HND TT Unit 9 HR management for Service Sector

This is solution of HND TT HR management for Service sector assignment given in Icon College of Technology and Management for the course of HND Travel and Tourism.

Task 1:

A) Briefly define the concept HRM and examine the role of human resource function in the service sector organization. Discuss how it is contributing to the success of your chosen organization

“Human resource management is a management function in an organization that helps to maximize employees’ performance in order to attain the organizational goals in the most efficient way” (Laurent, 1986)

In simple language, it involves the various staffing function such as recruiting, staffing, encouraging and managing the people in the organization.

Understanding the concept of HRM:

HRM or Human Resource Management deals with issues regarding compensation, hiring, employee benefits programs, etc. Effective HRM helps achieve results in the most efficient way. HRM is a move from traditional way to a more conventional way.

HRM: One of the key reasons behind success of Virgin Atlantic.

It’s an old saying, “Consumers are the king of the market but the new version is, the seller is the person who crowns the customers as the king.” (Laurent, 1986)

Hence, we can well understand that the talent, the qualities and the training that a personnel has plays a very important role and when it comes to service industry, the entire onus lies on the human resource.

Talking about Virgin Atlantic, the effective HR policies and exceptional customer service have made them one the frequented hotels in the UK. Some their strategies are:

  • Organizational Effectiveness: Virgin Atlantic gives a lot of importance to the recruitment process and the training of the employees. The organization makes sure that the employees are equipped with proper training. For this, they schedule few months training in the beginning or probationary period and later on as the employees progresses in his career. This helps build a very productive and positive environment.  It helped the organization bring consistency in the services provided by the hotel.
  • Employee Commitment: Virgin Atlantic makes it a point to include employees’ feedback in the management meeting. The hotel spends a lot in the recruitment and selection process. It thus, makes sure that once the people are selected; they are given proper training and well compensated in order to reduce attrition. The organization takes measures to keep its employees satisfied and happy.
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B) Outline a brief human resource plan for your chosen organization by analysing the supply and demand for service sector personnel in your business environment. You should be able to determine your future requirements and say how you plan to meet the needs.

The United Kingdom is one of the most visited places on the earth be it for business or pleasure. The following table shows the footfall and the number of hotels that UK have support demand.

CountryHotel Rooms in 2011-12Average Rooms per HotelOvernight Tourists Traveling from Each Country, Annual
Russian Federation260,0003344,000,000
Global Total21,000,00041876,000,000

The UK is among the top 10 most frequented place with an average footfall per year on more than 57 million and this number excludes the tourists with connecting flights to other parts of Europe or those travelling from East to West for which London is typically a stop in order to exchange planes or refuelling the jet which requires few hours and sometimes overnight stay.

As we can see as per data UK had around six and a half million rooms and an estimated footfall of 57 million thus there is a demand for rooms and hospitality is a booming market. In such stiff competition standing out is a challenge and the way to do is by providing excellent service. This is understood by Virgin Atlantic some of the HR  management strategies followed are:

  • Empowering Employees: Virgin Atlantic believes in empowering its employees by giving their feedback and casting their vote when any decision is taken. This gives the sense of ownership to the employees. This undoubtedly includes trusting the employees more, training them and giving them more decision makingauthority.
  • Recruitment and Selection:  Virgin Atlantic invites resumes for shortlisting of candidates. This can be done through various sources like internal being referral policies or external like direct walk in interviews. Employment agencies are also helpful in this.
  • Training and Development: Change is constant and to be in competition, one needs to be up to date.  Consistence in service delivered to the customers, there needs to be proper time to time training. Thus, Virgin Atlantic firmly believes in equipping its employees and hence maintains its standards.

Task 2

A) Examine the history of employment relations in the UK briefly and analyse the current state of employment relations in your chosen travel and tourism or hospitality organization.

United Kingdom being one of the bigger democracies and having the world look up to them in terms of laws and legislation have developed many laws for safeguarding people's jobs and employment. Some of the laws are:

  • The Equal Pay Act, 1970:
  • Sex Discrimination Act, 1978
  • Employment Protection Act, 1975.
  • Race Relation Act, 1976
  • Trade Union Rights Act, 1995
  • Equality Act 2010

There are bodies set up to look after and monitor if the laws are being followed or not such as Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) & Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

Virgin Atlantic being one of the major domestic air-carrier in the United Kingdom has a daily footfall of passengers in hundred thousand. Being a large organization having multiple levels of staffs from ground staff which take care of customer baggage to service staff including cabin crew and chefs who cater to the passengers to the pilots. They need to have stringent rules and provide training to its employees to respect each other profile and don’t look down on each other’s work to ensure a proper working environment.

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Virgin Atlantic has clientele which are mostly foreign and expect world class service. There are people needed to be versed with the foreign customs and cuisines to deliver exemplary service. As such they need to hire people who know or could be imparted ways to meet and greet the customers.

B) Discuss how employment laws in the country affect the human resources management function in your chosen organization

Employment laws have a huge effect on the managing human resource and policies especially for an airline provider such as Virgin Atlantic. The clientele of the organization is mostly foreign and expect world class service. There are people needed to be versed with the foreign customs and cuisines to deliver exemplary service. Some of the common laws are:

  • The Equal Pay Act, 1970: “The Act prohibits any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment” (Laws, 1995).
  • Sex Discrimination Act, 1978: “An Act to render unlawful certain kinds of sex discrimination and discrimination on the ground of marriage, and establish a Commission with the function of working towards the elimination of such discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity between men and women generally; and for related purposes” (Laws, 1995).
  • Employment Protection Act, 1975: The act protects the jobs of the individuals and offers retirement schemes to the employees.
  • Race Relation Act, 1976: The act protects against discrimination according to race, religion or any other such criteria.

HR needs to keep all this in mind and follow the by-laws and clear all grievances because if the employee feels it is being mistreated on the grounds of such allocation it may lead big trouble for the company.

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Task 3

A) Analyse the recruitment and selection policies and procedures in your organization and discuss how job description and person specification can be matched for a specific job in the chosen organization

“Recruitment refers to the overall process of attracting, selecting and appointing suitable candidates to one or more jobs within an organization, either permanent or temporary. The term may sometimes be defined as incorporating activities which take place ahead of attracting people, such as defining the job requirements and person specification, as well as after the individual has joined the organization, such as induction and on boarding. Recruitment can also refer to processes involved in choosing individuals for unpaid positions, such as voluntary roles or training programs” (Harrington & Akehurst, 1996)

Recruitment could be of the following types:

  • Internal: Internal recruitment means looking for people from within the organization to fill up the existing position from within the organization. Such Activities are generally done by the means of Promotion and Lateral Hiring. The benefits of hiring from within is that the training costs are low and the employee already knows the mechanics of the company and could fit in easily in the organization.
  • External: External recruitment means hiring for fresh talents from outside the organization. Such activities are done by publishing an ad on various communication means or through colleges. The main reason for hiring from outside is getting fresh faces in the organization. This approach helps in instilling new zeal in the current practice and boost Company’s morale.
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Here’s a quote from Sir Richard Branson stating what makes Virgin Atlantic different: "I'm often asked what it is that makes Virgin different. The simple answer is - our people. If it weren't for a bunch of well trained, motivated and, above all, happy people doing their bit, we'd have never launched a record label, never mind a fleet of 747s" (Branson, 2012)

Virgin Atlantic had its humble beginnings in 1984 with a small crew in a 747 now has expanded in to a vast organization employing thousands of employee all over the world for our study purpose we will only consider the UK rather the whole operation.

Virgin Atlantic offers a vast array of posts from the in flight crew consists of pilots, stewards, air hostesses to the on-ground and reservation staff and the clubhouse staff. Thus, they recruitment consists of selecting people from various background and train them accordingly to match and further enhance their skill set. Job description helps in communicating to the possible applicant what the company is looking for and gives potential candidates vague idea about the need of the company. A well-developed job description will lead to an easier job for the HR while selecting candidates for a position.

B) Compare and evaluate the different selection process in your chosen organization with another tourism or hospitality organization.

Selection process differs from company to company each having their own screening tests and criteria to identify individuals who will best fit the company requirements. Internal hiring is generally easier and low cost as we have to choose from the existing pool of talent.

External recruitment is however more cumbersome and for hospitality industry we need to find the right fit for the company. Virgin Atlantic generally follow the normal norms after getting the applicants.  The following steps are followed:

  • Preliminary screening
  • Study of the employee’s Application form
  • Conducting employment tests
  • Comprehensive interviews to determine will the desired candidate be a fit to already existing machinery.

After a potential candidate is selected a background investigation is conducted and an offer is made. After some discussion we hire the person. As in the case with early job description of a chef a few other steps such as demonstration of skills (cooking ability) is needed before any such decision could be made.

Some of the other ways do organizations hire in tourism and hospitality are:

  • Recommendations by satisfied candidates: It has proven and highly effective means of recruiting good people.
  • Headhunting: Some hospitality companies use this method to fill up their top jobs as this is a competitive business and organizations are looking for the best.
  • Universities and Colleges: Fresh talent is the essence of any business. Organizations such as Cox & Kings and various other restaurants directly recruit from colleges to get fresh talent
  • Exhibitions: Job fairs are common way getting interested people met interested companies many hospitality organizations together set up job fairs to attract interested people looking for a stable job.

Task 4

A) Analyse how training and development contributes to the effective performance and organizational success in your organization in general.

“Human Resource training and development should be of such nature that it should oil the human resources machinery making it something that takes the organization forward. If Human Resource training and development is not professional or appropriate; the result is a bureaucratic setup that is a hindrance to everyone in the organization. Rather than get mired in mindless formalities; HR should facilitate the growth of the organization, for all of which Human Resource training and development is the foundation” (Baum, 1995).

Training and career development at Virgin Atlantic aims at progressing careers and ensuring best customer service to our clients

“Training simply refers to the process of acquiring the essential skills required for a certain job. It targets specific goals, for instance understanding a process and operating a certain machine or system. Career development, on the other side, puts emphasis on broader skills, which are applicable in a wide range of situations. This includes decision making, thinking creatively and managing people” (Schneider, 1988)

The general training & development programs at Virgin Atlantic aims at bettering the service provided to the client by helping the service providers to grow some of the areas where the company provides training are:

  • Help in addressing employee weaknesses: Virgin Atlantic helps in finding the places where the staff needs developing which may differ based on the profile from pilots to baggage handlers and help the individual develop on their weakness.
  • Improvement in workers performance: Training leads to improved performances and instil more confidence among employees.
  • Consistency in duty performance: Well-organized training and development program offers the workers constant knowledge and experience. “Consistency is very vital when it comes to an organization’s procedures and policies. This mostly includes administrative procedures and ethics during execution of duty.”
  • Ensuring worker satisfaction: Training and development secures the employee. They feel satisfied with their role they play in the company. They feel they belong in the company which motivates them to work harder.
  • Increased productivity and reduces cost: Training and development programs increases efficiency of the staff and reduce costs.
  • Reduction in supervision: The moment the employee gains the necessary skills and knowledge required they begin to feel more confident. The employees become self-reliant and require only little guidance as they perform their tasks.

B) Critically analyse the current training and development policies and procedures of your chosen organization.

Virgin Atlantic takes pride in delivering friendly personal service with discreet efficiency and informal style. Our philosophy is that “nothing is too much trouble.”

The company having the motto of ‘nothing is much too trouble’ needs to provide apt training to the employees so that they could deliver on their promise. As we now some guests could be too demanding in times such as that staff needs to be patient and handle the situation with care and skill. Training programs are delivered and are tailor-made to teach the employees with the tact to face customers. Similarly for the back end of the staff such as ground staff where face time with employees are less teamwork and communications are imparted to the employees.

Virgin Atlantic have a well thought of employment plan for the scale of operations they are running but they need to try to standardize these programs and also include rating and ranking scales such as employee of the month to get staffs more interested in providing better service. Income related incentive is another way to motivate the employees. With policies such as these the Virgin Atlantic could improve its service significantly.

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HR policies such as recruitment, selection, compensation, training and development shape the organization. Especially for companies in hospitality sector where human is the main facilitator of service.  Clients need to be satisfied as most of them are vacationers they need feel the expense has been justified by the service provided.


Baum, T. 1995. Managing human resources in the European tourism and hospitality industry: a strategic approach. Chapman & Hall Ltd. Harrington, D., & Akehurst, G. 1996. Service quality and business performance in the UK hotel industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 15(3), 283-298. Harrison, L., & Johnson, K. 1992. UK hotel groups directory 1992/93. Cassell. Laurent, A., 1986. The cross?cultural puzzle of international human resource management. Human resource management, 25(1), 91-102. Laws, E. (1995). Tourist destination management: issues, analysis and policies. Routledge.

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