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The productiveness of any organization is entirely dependent on how efficiently the human resources are being managed. Employees are the backbone of organizations are hence are considered as indispensible asset. One can contrive managing of human resources as a resource through which organizations fulfils its desire of engaging skilled employees and promote its key objectives. The biggest impact of managing of human resources can be seen on the various processes revolving around employees’ such as selection and recruitment, training, employee benefits etc.
Through this assignment one will develop an insight on how organizations manage human resources by considering the case study of Apple. The first section of the report will highlight how Guest model of HRM has been applied in Apple and key differences amid HRM and PM. In the second section model of flexibility and types of flexibility at work will be discussed apart from determining the implications of change in labour market on Apple flexible working practices. The third section will address equal opportunities and workplace discriminations and the last section will focus on performance management methods, employees’ welfare, health and safety issues within Apple.
David Guest through his HRM model had claimed that HR Managers begin with certain specific strategies demanding practice that further result into desirable outcomes when executed. The outcomes comprises of six elements namely employees behaviour, performance, financial outcomes, HR strategy, HR practices and HR outcomes as depicted in the diagram below.
Studying contrarily, Apple’s financial outcome relies on employees’ performance resulted from their action-oriented behaviours whereas behavioural outcomes derive from commitment, quality and flexibility of the employees who further get highly influenced by the HR practices which incorporate the HR strategies that customarily align with Apple’s organizational strategies. (Guest and Conway, 2011)
The interdependence of various aspect of HRM according to the Guest Model can be applied on Apple’s by:
Employees’ commitment: Apple needs to establish commitment amid the employees by encouraging them in giving productive performances thereby, enhancing brand’s market equity
Quality: this is most essential outcome that will help differing Apple from its market competitors. This can be done by setting a quality standard and ensuring that all its products meet the parameter thereby, giving value to customers.
Flexibility: it will enable Apple in enhancing employees’ productiveness by introducing flexible working arrangements like part-time jobs, job sharing etc.
Strategic planning: Apple needs to focus on customers’ preference and satisfaction apart from providing employees with additional perks like incentives, pension scheme, medial allowance etc. for boosting their motivational levels.
By applying the Guest model of HRM in Apple one can observe that HR strategies, policies and its outcome are directly related further allowing the global brand in gaining competitive market edge.
John Storey has emphasized that HRM is a significant part within organizations which helps in cultivating commitment amid the employees thereby, enabling organizations like Apple in achieving the desired business goals. Storey further emphasizes on identifying the employees capabilities for utilizing them effectively and designing adequate strategies for attaining the organisational goals. The key focus of Storey’s HRM is on hard and soft HRM. In Apple, the Hard HRM practice has allowed the employees to participate into decision making process which not only enhances their confidence levels but also influences their productiveness at work. Implementation of Soft HRM, on the other hand has empowered Apple in furnishing its employees with equal opportunities for showcasing their skills and the same approach is maintained while recruitment and selection. The HRM practices are much more effective in comparison to the IR/PM practices because of the stakeholders’ involvement in the decision making. In addition, HRM practices have allowed Apple in RM is HRM involving job enrichment, job rotation, career development opportunities at workplace thereby, enhancing employee productivity and motivation. (Boxall and Purcell, 2011)
Personnel and IR practices, on the other hand, revolve around the execution of written contracts with a zero or minimal flexibility. Employee performances are measured and monitored through old methods. The biggest limit of Personnel and IR practices is its focus only on employees whereas the rapidly changing business environment needs involvement of all the stakeholders namely investors, suppliers, customers, government etc. Moreover, the decision making process in Personnel and IR practices is slower because of its rigid structure further making it irrelevant and impractical in a competitive market environment. Hamleys, a global toy shop pursues Personnel and IR practices further focusing on reward, fun and enjoyment at the workplace. Employees are trained for attracting more customers who mainly are children. Distribution of rewards like food coupons, bonus and holiday packages has helped Hamleys in enhancing employees’ productivity. The Personnel and IR practices at Hamleys restricts it from identifying the skill gaps, monitoring and controlling employees performances and determining the exact number of employees it needs. (Boxall and Purcell, 2011)
A line manager can be described as someone who manages the employees and business operations directly and reports to his/her superior authority or Manager. Line manager is often termed as ‘direct manager’. (Reh, 2016)
Apple has undertaken various initiatives relating to its organisational strategic marketing planning where the line managers play a significant role in designing adequate strategies because they are ones who handle the employees by delegating job duties, staff rotation, identify skill gaps, encouraging employees’ participation in decision- makings.
Mentioned below are the key roles of line manager in Apple:
Strategic approach of HRM leaves a positive influence on Apple by apparently enumerating the employees and line managers’ roles and responsibilities eventually cultivating and maintaining a healthy and friendly work atmosphere. (Reh, 2016)
Mentioned below the implications of line managers and employees in Apple for developing a strategic approach to HRM:
The term flexibility can be described as the changes made by employer and employee in when, where and how an individual will work for meeting both personal and organizational needs. It is mandatory that flexibility benefits both the employer and employee resulting into better output. Introduction of flexible working practices will ensure improved workplace productivity by cultivating sense of commitment amid the employees thereby, becoming as the invaluable asset for Apple. The various techniques used in flexibility approach are job sharing models, flexible working arrangements like part time, work from home etc. By adopting a model of flexibility Apple can retain its female employees who many times quit their jobs for taking care of children and family. Flexibility at Harrods can be related to Shamrock model of flexibility developed by Charles Handy where three key aspects are considered for effectively defining the flexibility approaches. (Kelly, Moen and Tranby, 2011)
Core Workers: it includes the skilled professionals, technicians and managers representing Apple’s core competencies. In order to satisfy these employees, flexibility will base on their needs, say for example, a female store staff applies for three day leave for taking care of sick child but Apple cannot afford it which can dissatisfy the employee and might quit the job. In such a tricky situation, Apple can provide flexible arrangement like work from home, flex time etc. This will allow the female employee in fulfilling her responsibility towards both her family and Apple. (Kelly, Moen and Tranby, 2011)
Contractual Fringe: they are the contract based employees working with Apple to whom flexibility will be given based on convenience eventually creating a mutually beneficial situation for both employer and employee.
Flexible Workers: they comprise of interns or part time employees associated with Apple. Apprenticeships programs offered by Apple allow students to work as part-timers. This help Apple in taking the advantage of their new skills, fresh ideas and enthusiasm of working hard while the students seek benefits in gaining a lifetime experience of working with a global brand and there are also chances of getting permanent employment on successfully completing the apprenticeships. (Kelly, Moen and Tranby, 2011)
Mentioned below are the types of flexibility applied in Apple:
Part time work: through this type of flexibility Apple allows people specially, students and housewives to work as part-timers having predictable working hours which is comparatively less than the full-timers. Such employees are also the beneficiaries of similar entitlements as full-timers like recreation, sick leaves, incentives etc. but on a pro rata basis. (Howington, 2015)
Job sharing: in this type of flexibility Apple allows two or more employees in sharing the duties of full time position which can be an open-ended or interim arrangement. The employees involved can either work for equal number of hours which means they can split the week to 2.5 days each or work in alternate weeks.
Compressed Workweek: in this type of flexibility Apple allows the employees to work in a compressed schedule that is less than standard five days further granting additional day or two off every week. Apple practices compressed schedules involving 12-hour workdays with four days off and four 10-hour workdays with three offs. (Howington, 2015)
Suppose Apple is currently dealing with high employee turnover rate and poor employee performance. Apple can effectively deal with this situation through flexible working arrangements however, it is important to analyse the same from both employee and employer perspective.
Employees: the positive side of flexible working arrangements is that it will ensure employee motivation which means that motivated employees will give their best performances. Take for example, if a single parent is allowed to work at Apple as part-timer, it will not only give him/her personal satisfaction but will simultaneously motivate in giving best performances in achieving the given targets. A student can choose to work part time in stores nearby their universities or hostels. This will allow them to implement their learning into practical workplace and gain experience by earning which can later be useful in their prospective careers. The negative side of flexible working arrangements is that when an employee is working from home, they might face difficulties is completing a job because his/her co-worker is not working in similar schedule. (De Menezes and Kelliher, 2011)
Employers: from Apple’s perspective it is the business turnover and productivity that gets affected by certain flexible working arrangements. Apple aims of a committed working environment and by opting for various flexible working arrangements, it has been successful in creating healthy working culture giving maximum employee satisfaction. The negative side of flexible working arrangements like compressed work weeks often raise complications in customers dealing because customers making frequent visit to the Apple stores expect in seeing their favourite sales person and in his/her absence might return back empty handed. (De Menezes and Kelliher, 2011)
Social and demographic changes, emergence of technology over last few years have established flexible working as integral part of organizations further making flexible working and work life balance as the most common issue in the labour market of UK. Emergence of internet has empowered employees to easily work from remote areas and maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives further enabling more number of female to participate in the labour market. The key benefits organizations gain from of flexible working includes improved employee loyalties, productiveness and motivation further delivering maximum customer satisfaction. A survey conducted by IFF in collaboration with IES suggests that approximately 97% organizations have adopted at least one form of flexible working. Use of flexi time and compressed working week has increased whereas rate of job-sharing has reduced to 54% in 2013. Factors influencing UK labour market might be rise in immigrants, unemployment rates, government actions etc. Brexit might also be a significant factor influencing the labour market. Through governmental programs like vocational training, more number of unskilled employees are learning new skills for fitting into the industrial requirements. UK government also encourages global organizations like Apple to introduce various apprenticeships programs by joining hands with universities thereby, directly influencing flexible working practices. In addition, UK government has enforced certain rules and regulations for flexible working practices under which any employee who has been working with an organization, in this case Apple can request for flexible working. This approach has reduced the rate of unemployment from 5.7% to 5.1% which can be considered as a positive impact of flexible working practices in the labour market. (Broughton, 2015)
Discrimination can be described as an act of being bias or prejudice which results into rejecting opportunities, being treated unfairly while recruitment, promotion or job transfer. One can often see people being discriminated at work or even in normal situations based on age, gender, religion, race, disability etc.
Since the 9/11 terror attacks, there has been a steady rise in racial discrimination in Britain. According to British Social Attitudes Survey, 2013, about a third of Britons admit on being biased in some or other way. (Thelwell, 2015)
Various statistics available suggest that UK employers in 2013-14 had faced 3,064 racial discrimination legal suites from the employees in comparison to 4,818 in 2012-13. This drop was a result of introduction of tribunal fees.
Mentioned below are the common types of workplace discrimination:
Age based discrimination: this kind of discrimination takes place when employees are victimized or treated unfairly because of their age. The Age Discrimination in Employ Act forbids employers from discriminating against the employees above 40 years which leaves the below aged employees unprotected. However, employee harassment based on age is barred by law. (Timmons, 2016)
Disability based discrimination: employers are subjected in providing suitable sitting arrangements to its disable employees and do not discriminate them in any aspect of employment in terms of job assignments, hiring, termination, promotions, training, layoffs etc.
Racial discrimination: in this kind of discrimination victims are treated unfavourably because of their race, skin colour or facial features.
Religion based discrimination: in this kind of discrimination, a person is subjected to unfair treatment because of his/her religion which is legally barred.
Pay discrimination: this kind of discrimination occurs when male and female employees performing similar work are not paid equally. Female employees are more subjected to this discrimination and are restricted by antidiscrimination laws. (Timmons, 2016)
In February 2016 Starbucks came into news for accusing its employee Meseret Kumulchew who suffers from dyslexia of forging documents. The tribunal discovered that she had been discriminated and was given lesser duties at Starbucks at Clapham Junction because of her difficulties with reading, writing and telling the time. Starbucks had implicated her of falsifying the documents after she wrongly entered inaccurate information. Meseret dragged Starbucks to an employment tribunal testifying disability discrimination and claimed that she had informed Starbucks earlier of her disability. The British Dyslexia Association considered the case as wake-up call for employers. Later, the court found Starbucks failure in making feasible arrangements for Ms Kumulchew's disability and was guilty of being discriminative towards her and hence, she won the case against Starbucks. (Coleman, 2016)
Enforcement of Equal opportunities legislation is the key objective of UK government ensuring that all employees under the Equality Act 2010 stay protected against any unethical activities. The Act stipulates that employers are liable in providing equal opportunities to all the employees and restrict discrimination practice at work. However, despite of legal restrictions if an employee is victim of any kind of discrimination, he/she is eligible in making an appeal with the trade union or files a legal suite in the employee tribunal or seek the opinion of Equality Advisory Support Service. According to Equality Act 2010, Apple cannot practice discriminations based on age, gender, disability, race, religion etc. In case, found guilty of violating the law, Apple can face legal actions or monetary fines. This will eventually harm its market image affecting the business. (Powell and DiMaggio, 2012)
The positive implication of equal opportunity legislation on Apple will be that it will enforce the management in bringing more clarity in its operations further motivating the employees in improving their performances. By establishing a transparent workplace environment, Apple can build a positive brand image attracting more skilled professionals. However, false allegation made by few employees can hamper its market goodwill which is the only negative implication of the Act.
More number of organizations are nowadays adopting the various approaches in order to manage equal opportunities and diversity at workplace for cultivating a healthy and supportive working atmosphere where employees love their jobs thereby, enhancing their productiveness. The objectives of both managing equal opportunities and managing diversity differ from each other. Managing equal opportunities ensures employees’ safety from the discrimination based on gender, race, religion etc. while managing diversity, on the other hand, is the kind of work culture Apple promotes which eventually attracts more customers. (Olsen and Martins, 2012)
Apple pursues its responsibility of managing equal opportunities by establishing a transparent workplace atmosphere where employees are aware of all business functions and have a key role in decision-makings. By introducing organizational programs like ‘Bright Ideas’ Apple has provided its employees an open platform for sharing their creative ideas benefiting the business. Moreover, one can also see the reflection of Apple’s equal opportunities approach in its vacancy advertisements highlighting the position, pay scale, eligibility criteria etc. further ensuring that equal opportunities are provided to all eligible applicants and no discrimination is practiced in the recruitment process. (Olsen and Martins, 2012)
Equal emphasis is also given to managing diversity within Apple in order to devise a strong team of diversified employees. This allows Apple in establishing long-term customer relations because it is often been observed that customers belonging to different cultural backgrounds hesitate to interact with sales person who might not be the same culture. Customers feel more comfortable in seeing a sales person who understands their language and needs. Apple relies on cross departmental transfers for creating a flexible and versatile team. (Olsen and Martins, 2012)
One can define Performance management as an open-ended communication process amid supervisor and employees with an aim of driving organizations towards the achievement of its strategic objectives.
Mentioned below are the methods of performance management in Apple:
360-Degree Feedback: in this method an employee receives unidentified and confidential feedback from their colleagues, managers, customers etc. Apple prepares an online feedback form and circulates it to the employees and loyal customers. The questions are measured on a scale of 1-8 and also written comments are requested. In this method, the employee receiving feedback also fills out a self-rating form including similar questions. 360-degree method helps Apple in measure the employees’ inter-personal skills, customer satisfaction and team building skills. (Mayhew, 2016)
Appraisal: in this method, Apple allows the supervisor and subordinate employees together identifying the common goals and further set each individual’s responsibility that eventually will relate to the expected outcomes.
Reward system is often linked with the performance appraisal because of its focus of performance based pay. Apple can improve the employee performances by maintaining a difference in pay allowing them to earn incentives, bonus etc. on achieving the given targets. (Mayhew, 2016)
Apple’s global success is related precisely to its approach of managing employee welfare. Apple’s ambitious workforce helps the brand in gaining competitive advantage over its market competitors. Apple’s employee welfare schemes motivate them in gives their best performances. Apple distributes Discount Cards to all its employees for availing great discounts on their purchase from any of Apple stores. Apple also offers the employees with monthly travelling allowances, children educational loans, monthly free medical check-up. Apple ensures that the employees are provided with clean washrooms, rest rooms, cafeterias and drinking water for protecting their health. (Gallie, Zhou, Felstead and Green, 2012)
Complying with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Apple ensures that all the stores and offices are safe and secure for both employees and customers. Adhering to the HASAW Act, it is mandatory for Apple in building safe entrance and emergency exit in the stores, provide evacuation and safety training to the employees for avoids workplace accidents.
According to Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Act, Apple is liable of periodically evaluating and managing the factors pertaining risks to employees health and make proper emergency arrangements in case sudden fire or natural disasters. (Gallie, Zhou, Felstead and Green, 2012)
The implication of Health and safety legislation can be seen on Apple’s HRM practices which are in adherence with the government legislation focusing on employee welfare. For safety and security of the societies where Apple functions, implementation of Health and safety legislation is equally important. Apple ensures that all its stores meet the safety standards providing security to employees and customers. Apple encourages the employees to participate in various safety training programs for establishing secure workplace by maintaining the surroundings and machineries, equipments etc. for averting fatal injuries or accidents. The HR department organizes monthly free medical camps for monitoring the employees’ health. Adhering with the legislation has relatively helped Apple in reducing the accidents in store. (Chan, 2011)
Lyme Bay tragedy is amongst thousands of successful prosecution against corporate involving into manslaughter through neglect which claimed the lives of four teenagers. The owner of OLL Limited, Peter Kite was imprisoned for three years and was imposed a fine of £60,000. The owner was found guilty as he was the direct in-charge of the operation. (Chan, 2011)
A key topical issue on HR practices Apple is currently facing is employee engagement. To deal with the issue Apple has launched a corporate magazine naming “Your Apple” where the employees are encouraged in sharing their opinions and participate in the decision making process. The HR department has also started an online employee’s forum where they can directly communicate with the management and share their ideas for growing the business. Under the IPD code, employee engagement influences their productiveness and business growth. Various activities undertaken by Apple for enhancing employee engagement keep their motivational levels high allowing them to achieve the defined goals. According to a survey conducted by Statista, more than 91% of Apple employees are happy in being a part of the global brand, thereby, sorting its employee engagement problem. Apple firmly believes that employees who are engaged are more committed to their work further producing desirable outcomes. (Hewitt, 2012)
At the end, it can be conclude that efficient managing of human resources is key responsibility of organizations providing it an edge over the market competitors. By managing the employees organizations can easily establish and restore open work culture where they are empowered to participate in decision-makings. How organizations can manage the human resources is studied in this report by considering the case example of Apple.
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