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Difference between HRD and HRM

While HRM (human resource management) is an established and essential discipline within the realm of the management field, HRD (human resource development) is still not considered a full discipline, rather a sub-discipline within HRM (HRD in HRM). As such, in certain organizations HRD is considered a stand-alone function, in most of the organisations, HRD function works within the overall HRM department. Though there are common features between HRD and HRM or HRD vs HRM and both the domains seem to overlap at a number of points, but, there also exists some clear HRD and HRM difference. Let’s explore these differences one by one:


 HRD in Brief

 HRM in Brief

HRD (Human Resource Development) is seen as a primary function within the HRM department. But in recent years due to shift in traditional training function which now also include career development, organizational development and individual development activities alike coaching and counselling, Human Resource Development (HRD) is gaining a new importance as a new discipline in itself. HRD aims to enhance the competencies, expertise, knowledge, skills and capabilities of people in an organization. The core functions of HRD include training and development, organizational development and career development. Some major objective of HRD includes:

Enhanced KSAs: HRD focuses on improving knowledge, skills and abilities of employees by increasing their expertise in the subject and equip them for any present or future requirement. HRD can organize various training programs or interventions in the form of workshops, coaching and mentoring, on-the-job and off-the-job training to help people acquire new knowledge and skills thereby increasing their competencies.

Improved Performance: Since HRD enhances the KSAs and competencies of the employees, it naturally improves their productivity leading to overall improved individual and organizational performance. Optimised productivity and improved performance is an important objective of HRD.

Career Development: Career development includes career planning and career management. Career planning helps assess skills and abilities for realistic short term and long term career milestone, while career management is taking necessary steps to achieve that plan. HRD activities help in preparing employees for future responsibilities and put them to a deterministic career development path.

Learning and Development: HRD is responsible for need assessment, designing and implementation of learning and development activities. These programs may include on-the-job training, off-the-job training, mentoring, coaching, leadership development, and educational support initiatives beside others.

Organization Development (OD): In its OD intervention roles, HRD generally functions as a change agent. The HRD professional may carry out intervention strategy, facilitating the planning and implementation of actual change process to the desired effect.

Employee Engagement: HRD activities help optimize resource allocation with respect to human resources. It improves the productivity level, personal and professional growth, work and job satisfaction and overall engagement with the organization.

Human Resource Management (HRM) is an essential management function that takes care of human resource for any organization. The primary functions of HRM include planning, organizing, directing and controlling of the human resource within an organization. The main function of Human Resource Management (HRM) revolves around activities like recruitment, training, performance management, compensation and reward, employee relations, and legal compliance. Some major functions include:

Human Resource Planning: It refers to activities that predict changes in management strategy affecting future human resource needs. These may arise due to rapid changes in external market demands beside others. HR planning charts organizational plans, programs, and actions to be followed in a short term.

Equal Employment Opportunity: HRM is responsible for satisfying both the legal and moral responsibilities of an organization through the prevention of discriminatory policies, procedures, and practices. This includes decisions affecting hiring, training, appraising, and compensating employees.

Recruitment and Selection: An important function of Human Resource Management is proactive identification of potential applicants for current and future openings and evaluate applicants in for the selection process.

Compensation and Benefits: HRM is responsible for maintaining an equitable internal wage structure, a competitive benefits package, and incentives programs applicable to individual, team, or organizational performance.

Employee Relations: HRM is responsible for maintaining healthy employee relations. These may include developing a communication system through which employees can address their problems and grievances.

Health, Safety, and Security: HRM seeks to promote a safe, healthy and positive work environment. This may include actions such as safety training, employee assistance programs and health and wellness programs.

Organization/Job Design: HRM is also concerned with interdepartmental relations within the organization and definition of jobs.

Performance Management and Performance Appraisal Systems: HRM uses performance management and performance appraisal for establishing and maintaining accountability throughout the organization.

Research and Information Systems: HRM is also concerned with Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) that helps in making evidence based human resource decisions.

Major Difference between HRD and HRM or HRD vs HRM

The major difference between HRD and HRM or HRD and HRM difference can be attributed to their approach and objective:

Objective: The major objective of HRM is to ensure resource availability, effective management and administration of workforce, easy access to data, timely reward and compensation and compliance. The major objective of HRD includes enhancing the KSAs and competencies of employees leading to improved performance and organizational success.

Functions and Activities: HRM activities mainly include planning, recruitment, salary management, employee benefits, and legal regulations. HRD activities are focused towards learning such as training, mentoring of employees, performance improvement and professional growth.

Approach: Focus of HRM is rather short term and immediate depending on the situation and exigencies with respect to human resource administration and organization. HRD uses a long term approach focusing on mutual advantages coming from individual development as well as organizational development.

Compliance: Besides acting as a voice for employees, HRM ensures adherence to labour laws and regulations, and endeavours to balance need for compliance and organizational growth. HRD aims to enhance the potential and talent of employees through developmental strategies and help organization growth.

Measurement and Evaluation: HRM uses evaluation metrics reflecting overall staffing efficiency, such as turnover rates, employee cost efficiency, compliance adherence, accuracy in payroll administration beside others. HRD uses evaluation metrics related with outcomes of learning and development, like, enhanced job performance, increased employee engagement, and career progression beside others.

Common Grounds: Integration and collaboration between HRD vs HRM

Although HRD and HRM or HRD in HRM serve different functions and have separate aims, they complement and supplement each other to the advantage of enhanced organizational performance. Here below are highlighted difference between hrd and hrm shown but there are few instances of how   these two domains can work hand in hand:

Recruitment and Development: HRM has an important activity of staffing by managing recruitment and selection process. Post onboarding, HRD needs to provide adequate training to employees to enhance their productivity and ensure better organizational performance.

Talent Management: Through the process of selection HRM identifies high-potential employees and creates a proper performance management system to adequately reward them. However, high potential employees also need proper hand holding where HRD need to implement adequate career development strategies and training to ready them for future enhanced roles and responsibilities.

Compliance: HRM is responsible for keeping up with all legal matters pertaining to employment laws of the land. However employee responsibility towards legal adherence is equally important. This is where HRD can help employee with better knowledge on legal matters and organizational stand in such matters to ensure more responsible employees and citizens.

Strategic Alignment: The short term and long term goals of HRM must be aligned with the organizational vision, mission and goals so that organizational objectives are met. HRD too needs to align accordingly with larger organizational strategy and work towards a common goal.

Rewards and Engagement: Being responsible for salary disbursement, compensation and benefits, HRM is responsible for various rewards being conferred to the employees to keep them motivated. HRD on the other hand is more training and development centric focusing on overall performance of the employees and their career advancement which help improve their engagement with the organization.


Though HRD is often considered a sub-function within HRM, HRD is evolving to become a separate discipline on its own. The HRD and HRM difference or HRD vs HRM is that HRM is responsible for overall overseeing of management of human resources, including their proper deployment, remuneration, and compliance Whereas HRD being a sub-function within HRM is more focused towards learning. HRD functions involve training and development, career development and organisation development geared towards improving knowledge, skills, abilities, competencies and productivity of employees to enhanced organisational performance. The difference between hrd and hrm needs to complement each other for better organizational performance and development.