The Eco-Café Company: Strategic Human Resource Management

Human resource (HR) managers have the responsibility to align their planning with the employers’ strategic business objectives. The Eco-Café Company’s business goals are enhancing its market reach, increasing the level of productivity, and reducing costs. Part of the strategy of achieving them is by expanding through franchising. It has 20 outlets in Ireland and plans to increase them to 42. The management appreciates that the attainment of this feat is anchored on achieving employee retention. Considering that it is expanding, there could be a need to increase its workforce.

Increasing productivity calls for a thorough evaluation of the company’s onboarding process. This is especially now that Eco-Café Company is on the verge of rolling out a massive expansion plan. It may be important to automate some of the administrator’s work, but IT systems should only supplement and not replace humans (Han et al., 2019). Moreover, the concerns, as well as ideas of individuals, are broadly nuanced, and hence the perspectives of the prospective workers should always be gauged by a person. This is particularly in regards to the issue of conservation of the environment, which is central to the firm’s strategy.

Going green endears the organization with the members of the community where it operates. It helps an organization to reduce its carbon footprint, and Kaufman (2020) argues that clients have the tendency to support firms that show they care for them in addition to seeking profit maximization. Moreover, it makes business sense to embrace conservation efforts (Sowa, 2020). It will, for instance, help the Eco-Café Company conserve such resources as power and water and, in the process, achieve cost reduction.

The kind of strategic HR planning that the Eco-Café Company needs is actually a cycle. It commences with the analysis of the objectives, after which an inventory is done of the current resources. There is also the estimation of future roles and the number of workers in each category (Boon et al., 2018). HR and business strategies are inseparable as the details of the former are needed during the planning of the latter.

Business Strategy and Context

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, the Republic of Ireland enjoyed steady and strong economic growth. Indeed, the rate was the highest in Europe, a feat accomplished due to investments by multinational corporations as well as a strong domestic demand (Robbins, Torney, and Brereton, 2020). The IMF and the government estimate that there will be a GDP growth of +4.9% in 2021 up from -3% in 2020, and the positive performance will continue for at least a decade (Chakraborty and Biswas, 2021; Toterhi and Recardo, 2019). Moreover, investors and local businesses are bound to gain immensely from the country’s relatively low corporate tax rate.

Ireland does also have a stable political environment, a steady legal framework, and a predictable regulatory regime. Peaceful coexistence with other countries is among its most important foreign policy priorities (Toterhi and Recardo, 2019). The dependability of these structures has prompted high consumer confidence (Amberg and McGaughey, 2019). In addition to stabilizing their buying behaviors, tranquility provides a conducive environment for the citizenry to think about the environment (Robbins et al., 2020). Although air and water in Ireland are generally clean, there have been a number of localized issues which worry the members of the society.

The Irish people are loyal to organizations that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint. The strategy adopted by the Eco-Café Company is likely to attract customers who have witnessed the health consequences of unclean water and air (Toterhi and Recardo, 2019). Nevertheless, it is worth noting that most air pollution is attributable to the domestic use of solid fuel (Robbins et al., 2020). In addition to reducing its own emission, therefore, the Eco-Café Company should support the civic education programs, which are aimed at encouraging the use of clean energy at home.

Business Strategies and Environmental Influences

The Eco-Café Company plans on expanding through franchising, and this approach has several advantages over the use of the corporate method. For instance, this strategy will enable it to achieve rapid growth with minimal capital expenditure (McClean and Collins, 2019). The arrangement also enables the franchisor to focus on such activities as research and development. Moreover, earnings will be stabilized by the steady flow of cash in the form of royalties (Do, Budhwar and Patel, 2018). From a business perspective, therefore, the organization is on the right track.

Although the feasibility study of the business context indicates a large pool of potential clients in Ireland, it is worth noting that the citizens also care about the environment. The ability to achieve eco-efficiency is facilitated by two major factors. These are optimal resource utilization and the reduction of waste. Considering that it would be unethical for the Eco-Café Company to control portions, waste would be most reliably reduced during food processing. It is also possible to conserve energy, water, and oil by ensuring that only an adequate amount of these inputs is used (Konrad, Yang and Maurer, 2016). Lean management can be instituted, and it is, in fact, suitable in cases where progressive success in conservation is being sought.

The Implications of the Context, Business Strategy, and the Environment on the HR Strategy

The context, and especially the citizen’s desire to have companies which mind about the environment, is both an opportunity and a challenge. It depends on how the Eco-Café Company embraces it as well as the consistency with which both business and HR strategies are implemented. Franchising will result in larger consumer markets than the Eco-Café Company would access with their own employees (Amberg and McGaughey, 2019). As a company that is committed to protecting the environment, nonetheless, the Eco-Café Company must lead by example.

The HR department must ensure that the employees are working towards the systematization of the conservation efforts. This has to be done in a manner that is worth emulation by the franchisees (Meyer and Xin, 2018). If there are no systems in place, the latter will find nothing to duplicate, and both the business and HR strategy will have failed. It is upon the management to study and document the proven approaches, which should then be adopted by the new partners.

The Desired Outcomes of the HR Strategy

The HR strategy is excepted to help turn the contextual factors into opportunities as well as areas of improvement. Because franchising will facilitate the reduction of the workload handled by the Eco-Café Company, the management will invest a significant amount of time in investigating the issues of concerns raised by the frontline employees. These stakeholders get a lot of customer feedback during their normal day-to-day activities. The clients may, for instance, complain about dangerous fumes being emitted from some of the outlets. It is partly on the basis of such kind of information that the organization will refine its strategies.

The HR Strategy

Due to the nature of the business strategy the Eco-Café Company has, the organizational structure will be flat. Therefore, there will be few ranks in the middle management, meaning that the executive will have a steady flow of information about what is happening on the ground. The internal stakeholder will benefit from the fact that communication will be less likely to be degraded (Chakraborty and Biswas, 2021). There will also be proactive recruiting, and this will be based on the understanding of the roles needed right away as well as those which may be required in the future. The firm will void being reactive, an approach that is prone to mistakes (Delery and Roumpi, 2017). Robust performance management will be instituted, and this will include sharing honest and open feedback as well as the process of handling low productivity.

The Desired Outcomes

With a flat organization, the Eco-Café Company will have aligned the business needs with HR activities. The staff members will, for instance, benefit from the increased opportunities to excel, and this will be in line with the promotion of the business strategy that the firm has. Information is a strategic resource, and the fact that leaders will be prompted to share it with the employees rather than hoard it as it happens with other structures will foster teamwork (McClean and Collins, 2019). Communication, as well as honest and open feedback, are the fundamental bases for strong collaboration and hence improved performance.

Performance management will be based on indicators such as improved output, innovativeness, candor, and team participation. For example, the most innovative workers will be offered gift cards using the money saved through the conservation efforts. The team players will be promoted particularly because these are the kind of traits needed for those destined to be leaders. Individuals who improve on their output will get allowances, and this is an effective way of boosting their morale and levels of productivity. The candid ones will be genuinely complimented, and this will encourage them to renew the commitment to openness. This is as indicated in Table 1 below.

Table 1: The reward matrix.

What the Organization Wants Rewards Offered The Outcome
Improved output Salary increase Refined skills
Innovativeness Gift cards Eco-efficiency
Candor Genuine compliment Openness and honesty
Team Participation Promotions Enhanced collaboration

Business Rationale

The firm has several aims and hence requires enhanced team spirit. There is also the need for efficient decision making which is actually facilitated by improved communication among the stakeholders. A flat organizational structure has all these benefits as well as the potential to hasten the adoption of new ideas by all members of staff (Jiang and Messersmith, 2018). The information shared by the workers may actually enable the management to recognize the areas in need of an extra labor force. The increased level of interaction between the leaders and followers also helps in revealing the areas in need of refinement.

The alignment of business and HR strategies boosts the level of satisfaction and, consequently, employee performance. The proposed structure increases the level of influence ordinary workers have with respect to decision-making. For example, a reduced number of intermediaries mean that the information reaching the executive is largely unfiltered, and hence the management has a sense of what is actually happening on the ground (Meyer and Xin, 2018). Due to the increased level of competition and the desire to achieve eco-efficiency, quick action is needed. The elimination of the unnecessary levels of bureaucracy reduces the risk of having pertinent pieces of information hoarded and hence impeding proactive service delivery.

It is imperative for an organization to have a team of stakeholders who believe in sustained improvement. Humility is a demonstration of a far stronger character than being egoistic (Kaufman, 2020), and hence the Eco-Café Company would be justified in encouraging modesty. There are many firms seeking to exploit the same market, and hence the HR department must motivate individuals to always assume a different perspective in their attempt to solve challenges. Indeed, creativity entails the search for varied ideas to finding a solution to the issues obstructing success (Naznin and Hussain, 2016). The proposed HR strategy guarantees that all matters of concern will be handled effectively.

Measuring the Impact of the Business Strategy

Employee improvement can be measured through self-evaluation and the use of a rating scale. Rating scales facilitate the assessment of the frequency with which certain tasks are completed. This could range from ‘always’ to ‘never’ (Konrad, Yang and Maurer, 2016). The way an individual judge themselves can reveal their level of humility, and discrepancies, as well as similarities, may be found (Do, Budhwar and Patel, 2018). The 360-degree feedback is most helpful in establishing the level of candidness, which is a trait worth encouraging (Toterhi and Recardo, 2019). There should be a review of how much the organization has improved in terms of revenue, waste management, and efficient utilization of resources. Improvement in these aspects would most probably be correlated to the firm’s effort to encourage pragmatic behavior.

The HR Plan

The plan is based on the idea that environmental conservation and hospitality can coexist and create a distinctive experience for everyone. Realizing this goal is dependent on the decisions taken by the internal stakeholders as it pertains to the day-to-day operations. This is why the HR policy is meant to encourage individual workers to explore ways through which waste can be managed without impacting productivity. The management will facilitate associative learning whereby individuals are commended and rewarded for desirable performance. The root causes of any less than expected output will be investigated and addressed in an efficient manner.


The organizational hierarchy will have only three levels, and these include the executive, middle-level management, and team leaders. At the middle level, there will be stakeholders responsible for finance, marketing, human resource management, and operations. The team leaders will be in charge of the outlets where they will be in direct contact with the frontline employees. With such an arrangement, the reports compiled by the team leaders have a much higher chance of prompting action by the executive than would be the case with a hierarchical structure. There is also a significant level of flexibility that enables ordinary workers enough discretion to perfect their day-to-day operations.


An HR strategy is needed even before the inaugural employees are hired. It will be the priority of the organization to build an enabling culture that is anchored on constant collaboration. A single worker may not make a difference if their efforts are not in line with what everyone else in the team is doing. Establishing the best practices in time is imperative as it averts a scenario where those which are contrary to the company’s vision emerge organically.

Workforce planning will be anchored on the business objectives, and this is what will determine which role is the most important. The HR department will be tasked with the responsibility of determining the specific support that needs to be directed towards the critical duties. This will be done in consultation with the employees as these are the parties whose work will be most impacted by the decisions made in this regard.

Business Impact

The Eco-Café Company has a unique vision that incorporates the desire to take care of the environment while still optimizing profits. These goals can be achieved by acting in a manner that anticipates future needs, challenges, as well as changes (Delery and Roumpi, 2017). Proactive HR management facilitates the anticipation of future requirements. Based on that information, the organization will craft relevant competencies in-house. The organization will develop a workforce internally rather than engage in recruitment drives when there is an absolute need for an extra labor force.

Securing Stakeholder Approval

The plan will share the vision of the organization, and this is essential in winning the management’s approval. Those looking forward to partner with the Eco-Café Company already appreciate the zeal to reduce its carbon footprint. They also know that it is the opinion of the management that this goal may only be attained with the involvement of every employee. The roadmap is clear, and this commences with having a philosophy and then recruiting individuals who are best suited to help in its realization. The management will approach the plan because it is bound to attract motivated stakeholders who share the organization’s perspectives.

Gaining Stakeholder Commitment

Since this is a flat organizational structure, the commitment of all groups of internal stakeholders will be sought. Fortunately, there are only four of them, which include the executive, middle-level management, team leaders, and frontline employees. The interests of each of them have been taken into account in a considerable manner, and this will help in instilling a sense of ownership. It is a plan designed to ensure several desirable experiences that will foster collaboration. Together, these participants will build as well as promote a strong brand.

Influencing Decision-Making

The management of the Eco-Café Company will be building and promoting a brand that appeals to the perspectives of their stakeholders. The HR strategy is meant to make them understand what the firm stands for, is known for, and what it has the ability to become. Individuals are expected to embody the eagerness to achieve, and this is in line with the company’s goal of perpetual improvement. Communication is indispensable considering that collaboration is being pursued, but individuals will start by reconciling their needs and values before serious work-related interactions are attempted.


During the completion of this assignment, I have come to appreciate that an effective strategy is dependent on the inputs of various stakeholders. While the management plays a vital role in the implementation of plans, the frontline employees hint on what needs to be done on the basis of what they experience in their daily routine. They could, for example, be experiencing unique challenges which the executive could be unaware of. Therefore, it is good practice to have an effective feedback mechanism so that information between policy makers and executors can flow smoothly.

I have also learned that the structure of the organization is influenced by the nature of the business venture in question, among other aspects. A café organization seeking to expand through franchising is best run through a flat structure as this reduces the power distance between the top leadership and the ordinary employees. Hospitality is an intensely competitive sector, and hence failure to keep up with the trends results in losses and ultimate closure. Indeed, I learned that as many as 80% of the establishments collapse within their first 5 years of operation (Boon et al., 2018). This is a noteworthy failure rate, and therefore, it is apparent that most of the investment plans are poorly done.

This assignment has helped me gain the experience needed to create a plan that fits the needs of a business. I can now assume a realistic approach to planning as well as during the implementation of what is desired. I understand the need for tracking the results and assessing them against the plan. Moreover, I do appreciate the need to define clear duties and responsibilities. There must be a single individual who will be answerable over each function. Through studying and experience, I have noted that tasks without someone responsible for them are hardly accomplished.

I will always start by analyzing the objectives the firm in question has. I will then proceed to list all the human resources at present, and this is prior to forecasting the future demands. This process has worked during the completion of this assignment. It could actually enable a company to determine the extent of its skill gaps both at the moment and in the future. It is based on this kind of information that planning is done, and the grounds for feedback, monitoring, and measurement are laid.

Reference List

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