in today's context, talent and skills are given equal importance with seniority for deciding the value of the job.


Personnel Management is basically an administrative record-keeping function, at the operational level. Personnel Management attempts to maintain fair terms and conditions of employment, while at the same time, efficiently managing personnel activities for individual departments etc. It is assumed that the outcomes from providing justice and achieving efficiency in the management of personnel activities will result ultimately in achieving organizational success.

It is undisputed fact that personal management is the foundation for the evolution of human resource management. Many theories related to human resource management which are being learnt and applied in today's management were formulated during or before the era of personal management. You can see some of the theories on human resource are listed below.

There is no need to explain that the labour laws were enacted few decades ago. Just by seeing the year of the Act enacted, one can understand when it came into force and how the legislators had understanding about the production of interest employees and how to safeguard them against exploitation by the employers and also how to provide quality of work life, safe working conditions, basic wages and compensation in case of death of employee in the course of employment.

As said above it used to be the duty of the personal officer to ensure that the establishment was moving in accordance with the labour laws. for you here is a list of major Labour laws.

Facts [+]

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the world's largest HR department. OPM provides HR services for the federal governments workforce of nearly 2.8 million workers. It's staff carry out the tasks to recruit, interview, and promote employees; oversee merit pay, benefits and retirement programs; and ensure that all employees and applicants are treated fairly and according to the law.

To set the COLA [cost-of-living allowances] rates, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) surveys the prices of over 300 items, including goods and services, housing, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. OPM conducts these surveys in each of the COLA areas and in the Washington, DC, area.

Human resource management is concerned with the development and implementation of people strategies, which are integrated with corporate strategies, and ensures that the culture, values and structure of the organization, and the quality, motivation and commitment of its members contribute fully to the achievement of its goals.

HRM is concerned with carrying out the SAME functional activities traditionally performed by the personnel function, such as HR planning, job analysis, recruitment and selection, employee relations, performance management, employee appraisals, compensation management, training and development etc. But, the HRM approach performs these functions in a qualitatively DISTINCT way, when compared with Personnel Management. Major differences between Personnel Management and HRM

HRM has a long history of growing from a simple welfare and maintenance function to that of a board level activity of the companies. In recent years, the focus on people management from human capital/intellectual capital perspective is also shaping firmly. However, the hard fact is that this growth can be generally witnessed in management literature and rarely in practice. Peripheral observation of people management in organization can mislead the observers since, hardly there could be any organization that is yet to rename its old fashioned title of industrial relations/ personnel/ welfare/ administration department into HRM department. But, in practice, these organizations continue to handle the people management activities the way they had been handling earlier. The reasons for this could be many and varied. Among them, the potential reason is lack of clear understanding about the differences between personnel/IR and HRM.

Professor John Storey brilliantly portrayed these differences in 27 areas of people management in 1992 in his book titled Developments in the Management of Human Resources. These differences are illustrated in Table