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Diploma in Business
Unit Number and Title
Unit 21 Strategic Human Resource management
Strategic human resource is the foundation of any business. It has to be managed in terms of getting efficient results. This unit focuses on all such activities that have their impact on the practices of Strategic Human Resource management. The strategic human resource management initiates with the discussion of the HRM model proposed by Guest. The implications of the strategic approach to HRM on line managers and employees have also been discussed. The unit continues with the description of flexibility at the workplace and various practices of flexibility that help the employees to manage work life balance. Further, it focuses on the role of HR in managing the diversity and implementing the approaches of equal opportunities in the organisation. Last section of the report argues about the health and safety legislation in UK and their impact on the HR practices.
Guest model of HRM was introduced by David Guest in 1987. This model argues about integration of soft and hard approaches of HRM. According to this model, four crucial elements affect the organisational functions. These elements have been discussed below:
Strategic integration: This refers to alignment of the HR strategy with the business strategy. It is considered as the hard approach of HRM as it treats human resource as any other resources of the organisation. (Alleyne, 2016)
Flexibility: Flexibility here means open for all the changes. The organisational internal and external environment is very dynamic in nature. It is essential for the organizations to be ready for accepting the changes to withstand in this environment. Flexibility can be considered as hard as well as soft approach. Hard approach is related to the numeric flexibility. If the organisation hire employees only at the time of need and fire them if they are not needed than this falls under hard approach. On the other hand, soft approach can be implemented by treating employees fairly in every sense.
Commitment:It is believed thathuman resource mainly makes a difference in the production. This is the reason commitment of the employees is very much needed to enhance the productivity of the organisation. This commitment can be attained only when human resource has been treated as the asset.
Strategic quality: HRM should be a concern for top management, as it also requires strategic approach. Many organisational believe in attaining competitive advantage with their employees. (Drago, 2007)
Guest focuses on the HRM in UK and observed that the development of HR in UK is very slow. To overcome this problem, Guest proposed this model concerning organizations based at UK. Unilever is the company that implemented this model in framing its HR policies. It has been observed that the model facilitates the organisation to achieve:
In general, Human resource management involves the practices that focus on managing the staff in such a way that results in fulfilment of organisational as well as individual goals.
Personnel management focuses only on the aspect of people ns their relation with the firm.
Industrial relations approach is also known as employee relations. This is because it focuses on study of employee relations.
Storey focuses on attaining the competitive advantage with the strategic approach of hiring committed employees.
It deals with the administration part of managing the people in the organisation. It also gives attention to use of personnel to achieve productivity targets.
It aims at maintain the relationship between the staff, managers and government.
Unilever applies strategic approach to HRM in order to align the goals of organisation with employee goals. It also focuses on introducing the health and well being programs for the employees like lamplighter.
Unilever provides training to the employees to enhance the productivity. It also focuses on applying opportunities of gathering experience that somehow affect the productivity of the employees in positive manner.
Unilever focuses on maintaining relations between the staff and top management by removing the communication barriers. The company to make coordination between the labour unions and the management has used this broader concept of industrial relation.
HRM process not only affects the human resource department but its practices affect all the other operational department of the organisation. Application of strategic approach to HRM refers to planning and implementation of the methods that help all the departments to accept the changes taking place in the environment. (Morley et al., 2006) Many HR practices need to be strategized in order to enhance the productivity of the organisations. These practices require the involvement of line managers also as they are the mediators between the HR department and the staff in operational department.
Some of the HR activities that many have impact on line mangers and the employees of Unilever are as follows:
For performing these duties, line managers need to increase the range of their responsibilities, as they need to practice these duties simultaneously with their operational duties. It also helps the employees to communicate because it is easy for them to interact with their line manager for any issue rather than communicating with the HR department. It is the duty of Hr managers to provide support and guidance to the line managers in order to perform the HR related duties for their department.
Example: Unilever has a line manager portal that discusses about the roles of line mangers in supporting the colleagues. The portal talks about three stages that is, on leave, pre leave and return to work section. Pre leave is about guiding the employees and making straightforward process for the whole team. On leave is about ways to minimise the effect of transition of the employee on the team and the last one id return to work section that is about helping the employees and colleagues to re-integrate again with the work.
It is very important for the employees to maintain the work life balance. This balance is necessary for them to a live a satisfactory personal and professional life. Flexibility is one of the elements of work life balance. In general, flexibility can be referred to as the modification in the structure of the organisation according to the situation. Unilever can also implement some of the strategies that can create a flexible environment in the organisation. There is a systematic process that needs to be followed in order to make the organisation flexible. Many decisions need to be taken so that flexibility norms can be added to the HR policy of Unilever. (Svendsen, 2010)
Atkinson model of flexibility:
This Model suggests that there are two types of workforce:
The policy makers need to analyse the needs of the employees in terms of flexibility in the organisation and have to match up with what manager’s want as well as to the goal completion of the organisation. Policy of flexibility cannot be made on the cost of organisational productivity. It is critical to align the flexibility policy with the already existing organisational culture and structure. This can be implemented in Unilever by following process:
Flexibility can be termed as the capability of an organisation to modify its policies according to the situation. It can also be defined as the ability to accept the changes of the environment. Flexibility needs to be introduced in the organisations like Unilever to make their employees balance their personal and professional life. There are various types of flexibility that may be developed in Unilever. Some of them are discussed below:
Various methods can be used as flexible working practices in the organisation. Employees and employers may have different or same perspective for these practices.
Part time: It is the practice under which, an employee works less than normal working hours of the office.
Employees who work for part time have the facility to manage other sort of works simultaneously with their job.
Employer can hire more part time employees as they work for less hours and hence paid less.
Job sharing: Responsibilities can be shared between the employees.
Less liability and responsibility with less burden of work. This also reduced the per-head work compensation.
Employer gets the advantage of getting work done early with double efforts and inputs.
Zero hour contract: Nobody is bounded in the timeframe to perform the task.
Employees have the power to choose for the task they want to perform.
Employers are also not dependent on the worker but it may be hectic for them in urgent situation to find an employee to work on a particular task.
Tele working: employees can work from remote locations. They can be connected with the company with telecom facility.
Employees can work from wherever they want without their physical presence in the office.
Employers need to ensure that they have a good connection facility to connect with the employees working at remote locations.
Compressedworkhours:Eloyees are allowed to work for fixed hours per week.
This facilitates them to enjoy the full days by working more hours on working days.
Employers provide freedom to employees hence motivate them to perform better and coordinate with the organisation.
Discuss the impact that changes in labor market have had on flexible working practices.
It is essential for the management of an organisation to hire most appropriate labour for the same. This is because choice of labour directly affects the productivity of the organisation. Change in the labour market affects the internal change in the strategies of the organisation. Work life balance has become an integral part of the employees these days and the policies related to work life balance also gets affected with the change in the labour market condition. (Paauwe et al., 2013)
Discrimination refers to difference in concern with some of the factors. Discrimination in the society also affects the same practices at workplace. The practice of discrimination at workplace is a wrong practice to be done. This violates the law of equal opportunity for all. Discrimination is based on race, colour, caste, origin, religion etc. Practice of discrimination in the firm affects its image in the market and hence its business as well. (Alleyne, 2016)
For example, the recent case of Dyslexic employee at Starbucks is the case of discrimination on grounds of disability. Starbucks lost the case as they filed the charge of fraud on the dyslexic employee. This suggests that organizations should consider the disability and should make some of the training policies for such employees with disability. (Weaver, 2016)
Equal opportunities in the organisation are the practice that provides and treats all the employees at same level. There is no discrimination based on caste, race, colour etc. Provision of legal opportunities at the workplace is a legal act and the management can be subjected to legal action against them if they violate the act. Many practices can be involved in implementing the equal opportunity approach in the organisation. Opportunity 2000 was one of the main initiatives in UK in terms of providing equal opportunity to women at workplace. This practices aims at maintaining the work life balance in the life of women so that they can manage their activities in personal and professional life. (Cipd.co.uk, 2016)
Many companies like Ford Motor take initiatives to practice this in their firm in order to provide equal opportunity to the employees. The company believes that bit is very important to implement the changes practically. There is no sense making the written policies of equality rather they should be practiced in order to improve the working environment of the workplace. Practice of equal opportunity provides the company to manage the diversity at work as it is the most critical issue these days. Many big employers like M&S and Royal Bank of Scotland takes part in the initiative called The Think Act that inspires the companies to think about the provision of equal opportunities, this initiative bring about a big change in the mindset of the organisations and hence changes in their policies. This act mainly focuses on gender equality issue that needs to be resolved at high pace at the workplace in UK. Practical implication of equal opportunity may involve following practices:
Managing equal opportunities refers to provision of equal opportunity and treatment to the employees working in an organisation. It is an external issue as legal affairs are involved in this case. On the other hand, managing diversity refers to management if the workforce with different background working under the same roof. (UK & Ireland, 2016) It is an internal affair and management needs to do practice it according to their organisational culture. Bothe the approaches have some of the differences and similarities. Comparison of the approaches provides the clear understanding of the topic.
Managing equal opportunities
It is the implementation of the such practices that do not discriminate between the employees on the basis of race, caste, colour etc.
It is the implementation of such practices that helps the management to manage the differences in the working patterns and skills of the employees from diverse culture.
It is an external affair as government and legal Acts are involved.
It is an internal affair of the organisation.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission regulates the practices.
No external body relates the practices; organisational management frames the policies regarding the issue.
It focuses on removal of discrimination.
It focuses on managing the differences.
Example:Unilever is the organisation that manages the diversity of the workforce by providing the inclusive working environment to the people from different cultural background and mange the equality by providing equal opportunities to all the people regardless of their caste, race, religion etc. P&G is the organisation that focuses on individual talents of diverse workforce so that they can be placed at the right position in order to take full advantage of their talent. They conduct all of their process with legal consideration so that they would not breach any of the legislation or law regarding discrimination. This is done to maintain the equality in the organisation. (Us.pg.com, 2016)
Performance management is the practice in the organisation that facilitates to evaluate and mange the individual performance of the employees working there. It is necessary to practice such approaches in the organisation because performance of an individual affects the performance and the productivity of the whole organisation. Many practices or methods can be used to evaluate and mange the performance of the employees. Some of them are discussed below in brief. These practices are used by Unilever for performance management purpose.
According to CIPD, well being and welfare of the employees is not restricted to health but ahs five domains that needs to be considered. There five domains are health, work, values, social and personal growth. The entire organisation these days pays attention to the issue of practicing the approaches for the welfare of the employees. Unilever is the organisation that focuses on implementing the policies that help their employees to grow individually as well as in society. Many practices have been introduced that safeguards the employees or workers from harmful effects of the working environment. (Svendsen, 2010)
Unilever in employee welfare: Unilever is the company that serves the UK market with fast moving consumer goods. Health and wellbeing is the basis of the business. It not only considers the welfare of the customers but also concerned about the welfare o their employees. The health fair practice by Unilever is the initiative to provide well being to the employees. Survey determined that employees of the firm are very much satisfied and observed to have high morale after attending the fair. The company has their health and welfare staffs that assist the health advisors at each site to deliver a fit business program to the employees at quarterly basis. The health fair practice increases the morale of the employee and re-energises them to work more efficiently and safely. More and more staff engagement has been encouraged by top management so that more employees can attend the fair like this and increase their morale and well-being as a whole. (Business in the community, 2016)
The standards of the workplace health have been regulated by occupational health and safety legislations. The main aim of these legislations is to maintain the safety of the employees and to prevent them from the accidents and the injuries that may takes place during the working hours. HR plays a very important role in maintaining and preventing the employees. The legislation argues about the responsibility of the HR and the employer to implement the practices in the organisation that safeguards the employees from accident. (Warner, 2013)
It is the responsibility of the HR of the organisation to instigate the top management regarding the safety issue so that they can work for the safety of the employees. HR needs to coordinate the activities and act as the mediator between the employees and the management to communicate the safety issues prevailing in the organisation. HR is also responsible for communicating the rights of the employees to them so that they can claim for the compensation if they are subjected to any risk of accident. HSWA 1974 is the Act by UK government that argues about the legislations, laws, structure and authority of health and safety all over the UK workplace. HR department of Unilever focuses on maintaining the health and well being of the employees by providing them with health diet, workplace and environment.
When an organisaton like Unilever brings about the changes in the policies for the sake of the employee welfare, HR practices get affected. Many issues have been raised that have their impact on the practices of HR in the organisation. Some of the topical issues that have their impact on the HR practices have been discussed below:
E-recruitment:It refers to the practice of recruiting the people online. The method supported the HR department to recruit more and more people from a single medium. This medium helps the HR department to reach up to large masses of candidates and results in more number of recruitments. (Drago, 2007)
E learning: This practice reduces the cost of trainers and the arrangements for the training sessions. E learning allows the employees to learn at their desk without much movement. It saves the time and money of the organisation and reduces the work of HR.
Work life balance: It is also the duty of HR maintain the work life balance of the employees. HR needs to come up with new practices time to time that help the employees to maintain their processional as well as their personal life. (Cipd.co.uk, 2016) Some other issues that have their impact on Hr practices are changes the pension schemes, voice of the employees, safety issues etc.
Example:Agile working and flexible working hours at Unilever provide maintaining the work life balance of the employees. The company believes in supporting the employees to maintain the balance between their professional and personal life. This is because most of the women workers in the company need the same. Employee reviews of the company suggests that they are very happy working there as they are free to work according to their comfort.
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Human resource management is the integral part of the organisation. Many models have been discussed by many theorists regarding the subject that needs to be researched in order to gain the in-depth knowledge of the subject. Flexibility at workplace is the need of hour. Many methods have been used at the organisation to provide flexibility to the employees. Many safety and health regulation have also been implemented to safeguard the safety rights of the employees.
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