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Diploma in Business
Unit Number and Title
Unit 3 Managing Human Resources City Link
With the change in times and business trends, most of the organizations consider the employees as an indispensable asset and hence, it has become important for effectively managing the human resources for enabling the organizations in achieving its predefined business goals and objectives. Through unit 3 managing human resources assignment City Link report, we will develop an understanding about managing human resources by considering the case example of City Link which is a British courier company based in Coventry, UK.
With the help of this report, an explanation of the Guest Model of HRM will be provided and a comparison between Storey’s definitions PM, IR and HRM will be established. The implementation of the HRM process at City Link and the line managers and employees will be discussed.
The concept of HRM did not even exist in organizations a few decades back but today with rise in market competition and change in financial decision; most of the organizations have realized the importance of human resources. City Link considers its employees as invaluable asset and thereby, has implemented various business models within the HR department in order to design a compelling management system. The key role of HRM is dealing with employees and concurrently managing recruitment, promotion, planning, implementation and evaluation. With the rise in the importance of HRM, line managers are also been engaged in performing the responsibilities of managing human resources. Effective practice of HRM will further enhance the morale of the employees of City Link and they eventually will put in more efforts in achieving the overall goals of the business which in turn will escalate the productivity of the courier chain. HRM used to adopt a conventional approach in its execution a few years back but in modern times, outsourcing the activities of HRM gives the company an additional value. City Link has incorporated HRM in the strategic decision-makings. (Guest, 2011)
Guest’s HRM model:
As proposed by David Guest, the Guest Model of HRM has four key components namely
Guest’s model of HRM can be analysed through six dimensions namely HRM practices, outcomes, strategy, financial outcomes, performance and behaviour outcomes and City Link has adopted and practises this model in its workplace for conducting various programs of employee engagement. Moreover, the model is based on an assumptions that there a difference between the traditional PM and HRM and thereby, it is vital that the HR Manager has the knowledge of Soft and Hard HRM. While applying the Hard HRM, City Link seeks for fiscal advantages the employees gain and accordingly manage the company whereas while opting for Soft HRM, he/she gets committed to towards the company further by taking care of the employees interests. In Hard HRM, City Link needs to adopt a strict approach whereas by implementing the Soft HRM, the company makes effort in gaining employee loyalties and trust by maintaining a compassionate approach. (Guest, 2011)
Conferring to the Guest’s HRM model, employees who are an indispensible asset of any organization must be utilized in a proper way for obtaining effective and desirable outcomes such as productive problem solving skills, lower employee turnover and improved job performance. Storey, on the other hand has a complete different view on HRM and emphasizes that Personnel, IR and HRM practices are different from each other. (Bratton and Gold, 2012)
City Links understands the importance of keeping the employees engaged through various techniques like job enlargement, job rotation, career development and job enrichment for producing better performances in the form of high productivity. Take for example, job enlargement allows the employees in taking up more challenging tasks for fulfilling their self-actualization need. City Links has implemented Storey’s HRM model by understanding the key psychological needs of employees thereby, keep them engaged in different activities and rewarding them with certain non-monetary rewards which in turn will be helpful in the best from the employees and eventually benefitting the business. (Bratton and Gold, 2012)
It has been observed that City Link has undertaken a strategic approach in the HRM practices further involving considerable number of implications on both the line managers and employees. In City Link, the line managers for cultivating the workplace culture, business policies, adopting situation based leadership styles and its implications on the objectives of the business whereas in case of employees, empowerment, job rotation, participation decision-makings are considered. Line manager is responsible for taking care of the employees under his/her supervision. City Link has adopted several strategic approaches for brining a rise in employee participations and reducing the rate of employee turnover. (Boselie, 2010)
Organization structure: City Link has implemented certain changes for enhancing coordination amid the line managers and employees such as reducing the chain of command in the organizational hierarchy for masking the structure more flexible and reachable to the employees. This will further be helpful in easily passing on the information to the employees keeping them updated and well- informed.Opportunities are given to the employees for sharing their ideas, opinions, observations related to any business issues or workplace problems with their respective line managers. Moreover, the employees are assigned with specific responsibilities for effectively performing their individual tasks.
Plans are shared and briefed among the employees and line managers on a regular basis at the start of the day by the management at senior level which in turn bring improvement in the employees productivity. Moreover, the brand City Link is properly projected and briefed amid the employees for defining the importance of working of being associated with the brand further keeping the line managers and employees motivated. The line managers are responsible for briefing the employees about the sales target in an open meeting for eliminating the doubts and ensuring transparency in the process. (Boselie, 2010)
In case City Link applies a model of flexibility in its workplace, it is more likely of taking care of the employee needs whereas if it miserably fails in considering the need of model of flexibility at work, it will result into creating unsatisfied amid the employees which in turn will drive them towards lack of commitment at work. It is a proven fact that employees tend to remain loyal only if they feel that they are valuable for the company. By practicing the model of flexibility at work, City Link can bring improvements in employees’ performances and productivities. Take for example, accepting the request of an employee asking for 2 weeks leaves citing some personal reasons or requesting a change in the contracted hours under the model of flexibility will cultivate a sense of loyalty within the employee. Flexibility in working hours is most beneficial for the female employees further allowing them to strike a balance between work and home. City Link must accept the requests of flexible working hours for its employees and further design an online system for catering such requests. Moreover, City Link should set a limit to the number of requests an employee can make in a year which must be necessarily documented in the employment contract. (Zhou and Wu, 2010)
City Link makes a constant effort in maintaining a kind of organizational structure where different types of flexible techniques are been used as a result of fluctuations in the industry and for coping up with external changes of the business environment, the company needs to be flexible
The Shamrock Organisation: Charles Handy has equated modern organisation like City Link to a shamrock which comprises of three elements in one whole and states that a flexible organization can bring a desirable change in its performance and operations in respect to the external environment . He further emphasized that an organization is just like the structure of a shamrock.
Conferring to the shamrock organization, a flexible organization has three leaves namely the core employees which consists of the managers and technical professionals who have the tendency to work hard and must be highly rewarded in the form of hike in salaries, bonuses and other benefits. Second leaf means the contract workers who perform a précised work which when is satisfactorily completed is rewarded with a fee and the third leaf includes the casual workers who might be working as part-timers and are paid fairly for their contributions. (Zhou and Wu, 2010)
Application of Shamrock model of flexibility in City Link:
The concept of flexible work arrangements allows the employees in availing freedom in the scheduling of the works to be done and how will they accomplish the duties of their positions. Flexitime is the most customary of this kind of work arrangements furnishing the employees with a greater leeway in terms of time when they start and end the task, provided they give in the total number of hours set by the organization. Other common types of flexible working arrangements are telecommuting, job-sharing, and compressed workweeks. (Kelly, Moen and Tranby, 2011)
Types of flexible work arrangements:
Flexible working practices are beneficial for both employer and employees, economy communities and the environment. Including the arrangements of flexible working is becoming an essential part of every workplace. The healthy economic conditions of UK shows there are many people in the labour pool still for the employers it is challenging to find the kind of skilled employees they require and thereby, most of the employers are offering the arrangements of flexible working for attracting and retaining the skilled employees and concurrently support them in satisfying their personal needs. (Guest, Isaksson and De Witte, 2010) Flexible working is not just working from home but it is working from anywhere, be it done from a café with a client or at customers home or office or while travelling. Flexible working can be achieved by making the best usage of technologies like audio and video-conferencing, instant messenger, mobile internet. This further strengthens teamwork and enhances a sense of unity among the teammates even if they are not actually present in the same place.
From an employer’s perspective, flexible working has helped them in being more successful. It is a known fact that business opportunities can be won or lost within few seconds and an organization where there are employees who are ready to work from anywhere and at any time means that the business can be more responsive. The potential benefits of flexible working includes an efficient and productive organization, empowered and motivated employees, improved customer services and customer loyalty, expanded employee retention and appeal to future employees, cut down of sickness leaves etc. For an employer, the biggest benefit is the increased potential of saving money as there would be no need of building an office space for the employees who mostly stay outside. For example, Vodafone UK has saved approximately £34bn by freeing up desk space and adopting flexible workings. (Guest, Isaksson and De Witte, 2010)
Manpower of any organization acts as a strategy implementer and thereby, an organization has to be dependent on them in order to attain its business goals. However, a certain change in the labour market has impacted an organization’s process of implementing the flexible working practices at workplace. Since 2013, use and availability of flexible working hours has grown significantly in UK and the most popular forms are part-time working (97% of workplaces), working reduced hours for a limited period (88%), job-sharing (72%) and flextime (64%). (Eichhorst, Escudero, Marx and Tobin, 2010)
According to market research, the company size is a key factor influencing the flexible working practices. Employees who have been working for 26 weeks or more are entitled of requesting for flexible work hours and approximately 40% of employers have received such requests and only 9% of the requests have been refused. According to a survey, the line manager or supervisor in around one-third of organizations decides about flexible working requests. With the change in times more number of employers are getting inclined towards the flexible working arrangements because of its various benefits such improved employee motivation and management- employee relations, reduced employee turnover, increased employee productivity etc. The policies of UK government also have a key role in the changing trends of labour market. The government encourages the employees in pursuing vocational courses or go for apprenticeships and thereby, to counter these policies most organizations now aim to include flexible working practices at workplace allowing employees to strike a balance between their personal and professional lives. (Eichhorst, Escudero, Marx and Tobin, 2010)
The term discrimination can be described as a biased treatment towards a person as either an individual or an employee at workplace. In spite of laws enforced by the UK government still there are cases where employees find themselves been discriminated at work. Therefore, it is important for City Link to recognize the types of discriminations further enabling them in determining discrimination when it takes place. (Noon, 2010)
Types of workplace discrimination:
Example of workplace discrimination: In 2013, the case of Ali Aboubaker grabbed everyone’s attention. Ali was a Muslim American national was fired from Washtenaw County where he worked for 17 years just because he had refused to start working ahead of his scheduled shift. He filed a lawsuit against County claiming harassment and been discriminated because of his religion and appearance. While the trial period County tried to prove its innocence by claiming that Ali was fired on the basis of poor work performance, however, the judgment was passed in Ali’s favour and County was forced to pay the damages of $1.2 million at the end the trial. (Noon, 2010)
Equal opportunities legislation is relevant with the Equality Act 2010 which was enforced by the government for safeguarding the employees from been discriminated on the basis of gender, race, age, religion etc. Equality Act 2010 prohibits organizations from being biased in recruitment, selection, transfer, training opportunities etc. Under this act, it is mandatory for organizations to provide equal opportunities to the employees and in the absence of the same, an employee can drag the employer to the tribunal. Employees can either approach the HR department for resolving the issues or can seek support from Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS). Organizations like City Link must pursue the Equality Act 2010 guidelines and adopt a fair practice in selection and recruitment, trainings etc. Violation of law will only damage the brand’s goodwill in the market and loss of market share. Moreover, employee turnover will increase because of discrimination. (Armstrong, Flood, Guthrie, Liu, MacCurtain and Mkamwa, 2010)
Implications of the equal opportunities legislation: Equal opportunities legislation will force the employers in adopting fair practices towards the employees and cultivate a healthy and secure working environment for the employees. Moreover, it will help in brining and maintaining discipline in organisations by further establishing a true and fair view of business. Certain negative implication will be there such as deceitful allegations against City Link can damage its goodwill and brand’s image. (Armstrong, Flood, Guthrie, Liu, MacCurtain and Mkamwa, 2010)
Approaches to managing equal opportunities are quite different from managing diversity and both the approaches are necessary for creating a healthy and positive environment at workplace.
At City Link, performance management is conducted by HRM and includes the activities that are anticipated for developing employee performance. Performance management is organized at both organizational and individual level. Performance management at organizational level inspects the performance of the organization and make comparisons with the preset goals. Accomplishment of the goals of organizational performance is dependent on employees’ performances. (Ohly, Sonnentag, Niessen and Zapf, 2010)
Performance management methods used in City Link:
The key purpose behind City Link’s employee welfare activities is enhancing the motivational levels within the employees and driving them towards the attainment of the organizational goals. Employee welfare activities develop a feeling of loyalty in the employees towards the company. Employees are the real asset of any business and thereby, City Link has designed various employees’ welfare schemes such as personal health care under which the employees are provided with facilities of complete health check-up. City Link also organizes for employee assistance programs where employees or their immediate family members are freely counselled on family or professional matters. Employees are provided with mediclaim insurance schemes under which the employees medical expenses is refunded by the company. City Link also encourages the employees to refer friends and relatives for employment under the Employee Referral Scheme. (Budd, Gollan and Wilkinson, 2010)
Health and Safety legislations have stipulated the groundwork for cultivating a workplace atmosphere that is safe and secure. Organizations operating in UK needs to adhere the guidelines of the act. In case of workplace accidents, occupational diseases etc. it must be immediately reported by the HR department to the concerned department under the Reporting Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). Organizations like City Link must frequently assess the risks and workplace hazards for identifying risks if any and eliminate them for safeguarding the lives of employees or customers who visit the premises. The HR department must form a separate panel whose key responsibility will be to take care of the safety issues at work. The HR Manager must ensure that the employees are trained and made aware about the risks involved in workplace and how to evacuate the building if any emergency like fire or earthquake occurs. (Armstrong and Taylor, 2014)
Employee disengagement is a serious topical issue constantly disturbing City Link. Shortage of employee engagement activities has brought a competitive disadvantage further affecting areas like quality control, customer relations, teamwork etc. and influencing the employees’ decisions to quit. The possible sources of employee disengagement are external environment such as government instability or an unexpected job offer, psychological causes such as lack of trust, recognition etc., organizational causes like transformational changes, culture etc. (Rich, Lepine and Crawford, 2010)
City Link can improve the employee engagement level by developing and using a systematic approach where in the first stage management must identify the key focusing areas, projected costs, possible gains from engagement actions. In second stage, management must understand engagement, begin research, analyze the key driver and connect the outcomes to the performance barometers and identify the good practices areas. In third stage, action plan is designed for improving employee engagement and is executed; the management monitors the growth and finally evaluates the progress for understanding whether or not the strategies implemented were rewarding. An employee forum has been designed by the HR department where employees can share views and opinions related to business issues. Through these approaches City Link escalates employee motivation and performances. (Rich, Lepine and Crawford, 2010)
At the end, we derive into a conclusion that for an organization like City Link, managing human resources is an indispensible obligation which further gives the company a much needed competitive edge through establishing employee engagement. By managing the human resources, City Link can cultivate a wider work culture where employees are free to share their ideas and take part into decision-makings.
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