The term personnel department refers to the function of the organisation that is responsible for the management and motivation of people in the workplace. Increasingly today the term Human Resource Management has come to replace personnel - because personnel management is seen as an old fashioned way of managing people, giving priority to organisational rather than individual development needs.
Typically personnel work is concerned with:
1. The recruitment and selection of new employees, e.g. helping to prepare job advertisements and job descriptions for new posts, and helping to organise the interview process.
2. The induction of new employees where they are introduced to the company, and aspects of the job they will be doing as well as essential requirements such as health and safety training.
3. Training and development. Training focuses on the needs of the organisation whereas development is more concerned with identifying and meeting the needs of individual employees.
4. Organising the appraisal process to identify development needs of employees.
5. Representing the organisation as a go between on disciplinary issues e.g. when a worker has continuously been late for work. Dismissing and making workers redundant where necessary.
6. Managing payment systems, although this will probably be the responsibility of a separate payroll section.
7. Taking responsibility for the motivation of employees by outlining motivational work practices.
8. Organising the termination of work, and retirement of employees, as well as job redundancies where appropriate.
Nowadays the emphasis is on the Human Resources Department providing a service, which enables many of the activities to be carried out by relevant departments within an organisation but with support and guidance from Human Resources.