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What’s the difference between personnel management and human resource management?

What’s the difference between personnel management and human resource management?

Oftentimes people think that personnel management and human resource management (HRM) are the same. While both deal with employees of an organisation, their approach is very different — with personnel management typically being referred to as a more traditionalist approach, while HRM is often considered more fitting of the contemporary workspace. 

Read on to learn more about these management styles and how you can contribute to an organisation aiming to achieve excellence. 

What is personnel management? 

Personnel management involves the retention and upkeep of all personnel in the company. By closely following and enforcing the company’s rules and policies, personnel management strives to ensure that employees are satisfied and are performing well. 

Often referred to as a traditional form of management, many professionals in the field now view personnel management as having been superseded by HRM.  

What is human resource management? 

HRM deals with recruiting, retaining, and managing an organisation’s employees – but that’s not all there is to it. HRM experts are heavily involved in a company’s processes and systems; constantly checking, fixing, and updating them as required.  

HRM offers staff training, benefits, and proper onboarding. It’s the branch that is also equipped to motivate, develop, evaluate, and appraise staff, ensuring that every person involved in the organisation reaches their potential. Ultimately, HRM can be described as the strategic management of an organisation’s resources.

Find out more about the key terms you'll encounter in the human resource management industry: 

View the glossary

What is the difference between them? 

The key difference between personnel management and human resource management can be seen in their approach to employees. While personnel management considers employees as tools, HRM specialists encourage organisations to view them assets that should be invested in. 

As globalisation ensures our world gets smaller and trade becomes free flowing, HRM is at the epicentre of an organisation navigating through the international market landscape. In this global environment, an HRM function helps companies understands local and international customs and laws, attracts and integrates employees from across the world, and manages increasingly diverse workforces. 

Why should I do an MSc in human resource management? 

HRM is essential to an organisation’s long-term success. An effective HRM team has a direct impact on employee satisfaction, which in turn is important to ensure that all members of the company are contributing to the absolute best of their abilities.  

An MSc in Human Resource Management will equip you with the skills needed to manage a global workforce. It focuses on theory while simultaneously teaching you about the practical applications of your expertise – helping you more effectively address and counter potential challenges. 

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) offers a part-time online MSc in Human Resource Management that’s designed by trained experts and academics in the field. 

As part of this course, you will: 

  • Understand how to improve and organisations capacity through people management 

  • Develop a way to encourage regular improvements in performance throughout the company 

  • Assess trends and best practices in other companies to improve business processes 

  • Understand and analyse the methods used to encourage professionalism in HRM 

Plus, as the world we live in today has global outreach in all forms, HRM is considered essential and central to businesses everywhere, meaning that you can work in almost any field of your choice. 

If you’re ready to help an organisation reach its full potential, learn more about the University of Central Lancashire’s MSc in Human Resource Management: 

Explore the course

Have questions?  

We'd love to hear from you. Get in touch to discuss your course of interest and ask any questions about studying.