Personnel management – tasks, functions, and goals

Personnel management is one of the cornerstones of a human resource department. It comprises all administrative and routine tasks in a human resources department. Planning and development are other central responsibilities.

Defining personnel management

Personnel management is also referred to as personnel administration or transactional personnel work. This kind of administration deals intensively with the relationship between employees and the company. In the course of transactional tasks, data is also transferred to third parties. For example, payroll accounting is forwarded to the responsible authorities.

Definition: Personnel management

Personnel management includes all administrative and routine tasks involved in a human resources department – from hiring to firing an employee. In doing so, legal and collective bargaining regulations, company policies, and employee contracts must always be observed.

Objectives of personnel management

The key objective of personnel management is maintaining and being able to provide up-to-date, accurate personnel data. This ensures optimal internal communication within the company. Additionally, efficient administrative work is a prerequisite for smooth internal cooperation. In general, it is the personnel administrator’s task to organize and simplify all processes concerning a company’s employees.

By performing its tasks efficiently and accurately, personnel management can achieve its goal: to establish, maintain, or expand employee satisfaction. A high level of employee satisfaction and a functioning personnel management system creative decisive advantages for a company. If employees are satisfied, they work more productively and creatively, they’re less frequently sick, and they have a higher level of loyalty to their employer.

Personnel administration tasks

Personnel administration tasks can be divided into two categories: tasks for operational or legal reasons, or tasks for human resource policy and planning strategic decisions. The latter includes management key statistics, performance comparisons, or evaluating employee surveys. Tasks that arise for operational reasons or that are based on legal issues might be processing work time tracking systems, social security, wages, statistics, employee hires or fires, or even employer references.

As a rule, companies use a human resources information system that supports the human resources department carry out its tasks. In this system, each employee’s personal data is recorded from their personnel file and data is collected for payroll and time recording, personnel statistics, travel expense accounting, as well as position plan administration.

Core personnel administration tasks:

  • Recognize employee needs, gather and evaluate relevant information and trends
  • Create and manage personnel files
  • Record staff arrivals, departures, and changes
  • Create employment contracts and other agreements like loans or subleases
  • Process employee requests, i.e. for leave or further training
  • Conduct all correspondence with authorities, offices, health insurance companies (when provided by the employer), accounting offices, insurance companies, and contractual partners
  • Supervising the entry and exit of employees
  • Manage employee absences
  • Supervise wage and salary payments
  • Record working times

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Personnel management functions

Personnel management fulfils its function by performing the following tasks:

  • Providing information at short notice: They provide current information for individual employees, specific groups, or the entire staff at short notice. The data can usually be taken from the personnel file. Personnel information systems are becoming increasingly important in this context.
  • Handling processes: Employees are hired, transferred, promoted, or leave the company. Personnel management is responsible for the handling of these processes.
  • Employee registration: In addition to registering the employee with the relevant authorities, it’s also the personnel management’s task to register the employee’s wages with the tax office, social security office, and insurance company (if applicable).
  • Control: Fluctuations, absence times, overtime, vacation entitlement, and working hours are checked by personnel management. Working time control is particularly relevant for flextime arrangements.
  • Personnel protection: Personnel administration ensures that the occupational health and safety of employees is being observed and that personal data is treated in accordance with current data protection laws.

Legal security and data protection

Personnel administration employees have to deal with highly sensitive and personal data like names, addresses, medical data, account data, certificates, and CVs on a daily basis. This data is subject to special protection by law. Human resource departments need to observe regulations of applicable laws in all procedures. An example of a sensitive law is intensified data protection regulation brought in by the GDPR. The GDPR arrival means that companies have to keep an eye on legal conformity with internal processes. While this new law is a European Union (EU) directive, US companies that do business or employ people in the EU are required to comply with these laws thanks to the Privacy Shield. In addition to the GDPR, there are countless data protection laws in place in the US to protect employee data. Please consult a legal professional to ensure that all of your human resource processes are legally compliant.

What is the significance of the GDPR for human resource workers?

  • If an employee’s personal data is no longer required, then it must be deleted
  • Employees must actively consent to their use of data
  • Employees have the right to know what data concerning them has been collected and processed by the company
  • Employees may request a copy of all stored data from their employer
  • In the event of data loss, employers must comply with the official reporting obligations within the prescribed period of 72 hours

Digitization in personnel management

Throughout the course of digitization, many personnel administration tasks can be simplified. Additionally, software manufacturers are increasingly taking data protection regulations into account, making their products even more attractive. For example, a function within these programs allows data to be deleted automatically after a certain time. Digital solutions are now available for almost every area of personnel administration.

Digital personnel file

A digital personnel file manages employee personnel data, just like a paper file. The digital personnel file has decisive advantages over the classic file. For example, the central administration of data relieves the personnel management staff of several tasks, since the digital file can be processed simultaneously by several users. Authorized individuals can access the digital personnel file at any time. With the help of an authentication system, access can only be granted to selected users. Limited access is also possible, so that only certain data can be viewed by one user.

Working time and absence management

Especially when it comes to working time and absence time management, some processes can be managed digitally:

  • Absence calculation
  • Fluctuation in the company
  • Number of overtime hours
  • Absenteeism due to illness, parental leave, etc.
  • Vacation utilization
  • Time recording for flextime
  • Trainings

Employee self-services

Employee self-services are another way of reducing strain on personnel administration. Using certain tools, employees can perform individual administrative tasks independently. For example, they can view and change their personal data themselves, which also helps to prevent input errors by personnel management staff in particular. Other possible employee self-services include the independent processing of leave requests or self-administered time recording. However, the outsourcing of these processes brings advantages not only in terms of personnel administration, but also for employees. They gain a better insight into company processes: you can view the current processing status of a leave request, for example.


One of the personnel management’s tasks is to hire new employees. However, the first step is to identify the right candidate for a position. How to find the right candidates for your company is explained in our article on creating the perfect job description.

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