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.
LO 3 Impact of equal opportunities within the workplace
P 3.1 Forms of Discrimination that can take place with special reference to Harrods
Harrods is a big organization having more than 45,000 employees across different locations. This huge number of employees and different locations may cause some kind of discrimination in the company. One form of the discrimination at Harrods could be the majority of the local employees in a store. The majority of any kind is always a threat to the culture of the company because the people in the majority always tend to think that they are more than just employees in the company and the rest of the people from other locations should follow them (Gatewood, Feild & Barrick, 2010, pp. 97).
Another form of discrimination is the racial discrimination which has already happened at one store of the company. The licenses of the two employees of the Harrods were revoked by the company. These two employees were Mrs Remick and Mrs Seely who were Asian and Black respectively. The license of Mrs Remick was revoked because she failed to follow the company’s code on dressing while the license of Mrs Seely was revoked because she was wearing a nose ring and refused to remove the same. These two cases were filed in the court as the cases of racial discrimination.
Discrimination on the basis of the sex is also possible in the company where so many workers are female who might be subjected to any kind of harassment. A case of sex discrimination was filed against Harrods in the year 2011 by an employee of the Harrods, Melanie Stark. The reason behind this case was that Melanie refused to wear the make-up which was against the policies of the Harrods. After her refusal, Melanie was forced to give her resignation to the management. Melanie dress code was perfect according to the dress code of the Harrods and her only mistake was that she was not wearing make-up when some managers visited her work place. When these managers escalated the issue, Melanie was transferred to the inventory of the store and finally she resigned because of the increasing pressure from the management.
P 3.2 Practical implications of equal opportunities legislation practiced in Harrods
Harrods has been following the equal opportunity legislation since the beginning of the company and doing pretty well except some of the cases discussed above. Equal opportunity is the birth right of every worker in any type of industry. Equal opportunity legislation opposes any kind of discrimination in the company and allows everyone to be considered if there is any opportunity comes in the work place.
While implementing the equal opportunity legislation, Harrods has tried to give fair chances to grow to all of its employees. Because of this employees at Harrods have been more productive and the cost of production is also reduced. But there are also some implications of implementing the equal opportunity legislation at Harrods. Some of these could be mentioned as below:
- Implication of Equal Opportunity Legislation in Localization: Since Harrods has more than 45,000 employees and stores in almost all the locations in the country, the local people are always in the majority in a particular store. If equal opportunity legislation is followed strictly in these places, it could hurt the sentiments of the local people. Locals always expect that they must be given preference over the people who are not local (Becker & Gerhart, 1996, pp. 94).
- Implication of Equal Opportunity Legislation in Sex: There are many lady employees in the Harrods. When it comes to the equality of women and men, it always becomes an issue of major concern. Male employees of the Harrods would never allow women employees to be treated same.
- Implication of Equal Opportunity legislation in Racial terms: Racism has always affected the business in the companies like Harrods where both Blacks and Whites work at the same location. One example of the racial discrimination is already given in the paper, but there might be more than one cases who never came out in the open. To control racism is a very difficult task, but Harrods is doing whatever they can to deal with this issue.
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P 3.3 Approaches adapted by Harrods to managing equal opportunities and managing diversity
Harrods has implemented various policies to manage the equal opportunities in the company. Along with managing the equal opportunity, they are also trying to keep up with the diversity they have. Some approaches to manage equal opportunity and diversity implemented by Harrods are listed below:
- Follow the equal opportunity legislation and building the policies which adhere to the legislation:
All the policies developed by the HRM of the company are evaluated by a team of higher management to see if they are formed according to the equal opportunity legislation.
- They are trying to educate their work force about the laws against harassment and discrimination:
Educating the work force is a very good approach when there are many workers who are not aware of the equal opportunity legislation.
- Harrods has also appointed an equal opportunity officer from the HRM department to take care of the issues related to equal opportunity legislation:
After the policies are reviewed by the management team they are sent to the equal opportunity officer who is an expert in the laws of discrimination. Harrods has made it clear to its employees that any kind of discrimination will not be tolerated in the premises of the company.
- Harrods has developed an escalation matrix for the complaints:
It is necessary that people have a place to escalate their complaints. The approach Harrods has used in dealing with harassment is that they promise to the employees their anonymity if required. Human Resource Management has given an important place to the discrimination laws in its policies.
LO 4 Approaches to human resource practices at Harrods
P 4.1 Different methods of performance management adopted by Harrods
Performance management has always been a very important function of the HRM in any organization. It is the responsibility of the HRM to keep track of the performances of all the employees at Harrods and take actions accordingly. HRM at Harrods has implemented many performance management measures. At Harrods it is necessary for every employee that he send his daily status report to his reporting manager stating the duties performed by him on that day. Reporting manager reviews the daily status report and if he finds something disturbing in the performance of the employee, he is allowed to take action on that after consulting with the human resource department of the company (Huselid, M. A. (1995, pp. 660).
Regular assessment of the employees is also a very effective method implemented at Harrods to measure the performance of the employees. Harrods has divided the assessment in two half yearly cycle. This assessment is initiated by the manager in which he asks every employee working under him to send their self-assessments. Once these self-assessments are received, manager evaluates them and puts his remark wherever needed. After that manager sends his feedback to human resource department which considers the feedback and determine the promotion / demotion and salary structure of the employee. If the feedback is very good, HRM may decide to give some incentive or reward to the employee for his good performance. These kind of activities also motivate other employees in the company.
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P 4.2 Approaches to the practice of managing employee welfare in Harrods
Developing manager, managing the employee welfare has always been the primary concern of the Harrods. At Harrods, management thinks of employees as a part of the big happy family and do whatever they can to take care of that family. Providing flexibility to the employees is one approach, Harrods has successfully implemented in the welfare of the employees. Other than the flexibility, Harrods has a program of employee recognition. In this program, highest achiever in the respective departments are chosen by the HRM and they are rewarded for their extra ordinary service to the company. These kind of services keep the employees motivated and gives them a reason to provide their 100% in the success of the company.
Harrods has also implemented an employee-centric leave management system where employees are free to plan their leaves according to their needs. They also have extended leave plans in case of maternity and paternity leaves. Harrods is also running the training programs for the employees to teach them the new methods of working and making them more skilled in whatever they are doing. Harrods also have festival bonus programs where employees are given extra amount of money in the season of festivals so that they could enjoy the festivities at their home.
P 4.3 Implications of health and safety legislation on human resources practices
Human resource practices at Harrods always try to follow the health and safety legislation. The health and safety legislation requirements are always considered while developing the human resource policies (MacDuffie, 1995, pp. 205). A healthy workforce always goes in the favour of the company and helps company to run its operations smoothly without any disturbance. But sometimes the requirement of health and safety legislation are so strict that it becomes a problem for the human resource department to follow all of them. For example, there are policies regarding the waste of the production and follow these policies, company has to spend a lot of money on the equipment. Because of this, some health and safety legislation are not perfectly implemented at Harrods.
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P 4.4 Impact of Employee Cessation issue on human resources practices at Harrods
Employee cessation is one of the major responsibilities of the human resource department at Harrods. Cessation of the employees has become so important because of the following reasons:
- Letting the experienced employee go and recruit the new inexperienced one is always a headache for the HRM. They have to arrange the induction programs and training programs for the new employees which is a wastage of time and money.
- Most of the team leaders and managers do not want a new employee in their team as they do not trust them with quality work.
- Hiring the experienced employees cost too much money.
Cessation of the employee has become an issue of concern because of the legal regulatory frameworks in the industry. Whether it is the cessation of the employee or the termination of the employee, it affects both, company and the employee. Government has forced many laws on the companies that it has become very difficult for the HRM to follow the old policies on this.
Working at Harrods has been discussed in this paper and the culture and structure of the company seem to be very good for the sake of working conditions in the current days. Harrods human resource department is doing a great job in managing the resources of the company and taking care of all the legal and regulatory frameworks. HRM has developed the strategies which are very effective in Personnel management and IR. Other than this the different kind of performance measures and reward programs are also in place to maintain the high quality work force. HRM at Harrods is also doing well in the field of providing the different kind of flexibilities to the employees. Working hour flexibility and leave management flexibility are being appreciated by the employees of the company and helping the HRM in cessation of the employees. Although there were some issue of discrimination found in the past, but now Harrods has become an ideal place to work where discrimination is no more an issue.