This UKCBC Managing Human Resource Assignment is taken from United Kingdom College of Business & Computing.
Human Resource Management (HRM) is a very important department of any Organization. HRM is supposed to be taking care of all the resources in the company. The various functions which come under HRM are hiring the employees, Induction of the new employees, training of the employees, managing the different policies regarding the human resources of the company, Personal development, Feedback and Compensation of the employees, retention of the employees and exit process of the employees (Kehoe & Wright, 2013, pp. 381).
To run a company it is very essential that HRM recruits the talented professional for the requirements given to them by the managers. HRM also have to consider all the legal policies of the government and the labour rules. According to the experts in the market, employees are the greatest assets of an Organization and having them satisfied is the key to retain these valuable resources.
LO1 Understanding the different perspectives of human resource management
P 1.1 Guest’s model of HRM at Harrods
The model of HRM presented by David Guest says that HRM in an organization depends upon the strategic business practice at the organization. Guest says that this strategic management is very much different from the traditional approaches to HRM. The Guest’s model of HRM at Harrods is based on the following six elements:
- Human Resource Management Strategy
- Human Resource Management Practice
- Human Resource Management Outcomes
- Behaviour Outcomes
- Performance Outcomes
- Financial Outcomes
In his model Guest has given Commitments a special place while deciding the strategy. But it is very difficult to stick to the commitments when there are so many market issues and tough competition (Boxall & Purcell, 2003, pp. 84). Harrods has implemented the Guest model of HRM and because of that the performance outcomes have become the points of main concern. Harrods is trying very hard to link High Performance with its Commitments in the market. Implementing this model with old personnel management techniques is also very difficult which used a traditional approach instead of following the above mentioned six elements.
P 1.2 Differences between Storey’s definitions of HRM, Personnel and IR practices at Harrods
Professor John Storey is known for his works on Human Resource Management. Storey has provided a model of HRM which is based upon the 27 elements and clearly states how these 27 elements make HRM different from Personnel Management. Storey also differentiated the IR (Industrial Relations Practices) from HRM on the basis of the same 27 points. Storey categorized these 27 points under the following four different types of areas:
- Beliefs and Assumptions
- Strategic Concepts
- Line management in the organization
- Key levers
According to Storey, personnel management is a different thing from the general management of the company, while the HRM model by Guest says that personnel management is a part of the overall HRM of the company (Becker & Gerhart, 1996, pp. 780).
Harrods has adopted the model provided by Storey for HRM, but there is a little problem with that. Storey’s model of HRM is very good to analyse the practices and performing a research on HRM in the company, but applying it completely is not very much easy and Practical. Because of that, Harrods also uses IR model wherever necessary.
Tesco also used the same model of HRM as Harrods and doing very well in the department. Tesco is known for his values and ethics and so is Harrods. It is the responsibility of the HRM to understand these values and protect them. In both the companies, HRM takes care of the Personnel Management which is basically used for the administrative management.
P 1.3 Implications for Line Managers and Employees of Developing a Strategic Approach to HRM at Harrods
Line Manager at Harrods is a very responsible position at Harrods. Line managers take care of almost all the employees of the company, especially the new people coming on-board. Since Line managers at Harrods are very experienced people, they share their knowledge with new employees. It could be said that line manager works as a guide and coach to the younger generation of the employees. Line managers work as a link between the HRM of the company and the resources. There are times when line managers might not agree with a decision made by the HRM and when this happens, line managers talk to the HRM department and let them know what is happening at the root level of the business. In this manner line managers are involved in the strategic management at Harrods and also take care of the Personnel Management. Keeping track of the performance of the employees and providing their feedback to HRM is also one of the major responsibilities of the line managers. If an employee is not performing very well line managers coordinate with the HRM and arrange the training sessions for him. In this manner line managers helps in growing the knowledge base of the company and also creates a long term relationship of the employees with company.
LO 2 Developing Flexibility within the Workplace
P 2.1 Flexibility at Harrods
Flexibility at work place is always a major concern for the employees. This flexibility could be of any type, but the main aim of flexibility is to make employees comfortable while they are working in the premises of the company. Harrods has taken many steps to assure flexibility at work place and HRM at Harrods always defines the company policies which adhere to the flexibility. If the employees are having a good time with the flexibilities provided to them, it means that company is always ready to change.
An informal definition of flexibility at work place could be “How and when the work is done in the company”. Now this “How and When” comes under the practices implemented by the HRM at the company. It is the responsibility of the HRM to provide the flexibility to the workforce because it could increase the production of the company and so is the sales and profit (Delaney & Huselid, 1996, pp. 981).
A good way of applying the flexibility model at Harrods is taking care of the flexibility needs of the workforce while developing a strategy. For example, employees’ leaves for the year could be defined in the start of the year so that employees are aware of their leave account and plan their leaves accordingly. Going a step ahead HR could provide the flexibility to the employees in adjusting the one type of leave to another category, e. g. converting the casual leaves to sick leaves. Providing the paid leaves in some special cases is also a good idea to be flexible, even after the employees has used all the leaves.
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P 2.2 Types of flexibility which may be developed by the Harrods
Harrods has implemented the following strategies to make themselves flexible:
- Flexible working Methods – part time and full time jobs
- Working from home – In case of managers and senior staff if they have something unavoidable at home.
- Flexibility in working hours – At Harrods employees could customize their working hours with the permission of their reporting manager. In this manner they could work for less hour on a particular day and compensate those hours on some other day.
- Locational Flexibility – Employees at Harrods are given the locational flexibility. Employees are free to choose the location at which they want to work (based upon the availability of the same profile at other location and the reason given by the employee to change the location.)
- Flexibility in employee leaves – As explained above, leaves matter so much for any employee that if any kind of flexibility is available in the leave management system of the company, it could be a big deal for the employee. Different types of leave flexibility is explained in the prior section of the paper.
P 2.3 Use of flexible working practices from both the employee and the employer perspective of Harrods
The use of flexible working practices need to be analysed from both, the employee and the employer perspective. These flexibility working practices defines the culture of the company and also becomes the base of many other human resource policies. If we talk about Harrods, the flexible working practices has worked in a good way for both, the company and the employees of the company. Due to the flexibility provided at the work place, employees are found to be more satisfied with the company. When employees has the freedom of flexibility offered at Harrods like, leave flexibility, work method flexibility, locational flexibility and working hours flexibility, they kind of feel motivated towards their work. This motivation increases their performance which directly affects the performance of the company (MacDuffie, 1995, pp. 203).
Flexibility in working hours let the employees choose their shifts according to their needs. Due to this flexibility, there are some employees who are more comfortable working in the night hours when no other employee agree for that easily. This flexibility also helps the company keeping their store running 24 / 7.
So it could be said that providing flexibility at work place is working well for the employees and also for the company. Harrods has become a second home for its employees because of these flexibilities and their production and sales is increasing day by day which in turns earning more profit for Harrods.
P 2.4 The impact of changes in the labour market on flexible working practices at Harrods
In the case of companies like Harrods, labour market plays an important role because almost all the work is dependent on the labour, whether it is the production or sales or marketing. To embrace the changes in the labour market, Harrods had to change its HRM policies and had to make them more flexible. There are some companies which outsource the labour from other companies, but this is not the case with Harrods. Harrods has their own workforce which is more adaptable to the changes in the market than the outsourced labour in other companies. Harrods is trying very hard for making the work place more flexible and friendly for the workers. But there are many changes in the labour market which affects the flexible working practices at Harrods. The reason behind this is that Government is also supporting the flexible working practices and forcing the companies to make their policies accordingly.
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One of the major change in the labour market which has affected the flexible working practices at Harrods is the extended leave demands by the parents in some cases. Labour market is forcing the companies to be more flexible in the cases of maternity leaves and paternity leaves. Harrods is facing the issues with this change because sometimes when an employee is on a long maternity or paternity leave, they might not return to work. Some employees find other jobs in this period which suits them better than Harrods (Ulrich, 2013, pp. 376).
Another change in labour market which has affected Harrods is making more flexible arrangements for all the employees. Previously this flexibility was provided only to the workers who has the children below the age of 17 or 18 (in case of child being disabled). But now government is planning to make this arrangement compulsory for all the employees which is going to affect all the operations at Harrods.