Human Resource Planning the Organization Unilever

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Introduction

Good leaders have visions of the future that inspire performance. They can communicate their visions effectively to others while relating to others on an interpersonal level to ensure the achievement of their visions. The assignment aims to collect the data and evaluate current HR practices and approaches used by Unilever. The objectives are to use current theories and methodologies to analyze Unilever’s practices and propose possible improvements for the HR department.

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The report analyses current strategies and techniques used by the HR department of Unilever and proposes new methods and tools for recruiting and selection procedures. In a modern business environment, performance tests help companies to analyze and examine competitive moves and create unique practices in order to compete in the market. The primary objective of applying new recruiting and selection techniques is to supply management with the practices that deliver customer value. The increased competitive pressures created by markets have led to a number of new analytic techniques.

Research Methodology

For this research, primary and secondary data will be used. The research adopts a mixed methodology approach in data collection involving the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The primary data will be collected through the interview method and direct observations. This method is the most common in HR research and allows companies to gather information from different sources and diverse population groups. The interviews will be conducted at Unilever and will involve 10 employees working in the HR department in London. Once interview data have been collected, one can determine how well the interview explains certain underlying constructs related to the purpose of the interview. The secondary data will be collected based on theoretical literature about Unilever, and theoretical studies related to the human resource management and planning process (Oppenheim, 1992).

Organizational Background

Organization planning is a systematic, planned change effort. Modern managers see a need for a long-range, coordinated strategy to develop organizational climates, ways of work, relationships, communication systems, and information systems to deal with both predictable and unpredictable occurrences. To some extent, organization development involves a systematic analysis of the organization and recognition of the need to understand and effectively deal with change. It also involves strategic thinking and the development of an improvement plan. Further, HR planning includes the entrepreneurial and entrepreneurial activities of resources to carry out the strategic plan. Organization development is an effort that is planned, organization-wide, and managed from the top (Campbell, 997).

Industry Background

The retail industry is one of the most dynamic and fast-growing industries in the world. At present, all the retailers have been affected by the emergence of the one-world marketplace. Some decades ago it was expected that by 1992 twelve nations of the European Community, namely Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, and a newly united Germany would merge into a united market of 350 million people of different nations united by a common currency and a pent-up appetite for consumer goods and services. This is almost exactly what the modern market can observe now. New retailing concepts which appear every day attract the attention of retail traders and consumers from different countries. This leads to a cross-border flow of ideas that is often expedited by personal visits and observations by retailers. Still, long-standing contrasts persist, rooted in deep-seated cultural differences.

The UK is strongly influenced by new concepts in the retail industry. Its regional free trade structure allows the government to address rural demands, stabilize expectations, and moderate domestic perceptions of the risks of trade liberalization. Unilever is one of the organizations through which these demands and expectations are met. This is why the department responsible for marketing activities of Unilever across the country was located in London. Currently, this division involves 1200 employees.

Company Information: The Company, The Product, And The Market

Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch company founded in 1911 by William Lever. Today, Unilever is the largest producer of branded consumer goods operating in around 100 countries worldwide with 227,000 employees. Unilever is designed to assist this market by providing timely and critical market intelligence necessary to aid in strategic and tactical planning for the fast-growing market in the world. With time Unilever is planning to enter a new market that covers cancer patients.

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The management of the company keeps to an idea that “the greater the perceived consumer value, the better the strategy”. Currently, Unilever employs about 180,000 people around the globe; each of these employees takes care of consumers and their needs through manufacturing products of high quality. The company produces food, personal care, and home care products. The most famous food brands of Unilever Company are The Becel/Flora which offers consumers heart-healthy products, Lipton, the world-famous tea brand, Knorr, Bertolli, Rama, Hellman’s, and others. The company’s personal care brands include Axe, Dove, Rexona, Lux, Sunsilk, and others. The main home care brands are Cif, Omo, Radiant, Domestos, Sunlight, and Surf. There exist numerous global markets in which the company operates. The most widespread are North America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Western Europe, and Latin America (Unilever, 2008).

Vision & Mission

The Unilever management made vision and mission a core philosophy of the company: “Our mission is to add Vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene, and personal care”. Unilever has a strong statement of mission because this ensures consistency and clarity of purpose and stimulates understanding and support from without. The vision of Unilever can be expressed in the following statement: “Vitality means different things to different people. Some see it as energy; others view it more broadly as a healthy state of body and mind – of feeling alive” (http://www.unilever.com 2008).

HR Department and its Role

The HR department in London (England) consists of 10 employees. The task of the department is to recruit, train, motivate, promote, reward, and support employees. Each dependent manager is responsible for the complete operation of his/her organization, including planning its growth in sales and profits. These managers constantly get ideas for improving their respective product lines either through internal developments or through the acquisition of other companies in related businesses. This is an important part of their general management function. However, unless their authority to investigate, evaluate, and negotiate for the acquisition of a promising company is circumscribed thoughtfully, unforeseen and undesirable company liabilities can be created quite innocently.

Organization’s HRP & Strategy

Organization’s Strategic Plans and Objectives

The main goal of Unilever is to create a favorable environment for diverse employees. Its strategic plans are to support all the employees and eliminate gender and racial differences. The management of the company is perfectly aware of the diversity of its personnel: “Unilever understands the importance of diversity and that’s why it is a critical component of our business strategy and an integral part of everything we value and do”. At Unilever, aspects of corporate identity include the values, the history, the coping and defense mechanisms, the decision strategies, the self-imposed rules and regulations, the habits, the norms, the goals, the attributions, and the self-evaluations. Its manifestations include symbols, rituals, ideologies, language, stories, myths, assumptions, relationships, and humor. The goal of Unilever is to keep and support this unique corporate culture and positive employee relations.

Role of Different Departments Staff in Achieving the Objectives

Each of the staff members contributes to organizational objectives and goals fulfillment. Different departments are provided to workers during orientation and specific job training. It is one of the management’s ways of providing leadership, particularly if the procedures and their methods of presentation and follow-up are consistent with policies and principles. “Good” corporation values, in broad terms, might include closeness to the customer, respect for the individual, innovations, and entrepreneurship, leadership, and the organization’s impact on society.

Definition of HRP

Human resource planning can be defined as an increased ability of managers to evaluate, select, and implement alternative approaches to the financing and delivery of the public services that the company requires. It can positively influence the efficiency of the company, the improvement, and simplification of selected service delivery functions, and the financial viability of individual agencies and jurisdictions (Armstrong, M. (2001).

HR Policies and Procedures of Uniliver and Strategic Objective

Strategies Activities
Policies business orientation policy, “the Code of Business Principles, the Code of Ethics for Senior Financial Officers, the Compliance Manual for Listing Rules and Disclosure and Transparency Rules (including the Unilever Share Dealing Code), the Risk Management Policy, the Corporate Pensions Policy, and the Accounting and Reporting Policy”.
Strategic Objectives develop staff, propose effective training programs, career development, personal growth strategies,
Cultural diversity Eliminate cultural diversity problems and introduce cultural training,
Organizational strategies sustain strong corporate culture and values, positive climate, and effective communication

Source: ” (http://www.unilever.com 2008).

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The company has got well laid down policies and procedures about human resource recruitment and selection. The recruitment starts with an application form that contains several questions. The forms are assessed by a qualified assessor before the senior managers see the successful forms.

The next procedure involves a telephone interview. The finance department applicants undertake psychometric tests involving finance for them to qualify.

The selection phase involves the formation of a selection committee that undertakes a number of activities. These include simulation, discussions, individual interviews, and presentations.

The selection process also involves the use of a case study to ensure that the individual selected is conversant with the business environment.

Critical analysis of HR Policies and Procedures

HR policies and procedures Analysis
Training Unilever effectively uses training programs for all staff members to reduce skills shortages and lack of knowledge.
Career development Career development programs cover all employees and managerial staff despite their gender or racial differences.
Organizational activities (positive climate and male) These are the day-to-day operating instructions that follow from the policies, often, if not always, specifying the technology that is to be used in achieving the desired results. To effect the standardization and control for which procedures are designed, they are presented in a specific format conveying information for a particular action to be taken.

Source: ” (http://www.unilever.com 2008).

SWOT Analysis

Strengths
  • Well formulated human resource recruitment strategy
  • Strong organizational culture
  • A good relationship between employees and the management
  • Product diversity
Weaknesses
  • Cultural diversity amongst a country of operation
  • Increased chance of counterfeit products venturing the market
Opportunities
  • Strong financial base
  • Increase the chance of investing in employee training
Threats
  • Increased competition
  • The threat of monopolization of the industry due to increased effect of the union

Source (http://www.unilever.com 2008).

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Contribution of My Department to HR Planning

The logistics department plays a crucial role in an organization’s marketing delivering goods and raw materials from suppliers to the end consumers. It proposes new training programs for its employees and reports possible difficulties in staff training and skills shortage. The goals and objectives of this department are finding the resources and implementing the strategies that may foster the development of the company and help it distribute its products successfully.

HR Planning and Success of Logistics Department

HR department makes it imperative for planning to be a continuous activity, especially responsive to measurement indicators and feedback monitors. The logistics department needs an operating system within which the goals and objectives can be implemented and the impact on Workers and Work can be tracked. Principles that reflect values, policies that implement principles, and procedures that implement policies are the day-to-day activities of the operating system. A conscious recognition and means must exist to resolve the problems that inevitably occur between various components of the operating system.

HR Plan for the Organization/Department

PESTEL Analysis

Indicators Macro-environmentalfactors
Political/legal Trade union legislation and correct actions create negative publicity for Unilever1, which means that it is not dependent on any political and legal indicators. The company has never made any expenditure for political purposes this is why it is unlikely to get involved with this sphere in future
Economic The economic position of the company allows it to invest in HR and training programs. The company’s functioning at the global markets strengthens its economic development allowing it to conclude international agreements and gain world-wide recognition
Socio-demographic Socio-demographically, the company faces the issue of cultural diversity and, sometimes, discrimination. If the management implements policies covering these issues, the socio-demographic problem will be resolved
Technological The company has outlined its strategy in a way that would help it to reach its goal.2This is why the industry constantly improves communication and IT management by applying numerous technologies to facilitate the working process and increase the outputs

(http://www.unilever.com 2008)

Impact of various Factors on HRP

At Unilever, HRP depends upon internal and external factors. Such internal factors as personnel productivity and motivation seem to be of the major concern of the company’s management because they need experienced personnel able “to anticipate and respond to changes in the marketplace”. If the personnel is unproductive, the company may feel insecure this is why the management should make the employees motivated (this is usually achieved by better working conditions and higher salaries). The main external factors are technological developments and the need for experienced personnel. The latter can be easily coped with due to the company’s cultural diversity. The former, however, is more complicated to deal with, because the company will have to spare out money for technological development. On the other hand, these investments will bring a significant return with time making the manufacture more modernized.

Labor Market

The labor market of Unilever is extremely diverse. The company saw the modification of recruitment policies already in the 1980s when concerns arose regarding the growing volatility in the labor market. This was when women started to be employed as managers and when management trainees entered the company. These days, due to the company’s divisions functioning in underdeveloped and developing countries, such as India and Africa, it is often blamed for abusing child labor. Unilever denies that any of its divisions use child labor because it is strongly opposed to child labor. The company’s labor market consists exceptionally of experienced professional workers entering the labor market at will.

Organization’s Audit Matrix of Current Staff

Issue Data
Number of employees Currently, Unilever (England, division located in London City) employs 1200, employees.
Qualification The majority of the staff are sales personnel and managers. Also, a small percentage includes accountants and auditors, engineers, and IT professionals.
Skills and knowledge The majority of staff are qualified professionals with more than 3 years of job experience.

(<http://www.unilever.com 2009)

Vacancy Identification/ Demand and Availability Forecast

Current vacancies are sales managers in the London division and an accountant position. Using Forecasting and Statistical Analysis methods, it is possible to say that Unilever will need an additional number of IT professionals and sales managers. The company works on new projects based on Internet solutions and IT.

Forecast for Sales Managers and IT professionals in London

Sales Managers IT Professionals
Restricted hiring 3 1
Reduced hours 4 hours a week Increased 3 hours a week
Early retirement 5 employees during the next year 1
Layoffs 2 4

(<http://www.unilever.com 2009)

There is a high turnover rate concerning sales managers which means that there is a creation of new demand within the company. The table shows that 5 employees in sales and 1 employee in the IT field will retire during the next year. To avoid a shortage of staff in the future, Unilever should hire new people and train them by the needs and demands of the department.

HR Budgeting concerning Strategic Goals

HR planning should involve not only goal setting and environmental analysis, but it must also serve as a means of intervening in the policy-making process. Indirect influence techniques such as information dissemination, persuasion, and consultation provide a strong base for influence in the early stages of policymaking. However, initiation of the change in the public sector must evolve from creative strategic planning styles. Innovative and advocacy planning are two such styles. During the next year, Unilever will need £4 billion for salaries. Also, it will need £1 billion for advertising and training, career promotion, and development programs.

Job Descriptions for Identified Jobs

Description for Technology Intelligence Manager

Location Wirral, Port Sunlight Laboratory
Description Fulltime
Duties and responsibilities “(1) Building strong relationships with key R&D customers to help establish priorities.
(2) Personally delivering Technology Intelligence to customers e.g. scouting in support of Open Innovation.
(3) Building and developing the team and its capabilities to maximize impact. This includes bringing in the latest leading-edge tools, as well as building strong relationships with internal business partners (both from R&D and other functions”.
Skills Good communication skills, Technology Orientation, Information-literate, computer-based knowledge, good analytical skills, External Orientation,
Qualifications – Degree in a scientific/technical / engineering subject or equivalent
– Higher degree eg. MSc/Ph.D./MBA is a bonus but not essential

Account Manager

Location London
Description Part-time
Duties and responsibilities
  1. work across several exciting and leading teams
  2. Tech, B2B, and consumer communication skills.
  3. the applicant will have good media relations and have a nose for news.
  4. prepare financial statements and financial reports of the department, and cooperate with project managers and other employees involved in budget planning and control.
  5. The working schedule is flexible, 24 hours a week
Skills Good communication skills, high sense of responsibility, computer-based knowledge
Qualifications – MS in accounting

(http://www.unilever.com 2009)

Recruitment and Selection Plan

Existing Recruitment Process and Review

Unilever follows traditional recruitment practices involving newspapers and the Internet.

Process Flow Diagram for Recruitment
Figure 1. Process Flow Diagram for Recruitment

(http://www.unilever.com 2009)

Employers need to share with prospective workers both the advantages and disadvantages of employment in their organization. This includes providing information about, the job opportunity and the workplace setting in which it occurs, the vision and mission of the organization, the functional performance levels needed to accomplish the outputs, the working conditions: effort, responsibility, environment; growth opportunities: educational support, promotions, compensation and accommodations the employer makes to meet special needs. This information can be provided by brochure, interview, video, or some combination of these modalities. This open and forthcoming approach at the first meeting lays a foundation for trust that becomes a vital element in future productivity (Unilever, 2008).

New Recruitment and Selection Plan

The main steps will involve planning, the establishment of merit criteria, and the assessment of the plan. To consider this basic information in some depth, HR managers should organize information into six main areas. These areas are a description of the job position and place of work, the vision and mission of the department and the aims that flow from its purpose, the functional levels needed to achieve the outputs of the department, the working conditions-physical, setting, social, as well as effort, responsibility, and type of management–in which the work will be done, the career opportunities, including training, personal development, promotion, and compensation and the accommodations the department is prepared to make for disabilities, daycare, flextime, and the like.

When the applicants are interviewed, the HR manager will analyze their personalities and make appointments. After the waiting period, the person who fits the position best will be hired.

Process Chart for the Plan
Figure 2. Process Chart for the Plan

Key Result Areas and Timelines

To introduce the new recruitment and selection techniques, Unilever will have to spend 1 month and recruit 2 HR professionals in this field. It is highly suited for structured interviewing and performance testing, as well as for types of paper-and-pencil testing that focus on the experience or task preference. The behavioral predictor ensures reliability, validity, and little or no adverse impact against minority groups3. The reliability of these methods consists in the anonymity of the testing system, which will help to avoid biased attitude towards the candidates; the validity consists in the fact that the information will be obtained from the candidates themselves both orally and in writing that would minimize falseness regarding the previous working experience and already existing skills (Robertson, 2009).

Choice of Selection Methods and Rationale for These

The main selection methods are unstructured interviews and CVs analysis. Unstructured interviews lack focus and are poor at identifying the best candidates for a job or promotion. Structured interviews, on the other hand, ask job-relevant questions that can considerably improve an employer’s ability to select the best candidate. This section discusses how JFA (Functional Job Analysis) can be used to structure an interview so that employers selected or promote the right person. It also shows how to use JFA to present a realistic job preview during the interview, thus promoting applicant self-selection and contributing to a more satisfied worker.

Monitoring the Effectiveness of the Proposed Recruitment and Selection Process

The interviews with 10 people will take place after standardized psychological and performance testing. The control technique will be based on a comparison between previous methods and new methods introduced by the HR department. The main criteria will include time, effectiveness, and effective assessment of skills and knowledge. This procedure will allow defining which methods applied by the HR department are more efficient and which give better results regarding the proficiency of the recruited personnel (Robbins & Mayo, 2009).

Conclusion

The analysis of Unilever (England London city) revealed that HR planning is vital for its success, effective performance, and recruiting and selection procedures. New recruiting programs, proposed for the HR department, will inevitably lead to job changes and recasting of employee skills. It is advised for the management of the company to follow all the abovementioned techniques to ensure proper development and performance of the company.

Recommendation

It is assumed that the proposed strategies will help Unilever (England, London) to get the desired outcome and introduce necessary changes in recruiting and selection procedures. The nature and focus of the HR practices process should ensure that the means of creating and delivering value to the job applicants are improved. One major point of difference in the figure is that the selection procedure focuses on “practices” that satisfy HR needs. The proposed changes in HR practices will provide a logical and equitable change approach.

To improve recruiting and selection methods, Unilever should introduce the performance-testing technique. Step 1 the applicants will be required to fulfill the task connected with their past job experiences. Step 2 the applicants’ responses will be evaluated by trained observers according to criteria of effectiveness identified for that job. For instance, the criteria for a salesperson in a work simulation would be to remain calm and polite in dealing with a rude and verbally abusive customer. Step 3 the behavioral sample will consist of an interaction between the prospective salesperson and a difficult customer–possibly a trained actor –under conditions closely approximating the job. The evidence for the person’s future job performance will be direct and behavioral. This technique is advantageous for both the company and job seekers. Many applicants prefer performance tests because they give a real-life preview of the job and encourage self-selection.

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