This ia a very nice issue which you have raised
There is a lot of difference between the two
It is upon the top manangement how does it look upon the Hr function.
HR function can be divided into two
One is utilisation and the other is development
Utilisation is basically the personnel functions
Development is HRD, employee development.
This is the area which is getting more focus these days. So in most mnc's , top companies we have od specialist, Ir Specialist, HRD specialist and ER specialist.
But all these boil down to one simple fact: how your top management views it
And also how does the HR manager looks upon it .
It also depends on the type of industry.
On the basis of what I have seen(very little), people are yet to accept the difference between the two. They still view the HR as personnel. The HR manager is also partly to blame for this. They are more comfortable carrying out the routine jobs(utilisation-this is very applicable in the Indian context)
Today , the manager or the HR team carry out various development functions.OD, Talent Management and development.
But all the development functions we might carry out it boils down to one simple question? Is the top management willing to go along with you?
Many a times we send someone for behavioral traininhg, but at the last moment , the name is withdrawn citing production hampering.
The basic difference is that HR is much more a specialist Role now days .. Its more of a strategic content rather than pure admin work ..
Infact lots of HR work is being related to admin is being outsourced.. These are research agencies/consultancies solely dedicated to talent resourcing , Compensation Mngmnt ,Manpower Planning , OD etc etc ..
So nw days an HR representation is very much vital at the top notch policy formulating level & no longer constrained to lower levels..