Workforce Planning and Recruitment

Abstract

Successful recruitment and planning the workforce require a high level of skill and experience in the field of human resource management, especially in modern society, where technology has become a major component of the way of life. It is easy for job seekers to forge certificates and claim to have the qualifications and experience that they lack. It is also possible for one to present documents of a friend or family member, just to be hired while indeed they lack the capacity and skills to undertake a given job. That is why human resource managers need to ensure that they come up with proper ways of screening the employees before considering the possibility of hiring them.

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Introduction

ABC Company is one of the leading players in the aviation industry within the United Arab Emirates. The company receives jet fuel, stores it, and delivers it to individual airline companies in Dubai, Fujairah, and Sharjah International Airports, and the Minhad Military Airbase (Bratton, 2015). The operations of this company involve handling very volatile products (jet fuels), which are highly flammable. Any minor mistakes or accidents can have devastating impacts, especially if they involve a fire outbreak. Over the past five years, the company has considerably increased in size as its services become more relevant in the country.

In the management structure of ABC Company, the managing director is the most senior officer. Heads of departments (finance, human resource, operations, marketing) assist the managing director in the normal running of the company. It is incredible that over the past six years, the company had registered impressive performance that enabled it to earn various awards, especially when it came to complete elimination of oil spillage, accidents or incidents, and efficiency in delivering its services. The following are some of the factors that have helped it achieve impressive growth over the recent past.

ABC Company has been keen on promoting a practice of performance excellence. Every employee is made to understand what is expected of him or her and how the set individual goals can be achieved. The firm has successfully created functional systems, which make it less necessary to have close supervision of the employees. Everyone knows what should be done each time, and when one is failing on his or her responsibility, it is easy to detect the delays and measures that can easily be taken to remind them of what they need to do. The human resource department has created a self-assessment practice where employees are encouraged to conduct personal reviews of their performance to know whether they are improving or not. Measures are provided to help in the self-assessment.

The firm also has peer-assessment programs where employees assess the performance of their peers. Human resource management has also offered methods and measures that should be used in peer-assessment. The strategy has worked in making the employees appreciate their roles in promoting personal performance. It has succeeded in promoting a team of self-driven employees who understand what they need to do without any strict supervision from their superiors.

Research Questions

The researcher was keen on coming up with specific research questions to guide the data collection process. The following research questions will be used to guide this study:

  1. What are the fundamental principles that guide the recruitment process?
  2. How can the recruitment panel identify and eliminate the applicants who present documents, which are forged?
  3. What should be done to ensure that the outcome of the recruitment program is a diversified workplace environment?
  4. In what ways can the management achieve success when it comes to planning and managing the workforce?

Theoretical Framework

Workforce planning and recruitment form the most important responsibility in any organization. According to Smith (2012), successful organizations have realized that their performance heavily relies on the performance of their employees. Scholars have conducted studies to help understand how firms can achieve success through their employees. Bratton (2015) says that it all starts with hiring the right employees and ensuring that the talented workers are retained and that they remain motivated. It was important for the researcher to conduct a comprehensive literature review to understand what other scholars have found out about this topic.

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The researcher was keen on avoiding duplication of the existing knowledge. Smith (2012) says that a good piece of research should create new knowledge by identifying the gaps in the existing knowledge and addressing them. This section will help the researcher to develop a basis for the research and to support the conclusion and recommendations that should finally be made. The section will look at the conventional recruitment used in modern society, planning and workforce management strategies, ways of retaining talented employees, and existing theories of human resource management.

Recruitment Process and Planning the Workforce

According to Naff, Riccucci, and Freyss (2014), one of the most important responsibilities of the human resource department is to recruit the right employees to work in various departments within the firm. Some firms maintain a continuous recruitment process throughout the year, replacing those who resign, retire or are fired for various reasons. Other firms consider recruiting employees every year, especially at the beginning or end of the financial year.

Whichever strategy a firm uses, the most important factor that must be considered is to have the right workforce within the firm capable of meeting the set goals and objectives. As Mattiske (2012) notes, recruiting employees in modern society has become more challenging than it used to be in the past. That is so because it has become easy for people to forge documents or even their identity as a way of getting jobs for which they lack qualifications. The emerging technologies have made it easy for people to hide their identity completely, sometimes being successful in getting the jobs they so desire. However, it is the responsibility of the recruitment panel to identify such individuals and to ensure that only qualified individuals get jobs. The process of recruitment often starts by identifying the existing gaps in various departments within the firm.

Once a departmental head has identified a human resource gap, the information is passed on to the human resource manager with a clear description of the qualifications needed of the applicants. The human resource manager will then advertise the vacant position to the members of the public (Armstrong & Armstrong, 2012). The HR department will then start receiving applications from various job seekers. Once the applications are received, a rigorous process of assessing the qualifications of the applicants begins. Different companies have different ways and varying qualification requirements for applicants.

However, most of them often start by looking at the academic qualifications of the applicants. The applicants must have the necessary skills needed for each of the advertised posts. This is often determined by academic qualifications. Age is another factor that many companies also consider. Smith (2012) says that some posts require mature decision-making and wisdom. Many firms often avoid putting young employees in such positions even if they have the needed academic qualifications because they may act irrationally given their young age. Other employers often feel that such young employees may be incapable of influencing and directing older employees. On the other end, many firms would avoid recruiting employees with advanced age. This is so because they often spend resources to train them after recruitment (Armstrong & Armstrong, 2012). It is illogical to spend resources to train an employee who is approaching the retirement age.

Experience is often considered one of the most important factors when recruiting employees. Employees with experience understand what is expected of them even if they are not taken through training. However, employees who recently graduated from college may need on-job training to help them understand what is expected of them. Some positions may require additional skills in other areas that may not be directly related to one’s career (Booth, 2016).

For instance, many firms often assign cars to their mid and senior managers. However, they do not offer drivers. As such, it becomes a requirement for these applicants to have a driving license as an additional qualification to ensure that once they are assigned the company’s cars, they can use them without the need to hire drivers. The department of HR will go through all the applications and short-list the candidates who have passed the minimum criteria in terms of the documents presented. The candidates will be informed through phone calls, letters, or public media about their qualifications and the need for them to report to the offices of the organization for tests.

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The next step would be to conduct an aptitude (written text). According to Boella and Goss-Turner (2017), an aptitude test is one of the first ways to determine if the applicants can assume the vacant positions. They would be subjected to a series of written tests. The tests should be marked and graded based on their performance. Such tests majorly focus on determining the skills and knowledge of the recruits about the applied positions. The candidates would then be subjected to oral tests.

As Mattiske (2012) states, oral tests often help in determining the communication skills of the applicants. The panel will be looking at how well such employees can express themselves and their ability to listen and interpret what others say. Through the oral tests, the recruiters will be able to determine the ability of the applicants to reason and how they are likely to act when faced with an issue that they are completely unaware of in their workplaces. The outcome of the two tests would determine if the candidates go to the next stage of recruitment.

The next stage is often the most challenging process for the HR department. At this stage, the applicants have gone through all the stages of assessing their academic qualifications, age, experience, and any other additional tests that the recruiters used to assess their expertise. However, Thompson (2013) says that the main challenge that the recruiters face at this department is how to know if indeed the academic papers and other credentials presented before them are genuine.

The standard practice is often to contact the authorities who issued such documents. The recruiters would make a direct phone call or write a letter requesting these authorities to authenticate the documents and verify the identity of the owner. It is possible to identify fraudsters at this stage. However, when they assumed the identity of someone else, such as a family member, then such verification may fail to detect the fraud.

The last stage may help in verifying the true capacity of the applicants. Bratton (2015) says that the last stage is often the probation where the recruits’ skills are tested in the practical terms. They would be assigned to various departments to work on specific terms. A probation officer will work closely with the recruits to determine their skills and capacities. The probation officers are expected to write a report about the capabilities of the recruits at the end of the probation period, which can take one month or last as long as six months. If the probation officer is satisfied with the skills and expertise of the recruit, a report will be written recommending their hiring (Armstrong & Armstrong, 2012). If the probation officers feel dissatisfied with the skills and capabilities of the recruit, they can recommend further training or elimination of such an employee from the firm.

Theories of Human Resource Management

Scholars have put forth several theories to explain workforce planning and recruitment strategies that successful organizations around the world use. It is important to look at some of these theories, which are relevant to the research topic. One of the popular theories is the Agency Theory. According to this theory, the managers must always remember that when they are hiring employees, their skills and capabilities should meet the job requirements (Anyim, Ekwoaba, & Ideh, 2012).

For instance, when a marketing director hires an online sales representative, the director must understand that the representative will be acting on his or her behalf because the director’s attention is needed elsewhere. It is the responsibility of the director to explain clearly to the employee what should be done. This theory encourages close interaction between the top managers and junior employees to ensure that the outcome of the employees’ work is what the top managers expect. Another important concept is the Ability, Motivation, and Opportunity Theory (AMO). The figure below shows how this theory is defined.

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AMO Theory.
Figure 1: AMO Theory (Mattiske, 2012, p. 41).

As shown in the above figure, this theory holds that the productivity of employees is often determined by three factors, which are their ability, motivation, and opportunities presented to them. Once employees are recruited, it is important to increase their ability through regular training. It increases their capacity to deliver better results in their respective places of work (Chun & Evans, 2013). Motivation is also critical in improving their performance. The management should identify and implement various motivational strategies within the firm. It is also important to offer the employees an opportunity to make positive contributions to the firm. Issues such as promotion should be offered to them based on their performance and qualification.

Methodology

In this section, the researcher will provide an analysis of the method that was used in collecting and analyzing data from various sources. As Thompson (2013) suggests, every piece of research should employ a method that effectively responds to its goals and objectives. The methodology section helps the end-users to determine the reliability of the document in case it becomes necessary to apply its recommendations. The section outlines the participants in the study, the procedure used to collect data, and the analysis strategy that was employed.

Participants

When conducting research, it is important to identify the participants who have the right knowledge about the issue under investigation (Immordino, 2014). They should be capable of providing the current knowledge on the issue being investigated in a way that would address the existing gaps. In this paper, the researcher focused on analyzing workforce planning and recruitment at ABC Company. As such, all the participants were selected from this company.

The researcher was interested in collecting data from the employees in the HR department, especially those who are always involved with employees’ recruitment and managers who are responsible for planning the workforce. The researcher used a stratified sampling technique to identify the participants for the study. This strategy was important because the researcher needed the employees in the managerial and non-managerial positions.

In each of the stratum, the researcher used simple random sampling to identify the individual participants. Twenty participants were identified to take part in the study. The researcher was keen to ensure that both men and women were selected to be part of the study. The selected employees were of different ages, from the youngest who was 19 years who had just been recruited to the oldest, who was 51 in a managerial position. The youngest employee had been at the firm for only one year while the oldest employee that was interviewed had been with the firm for over ten years.

Procedure

According to Chun and Evans (2013), before starting the process of collecting data, it is important to understand the procedure that should be followed. The researcher started by writing a letter to the top management unit, requesting them to allow this study to be conducted within the organization. After getting approval from the management, the researcher identified the participants using the sampling strategy discussed above. The participants were contacted over the phone, and the relevance of the study explained to them. Only those who agreed to be part of this study were finally selected to participate in the primary data collection.

Twenty participants were selected. The researcher used face-to-face interviews to collect data from the respondents. It was considered a more appropriate strategy because it cultivates a personal relationship between the researcher and the respondents. It makes it easy for the respondents to ask for any clarification they may have before starting the process of answering the questions. It also makes it possible for the researcher to ask for further clarification just in case the response given by the participant is not clear.

A face-to-face interview also reduces the chances that the respondents would deliberately provide misleading answers or just fill the questionnaire just to ensure that the process is completed within the shortest time possible. Thompson (2013) says that the method also makes it possible for the researcher to collect non-verbal cues from the respondents, which makes it easy to determine their views and perception towards a given issue without asking them directly. The interview was guided by a questionnaire that had been developed by the researcher before reaching out to the participants. The information obtained from the respondents was recorded in writing.

Data Analysis Strategy

Data collected from the participants were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative analysis was important to help in bringing out the impact of having effective recruitment strategies and workforce planning strategies. However, qualitative analysis dominated this study. It was necessary to explain why workforce planning and recruitment is increasingly becoming important in the modern workplace environments and what can be done to help firms such as ABC Company to improve on their strategies.

Ethical Considerations

Chun and Evans (2013) strongly suggest that a researcher should observe ethical issues when conducting research. As an academic researcher, it was important to observe ethical issues in the entire process of data collection and analysis. It was ethically important to seek permission from the administrators before contacting their employees to be participants in the study. The researcher did that. The researcher explained to the respondents the purpose and nature of the study and the need for them to take part in it. They were informed that it was academic research and that other than the researcher, it was only the professor who would have access to the data collected from the participants for academic purposes.

The participants were reminded that participation in this study was voluntary and that they had the power to withdraw at any time without any consequences. For those who agreed to be part of the study. Their identity was kept anonymous to protect them. Instead of using their actual names, they were assigned letters of the alphabet to ensure that their identity remained secrete. The outcome of the research was shared with the participants who requested to see the final document of the study.

Results

In this section, the researcher will provide answers to the set research questions. The first question focused on determining the fundamental principles that guide the process of recruiting employees at ABC Company.

What are the fundamental principles that guide the recruitment process?

The respondents were asked to name and quantify the fundamental principles that inform the recruitment process at the company based on their significance. The figure below shows the answers that were obtained from the respondents.

Principles used at ABC Company to recruit employees.
Figure 2: Principles used at ABC Company to recruit employees (Developed by author).

As shown in the figure above, non-favoritism is one of the most important principles used in recruiting employees at ABC Company. People would be hired not because their relatives or friend favored them, but because of their qualifications. Honesty was another very important principle at this firm during the recruitment process. The company has zero-tolerance for corruption when hiring employees. In many cases, it would hire based on the prevailing needs.

How can the recruitment panel identify and eliminate applicants who present documents, which are forged?

When asked this question, the chart below shows some of the strategies that the respondents suggested:

How to Elimiate Forgery

As shown in the figure above, the respondents felt that if rigorous tests are used, it may be possible to identify those who are using documents that are not their own. They also suggested that it is necessary to contact institutions that issued the certificates to confirm if they are genuine. Other strategies mentioned are to issue a strong warning to the applicants, involve the police when forgery cases are identified, and engage recruitment agencies to help in the entire process.

What should be done to ensure that the outcome of the recruitment program is a diversified workplace environment?

When this question was posed to the participants, most of them stated that the company has always encouraged both local and international job seekers to make their applications. Although local Emirati citizens have a little edge over foreigners in terms of age qualification, all other factors remain the same. It makes it easy to have a highly diversified workplace environment because people from various parts of the world are recruited.

In what ways can the management achieve success when it comes to planning and managing the workforce?

To achieve success in planning and to manage the employees, the participants stated that managers should align the skills and experience of the employees with the job assignment. Employees should be assigned tasks based on their academic qualifications, experience, and interest. To achieve the most out of employees, the management should always ensure they are motivated, as stated by most of the participants in the study.

Discussion

The review of literature and analysis of the primary data collected from the respondents clearly explain the relevance of workforce planning and recruitment. As Schuck (2012) observes, employees are the most important asset that any organization can have. Their output determines how successful a firm can be in achieving its set goals and objectives. As shown in the data collected and reviewed in the study, it all starts with selecting and hiring the right skills and talents within the labor market. However, selecting the right workforce is not an easy process.

Recruitment of Employees

According to Boella and Goss-Turner (2017), it is always easy for a firm to identify and poach talent from a rival company if the poaching company is willing to pay more and offer a better working environment than the rival company. However, this predatory approach of hiring employees may not be sustainable, especially if the rival firms can offer better remuneration to the employee. As such, it is still very important for a company to have a proper employee recruitment strategy that involves going to the labor market and selecting the most qualified candidates based on the set criteria.

However, the recruitment process is often challenging and involves a series of activities that must be done right to identify the needed skills and experience. At ABC Company, a clear system has been developed to help in recruiting the needed workforce. The firm emphasizes on educational qualifications, the ability to drive, the experience of the recruits, age, and their capacity in both oral and written tests.

The recruitment strategy used by this firm has worked in enabling it to identify and hire highly talented employees. It explains why for the last six years, this firm has been winning awards as the most efficient company when it comes to handling jet fuels. Accidents have been eliminated, and spillages reduced to insignificant levels. It was voted as one of the environmentally friendly firms in an industry that is often associated with massive environmental pollution. It is a clear indication that the employees of this company understand what they need to do and have the right skills in delivering the best services in their places of work. Schuck (2012) says that once the right workforce is selected, it is often important to take them through regular training. They should be trained in emerging trends and how to manage the emerging forces.

Planning and Managing the Workforce

According to Boella and Goss-Turner (2017), once the employees are recruited, it becomes the responsibility of various departmental heads, including the head of the HR department, to ensure that the workforce is managed carefully to ensure that the best is achieved from them. One of the biggest mistakes that firms often commit, according to Arthur (2012), is failing to match the skills and experience of the employees to the tasks assigned to them.

For instance, different employees may be hired in the marketing department. However, the department has various units responsible for various tasks. It is the responsibility of the marketing manager to ensure that each department has employees with the right skills and experience. It is wrong for an employee who has many years of experience in handling brick-and-mortar stores to be assigned to the online marketing department. Their wealth of experience will be lost, and it may take a while for them to learn and master activities in the new department. The fact that they are taken to new territories where their skills are of no significance also lowers their level of confidence. Each of the departmental heads must, therefore, plan the workforce properly to ensure that maximum output can be achieved from them.

In a report by Arthur (2012), it is indicated that workforce planning also involves coming up with strategies that will make employees act individually but with team spirit in their minds. The overall performance of an organization depends on the performance of the individual employee. However, the employees must work as a single unit, sharing a common goal to ensure that they help the firm to achieve its strategic goals and objectives.

As such, they must remember that they have individual commitments to the firm but are expected to work as a team. It should be clear to the employees that their efforts matter a lot in helping the firm to be successful. Schuck (2012) says that successful large corporations such as Google, Microsoft, Aramco, and Emirates Airlines have learned how to manage their employees in a way that little or no supervision is expected of them. The systems are put in place that makes it obvious what every employee is expected at every moment. They can act individually but achieve a collective outcome.

Retaining talented employees, according to Boella and Goss-Turner (2017), is one of the most important roles of HR once they are hired. As mentioned above, the process of selecting and hiring talented employees is often rigorous and time-consuming. As such, it is important to ensure that once they are hired, measures are put in place to ensure that they remain within the firm, especially after resources are spent to train them.

Immordino (2014) says that one of the most commonly used strategies is to offer employees attractive remuneration that is relatively above other firms. Providing an enabling environment where employees feel respected is also important. Their views should be valued, and they should not feel intimidated or humiliated while at work. The research will make a significant contribution to the current bodies of knowledge on how to embrace best practices in workforce recruitment and planning.

Recommendations

The success of an organization depends on its ability to recruit, regularly train, and maintain its workforce highly motivated. The management of ABC Company should consider the following recommendations in its future workforce recruitment and planning strategies:

  • The firm should embrace a continuous recruitment approach instead of the yearly approach to ease the process of authenticating the applicants’ credentials.
  • The management of the firm should work closely with the employees to monitor and direct their actions, as suggested in the Agency Theory.
  • The management should employ various motivational strategies to help it retain its talented employees, as suggested in AMO Theory.

Conclusion

The purpose of this study was to analyze workforce planning and recruitment that is often employed at ABC Company to suggest ways through which the activities can be improved. The researcher used both primary and secondary data to help inform the study. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to analyze the primary data collected from the sampled participants. The findings show that recruitment and employee planning are critical in ensuring that a firm is successful. The firm has also been very keen on hiring and retaining talented employees. The rigorous recruitment plan has helped it identify and hire highly skilled and experienced employees from various parts of the world. It is recommended that this firm should embrace a continuous recruitment process instead of doing it once a year. The management should also ensure that its employees remain motivated at all times.

References

Anyim, F., Ekwoaba, J., & Ideh, A. (2012). The role of human resource planning in recruitment and selection process. British Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(2), 68-76.

Armstrong, M., & Armstrong, A. (2012). Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice. London, UK: Kogan Page.

Arthur, D. (2012). Recruiting, interviewing, selecting & orienting new employees. New York, NY: American Management Association.

Boella, M., & Goss-Turner, S. (2017). Human resource management in the hospitality industry: A guide to best practice. New York, NY: Routledge.

Booth, I. (2016). Workforce planning collaboration: The talent acquisition and HR partnership. Web.

Bratton, J. (2015). Introduction to work and organizational behavior. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chun, E., & Evans, A. (2013). Creating a tipping point: Strategic human resources in higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Immordino, K. (2014). Organizational assessment and improvement in the public sector workbook. New York, NY: CRC Press.

Mattiske, C. (2012). Recruiting for results: Secrets of selecting the right person for the job. New York, NY: Made For Success Publishing.

Naff, K., Riccucci, N., & Freyss, S. (2014). Personnel management in government: Politics and process. New York, NY: CRC Press.

Schuck, S. (2012). Beginning teaching: Stories from the classroom. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Smith, T. (2012). Strategic workforce planning: Guidance & back-up plans. Scotts Valley, CA: CreateSpace.

Thompson, N. (2013). People Management. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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