Resourcing and Talent Planning in the United Kingdom

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Main Objective of the Assessment

Positive practices of employee management are necessary for organizations to increase performance, boost engagement and ultimately reach a competitive advantage. Workers who are treated with respect and are supported in their endeavors represent valuable assets to companies because they are dedicated to their work and want to offer their valuable contributions. Because of this, exploring a range of issues associated with the management of HR processes is essential. The key objective of the current assessment is to discuss the wide variety of the latest trends in the labor market to gain an understanding of them to foster positive environments within companies. Discussions of good practices regarding dismissal or the management of turnover are expected to provide a closer look at organizational productivity and competitiveness.

Labour Market

When speaking of the UK labor market, it should be mentioned that between September 2018 and December 2018, the number of people in work increased while the number of unemployed fell (Office for National Statistics 2019). If to compare the statistics with the information on Greece, the rate of unemployment decreased by a fraction (0.3%) between 2017 and 2018, with it being the highest among women (Office for National Statistics 2019). Two trends to be explored in regards to the comparison of the labor market in the two countries will include wage level inequalities and demographics.

In the UK, considerations of wage inequality have been predominantly focused on the disparities that exist between such sectors as education, banking, retail, and manufacturing. In education, wage disparities increased because some educational facilities use the opportunity to set wage rates locally. As a result of governmental policies, the number of schools breaking away from conditions and terms set nationally is increasing (Simms & Hopkins 2014). In the retail sector, the introduction of the higher National Living Wage rate contributed to some changes. However, sector-level researchers identified inequalities in earnings, with the situation remaining the same until the increase in profitability and margins.

In banking, the earnings of the senior staff have been subjected to severe scrutiny, especially since the 2008 crisis. Despite the fact that statutory reforms at the EU-wide level were introduced to regulate the bonuses and other aspects of remuneration, the UK remained resistant to reforms. However, the bank industry has implemented the overall direction and control over the highest salaries. In the manufacturing sector, government policies have not had a direct effect on wage inequalities. There is a risk of losing high-skill manufacturing jobs due to the increase in wage rates within apprenticeship work.

When considering demographics as a component of the UK labor market trends, it is notable that in May 2018, there were 3.84 million people aged between 16 and 24 in the workforce (Clegg 2018). 2.66 million of the same age group were economically inactive, predominantly due to them being full-time students (Clegg 2018). From March to May 2018, there were 71.3% of women aged between 16 and 64 in the workforce, which represents the joint highest rate of employment for the population since 1971. In comparison to demographic data on women, there are 80.1% of men aged between 16 and 64 were in work for the March-May period, suggesting that there are still more men in the workforce by percentile than women (Clegg 2018). The gaps between economically inactive individuals and those who have jobs are steadily decreasing in the UK, which represents a positive dynamic when considering the country’s labor market trends.

In regards to wage inequality in Greece, it is important to mention that it increased predominantly at the upper tail of the distribution, with the role of skills being greatly emphasized. For example, the levels of tenure awards within all industries have been decreasing despite rising education across the board. According to the Forbes article by Sherman (2015), wage inequality between the highest and the lowest-paid employees in the country contributes greatly to the severe situation in the labor market. In the manufacturing sector, especially coal mines, companies have not followed fair wage distributions, which led to constant debt. In many ways, wage inequality in Greece is not dependent on industries but rather on the institutionalized issue of the poor getting put in a position from which they could not emerge. The poor would have no money for education to increase their skills, nor would they have funds to invest, care for their health, or avoid upcoming issues (Sherman 2015).

In Greece, the demographics of the labor market are somewhat different from the trends in the UK. The percentage of women in the workforce has significantly risen from thirty-six to forty-six percent between 1990 and 2018, which points to the boost in the interests of women to participate in the shaping of the labor force (The World Bank 2018). Nevertheless, in comparison to Britain, Greece has a twice as low level of women’s employment, which can contribute to such issues as wage inequalities, the gap in economic opportunities between men and women, and the general loss of productivity of the Grecian labor market due to the absence of talent.

To retain talent within organizations, it is recommended that businesses should position themselves as employers of choice. This is possible through the establishment of excellence such as focus, accountability, the goal of achieving balance, and using words wisely. Within Higgs’ (2005) model of the employer of choice, companies are more prospective when they offer substantial benefits packages, invest in the development of workers, and promote employee involvement in multiple processes related to organizational wellbeing.

A tight labor market represents an economy in which there are numerous opportunities for employment and recruitment that makes it complex to place upward pressure on wages. A loose labor market is characterized by the increased supply of talent, and, in contrast to the tight market, allows for upward pressure on wages. Within Taylor’s approach to distinguishing between labor markets, the conditions usually vary over time, suggesting that higher rates of unemployment lead to looser markets (Torrington, Hall & Taylor 2008).

Future Skills

The development of a skilled workforce is considered essential for ensuring the sustainable growth of communities on both local and national levels. The establishment of a highly competent workforce is important for encouraging the growth of the private sector and ensuring the prosperity of communities across a country. Therefore, national governments, private and public companies, and unions should be engaged in the ongoing process of skill development and their improvement in order to make sure that future skills needs are met.

From the perspective of the government, a range of necessary skills can be developed by returning the economy to sustainable growth, extending social inclusion, and building stronger social mobility. The government should create a more competitive and rebalanced economy that would be both resource-efficient and environmentally sound. Through the provision of a sufficient competitive advantage, it is expected that the skills of workers will increase as they will have a level of expectations that should be reached. Instead of being absorbed by centralized control and regulation, public funds should be devoted to increasing education and training (Department for Business Innovation & Skills 2010). Under such systems, learners will choose training and qualifications that are valued by the business.

Employers should also participate in skills development in order to boost their competitive advantage and improve human capital. The first step toward enhancing skill development is associated with training programs. Such programs are instrumental in creating promotable employees who would support their companies professionally as well as adding value to the economy in general. The attention to the needs of workers and the appreciation for their contributions is expected to increase their engagement and provide them with growth and learning opportunities (Ash 2018). The second step is concerned with the creation of a positive work environment, in which employees will be encouraged to share their ideas, learn and develop as skilled professionals. Employers’ role is to be forward-thinking in their attitudes toward their workers to spark progress and establish valuable relationships.

The role of trade unions should not be overlooked when it comes to the development of a skilled workforce. As mentioned in the report by Bridgford (2017), in the past, unions have been mostly focused on the regulation of the labor market laws while today, they seek to address training issues for broad worker groups. Unions should act as consultative mechanisms at both industry and national levels, with the nature of their involvement in skill formation at the workplace being focused on the development of positive processes. This includes the articulation of employees’ voices, the assessment of relevant issues with which workers are concerned, and the participation in the delivery and evaluation of vocational training.

The combination of efforts implemented by governments, employers, and trade unions will ensure that the expectations of quality and professionalism are met within the given industries. The most essential aspect is to ensure that workers’ needs are addressed and that their professional aspirations are reinforced with the help of workplace training. Thus, there is a joint responsibility between employers as well as state and social partners to facilitate skill development, which makes it a multi-objective and multi-stakeholder objective.

Workforce Planning

An effective strategy of workforce planning is essential for addressing the critical human resource needs of organizations. For example, it will align the program for human capital development with the current and emerging missions and programmatic goals. In addition, such a strategy will help in developing long-term objectives for acquiring, training, developing, and retaining personnel for achieving the goals that an organization has set.

Setting a cohesive strategy within workforce planning is essential for getting an understanding of all components associated with the management of personnel. Having a strategy will help the HR management of an organization to review its business plans frequently and in accordance with covering the planned projects. It is also possible to forecast future conditions and environments based on repeated trends, identify arising issues, especially those concerned with overstaffing, as well as ineffective workforce utilization. Setting a strategy implies collecting all relevant data through inquiring about the strategic plan of an organization for the time that requires exploring. For instance, an HR manager tasked with this assignment will contact the executive team of an organization to get access to an annual plan that will communicate the needs and goals for the future.

Through analyzing the current workplace profile, it will be possible to understand the reasons behind various HR issues. An important step is developing an action plan that would align with the strategy by identifying the actions that will be necessary to close the gaps. After the plan is developed, the next step is its implementation, which requires the work with various departments to bring the plan to life. This step involves coordination with the IT, the team of executives, and the middle management of the company.

In regards to the tools used for workforce planning, it is important to implement workforce strategy maps and organizational benchmarking. Maps developed for the implementation of a workforce strategy are visual representations of what should be done to achieve the goals related to human resource considerations. A map will document the connection between the mission, vision, objectivism, and actions that are necessary for establishing an environment that will benefit the shaping of a strategy (Flexwork Global 2016). The number of objectives and other points can depend on the nature of an organization as well as its scope, especially given the fact that different companies have different visions and missions.

Organizational benchmarking is a tool used for telling employers how many people they have overall, what functions they perform, at which locations, and at which job level. In addition, benchmarking can be instrumental for comparing the gathered information to that of competitors to evaluate any differences. Apart from comparative benchmarking, it is also possible to use the tool for the purpose of best practice benchmarking, which is imperative for learning from the most effective practices using similar processes that successful organizations use but ultimately achieving superior results (Azhar & Omar 2008). Such solutions firstly require organizations to identify the enablers of outstanding performance and integrate more effort into the process.

HR Planning & Documentation

A basic career and succession development plan is concerned with identifying future opportunities for high-potential employees. In regards to a succession plan, it is critical to address the changes that will occur after employees resign, retire, or are fired, which leads to the advancement of other workers to their roles. The first step is concerned with the identification of future needs by pointing out gaps in the current pool of talent and future talent requirements. The second step is linking current staff to future roles because of the need to determine the changes in processes that will inevitably occur due to the differences between the ways in which employees perform their work. The third step is addressing competencies and skills during succession. This can often imply additional training to ensure that successors meet the demands of the new positions that they will occupy.

Within a basic career development framework, organizations may address methods of “climbing the career ladder”, goal setting, and different pathways. Goal setting is an essential step because of the latter possibility to measure the progress of workers and motivate them to reach the established missions and visions that they have set for themselves previously. Expressing goals should be done with a positive outlook in mind to ensure that they reflect what workers want to do. Setting priorities within the goals is also recommended so that it is possible to know which of them requires the most attention.

When it comes to downsizing the number of employees within organizations, HR managers play relevant administrative and operational roles because of the difficulties associated with overtime pay for remaining employees, costs for additional training, and other issues. As managers, HR specialists are expected to provide the necessary level of communication and education for ensuring that the process goes as smoothly as possible. In terms of communication, HR managers should be greatly engaged in a conversation with their workers to facilitate the sharing of information among the management and employees.

Those companies who fail to establish effective communication during downsizing are likely to be subjected to risks associated with disputes, misunderstandings, and unintended turnover. Education is essential within the process of reduction because of the need to inform workers on how they can improve in the course of the entire process and learn from it. Poorly managed downsizing that does not consider the communicational and educational needs of employees is likely to result in unforeseen risks such ranging from increased costs to the loss of productivity in the long run.

The job description, Person specification, and Competency framework is used for providing a general overview of a job position in order to communicate the expectations of potential candidates. Within the job description part, employers usually mention the main scope and purpose of a position, levels of authority, functional responsibilities, and other general requirements. For example, in the position of a nursing manager, the key level of authority is coordinating and supporting the work of nurses in a healthcare facility to ensure the meeting of the established care goals.

Within the competency framework, workers are usually expected to fulfill core and functional competencies. While the former represents a unified and harmonized combination of different sources and skills that distinguish a worker within a labor market, the latter is concerned with specific job requirements that drive high performance and successful results. For example, an employer can use the format of a table as a visual representation of the expected requirements that are either essential or desirable to fulfill when being hired in a new position. Knowing the requirement for such competencies is of benefit for employees who are seeking a given position within a company.

According to the Pearson Specification, competencies are differentiated into essential and desirable. The competencies defined by the specification include knowledge and expertise, communication and relationship skills, practical and physical skills, decision making and problem-solving, financial responsibility, responsibility for supervision and management, physical and mental effort, as well as personal circumstances, and additional requirements.

When speaking of the legal requirements associated with the recruitment of workers, it is imperative that employers hire workers of legal working age. It is also unlawful to discriminate against individuals with disabilities, gender reassignment, those who are pregnant or have children, people of various ethnic and racial backgrounds as well as religions and beliefs, different sexual orientations, and gender identity. In addition to this, the hiring party of an organization should ensure that workers accepted to relevant positions are not illegal immigrants, and regulations guiding this are mostly concerned with following the latest governmental policies regarding this issue.

The Equality Act of 2010 represents a guide that implies the legal opposition of discrimination in the workplace and wider society. The Act replaced the previous regulations on anti-discrimination in order to provide greater protection for individuals and strengthening their security in many situations. The Act encourages individuals who have been subjected to discrimination to file official complaints regarding unlawful treatment. Important provisions of the Equality Act of 2010 are associated with the establishment of positive actions of recruitment and promotion as well as the public sector Equality Duty. Anything from age discrimination to discrimination against individuals with disabilities is covered by the Act, encouraging organizations to be attentive to the procedures of hiring and considering the ramifications of violating the established set of regulations.

To find candidates for relevant positions, employers use various methods of recruitment and selection. To point out the strengths and weaknesses of these methods, it is essential to focus on specific strategies. For example, the use of online job boards, websites, and applications is very popular because even organizations without many resources can use them. The advantages of online hiring tools include cost-effectiveness, the ability to speed up a recruitment cycle and streamline administrative processes, the global reach, the option of making internal vacancies known across multiple platforms, as well as the opportunity to handle high volumes of data and applications in a consistent way. The disadvantages of such tools include a potentially large number of irrelevant or inappropriate applications, a badly designed website accompanied by technical difficulties, and issues with using CV keyword search that can also lead to discrimination in candidate selection.

Recruitment agencies are also tools for employee selection and hiring. They offer both permanent and temporary placements of workers through the provision of specialized knowledge that is useful in cases when organizations are not familiar with the latest trends in employee hiring. Also, such agencies can speed up the responses from the dedicated staff and share information about only pre-screened and pre-referenced candidates, thus ensuring higher quality. Besides, when companies use the assistance of hiring agencies, they experience minimal administration difficulties as such third parties implement a range of recruitment tasks, including external advertising. When it comes to the disadvantages of the use of hiring agencies, it is important to note that candidates may be more likely to deal with their potential employers than contacting agencies. In addition, hiring third parties can be costly for organizations, which makes websites and online job boards more preferable in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Retention and Turnover

The indicators of employee turnover and retention usually point to the well-being of an organization in terms of the satisfaction of workers and the potential prosperity. High rates of turnover have an overall adverse effect on the performance of companies, and understanding the reasons behind employees leaving companies is essential. One of the causes behind turnover is associated with the values of employees not aligning with the culture of a company. The lack of support for workers is another reason, especially when they are expected to fulfill the responsibilities and tasks that should be completed by multiple people. In addition, the absence of effective communication along with the unfair wage distribution makes workers leave their companies.

The turnover of employees in the workplace is connected with increased costs for companies. According to the article by Merhar (2016), for a manager who makes $40,000 per year, companies usually pay between $20,000 to $30,000 in training and recruiting expenses. This means that losing a worker is more likely to bring organizations additional costs that could have been avoided had an employee not left his or her position. These costs are associated with the need to hire new workers and thus spending on advertising, interviewing, screening and hiring. Costs of onboarding are high because companies should integrate a new individual into the workplace. Relevant processes include the time spent on orientations, training and other procedures related to getting a new person accustomed to a position. Lost productivity also leads to costs because it may take a new employee up to several years to reach the level of productivity of his or her predecessor. This means that companies lose money and time when workers leave their positions, and therefore, there are no employees left to fulfill their roles. However, it is important to mention that most real costs of employee turnover are unknown because the majority of organizations do not have established systems of tracking exit costs, expenses targeted at recruiting and hiring.

To reduce the rates of employee turnover, organizations use a range of approaches to talent retention. For instance, employers may improve the workplace environment or facilitate job enrichment as a tool for making workers stay in their positions. In regards to the improvement of workplace environments, it is essential to recognize the importance of workplace culture, the physical concerns of health and safety, practices associated with health and lifestyle, and supportive relations between workers.

A healthy workplace environment is usually developed in a way that encourages such benefits as high engagement, a solid structure linked to fair policies, and the integration of team-building activities for establishing better connections among workers. On the downside, improvements in workplace environments can be costly for employers, especially when it comes to the enhancement of physical spaces and work conditions. Thus, to implement this method, a company should conduct a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the positive aspects of workplace environment changes outweigh the negative impact of costs.

Job enrichment is another valuable method and implies the use of motivational techniques that organizations use to bring high levels of satisfaction with work. It usually implies giving employees a range of new responsibilities that have been previously reserved for their managers or employees of other high-rank positions. The main goal of job enrichment as a method of reducing turnover is to facilitate job autonomy, which means that workers have fewer responsibilities of reporting to their supervisors. This means that employees are free to focus on their work, decision-making, and the accomplishment of real career goals. Also, job enrichment can be of great benefit when it comes to reducing the influence of micromanagement on the part of supervisors that can demoralize and even oppress competent and capable workers. Nevertheless, despite bringing autonomy, job enrichment may lead to such consequences as the loss of productivity and decreased engagement due to the absence of control.

Lawful Practice for Managing Dismissal, Retirement and Redundancies

Fair and legal practices for managing dismissal are associated with employers communicating at least one out of five reasons for firing a worker. These include misconduct and generally inappropriate behaviors, poor performance, redundancy, a breach of statutory restrictions, or some other substantial reason (SORS). The latter includes the expiration of a fixed contract, the resistance of an employee to terms and conditions, or personality clashes. To ensure that an individual is fairly dismissed, the situation at hand should be consistent with one of the mentioned reasons why employees are asked to leave their positions.

In the case of dealing with redundancies, it is essential that the HR management of companies develop change plans to support those who are losing their jobs carefully. A good practice of addressing workplace redundancies implies a mutual understanding of the processes and steps involved in it. There is an issue of employers forgetting that “it is positions that become redundant, no people […] A dismissal for redundancy is not a dismissal on account of any personal act or default on the part of the employee dismissed” (Managing redundancies – what you can do to smooth the process 2019, par. 3). In good practices of redundancy management, HR managers should understand their obligations and proceed with auditing the terms and conditions of the employment within which a worker is operating. Support is one of the most important steps related to dealing with dismissal based on redundancy. Support can range from consultations to keeping in touch with employees in order to discuss the opportunities that a worker will experience in the future.

When it comes to retirement practices, it is notable that in the UK, new legislation, the Default Retirement Age, was established, suggesting that companies cannot make their workers retire unless there was a relevant notification sent out before April of 2011 (CIPD 2012). This means that compulsory retirements are no longer possible unless there are objective justifications of them within given circumstances. In addition, it is important that employers consider such options as the provision of part-time occupations for older workers who value flexibility but still want to work. As mentioned in the CIPD (2012) report, Asda created a range of opportunities for their employees to have flexible schedules and fair compensations. This means that employees of any age and occupation in the company will have access to the variation of schedules without having to swap shifts, share jobs, or re-join.

In general, positive practices linked to dealing with dismissals, retirements, and redundancies usually imply keeping up to date with the recent updates in the legal field, considering legal processes, and conducting HR practices ethically. In the case of the latter, wrongful and unethical terminations of occupations are problematic because they will lead to legal disputes with employees and, thus, influence the integrity and reputation of organizations. It is imperative to note that workers cannot be dismissed because they have initiated legal complaints against a company. This shows that companies should be careful about influencing the conditions under which their employees are dismissed.

Reference List

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Azhar, Z & Omar, N. 2008. ‘Organizational benchmarking: a competitive management accounting tool’. Accountants Today. Web.

Bridgford, J. 2017. Trade union involvement in skills development: an international review. Web.

CIPD. 2012. Performance and retirement practices – get it right!. Web.

Clegg, R. 2018. UK labour market: July 2018. Web.

Department for Business Innovation & Skills. 2010. Skills for sustainable growth. Web.

Flexwork Global. 2016. Remote workforce strategy: creating strategy maps. Web.

Higgs, M. 2005. Guest opinion: Malcolm Higgs, director of the leadership, change and HR school and director of research, Henley Management College. Topic: becoming and employer of choiceWeb.

Managing redundancies – what you can do to smooth the process. 2019. Web.

Merhar, C. 2016. Employee retention – the real cost of losing an employee. Web.

Sherman, E. 2015. ‘Greece factors another income inequality squeeze game’. Forbes. Web.

Simms, M & Hopkins, B. 2014. Wage inequality in the UK. Web.

The World Bank. 2018. Greece: female labour force participation. Web.

Torrington, D, Hall, L & Taylor, S. 2008. Human resource management. Pearson Education, London.

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