Personnel Management

Personnel management is defined as an administrative specialization that focuses on hiring and developing employees to become more valuable to the company. It is sometimes considered to be a sub-category of human resources that only focuses on administration.[1]

The Evolvement of Personnel Management[2]
There are a number of approaches towards personnel that have evolved over time as well as some, including the newer approaches.
(a) Mechanical Approach towards Personnel The reasoning here is that if machines can be made more productive by extreme specialisation, so can men. This approach has also been called the 'factor-of-production concept'. It implies that labor must be classified with capital and raw material as a factor of production to be procured as cheaply as possible and utilised to the fullest. The fact that human beings are involved in this is of human the mechanical approach usually results in the creation of various management problems-personnel problems. Although this philosophy towards labor is changing and has changed, there are still many managers, especially in South Africa, whose attitudes are strongly influenced by this old philosophy.
(b) Paternalism In this approach management must assume- a fatherly and protective attitude towards employees. By merely supplying benefits, eg. housing, transport, recreation and pensions, managements are not necessarily paternalistic. It is the attitude and the manner of implementation that determine whether or not a management is paternal in its dealings with employees, To be paternalistic two characteristics are necessary.

  • Firstly, the profit motive should not be prominent in management's decision to provide such employee services.
  • Secondly, the decision concerning what services to provide and how to provide them belongs solely to management. The father makes the decision that he feels is best for the child. Paternalism died largely during the depression of the 1930's, though certain managements still use this approach in their dealings with employees. How many managements consult their black employees

before deciding on these benefits and services?
(c) Social System Approach In this approach the organisation is perceived as the control agency operatingin an open system. Employees are perceived as power sources whose development can be alligned with basic organisational goals. As the diagram below indicates, the employee group is only one of many groups to which the manager must relate (FLIPPO,19).

Personnel Management 1
source: Berkeley

This more. mature approach also explains the various roles a person has to play. From this flows role expectations, role conflicts, etc., and the influence this has on human behaviour.
(d) Newer Approaches to Peronnel Management The basic mission of personnel is conceived by BiICKER (1965) to be a;'huge balancing act'. Personnel is responsible for balancing the demand for and supply of people, of balancing the organisation's need for certain experience and skills with the labour market's supply of these skills and experience. Everything the personnel man does has an effect on one side of the balance or the other. In the same vein MYERs (1970) speaks of the 'counterbalancing' influence where personnel management counter- -balances line management's emphasis on production, with emphasis on human relations. He says further that the personnel specialist as 'change agent' interacts with the line manager to define conditions for mutual achievement of organisational and individual goals. The primary purpose of personnel as a change agent is to maximise the achievement of organisational objectives through the best utilisation of its human resources. Interaction is emphasized by MEGGINSON (1967) where he says that the function of management is to blend the human and material resources and technology into a harmonious relationship which will contribute to the improvement of the company and society. He developed the following hypotheses:
(i) "A company's productivity and resulting profitability are directly proportional to the quantity and quality of its human resources."
(ii) "The efficiency and effectiveness of employers' productivity results from the recognition of, andenhancement of, the human dignity of each individual employee."
(iii) "The supply and calibre of the human resource can be effectively enchanced through education, training and personal development."

Personnel Management Duties[3]

  • Hiring across many organizations which are done by a single person or group of persons. Recruiters look at checkbox lists and match candidates' resumes to that list.
  • Compensation and benefits departments which create strict rules around pay grades and increases. For instance, enforcing a limit on annual increases of no more than 10 percent and preventing promotions of more than one salary grade. The important part is to create consistency.
  • New employee orientation which consists of helping employees fill out their benefits paperwork, showing them where the break room is, and handing out a copy of the employee handbook. The focus is on getting the paperwork adequately completed and filed away.

Functions and Objectives of Personnel Management[4]
Major functions and objectives are given hereunder: Personnel Management functions are generally divided into planning, organising, staffing, motivating and controlling aspects. Major functions and objectives are given in the table below:

Personnel Management

The Process of Personnel Management
The following are the steps involved in the process of personnel management:
a) Human resource planning and forecasting,
b) Recruitment,
c) Selection,
d) Training and development,
e) Performance appraisal and
f) Promotion and demotion.

Principles of Personnel Management[5]
Personnel management has been based on certain bench-mark principles for high levels of success. These principles change as conditions change including human behaviour patterns. The following are some of the popular and practice oriented principles: (a) Persons should be dealt with as complete individuals (b) Employees should be made to feel worthwhile (c) Fairness and justice (d) Rewards should be earned and not given (e) Employees should be supplied with relevant information (f) Proper judgement of the strength and intelligence of the persons, and (g) Equal wage for equal work. These principles cover recruitment, training and rewarding them properly. Importance should be given to their feelings and experiences. They should be made to feel confident, proud and satisfied about their services and rewards. Their productive ftinctions depend on the spirit of care and share around them. 'Fairness' should be the catch phrase on both sides. The employees should be rewarded and not gifted. The communication system between the managers and employees should be properly developed and unnecessary secrecy and suspicion should be avoided altogether. While the strength and intelligence of the employees are properly judged and recognised, there should not be any discrimination in wages among all those who serve equally. Equal pay should be given to equal work. Gender discrimination also should be avoided. In sum, the employees should be encouraged to feel proud, rewarded and satisfied as far as their jobs are concerned.

Role of Personnel Manager[6]
Personnel manager is the head of personnel department. S/he performs both managerial and operative functions of management. The role can be summarized as:

  • Personnel manager provides assistance to top management- The top management are the people who decide and frame the primary policies of the concern. All kinds of policies related to personnel or workforce can be framed out effectively by the personnel manager.
  • S/he advices the line manager as a staff specialist- Personnel manager acts like a staff advisor and assists the line managers in dealing with various personnel matters.
  • As a counsellor,- As a counsellor, personnel manager attends problems and grievances of employees and guides them. He tries to solve them in best of his capacity.
  • Personnel manager acts as a mediator- He is a linking pin between management and workers.
  • S/he acts as a spokesman- Since he is in direct contact with the employees, he is required to act as representative of organization in committees appointed by government. He represents company in training programmes.

See Also

Performance Metrics
Human Capital Management (HCM)
Human Capital
Human Capital Index (HCI)
Human Resource Management (HRM)
Human Resources Analytics (HR Analytics)
Human Resources
Performance Management
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
Performance Appraisal
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)


  1. Definition of Personnel Management
  2. The Evolvement of Personnel Management
  3. Personnel Management Duties The Balance Careers
  4. Functions and Objectives of Personnel Management Business Management Ideas
  5. Principles of Personnel Management Shod Ganga
  6. Role of Personnel Manager MSG

Further Reading