As in any other discipline, there is a problem of semantics with HRM too. First, we have two terms, namely personnel management (PM) and HRM. Between these two terms, there is a basic difference, and it is important to understand what it is.
HRM differs from PM both in scope and orientation.
- Personnel management is more administrative in nature, dealing with payroll, complying with employment law, and handling related tasks. Personnel management typically seeks to motivate employees with such things as compensation, bonuses, rewards, and the simplification of work responsibilities.
- PM is more specific in nature as it focuses on operational activities.
On the other hand
- HRM considers the workforce as one of the primary resources that contribute to the success of an organization and society. Thus it is responsible for managing the workforce by formulating policies and procedures that promote mutuality-mutual goals, mutual respect, mutual rewards, and mutual responsibilities.
- HRM is more general in nature as it focuses on developmental activities.
Features of Human Resource Management
The nature of the personnel management has been highlighted in its following features:
(i) Inherent Part of Management: Human resource management is inherent in the process of management. This function is performed by all the managers throughout the organization rather than by the personnel department alone. If a manager is to get the best of his people, he must undertake the basic responsibility of selecting people who will work under him. He must also take interest in training and motivating the employees and in appraising their performance for improving their quality.
(ii) Pervasive Function: Personnel management is a pervasive function of management. It is performed by all managers at various levels across all departments in the organization. In other words, every manager from the managing director to the foreman is required to perform the personnel function on a continuous basis.
(iii) People-Centered: Personnel management is people-centered and is relevant in all types of organizations. It is concerned with all categories of personnel from the top to the bottom of the organization. The broad classification of personnel in an industrial enterprise may be as follows:
- Blue-collar workers (i.e. those working on machines and engaged in loading, unloading, etc.) and white-collar workers (i.e. clerical employees).
- Managerial and non-managerial personnel.
- Professionals (such as Company Secretary, Lawyer, etc.) and non-professional personnel.
(iv) Personnel Activities or Functions: Personnel management involves several functions concerned with the management of people at work. It includes manpower, planning, employment, placement, training, appraisal, and compensation of employees. For the performance of these activities efficiently, a separate department known as Personnel Department is created in most organizations.
(v) Continuous Process: Personnel management is not a ‘one shot’ function. It must be performed continuously if the organizational objectives are to be achieved smoothly. To quote G.R. Terry. “The personnel function cannot be turned on and off like water from a faucet; it cannot be practiced only one hour each day or one day a week. Personnel management requires constant alertness and awareness of human relations and their importance in everyday operations”.
(vi) Based on Human Relations: Personnel management is concerned with the motivation of human resources in the organization. Human beings can’t be dealt with like the physical factors of production. Every person has different needs, perceptions, and expectations. The managers should give due attention to these factors. They require human relations skills to deal with the people at work. Human relations skills are also required in training, performance, appraisal, transfer, and promotion of subordinates. If the personnel function is performed properly, the human relations in the organization will be cordial.