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Diploma in Business
Unit Number and Title
Unit 18 Human Resources Management
There has been increase in the demand for the development activities for the employees in the organisations in the recent years. The labour market scenario has also changed according to the changes taking place in the business environment. The organisations, irrespective of their size and type, are moving towards practising the human resource management. The traditional practice of personnel management and industrial relationship management has been replaced by the modern age human resource management, which has a more holistic approach towards managing and motivating the employees. It has been mandatory to follow for the organisations to put into practise the equal opportunity to the employees. This assignment uses case of the British upmarket retailer Harrods, and explains various aspects of human resource management in practice. Harrods is famous for its apt execution of various human resource management actions, and has been known as a pioneer in its field.
Guest’s model of human resource management is fundamentally different from the way personnel management has been perceived by the management in modern organisations. The application of both way of strategic management of employees is focussed towards taking the employees towards a particular goal. However the Guest’s model differs from the traditional way of employee management in the manner in which the employees are aligned with the organisational strategy. The applicability of Guest’s model can be associated with the organisational situation of Harrods. The level of commitment expected from the employees of Harrods is directly proportional to the way the retails business of the company will perform in the long term.
The model has been formulated by Prof David Guest keeping the previous versions and ideologies of American styles of human resource management. The fundamentals of Guest’s theory are based on the four categories of goals shared by the employees in an organisation. The first one is the strategic integration, which basically focusses on the strategic alignment of the entire activity of human resource management with the long term strategic planning of the organisation. David Guest emphasised that the integration should be executed keeping the organisational policies in mind. The policies at Harrods are often stressed by the managers to be coherent with the entire organisational frame work. The strategic integration policy goal also makes the outline for the line managers to practice the human resource management in their actions in their day to day activity at workplace. The line managers are encouraged to take care of the other duties than just managing the daily activities of the employees at Harrods. The relationship between the line managers at Harrods with their immediate subordinates are built on a platform more of mutual and beneficial one, than a transactional work place relationship.
Secondly, Guest’s model of human resource management backs the most important element of human resource which is the employee commitment. The roles of employees at Harrods are to make them associated with the organisation, which thrives basically upon the way employees are treated to generate commitment. The commitment of employees is reflected in the way they exhibit their attitude towards the organisational work flow, which in turn plays a vital role in the business performance. The third outcome of the Harvard model, which is used by Prof Guest to formulate the four policy goals, is the emphasis on the organisational decision makers to ensure that flexibility is present and practised widely. The organisational structure at Harrods is adaptable enough so that the employee skills are implemented into the organisational needs based on the function requirements. The fourth and the probably the resulting outcome of the previous three policy goals is the quality assurance. The Guest model explains that the quality in the goods and services are possible to deliver only when the employees are provided with flexible environment, which triggers the commitment and hence the high result oriented motives.
The human resource management approach at Harrods is different from the traditional methods of personnel management. The entire process of human resource development includes careful evaluation of each step involved in the way employees are motivated and developed into capable bunch of workers (Guest, 2002; Storey, 1987).
John Storey has used the two theories of human resource management, based on the Harvard and Michigan model, and has categories the entire practice of human resources management into soft form and hard form. Storey’s definition of human resource management fundamentally differs from the traditional way of personnel and industrial relations practices, by the way employees are perceived from the organisational point of view. According to Storey’s theory, there are two distinct type of human resource management which are hard form and soft form. The hard form emphasises on the traditional way of employee management, which is done keeping the control over employee force in a firmer approach. The concept of head count is focussed in the hard form of human resource management. On the other hand, there is another form of human resource management which take a holistic approach towards managing employees keeping their commitment, learning process and leadership traits in mind. The soft form of human resources management is practised at Harrods. The company gives emphasis on the asset side of the human resource, which is done by considering the employees as integral part of the organisational process. A similar organisation can be exhibited as British Airways. The company practises a mix of personnel management with human resource management. It is not possible for the air carrier to practice the pure form of human resource management, because the company has gone through rough phases of business performance, and the management takes firmer decisions in order to keep everything in track.
The practise of industrial relations is more related to the way organisations are supposed to have the relationship with the employees. The roles of trade unions are more prominent in the industrial relationship context. The underlying argument and belief of the industrial relations practises focus on the conflict between employees and the employers. This kind of attitude among the employers have been increasing because of the mind-set possessed which believes that the employer group has a better position in terms of making the terms of the relationship between the two groups. Entire concept of bargaining power between the employers and employees is the pivotal point of IR practises. British Airways has adopted the mixed form of human resource management and personnel management by keeping a control over its employees with a better approach. However the British super market giant Tesco plc has been practising the personnel management. The company’s way of doing business and managing a broad group of employee force have forced the management style to be in a harder form. Personnel management is a way of people management in such a fashion that the administration is more in practise. At Tesco and British Airways, the managers who are in charge of personnel management are given the task to solve the issues related to work force in the company. The process in which the personnel management are carried out is more of problem solving in its approach than improving the relationship between the employees and the organisational authority (Dowling, Festing & Engle, 1994; Legge, 1995).
The decisions making system at Harrods is dependent upon the people who are responsible for executing it properly. It is believed at Harrods that the way line managers are taking their responsibilities up, it is exhibited in the employee productivity. All the decisions made at higher level must get executed successfully at grass root level through the direct employee interaction, which can only be done through the knowledge transfer from line managers to employees in the retail shop. Harrods encourages its line managers to develop the relationship with their subordinates in a constructive manner, continuously over a period of time. Employee developments and other strategies aimed at employee improvements must be aligned to the long term business strategies of Harrods.
Harrods has been establishing its image in the retailing sector through proper execution of result oriented and tangible human resource management strategies. The line managers are given power to take care of the employee development, which enables them delivering the results which are associated with the goals and objectives of the company. The process of communication is devised in such a way that the positive and impactful messages can be delivered easily. The company practises a unique way of making its employees and their line managers come closer to each other. The morning briefings sessions held every day are aimed at throwing lights on the transaction activities and daily operation and also to analyse the revenue statistics. The briefings are followed by continuous interaction, which also gives ample space of independence to the sale persons, and the daily sales activities are structured to be smoother (Delaney & Huselid, 1996).
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The concept of flexibility is in practice in the Europe after the globalisation process started taking place rapidly. The practice of flexibility allows the employees to have access to a wider set of skill sets and opportunities within the work place. It helps the relationship between the employer and the employees to be stronger. If an employee, through mutual understanding, is given more task to perform with an option of choosing his or her suitable working hours, then the flexibility is seen as a success. Although flexibility is an important aspect of human resource management, it is difficult to define the term in one particular way.
Harrods has made it as a practise that the business needs are getting taken care of by the employees, while flexibility is provided and the likely influence on their productivity is not affected. Flexibility at Harrods starts with the job redesigning and changes in the execution style. The entire gamut of flexibility can be seen from two radical points of views: from the employee’s side and from the employer’s side. The employees at Harrods see flexibility as their opportunity to perform tasks and manage personal lives at the same time. On the other hand, the employer perceives this as an opportunity to provide the workers with independence and gain maximum productivity (Anderson, Coffey & Byerly, 2002; Hall & Parker, 1993).
Harrods practises the following four types of flexibility at work place:
The entire concept of flexibility can be perceived from two different points of views: from the employees’ point of view and from the employers’ point of view. Employees at Harrods are getting benefit of the flexibility practised at work place. Intrinsic motivation is widely observable among the work force. Better treated employees are happier employees, and they give more efforts towards improving their productivity and learning at work place. Extrinsic motivations are given to the Harrods employees through sufficient compensation and other benefits at work. From the employer point of view, this is from Harrods’s perspective, the flexibility practise results in quality and efficiency. The quality at workplace is given first priority at Harrods, which gives the managers a chance to identify and utilise better talents. Flexible practises such as wage flexibility and functional flexibility are actually helping Harrods to improve the morale among its employees and hence the level of productivity. The flexibility also makes sure that the capital allocation is done properly keeping the profitability in mind (Tomaney, 1990).
The organisational endeavour towards a leaner and more profitable business set up has brought the importance of flexibility at work place into prominence. The independence given to the employees are intended to motivate the self-driven task completion. The retail sector organisations are more known for unfavourable working conditions for the employees. The work life and the personal life are not well aligned for the employees of a typical retails organisation. Harrods management leveraged the information from the MacLeod Report to emphasise more on the human resource practices; employees from all the levels of organisational set up are encouraged to take part in the organisational decision making process. Better practises of employee engagement are getting famous in the company, and every possible step is taken towards making a flexible work environment (Everingham, 2002).
Harrods is known for its innovative adaptation of modern day human resource management practises. The company has been able to follow various theories related to the efficient management of the employee force, and to gain maximum out of the talent pool in an organisation. The company has a well laid out frame work for managing the human resource management related philosophies. The entire approach of managing employees in a better way starts from recruiting correct employees, and then continues in the further training and development of the employees. The regulations in the United Kingdom legal framework are acting as basis for the achievement of human resource management goals. The company has assigned its strategic planning process to the employee management practises in order to get longer mileage in the overall fulfilment of goals. <
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