Unit 3 Human Resource Management

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The aim of this unit is to enable students to appreciate and apply principles of effective Human Resource Management (HRM). People are the lifeblood of any organisation and being able to attract, recruit and retain talented staff is at the core of all HRM activity. This unit will explore the tools and techniques used in HRM to maximise the employee contribution and how to use HR methods to gain competitive advantage. Students will explore the importance of training and development in building and extending the skills base of the organisation and ensuring it is relevant to the ever-changing business environment. Students will also consider the growing importance of becoming a flexible organisation with an equally flexible labour force, and become familiar with techniques of job design and with different reward systems.The unit investigates the importance of good employee relations and the ways in which employers engage with their staff and possibly with trade unions. Students will gain an understanding of the law governing HRM processes as well as the best practices which enable an employer to become an ‘employer of choice’ in their labour market.

Learning outcomes

LO1 Explain the purpose and scope of Human Resource Management in terms of resourcing an organisation with talent and skills appropriate to fulfil business objectives

The nature and scope of HRM:

  • Definitions of HRM.
  • What are the main functions and activities of HRM.
  • The ‘Best Fit’ approach vs ‘Best Practice’.
  • The hard and soft models of HRM.
  • Workforce planning.
  • Types of labour market, labour market trends and PESTLE.
  • The internal labour market.
  • Analysing turnover, stability and retention.
  • The impact of legal and regulatory frameworks.
  • The impact that advances in technology have had upon improving the efficiency of HR practices.


  • Sources of recruitment: internal vs external recruitment.
  • Job analysis, job descriptions, personal specifications and competency frameworks.

Selection - Main methods of selection:

  • strengths and weaknesses of each. Reliability and validity as key criteria.

On-boarding and induction:

  • The issues affecting successful induction and socialisation of employees.

LO2 Evaluate the effectiveness of the key elements of Human Resource Management in an organisation

Learning, development and training:

  • Differentiating development and training.
  • Identifying training needs − the training gap.
  • Types of training.
  • Evaluation of training.

Job and workplace design:

Reward management:

  • extrinsic and intrinsic rewards from work.
  • The link between motivational theory and reward.
  • Series of job design-job extension techniques.

The flexible organisation:

Types of flexibility:

  • numerical, structural and functional flexibility.
  • Models of flexible organisations (e.g. Handy, Atkinson).
  • Flexible working options in modern organisations.
  • Benefits to employers and benefits to employees of flexible working practices.

Performance and reward:

  • Performance management and methods used to monitor employee performance.
  • Types of payment and reward system.
  • Methods of a determination.

LO3 Analyse internal and external factors that affect Human Resource Management decision-making, including employment legislation

Employee relations:

  • Maintaining good employee relations.
  • Strategies for building and improving employee relations and engagement.

Employee relations and the law:

  • The purpose of employment law.
  • Key legal issues and constraints (e.g. equality, data protection, health and safety, redundancy, dismissal, employment contracts).
  • Ethical and social responsibilities.

Trade unions and workplace representation:

  • The role of trade unions − local/national.
  • Collective agreements.
  • Discipline, grievances and redundancy − best practice.

LO4 Apply Human Resource Management practices in a work-related context

Job and person specifications:

  • Preparing job specifications and person specifications applicable to the recruitment context and needs of the organisations, taking into account legislation and company policies.

Recruitment and selection in practice:

  • The impact of technology on improving the recruitment and selection process; the use of online resources, digital platforms and social networking.
  • Designing and placing job advertisements.
  • Shortlisting and processing applications.
  • Interviewing preparation and best practice.
  • Selection best practice.


  • ARMSTRONG, M. and TAYLOR, S. (2014) Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. 13th Ed. London: Kogan Page.
  • BACH, S. and EDWARDS , M. (2013) Managing Human Resources. Oxford: Wiley.
  • BRATTON, J. and GOLD, J. (2012) Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice. 5th Ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • TORRINGTON, D, et al. (2011) Human Resource Management. 8th Ed. London: Prentice Hall.
  • CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) available at www.cipd.co.uk

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