Personnel Management:
How different is it from
Human Resource Management?

Do not remain any longer in the realm of Personnel Management.

Most organizations have made the transition to human resource management.

Many have gone on to implement strategic human resource management.

Personnel Department

This name came about as the result of workers being called personnel. This is particularly true in the armed forces and police. Later, many organizations began to use the term "personnel" in the management of workers.

The department handles matters that are mainly administrative activities related to people management. Some call these traditional activities in managing people.

Get to know what these activities are. This gives you indications whether implementing human capital management and for that matter strategic human resource management offers better results.

With this information and understanding, it is comparatively easier for your organization to make the transformation from personnel management to human resource management.

This will give you the motivation whether to decide to do so. Or not.

The traditional administrative activities carried out under personnel management include the following

  • Staffing activities
  • Salary and benefits administration
  • Promotion
  • Leave administration
  • Employee transfer
  • Performance appraisal
  • Training
  • Filing and records keeping
  • Employee termination
  • Retirement

It may appear to you that these have some similarities to the activities carried out under Human Resource Management. It is true that most activities that are carried out are the same but with distinct differences.

The main difference is that in human resource management, strategic planning is or must be carried out to ensure effective and efficient management of the HR function so as to contribute positively to the success of organizations.

The human resource objectives are also aligned to the organization's overall objective.

Check whether your human resource department is merely performing administrative tasks. If so, you do not need a full-fledged department to do these tasks. These are mostly maintenance in effect.

This is not to say that these administrative activities are not important.

Administrative Activities

The following will give you a better understanding of personnel management matters.

  • Usually, there is no strategic plan on recruitment activities. It may happen, though, that the organization may not fill a vacancy. But the reasons for doing this or other acts are not clearly defined.
  • It can happen that only the basic academic qualification is required of job applicants. There is no true correlation of recruitment to the actual needs of the organization.
  • Salary administration is performed without much attention to its potential motivational or de-motivational effects.
  • Leave is seldom quantified in monetary terms.
  • Performance appraisal is overused, and sometimes used for the wrong purpose such as to penalize people.
  • Training is usually done to utilize the training budget with training needs analysis seldom carried out.
  • Most record keeping is done for the sake of keeping records. The major portion of these is seldom referred to again. We need to remember that records are kept to facilitate better decision making.

Shift to a Strategic Method in Handling People-Related Matters

These is a widespread clamor to implement human resource management or strategic human resource management for that matter.

If you want your people to contribute positively to the success of your organization, transform your Personnel Department into Human Resource Department with all that are necessary for successful implementation.

Do not just change the name of the department. Carry out a total transformation systematically.

Carry out the changes in stages to avoid any pitfall.

By doing this, you present yourself the opportunity to put things right as you go along.

Skill is required to manage change. Implement a plan of action to ensure success in the transformation process.

You can pat yourself on the shoulder when you succeed to do this. You are well on the road to a better and more effective "personnel management."

However, not every country is keen on human resource management. In the United Kingdom, for example, people in personnel are wary of human resource management. They consider human resource management as an opportunity as well as a threat. Those involved in managing people continue to practice as "personnel managers."

It is a matter of preference, however. The result at the end of the day may not differ very much.

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