HR Strategy Retail. The Principle of Building HR Strategy

Introduction

To begin with it is necessary to emphasize that the Retail co has experienced essential changes within the recent years in the sphere of HR strategy. In spite of the tough competition in the sphere of retailing, the company succeeded in changing its profile from a relatively traditional market player into a dynamically developing company, with high profits and strong assurance in the stable future of the company. The business is focused on operating in the grocery retail sector with approximately 700 departments across the UK and 10 000 workers.

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The highest quality of the goods is the number one priority, as the wellbeing of the company directly depends on customers’ satisfaction. As for the HR principles which are implemented are mainly focused on part time workers, as they help to cut off expenses for the company. It is generally explained by the fact that part time workers do not work over time, thus they do not attract premiums for working over time. Full-timers are disregarded for this.

The company operates in the sector with high competence, where everything changes ever faster and the world of marketing and advertisement has become a part of the everyday life. This makes it essentially significant to employ people with the necessary skills and the necessary attitude towards the job they perform. Moreover, the HR policy should provide an opportunity for development, for both the company and the workers as the company is required to grow and increase the competitive strength. Focusing on part-timers helps to cut off the expenses and thus increase the competitiveness on the market.

Moreover, high turnovers of the part-time workers slightly increases the awareness of the Retail co within the citizens. HR manager states that company is focused on working with employees, thus, the company believes in a systematic, long-term approach that encourages participation. For the steady development and successful work with the employees, the company has implemented the principle which is known as PMD (People Management and Development). Over the past year, the company was concentrated on implementing the global HR principles to most of the departments across the UK.

HR Events and Strategies

The events, which have essentially influenced the company’s performance on the market are closely linked with the changes in HR strategy. Originally, the company chose to focus on part time workers and constant replacement of the full-timers. The HR+ policy essentially increased the performance of the team, as the main aim o this strategy is to increase the communication within the team, honesty and respect among all the workers. Thus, the company managed to cut-off the expenses for salary, maintain trustful relations with the respected trade union and increase the productivity of the team.

Manipulation of HR policy to achieve performance targets can be seen through the deployment of customer service assistants at The Riverside. Customer service assistants are an initiative introduced by head office designed to deliver on customer service pledges and stores are provided with some additional financial resources to fund their employment. However, store-level managers at The Riverside view the employment of customer service assistants as somewhat extravagant at a time when they are attempting to implement competing corporate strategies of cost reduction and quality enhancement. (Fulton, Burns 2005)

After several years of use and numerous training arrangements, the PMD process and principle show essential improvements. Forbes and Piercy (2006) emphasize that goal and development sessions with employees improve clarity in both the short and long term and long term and encourage increased participation. Most of the processes and practices were transformed into the HR+ strategy, which I regarded as the Group’s personal administration tool, where managers and employees are able to use it. Originally, the documentation for the employees’ skills development requirements is incorporated in a single system. Consequently, it is not difficult to get a comprehensive picture of overall requirements. This launches the principles of the more strategic development work.

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While there is no much evidence of HR strategy at Retail co exists, there is an assurance to strategic-level HR with the personnel director having full director status. Reporting to the employees’ director is the retail personnel director who supervises HR activities in the retail processes. The retail personnel director believes there are a number of HR challenges for Retail co entailing the following points:

  • Increasing productivity at minimum cost to the organization, but minimizing work intensification for employees.
  • Maintaining a constructive relationship with the recognized trade union. Balancing the ratio of full- and part-time staff effectively.

The retail employee team director suggests that improved workforce stability by the means of management of an optimum ratio of part-time to full-time employees may be regarded as the solution of the named challenges. The consequential policy is an aim to augment the number of full-time workers: “If we employ more full timers, we can better deliver our customer service promises” stated the Retail Personnel Director.

Originally, the policy is grounded on the suggestion that workers who are engaged in prolonged working shifts (and work longer hours) are more devoted, consequently, they will deliver an increased quality of customer service than the employees who work only several hours a week. The other policies entail the scheme of shared options, which is regarded as the attempts to improve employee communication, a performance assessment tool for everyone, and corporate customer service training programs.

Retail co aims to endorse a culture that liberates up personal and group potential for finest performance. This not only relates to the working process, but also to the attitudes, approaches and the ability to find new solutions, do the best and minimize the failures and risks which potentially can result in serious failure. ”Foresight, integrity, courage to stand up for ourselves and insight about the consequences of our actions are just a few of the personal traits that we encourage in employees, and which help create a Group with world-class employees”, ‑ emphasize the retailing manager of the Retail co

Improvement

Retail co builds it principles in order to improve and adapt the recruitment principles and processes to the realities of the company’s work. Originally, these principles are based on the steady evaluation of the recruitment processes and comparing them to the performance of the employees. From this point of view the policy of the company presupposes that all the appointments are required to be advertised internally.

Recently, the company has implemented the strategy of digital advertising, which is the part of HR+ strategy. The company’s strategy, taking into account the skills of the workers and the issues of external recruiting is based on the values, that there should be high response level, and extensive feedback among employers and employees. Initiative forces, a wish to take the responsibility and the capability to share an experience with someone and the ability to study are highly appreciated.

Originally, part time workers consider they do not require these skills, as it is not their primary work, however, the company encourages them to study, share experience and improve friendly contacts for extensive communication, as it is the basis of company’s stability and growth. The new strategy includes the requirement for seeking solutions for any problem, apply the creative approach, respect the other workers, independently on the hierarchy and position, show honesty, thus contributing to company’s blossom.

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The further improvement, that will be required for the company is the refuse from traditional time clock schedule. As the majority of the workers work part time, the traditional scheme is uncomfortable. The alternative will be the individual reporting on all the deviations from the normal working hour. The employees should be trained for the new reporting system. In order to increase the response and improve the workers’ organizational skills, the company will have to arrange the data base with direct access to workers’ data which they voluntarily provided. The company should expect more from the employees to improve customer service and beat off the competition, but the team is confined to the same, if not lower, budgets so we just have to work harder. (Huselid, 2003)

Originally, these strategies were adopted for the minimization of routine operations associated with the Human Resource management. The HR+ principles decreased the intensification of the work performed by the retail personnel manager. The first step of HR+ implementation was the division of the recruitment levels. Currently, there are the several levels of recruitment. These levels at the Riverside are driven solely by the budgets adjusted by the central office.

The wage budget arrangement is the central indicator, which reveals the real situation in the financial sphere, and points out, whether there is an opportunity and necessity to hire new employers. However, in order to keep employment budgets under control and properly balanced, the chief manager at initiates a recruitment freeze in order to reduce costs. It is stated that the restriction on employment is controlled by the expectation that part-timers which are available to offer flexibility by the means of working additional shifts to cover employment shortfall:

The Riverside is a strange animal when it comes to recruitment. Recruitment is financially controlled so you can look at the wage costs and look ahead to the budget squeeze and so you don’t recruit and flex up the part timers. Then there is a desperate shortage of employees and so there is a mad rush to recruit”, ‑ Stated the Training Manager of the Riverside. (Olian, Durham, 2004)

The attempts to establish leadership in the team (both formal and informal) are aimed to promote the development of the necessary skills among workers and their inspiration to develop leadership skills. It is stated that the People Management and Development will go on playing crucial role in the skills development efforts, however, the content and the sub-strategies of PMD are being developed at the moment.

Nevertheless, several principles have been already implemented, and the initiation of innovative HR policies have already resulted in the increased productivity, empowered communication among employees and the extensive feedbacks. As chief HR manager stated: “Action plans describing the organization’s skills development, together with the employees’ individual development plans, in accordance with the PMD process, will provide a valuable platform for establishing priorities and decisions in the area.” (Sparrow, Brewster, 2007)

Communication in HR

The issues of communication for achieving of the aims of effective communication between people corporations and community at general is essential for life and business to run smoothly. Communication entails numerous factors and details. Retail co communication actions are generally divided into large and small, and, independently of the scale of these actions, communication is aimed to help the Group attain its main goals. From this point of view, the communication tool is an integral part of the HR policy of the Retail co, and an important management tool for the overall marketing strategy. Originally, the communication tools are deeply incorporated into the business strategy, so it is not viewed as a separate activity. Every communication tool is based of the following principles:

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Active

Retail co is obliged to be active on the market. This activity presupposes dealing with other market players, interested parties and stakeholders in order to provide an accurate, up to date image of the Company. As far as possible, communication should be proactive.

Open

Both internal and external communication strategy implementations should be featured by transparency. All the significant and the most essential events, including positive and negative, small and large-scale should be communicated and particularly emphasized if this communication does not contradict with the issues of security and confidentiality.

Correct

The information which is communicated, as well as communication process itself should be correct and accurate, in order the company did not loss its reputation and trust of customers and companions. Originally, it should also be adjusted for the recipient in order to ensure the information will be understood correctly.

Wildman (2005) emphasized the following fact: “Communication activities should be characterized by a comprehensive view and coordination with other efforts to promote the Group’s interests. Perstorp’s goal, strategy and profi le should be conveyed in a uniform manner. Communication activities in the Perstorp Group can be divided either by recipient or by time perspective. Internally, we aim to promote our culture based on our values, while externally, our brand is based on our vision and business objectives.

From this point of view it should be mentioned that at a day-to-day level the company aims to arrange the dialogue and the communication process of information and news, for the employees (internal communication) as well as to customers, companions, competitors etc.(external communication) The diagram below shows how Retail co communication processes is arranged:

Retail co communication processes

Social Assistance

Social assistance issues in Retail co are generally linked with the matter of health care and recreation. In spite of the fact that in other companies this assistance also entails vacations, corporative parties, discounts for some services etc, Retail co is focused only on health care. The fact is that, there is no necessity to arrange wide social support for the part-time workers, and, even in spite of the broadly supported communication strategy, the company does not wish to use corporative parties as the tool for communication improvement.

Thompson (2007) stated the following: “Traditionally, workplace health issues are focused on the physical working environment. In recent years the increased focus has been placed on the psycho-social working environment. In most companies, we see organizational efficiency, good leadership and a favorable psycho-social environment as central components for employee health and well-being. People Satisfaction gives us an indication of how our employees feel, both physically and psychologically. Moreover, this is also featured as another important indicator is the PMD strategy.

From this point of view it is necessary to mention that the very essential factor of the secure working environment is the widely arranged health care support. Retail co and Riverside are

Retail co generally focuses on the health of the person and pays attention not only to physical, but also moral health. Lawler and Mohrman (2005) describes that the employees are offered fitness activities, which are also associated with safety activities. A Health and Safety Day has been introduced to provide exercise for all employees. A keep-fit group works with a range of activities such as lunch walks, gym workouts, spinning etc. (Huselid, 2006).

Workers are also offered yoga training and various relaxing activities like recreation hikes and picnics. Some Riverside departments also offers their workers to pay for their gym membership. The company is focused on the approach for fitness activities as these activities are regarded as an important step in its long-term efforts to reduce sick leave figures.

Fitness activities are of the highest priority for the company’s present and the future. Originally, completely new alcohol and drug policy were elaborated and introduced, according to which the employees are encouraged to give up smoking and reduce the consumption of alcohol at the retailing units. There is the basic principle “addiction out – employees in” stays the essence of the health care policy. Management and employee training efforts increase awareness regarding addiction, thus increasing capabilities for assisting people concerned. (Davidson, Newman 2006)

Safety as a Part of HR

Safety is another priority sphere where all production sites will work very actively to prevent accidents that can cause sick leave. This is part of the Group’s ongoing improvement efforts. Safety at Retail co is a priority area, not least in production, where risk factors are highest. Safety, handling of goods, transport and storage, maintenance work and service – there are numerous situations where the company should be aware of what we are doing and not put ourselves or others at risk. As emphasized in the company’s policy, top priority spheres for skills development in 2004 were working environment, risk management and safety.

Consequently, the observation of safety measures is included into working statute, which should be thoroughly observed. Active efforts are underway at production sites around the world to prevent accidents by surveying, analyzing and preventing accidents basing on previous incident reports. Over the past several years, much work has been done to decrease the amount of accidents, focusing on Lost Time Accident Rate approach. (Forbes, Piercy 2006)

Training, risk analysis and a range of protective measures cannot prevent all accidents. Only single-minded, determined safety efforts, combined with personal responsibility and awareness on the part of each employee, can help us avoid this. On a positive note, the number of LTARs has fallen drastically since 2006, which is a step on the road to completely eliminating accidents. (Gratton, Hailey 2005)

Conclusion

Retail co is a market leader in certain areas of retail and grocery markets. The products of this company are the important additives for the cattle breeding and agricultural industries as well as the food technologies. Finally, it is necessary to mention that the HR policy which is held by the company is the result of thorough and well managed process, as the strategy entails numerous factors, which are incorporated in it, and offers various opportunities for the development for the company as well as for the employees. It is necessary to mention that such multi-angled strategy requires proper management, as it is difficult to control all the spheres, linked with health care, safety and working policies for a single team, consequently, HR strategy should be properly managed and controlled.

As for the issues of the future plans, the information is not acceptable, as the company prefers not to publish such kind of data, as it is protected by the principles of privacy, and the disclosure of such information will cause difficulties, if the competitors implement the principles of Retail co’s successful strategy.

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