ALTHOUGH both human resource management (HRM) and personnel management focus on people management, if we examine critically, there are many differences between them. Some are listed below:
i) Nature of relations: The nature of relations can be seen through two different perspective views which are Pluralist and Unitarist. There is a clear distinct difference between both because the personnel manager, the focus is more on individualistic where individual interest is more than group interest. Here, HR manager through a shared vision between management and staff create a corporate vision and mission which are linked to business goals and the fulfillment of mutual interest where the organization’s needs are satisfied by subordinates and subordinate’s needs are well-taken care by the organization. Motorola and Seagate are good examples of organizations that belief in this Unitarist approach which also focuses in team management and sees employees as partners in an organization.
Relation of power and management: The distribution of power with personnel manager is centralized where the top management has full authority in decision-making where even the personnel managers are not even allowed to give ideas or take part in any decision which involves “employees”. HR manager, on the other hand, has the decentralization of power where the power between top management is shared with middle and lower management groups.
This is known as “empowerment” because employees play an important role together with line and HR managers to make collective and mutual decisions, which can benefit both the management and employees themselves. In fact, HR manager focuses more on TQM approach as part of a team management with the involvement and participation of management and employees with shared power and authority. The nature of management is focused more on bottom-up approach with employees giving feedback to the top management and then the top management gives support to employees to achieve mutually agreed goals and objectives.
ii) Leadership and management role: Personnel manager emphasizes much on leadership style which is very transactional. This style of leadership merely sees the leader as a task-oriented person. This leader focuses more on procedures that must be followed, punishment form non-performance and non-compliance of rules and regulations and put figures and task accomplishments ahead of human factors such as personal bonding, interpersonal relationship, trust, understanding, tolerance and care. HR managers are the leaders who are transformational. This leadership style encourages business objectives to be shared by both employees and management. Here, leaders only focus more on people-oriented and importance on rules, procedures and regulations are eliminated and replaced with:
Corporate culture and missions;
Trust and flexibility; and
HRM needs that integrates business needs.
iv) Pay policies and job design: Pay policies for personnel manager is merely based on skills and knowledge required for the perspective jobs only. The value is based on the ability to perform the task and duties as per the employment contract requirement only. It does not encourage value-added incentives to be paid out. This is also because the job design is very functional, where the functions are more departmentalized in which each job falls into one functional department. This is merely known as division on labour based on job needs and skill possessions and requirement.
For HR manager, the pay is designed to encourage continuous job performance and improvement which is linked to value-added incentives such as gain sharing schemes, group profit sharing and individual incentive plans. The job design is no more functional based but teamwork and cyclical based. HRM creates a new approach towards job design such as job rotation which is inter and intra-departmental based and job enlargement which encourages one potential and capable individual to take on more tasks to add value to his/her job and in return enjoy added incentives and benefits.