A company's personnel function has to do with managing and motivating the members of the workforce in the organization. The term "human resource management" has come more into vogue than personnel, because the "personnel" paradigm is seen as an archaic way of managing workers, placing the priority on the company rather than the needs of the individual.
Personnel work involves everything from selecting and recruiting new employees to putting together the paperwork for employee termination and retirement, as well as layoffs that come as a result of redundancies.
The steps in between are also a part of the process; as employees enter a new company, the job of the personnel department is to introduce them to those parts of the company they are to work for, as well as conducting any required training classes. Making sure the employees are acquainted with the appraisal process is another part as well. Connecting the employees with the company's payment system, including setting up direct deposit, is sometimes the role of the personnel department, but in other companies, it is a function of a third party payroll company or a separate payroll department. From beginning to end, though, employees engage with their company's personnel department.