People Power: Driving Fashion Forward

Introduction

The dynamic nature of the business environment has shifted the focus of organisations from success based on the capital and asset based of organisations to success based on intangible assets and more so the human resource as it is people working in an organisation who determine how competitive it is compared to its rivals. This therefore makes Human Resource Management an extremely important part of an organization as it determines the relationships that persist between the organisation and staff members. Human Resource Management refers to the strategic and rational approach taken by an organisation’s management in dealing with the members working the organisation (Sharma 2009, pp. 1). Many organisations have resorted to the People Power approach as a HRM tool as it recognises the major role employees play in determining the future of the business. It deals with employee related issues such as recruiting, hiring, training, compensating, managing and developing employees within the organisation among other associated functions.

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Human Resource Management Approach

The human resource management approach involves using various strategies to ensure the above mentioned duties are accomplished in relation to the organization’s goals. These strategies include: Combining both the Hard strategy, which seeks to benefit from the competitive advantage an organisation acquires when its employees continue working in the organisation in for long periods of time, and the Soft strategy which seeks to build employees morals and high levels of trust for the organisation (Bratton & Gold 2001, pp. 26). In employing this strategy, Fashion Forward will manage to make its employees feel like part of the organisation and in return achieve a high degree of commitment and productivity for them which will enhance the overall performance of the marketing department. The HRM approach views employees as a central part of the organisation and therefore seeks to create a working environment that encourages them to grow and accords them the right of participation in the running of the organisation for example by allowing them to contribute to the process of decision making in the organisation (Armstrong 2006, pp. 19). Most of the interaction between Fashion Forward and its clients takes place through the marketing department employees and from this interaction they acquire different kinds of input from the clients. Such information is invaluable to an organisation and can only be relayed to the appropriate authority by employees if they are allowed to participate in decision making processes. The HRM approach is aimed at training and developing employees in such a way that their needs and operations are aligned with those of the organisation so as to get the best from them. If Fashion Forward manages to do this, then it will be in a position to attain sustainable growth.

The HRM approach to managing people has been found to differ from the more traditional Personnel Management approach in that it focuses more on the employees as opposed to the overall organisational workforce whereas the Personnel Management approach concentrates on the smooth running of the overall workforce together with that of the organisation and does not specifically concentrate on the employees, their aspirations and development (Kumar & Sharma 2000, pp. 701). The personnel management approach is more administrative and takes a more procedural approach to employee management relying on previously stipulated rules and is therefore based on monitoring employees, whereas the HRM approach takes a less administrative approach viewing employees as business partners thereby treating them like assets to the company (Armstrong 2006, pp. 19).

In order to enhance the continued success of fashion Forward, I recommend that the board adopts the HRM approach in managing its employees. The already established cohesiveness between the management and employees of the organisation provides a platform that will ensure the success of the system since this is the kind of environment the approach is more effective in. It provides an opportunity for the organisation’s employees to learn and develop in a way that will prove beneficial to the company as it promotes goodwill on the part of the employees thereby enhancing their commitment and loyalty to the organisation. This will work for Fashion Forward by giving it a competitive advantage over other players in the retail fashion industry as well as ensuring that the recruitment, hiring, training and management processes in the company continue to provide the company with competent personnel.

Human Resource Planning and Strategic Human Resource Management

According to Aswathappa (2005 pp. 64), Human Resource Planning (HRP) involves the future forecasting of an organisation’s employee demand to determine the number of employees an organisation requires in order to meet its operational needs, goals and objectives as well as other related factors such as the knowledge and skills required of future employees. According to Price (2000, pp. 86), it involves carrying out an analysis of the already existing employees in terms of their skills and numbers and determining areas where the organisation needs additions, transfers or cutting back of employees as well as training and retraining of employees. These changes may be carried out in response to changes in the internal or external environment within which an organisation operates. These services would prove beneficial to Fashion Forward as they will help determine the number of employees the company requires for its expansion plans as well as the skills they require to possess.

Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) involves the approaches and strategies taken by an organisation’s management when dealing with human resource issues and the way they affect the performance of the organisation as a whole. It ensures that productivity and effectiveness is maintained in an organisation thereby enabling it to achieve its goals and objectives (Sharma 2009, pp. 17).

Human Resource Planning acts as a prerequisite to functions of human resource management as it allows them to plan for recruitment, training and development programs within the organisation. In the case of Fashion Forward this would be beneficial in the following ways:

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Personnel Needs: HRP would help Fashion Forward determine its future personnel requirements for the marketing department in line with the organisation’s future expansion plans as a way of attaining sustainable growth. HRP would also determine the necessary skills and knowledge that such personnel are required to have as well as the levels of such skills (Aswathappa 2005, pp. 66). This helps to avoid cases of overstaffing or understaffing. The functions of the marketing department are significant as they help in creating awareness of the company’s products in the market as well as selling such products and therefore the correct staffing requirements are necessary.

Strategic Planning: HRP is an integral part of strategic planning as it provides information that is relevant for making strategic decisions concerning human resource management after which it comes up with an implementation process for these decisions. The decisions of these two fields are highly intertwined and therefore would prove beneficial for the marketing department which requires clear strategic plans and implementation processes to ensure that the organisation meets its sales and marketing goals (Schuler & Jackson 2007. pp. 6).

Qualified Personnel: Fashion Forward attaches a high level of importance to its marketing department as any other organisation would and as such the same importance is given to the department’s staffing requirements. Fashion Forward stores are mainly located in prestigious areas, among them Bristol City and being a high end fashion company; it tends to deal with high end, sophisticated customers meaning that in order to provide quality marketing and sales services to them, the company requires a team of highly skilled and qualified personnel (Bandt & Haines pp. 7). HRP would go a long way in determining the exact level of these skills and advise the HRM on the recruitment, training and retraining procedures necessary to ensure that the staff members acquire the kind of skills necessary to hand its clients.

SHRM allows for strategic decision making including strategic staffing decisions which is done in close relations with HRP (Fombrun, Tichy & Devanna 1984, pp. 66). Strategic organisational decisions include those of expansion, sustainable development and enhanced company performance. Fashion Forward would benefit from the functions related with SHRM and HRP in that it will be able to develop a clear vision for the future and be able to determine the necessary human resource requirements that will be in line with the vision. SHRM will also enable the organisation to come up with a competitively intelligent team that will ensure the organisation’s continued success of the organisation based on the employees’ competence as well strategies that ensure such employees’ needs are met adequately (Hendry 1995, pp. 126). SHRM and HRP will also ensure that Fashion Forward assesses its weaknesses as well as strengths and come up with the necessary strategic adjustments as well as ensuring employee motivation is kept at beneficial levels. All these factors will ensure that the organisation continues to perform highly both in the short and long term.

Interview and Selection Criteria for Fashion Forward’s Public Relations Manager

In order for Fashion Forward to effectively communicate its goals, objectives, policies and strategies, it requires a competent and highly skilled Public Relations Manager. In order to get the right person for the job, the organisation needs viable selection criteria as outlined below:

Determine the necessary knowledge and skills for the person and advertise them to the public. The advertisement should include:

  • Mandatory Requirements: Education qualifications, level of experience and training.
  • Competency Requirements that would enable one to carry out the duties and responsibilities associated with the Public Relations officer’s role. They should be clearly listed in the advertisement.
  • Supporting requirements: These may include personal attributes of the candidate such as the age as well as other relevant but not mandatory requirements.
  • The date by which all applications should be received should also be outlined.

After the closure date for submitting applications, the HR department should:

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  • Go through all the applications and eliminate those which did not meet all the requirements of the job.
  • Invite the short listed candidates for an oral interview.

During the interview ask the following questions:

  • Tell us about yourself and a brief summary of your education background.
  • What previous experience and skills do you have that is relevant to this position?
  • What do you know about Fashion Forward and the fashion industry at large?
  • Should we hire you, what benefits do you intend to bring to Fashion Forward?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses and how have they affected your performance in your previous or current job?
  • Tell us about any difficult situation you have experienced on the job and how you dealt with it.
  • What do you expect to gain from Fashion Forward?
  • Do you have any questions about the company or the job you feel we should address?
  • Any final comments or opinions?

The interview panel should then deliberate on the outcome of the interview basing their discussions on the personal, academic and professional experiences and competencies of the candidate to come up with the suitable person for the job.

Conclusion

Human Resource Management, Human Resource Planning and Strategic Human Resource Management are all important aspects of an organisation and their benefits cannot be ignored. Fashion Forward should therefore implement the correct policies to ensure that they have all these divisions in place so that they can together to ensure the organisation achieved continued, sustainable growth.

Reference List

Armstrong, M., 2006, A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. 10th ed. London: Kogan Page Publishers

Aswathappa, K., 2005, Human Resource and Personnel Management: Text and Cases. 4th Ed. New Delhi: McGraw Hill Publishers.

Bandt, A. & Haines, S., 2002, Successful Strategic Human Resource Planning. New York: Systems Thinking Press Publications.

Bratton, J. & Gold, J., 2001, Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge Publishers.

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Fombrun, C. J, Tichy, M. N, & Devanna, M. A.,1984, Strategic Human Resource Management. Toronto, Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Hendry, C., 1995, Human Resource Management: A strategic Approach to Employment. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann Publishers.

Kumar, A, & Sharma, R., 2000, Personnel management Theory and Practice, 3 Vols. Set. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors.

Price, A., 2000, Principles of Human Resource Management: An Active Learning Approach. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Limited.

Sharma, S. K., 2009, Human Resource Management: A Strategic Approach to Employment. New Delhi: Global India Publications Limited.

Schuler, R. S, & Jackson, E. S., 2007, Strategic Human Resource Management. 2nd ed. Australia: Blackwell Publishing Limited.

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