Personnel management refers to the functions that many employers now refer to as Human Resources. These are the functions that Human Resources staff perform relative to the organization's employees and include recruiting, hiring, compensation and benefits, new employee orientation, training, and performance appraisal systems.
Personnel management also includes developing and implementing policies and processes to create an orderly, employee-supportive work environment. It is an older term that is falling into disuse in modern organizations.
Personnel management is a term that is still used in many government agencies, and primarily in the nonprofit sector, to describe the function that deals with the employment of people within an organization. When I think of it, though, I tend to think of the more transactional and administrative aspects of the HR management functions, but others still use the term to refer to the whole gamut of HR responsibilities and services.
Additionally, the term, personnel management, brings forth images of employee unions, strict job classification systems, and established pay grades that leave line management with few management options.
The major problem with the personnel management view is that it leaves out the strategic components of the potential HR role. It may include responsibility for training and organization development. But, in my experience, these are not included in personnel management. Nor is the performance management system approach to developing employees and their careers.
Human Resource Management Definition
Human Resource Management, and advanced views of Personnel Management, refers to the act of providing these personnel management actions and services, or in recent terminology: managing human resources, managing the department for people, and other endless variations that mean just about the same responsibilities with a different department name.