A debate about the differences, between HRM and personnel management went on for some time but has died down recently, especially as the terms HRM and HR are now in general use both in their own right and as synonyms for personnel management. But understanding of the concept of HRM is enhanced by analyzing what the differences are and how traditional approaches to personnel management have evolved to become the present day practices of HRM.
Some commentators have highlighted the revolutionary nature of HRM. Others have denied that there is any significant difference in the concepts of personnel management and HRM. Personnel management has grown through assimilating a number of additional emphases to produce an even richer combination of experience. HRM is no revolution but a further dimension to a multi-faceted role.
The conclusion based on interviews with HR and personnel directors is that HRM is regarded by some personnel managers as just a set of initials or old wine in new bottles. It could indeed be no more and no less than another name for personnel management, but it has the virtue of emphasizing the treatment of people as a key resource, the management of which is the direct concern of top management as part of the strategic planning processes of the enterprise. Although there is nothing new in the idea, insufficient attention has been paid to it in many organizations.
i. Personnel management strategies, like HRM strategies, flow from the business fit and integration.
ii. Personnel management, like HRM, recognizes that line managers are responsible for managing people. The personnel function provides the necessary advice and support services to enable managers to carry out their responsibilities
iii. The values of personnel management and at least the ‘soft’ version of HRM are identical with regard to ‘respect for the individual, balancing organizational and individual needs, and developing people to achieve their maximum level of competence both for their own satisfaction and to facilitate the achievement of organizational objectives.
iv. Both personnel management and HRM recognize that one of their most essential functions is that of matching people to ever changing organizational requirements i.e. placing and developing the right people in or for the right jobs.
v. The same range of selection, competence, analysis, performance management, training, management development, and reward management techniques are used.
vi. Personnel management, like the ‘soft’ version of HRM, attaches importance to the processes of communication and participation within an employee relations system.
a. HRM places more emphasis on strategic fit and integration
b. HRM is based on a management and business orientated philosophy.
c. HRM attaches more importance to the management of culture and the achievement of commitment (mutuality).
d. HRM places greater emphasis on the role of line managers as the implementers HR policies.
e. HRM is a holistic approach concerned with the total interests of the business; the interests of members of the organization are recognized but subordinated to those of the enterprise.
f. HR specialists are expected to be business partners rather than personnel administrators
g. HRM treats employees as assets not costs.