Container Store’s: Human Resource Management

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Introduction

Human resource management is often regarded as the key aspect of successful business activity. Considering the fact that the strict hierarchy and the delegation system are the most important values of the proper diversified business activity, it should be stated that the proper HR practices generally shape the entire business strategy, which helps any company to operate on the market. The aim of the paper is to examine the Human Resource Management practices of the Container Store’s Customer Service Company from several perspectives. These are leadership and development, management of employee performance and the aspects of improving the business performance by improving the HRM hierarchy and searching for additional perspectives of the business performance. These perspectives will be required for the in depth analysis of the entire business performance and defining the theoretical aspects required for the adjustment of the proper Human Resource Management.

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Company Overview

The company is mainly engaged in the sphere of retail storage and organization, thus, providing the necessary solid basis for effective retail business by arranging the storage and organization services. In order to maintain the effective functioning of the retail service, the company needs to implement the effective HRM practices. From the perspectives of business performance, it should be stated that the values of HRM are closely associated with the proper functioning of the entire mechanism. (Scontrino, 745) Thus, when everyone is performing his or her assigned task effectively, the business performance is highly effective. (Terada, 475) Nevertheless, the company is featured with the flat business performance hierarchy, which reduces the company’s effectiveness. In the light of this statement it should be emphasized that personnel is generally regarded as the key resource of any company. And Budhwar (356) emphasized the following statement:

The role of personnel is particularly important in retail industry, which has a very large amount of employees and which provides a range of services to its customers. The retail human resource environment has its special features: a large number of inexperienced workers, long hours, highly visible employees, many part-time workers, and variations in customer demand. Those features also create difficulties to retailers.

Originally, the company employs people of various origins, and, it should be emphasized that the traditional approaches towards selecting the necessary people were subjected to essential modifications. Thus, the company’s HRM practices presuppose not only selecting people with sufficient retail skills and experience, but also people with effective communication skills. (Meyer, 319) Considering the wide diversity of the retailed goods, the personnel requires experience in various spheres of retail activity. (Thompson, 45) Originally, it should be emphasized that such a diversity of skills and experience requires thorough structuring of the employment hierarchy and the properly defined delegation system. Nevertheless, the hierarchy of the company is flat, which prevents Container Store’s Customer Service from effective development and effective business performance. Considering the fact, that people of various origins are employed by Container Store’s Customer Service, there is a huge potential for structuring the effective hierarchy and delegation system. In the light of this statement, there is strong necessity to emphasize the notion by Gadhoum and Ayadi (191):

The framework of strategic human resource management (HRM) provides guidance into both descriptive and prescriptive lines of questioning. The literatures in strategic management and organization theory have long argued that the fit between business strategies and organizational characteristics is a key determinant of organizational performance. While there have been problems in defining exactly what constitutes “fit”, the general proposition that fit is important has some empirical support and has motivated the emergence of what has become known as strategic HRM.

Consequently, strategic approaches towards HRM require essential improvement. Traditional aspects of strategic improvement are closely associated with the matters of leadership development and management of the performance. Originally, leadership is the key aspect of the hierarchical structure, thus, the company needs to pay particular attention to it. (Gordon, 289)

Leadership Development

The development of extensive leadership practices is required for the effective functioning of the organizational hierarchy and the proper observation of the rules and policies, which form the corporate governance strategy of the company. In accordance with Lengnick-Hall (813), it should be emphasized that strategic approaches of HRM presuppose the arrangement of the policies and strategies, aimed to control the business performance of a company. (Härtel, Bozer anfd Levin, 378) Moreover, the strategic HRM defines the necessary criteria for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the personal performance of every worker. In the light of this statement, it should be claimed that the values of leadership development are closely associated with the matters of coaching development, as well as the development of responsibility structure and delegation system. As it is stated by Mcgovern (203), coaching, in its turn, provides the necessary feedback and the system of performance evaluation, as leaders define the standards and the achievement levels for the employees, and the personnel is getting motivated for achieving the stated standards. (Deshopande and Golhar, 49) Additionally, leaders provide an example for the other personnel how the job should be done. The role of the leader is generally explained by the necessity to unite the team. The key aspects, which should be considered for the development of leadership system:

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  • Leader should define the measures of the relations with personnel and other managers. (Kim and Hong, 199)
  • All the issues and concerns of the team should be regarded and the feedback should be properly arranged. (De Kok, Uhlaner and Thurik, 441)
  • Leader should help other managers to arrange the all round feedback system and provide the free communication system within the team. (McKenna and Richardson, 115)
  • The leader should assists every employee in growing prom personal and professional perspectives, as well as help other managers to motivate their teams, and help them grow. The success of every employee is the task of particular importance for the company (Browning and Edgar, 451)
  • Any leader should motivate the team to initiate ideas and considerations on any matter. Independently on the origin and the background of an idea, a manager should help the team to develop and discuss it. (Mcgovern, 34)
  • Every employee should be granted the wide range of motivational factors and praises. Leader should give everyone what he or she really deserves. If the organization is performing well, the team should know it, and feel involved into this success (Ncube and Wasburn, 77)
  • The leader states the set of expectations and necessities for the company
  • The key task is the arrangement of the continuous improvement for the organization (Barrett and Moores, 363)
  • Make the team wish to grow personally and professionally.

Management of Employee Performance

Management of the performance is the second key aspect of the Human Resource Management. Consequently, the company needs to implement the effective control system for monitoring the performance and defining the weak elements of the entire performance structure. (Mia and Suutari, 345)Originally, the performance management strongly depends on the leadership structure and delegation system, thus, the managers are able to control the process and arrange all the necessary practices, required for the effective control. In general, the employees’ performance is divided into six components:

  • Compensation – the motivational factor for controlling the workers’ performance (Brewster, 456)
  • Training is required for improving the quality of the performed assignments
  • Staffing is the most complex aspect, as it requires psychological approach for selecting the proper workers for accomplishing proper assignments.
  • Hiring and selection part is responsible for employing the necessary people and defining their potential usefulness for the company. Additionally, it requires defining their capabilities for the further qualification improvement and learning (Bjerke, 207)
  • Workplace governance is close with the aspects of leadership within the team. Thus, the key aim of governance is the arrangement of effective work by incorporating the effective delegation system and responsibility structure
  • Work Organization is the aspect of defining the set of assignments and responsibilities for everyone (Bargerstock, 520)

Originally, the elements of the performance control and management require unified strategy and the implementation of the values, associated with traditional aspects of the HRM practices. Thus, as Newcom and Stoker (106) emphasizes:

Having recruited ‘outstanding human talent’, employers need to ensure that these people remain at the forefront of their field, not only in terms of professional expertise and product knowledge but also through working in teams or in interpersonal relations. This is one of the elements in ‘organizational process advantage’. There is little doubt that there has been a growing recognition of the importance of individual and organizational learning as a source of sustained competitive advantage as employers introduce more skills specific forms of training and experience continuing skills shortages in some areas.

Consequently, the aspects of management require strategic HRM approaches, and the implementation of the traditional components described. Thus, the HR strategic management requires joint approaches and control of the performance from the perspectives of leadership and traditions of delegation structure. (Casillas and Acedo, 141)

Hierarchy Improvement

In order to solve the HR problems associated with the hierarchy of the personnel, there is strong necessity to analyze the set of assignments and tasks, appointed for everyone. (Harvey, 36) Considering the fact that the Container Store’s Customer Service Company operates in several retail spheres, the improvement measures will be associated with defining the horizontal and vertical network of responsibilities. Originally, the key value of this network is the allocation of responsibilities and forces, aimed at effective accomplishment of the maximal amount of working tasks. Thus, the personnel should be divided into groups, each operating in any particular retail sphere with a leader, who will be responsible for the motivation of the workers, and allocation of the assignments. (Lichtenstein, 789) Additionally, the groups will be united into departments, and departments will act as a single company, pursuing the traditional aims of the effective business performance.

In accordance with the research by Wortham (21), the proper HRM hierarchy defines the close-to-operation aspect of business performance:

Theoretically, a senior HR representative should be present when an organization’s corporate objectives are devised. This is so, since it is a firm’s personnel who actually construct a good, or provide a service. The personnel’s proper management is vital in the firm being successful, or even existing as a going concern. Thus, HR can be seen as one of the critical departments within the functional area of an organization.

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In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that the theoretical perspective of defining the hierarchy of the business performance will depend on the leadership strategy and the principles of managing the employees’ performance. The structure of leadership will define the principles of governing the team and the relations between management and employees, and the management principles presuppose the control of the performance. (Teo and Crawford, 671) Consequently, the company will need to pay particular attention to solving the strategic aspects of the HRM previously to solving the problems of flat hierarchy. The company needs restructuring, and this restructuring will be started from defining the persons responsible for accomplishment of the everyday tasks and those, who will be able to become leaders and control the subordinates. (Minter and Thomas, 25)

Conclusion

The HRM practices and strategy in Container Store’s Customer Service Company requires essential changes and modifications from several perspectives. Originally, the most important aspect of the further changes is closely associated with hierarchy and managerial structure of the company. Thus, the flat structure requires solid leadership structure and delegation system, which will help to arrange the responsibility system. The next aspect is the control of the employee performance and the implementation of the effective management practices. This is required for proper control of the performance and defining the real capabilities of the company, as well as setting the standards and borders of the business activity.

Works Cited

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Barrett, Mary, and Ken Moores. “Spotlights and Shadows: Preliminary Findings about the Experiences of Women in Family Business Leadership Roles.” Journal of Management and Organization 15.3 (2009): 363

Bjerke, Björn. Business Leadership and Culture National Management Styles in the Global Economy. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar, 1999.

Brewster, Chris, and Hilary Harris, eds. International HRM: Contemporary Issues in Europe. New York: Routledge, 1999.

Browning, Vicky, and Fiona Edgar. “Reactions to Hrm: an Employee Perspective from South Africa and New Zealand.” Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management 10.2 (2004): 451

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Budhwar, Pawan S., and Yaw A. Debrah, eds. Human Resource Management in Developing Countries. London: Routledge, 2001.

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McKenna, Steve, Parbudyal Singh, and Jules Richardson. “The Drunkard’s Search: Looking for ‘hrm’ in All the Wrong Places.” Management International Review 48.1 (2008): 115

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Ncube, Lisa B., and Mara H. Wasburn. “Strategic Collaboration for Ethical Leadership: A Mentoring Framework for Business and Organizational Decision Making.” Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 13.1 (2006): 77

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Wortham, Gregory L. “Business Structure Considerations for Diversified Activities.” Management Quarterly 39.2 (1998): 21

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