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Difference between HRM and HRD

Updated Jan 08, 2020

Interview questions revolving around the difference between human resource management and human resource development have been taking many participants by surprise. The same is true for new employees who find it difficult to distinguish between HRM and HRD at the best of times. This article throws light on the difference between HRM and HRD in tabular form, the definition of HRM and HRD, HRM and HRD concepts, etc. Read on to take a closer look.


HRM is an essential branch of management that deals with making the optimum usage of organizational human resources by nurturing better work conditions for all concerned. On the other hand, HRD is a branch of HRM that focuses on the growth and development of the workforce in any organization.

Before we define HRD and HRM in detail, here is a comparative chart depicting the differences between HRM and HRD in tabulated format.

Basis of Differentiation HRM HRD
Definition and full form The full form of HRM is Human Resource Management. It refers to how the principles of management can be applied to manage the employees working in an organization effectively. The full form of HRD is Human Resource Development. It refers to continuous development functions that are implemented for improving the performance of those working in an organization.
Nature HRM is a management function. HRD is a sub-function of HRM.
Function The functions of HRM are reactive and are usually applied to gaining holistic organizational goals. The functions of HRD are proactive and have to be applied consistently to enhance the productivity of employees.
Goal The objective of HRM is related to improving the overall performance of employees. HRD goals are usually connected with skill development, knowledge enhancement, and increasing the competency of employees.
Process Most HRM processes are routine and have to be carried out as and when the need arises. HRD processes are ongoing and not occasional.
Dependency HRM is an independent entity in itself. It comprises of different sections inclusive of recruitment and retention, HRD, compensation, performance, appraisal management, etc. HRD is a subsystem of HRM and draws many functions, attributes, and processes from HRM.
Concerned with HRM deals with and has concerns for people only. It handles recruitment, rewards, etc. HRD is concerned with the development of all aspects and people within an organization and manages its skill development processes.
Levels of formality HRM functions are generally formal and are applied via classroom/laboratory training, etc. HRD functions may be informal as in mentorships, employees receive coaching from superiors, usually managers.

What is HRM

Human Resource Management or HRM is defined as a branch of management that deals with the management of employees in a manner that they can provide the best results to an enterprise. Various management principles are applied via HRM to make employees work efficiently and effectively in any organization.  It enhances the performance and productivity of a company by assessing the best utilization of human resources. Overall, HRM can be termed as the art of putting the right human resource to the right job to enable the maximum possible usage of an organization’s human resources.

  • The HRM process incorporates a wide range of activities that include recruitment, selection, hiring, orientation, induction, training, skill development, feedback, performance appraisal, incentives, rewards and compensation, maintenance of workplace safety, staff motivation, health, and welfare plans, change management, etc.
  • HRM also aims to maintain good relations across the entire organization and the different levels of management.

What is HRD

Human Resource Development is defined as the development of employees working in any organization. As a subset of HRM, it aims at improving the skills, competencies, knowledge, behaviour, and attitude of people working in a specific organization. The main goal of HRD activities relates to empowering and strengthening the capabilities of employees for making their performance metrics better.

  • HRD deals with the provision of beneficial opportunities to employees for their overall development.
  • The main activities of HRD are directed towards career development, essential employee identification, training & development, talent management, succession planning, performance management, coaching and mentoring, etc.
  • The HRD department in most organizations, worldwide, work towards the development of employees right from their date of joining to termination or retirement.

Key difference between HRD and HRM

  • One of the main differences between HRD and HRM is that the former applies management principles on a routine basis for the proper management of organizational employees. The latter refers to a continuous development function that is performed continuously with the intent of improving the performance of those working in an organization.
  • HRM is a reactive management function, while HRD stands for proactive tasks that are a subset of HRM. HRM aims to fulfil the various demands that keep on arising in an organization, while HRD meets up with the ever-changing needs of employees by anticipating them beforehand.
  • Another way to differentiate between HRM and HRD is that the objective of HRM lies in improving the efficiency of all employees, while HRD deals with increasing the knowledge, skills, and overall competency of those working in the organization.
  • HRM is an independent entity and function and has different roles to play in comparison to HRD that is a subsystem of HRM and a dependent task.


The answers to what is HRD, what is HRM, how to differentiate HRM and HRD, the features and functions of HRM vs. HRD have been scripted above. In case you have any further queries for HRM or HRD definition or would like to add to our table of HRD vs. HRM, then we would appreciate your response in the Comments section given below.