Global overview on Human Resource planning

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Human Resource planning is the process for ensuring that the human resource requirements of an organisation are identified and plans are made for satisfying those requirements. It is a rigorous process which links people management to the organisations mission, vision, goals and objectives and its strategic plans and financial resources. The basic key to HR planning is to get right number of people with right experience, knowledge, skills and competencies in the right job at right time at the right cost. [1]

Global overview on HRP

Human Resource planning determines the human resources required by the organisation to achieve its strategic goals. Globalisation has a strong impact on any company's HR planning process. Maintaining diversity of different culture, ethnicity, lifestyle and background at every part of the world they expand is not an easy task for the organisations. HRP should be very flexible and diverse so that it will be easy for the people to settle no matter where they want to start their career at and they should feel they are equally treated and are equally responsible for the success of the organisation.

Introduction of the organisation

The organisation that I have chosen for this report is Whitbread Plc. Whitbread PLC is the UK's largest hotel and restaurant company functional market-leading businesses in the budget hotels and restaurant sectors. Its brands include Costa Coffee, Premier Inn, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre and Taybarns. Whitbread employs over 34,000 people and serves 9 million customers every month in more than 2,000 outlets across the UK.

Whitbread PLC is a FTSE 100 company, listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is also a member of the FTSE4Good Index.

Develop a structure

This case study will be accessing, analysing and evaluating the impacts of HR strategies and plan and will be describing about the alignment of business strategy and HR strategy. It will also be discussing about the recruitment and selection procedure, work life balance and the effect of organisational culture on recruitment and retention. Further it will also describe the role of ACAS in grievance, discipline and dismissal procedure.

1.1 Accesses the strategic importance of current, future and anticipated HR requirements

Organisations strategic capability

The strategic capability of Whitbread plc is the capacity of a business to survive, prosper and deliver future value. It comprises a number of distinct components like clarity of thinking and action in objectives and strategy; evidence of strategy in action and strategic progress in operational achievement; sensitivity to the future and to the impact of controllable and uncontrollable trends and factors upon future performance; investment in resources, strengths and less tangible drivers of value; and, an approach to social ethical and environmental matters that is integral to the strategy of the business.

The organisations resources can be divided, in general as:

Physical resources: such as distribution network, buildings machineries. The nature of these resources, such as the age, condition, capacity and location, will determine the usefulness of such resources.

Financial resources: such as capital, cash, debtors and creditors, and suppliers of money.

Human resource: including the mix, skills and knowledge of the employees and other people in an organisation's networks

Intellectual capital: as an intangible resource- includes patents, brands, business system and customer database. An indication of the value of these is that when businesses are sold, part of the value is goodwill. In a knowledge based economy intellectual capital is likely to be a major asset of many organisations.

(Johnson & Scholes :Exploring Corporate Strategy .p 95)

Fig: Strategic Capabilities and competitive advantage

Whitbread plc's vision

The Team member handbook of Whitbread says that their Vision is to be the best hospitality Company. They believe in four principles that guide their actions and behaviours. This is the way in which they do things and they call it The Whitbread way.

People and team work

Work together as a team

Care about their people -they hold key to the success of the company

Win hearts and minds through great leadership and retaining them

Motivate them, evaluate their performance and reward plans.

Caring for guests

Knowing who and what they are

Creating brand they know and love

Giving them good time so they want to come back again and get them to tell their friends.

Passion for winning

Know the competitors and be better than them

Take tough decisions and play to win

Drive for stretch goals

Inspire recognise and challenge success

Continuous improvement

Having open and honest conversations

Listening, learning, acting and involving everyone

Embracing change and staying flexible

Keeping it simple

Human resources

Being innovative by nature, people work in the company and gain experience, they have knowledge and skills. In this process they get developed more and more and gain competitive advantage. This results in making them the most significant competencies of the company and retaining them brings lots of benefits to the company and also helps the organisation in gaining their aimed goals and objectives.

Putting together an HR strategy

Business strategy is concerned with running the business and making money i.e. achieving competitive advantage and in order to do so they need a hand of HR department which supply them People-the head of business who utilises the rest resources. The enormous amount of knowledge, skills, competencies and talent makes people the strong player to lead the organisation towards its success. Failure to maintain the human resource and use them properly efficiently leads the organisation to nowhere. An unhappy employee will not be able to put his full effort in his job role and might lead to leaving the organisation i.e. increasing the team turnover. So HR strategy and business strategy must be combined.

In Whitbread, there is a strong culture of people focus. In order to gain the company's targets, they keep proper track of their people and let them grow their capabilities in the organisation. They used High performance management model in which they differentiated themselves through innovation and superior customer service. So at the heart of this model is employee commitment: good people practises-including rigorous recruitment and selection procedures, extensive training and management development, incentive pay and performance management systems-generate greater satisfaction, satisfaction yields greater motivation, and greater motivation in turn is reflected in better performance. The following diagram shows the HR planning process. (Torrington, Hall (2005). Human resource management .p42-43)

HR Planning Process

Fig: HR Planning process

1.2 Analyse how HR planning impacts on the strategic plan

Organisation's strategic plan

The strategic plan of Whitbread plc is Building a brand and marketing focussed company who challenge their marketing teams to develop a number one brand leader in every market and to develop consumer-noticed improvements in long-term. [2]

The process of Human Resource Planning

Human resource implies to the human capital that operates as the brain of the organisation and planning is a course action. And process means operation. So the process of HR planning is defined as a course of action that human capital follows in order to achieve the predetermined goals and objectives. But the definition of human resource does not end here. It includes the management, which primarily involves issues related to the workforce. HRP (Human Resource Planning) is the strategic and logical approach to the management of the most valued assets-the people working there who contribute to the attainment of the objectives of the business individually and collectively by analyzing the information for HR planning, demand forecasting, supply forecasting, analysis of internal movements, succession of planning and so on.

Whitbread uses the most common subjective method of demand forecasting that is managerial judgement and comparing the like for like sales growth. This is also known as inductive method and can be bottom-up or top-down approach. The management estimates the human resource demand based on the past experience and corporate plans. Estimates go down to the hierarchy for discussion and redrafting. This is a quick, comprehensive and simple method.

Components of HR plan

Components of HR Strategy can be categorised as

People as a resource: Whitbread has always been using their Human resources in the efficient way. Use of Right People at Right Time, Fair recruitment, Reward Management strategy, Training and development, Handling resistance and Performance management makes them one of the fastest growing retail industries.

People and behaviour: It has also focused on learning and development plans, performance management and motivation plans, reward plans, employee retention plans and communication plans for their employees.

Organising people: people are organised by HR function, line mangers depending upon structure and processes.

The efficiency in maintaining these components to a great level has helped Whitbread to achieve their long-term goal.

Impact of HR plan on strategic plan

The strategic plan of Whitbread is to be one of the best a brand and marketing focussed company and to develop a number one brand leader in every market and to develop consumer-noticed improvements in long-term. So in order to gain the desired result it is very important to have proper HR planning. Whitbread has a mixture of hard and soft HR plan.

To align the business strategy and HR planning, the senior HR Director is elected as member of board of director. Sparkes (2001) identified key role of HR director as promoting the connection between business strategy, culture and HR strategy. Which maintains that being a HR director means that we can almost guarantee that a human element is built into everything from the start. (HRM, Torrington & Hall,p.43). The HR driven model offers extreme form which places human resource strategy in prime position. People are taken as the key competitive advantage and their strength will make the company strong. Logically then , as the potential of our employees will undoubtedly affect the achievement of any planned strategy, it would be sensible to take account of this in developing the strategic direction.(HRM, Torrington & Hall, p.33)

2.1 Evaluate the current legal requirements influencing a HR plan

Fairness in recruitment and selection

It is noticed that there are some unlawful discrimination in the recruitments. The reasons for these are prejudgement, stereotyping and misunderstanding at times. The basic effects are

Halo effect: The interviewer is having same likes and dislikes as the candidate so indirectly favours that candidate

Horn effect: This is opposite of Halo effect

Stereotyping: Assumptions are made before interviewing the candidate

So in order to make sure that the recruitment procedure is going smooth and fair some practices are done during the interview. Having a second person in the interview team will stop halo and horn effect. Plus giving more guidelines to the interviewer, doing squeal interviews, final interview, group interviews and paid interviews prevents from doing unfair recruitment and selection process. Apart from that the candidates can be judged more strictly on the basis of their talent, skills and competencies by doing Aptitude test, IQ test, Psychometrics test etc.

The interviewer must also check the Visa status of the candidate/ Eligibility to work in UK, Health and safety act, Disability act and Equal opportunity act before furthering the recruitment and procedure.

Fairness and protection during employment

Whitbread has the following Employee rights designated to its people in order to provide them fairness and protection during their employment.

Maternity rights

All women are entitled by law to maternity leave regardless of length of service or hours worked. However in order to qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) from the company, the employee must be employed for 26 weeks before the 15th week before to Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC). Employees who do not qualify for the SMP from the company should apply to DSS for maternity payment.

Paternity leave and pay

All employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks are eligible by law for paid paternity (SSP) leave within 8 weeks of the birth or adoption of the child.

Adoption rights

All employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks are eligible by law to take adoption leave and receive Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) leave within 8 weeks of the birth or adoption of the child.

Parental leave

Employees may be eligible to unpaid parental leave for up to 13 weeks per child if they have been employed with the company for 1 year.

Emergency/Compassionate leave

This leave is granted in the event of death or serious injury of an immediate relative or a close friend. This is an unpaid leave and is regarded as an unpaid holiday for the administrative purpose.

Rights to request flexibility working

Flexible work involves making change to your contract of employment to accommodate your wish to care for a child under 6 or under 18 with disability involving any of, or a combination of the following changes:

Hours and/or days

Start and/or finishing time


Employees also have statutory right to apply for a flexible working if you are a carer who cares, or expects caring for a spouse, partner, civil partner or relative or who lives at the same address as the person being cared for.

Leaving the organisation

Employees leave the organisation due to so many factors. They might even be dismissed from their job due to different fair and unfair reasons.

Fair dismissal:

Unfair dismissal

Dismissal and reasonableness

In some cases employees cannot complain for unfair dismissal such as:

Constructive dismissal

In certain circumstances an employee may resign because their employer has broken a significant term of the contract. This is known as constructive dismissal.

2.2 Describe a process for requirement and selection of new staff (external candidates) that complies with current legislation and organisation requirements

While recruiting people there are certain legal and organisation requirements that should be strictly followed. Legal requirements are the statutory compliances and the codes of practice from the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC), ACAS and Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) that has to be fulfilled during the recruitment and selection process. This creates equal opportunity, fairness, and minimum wages and so on. Similarly organisational requirements such as shortage of staff, demand for training and development, demand for replacements, retirement and promotion or for new jobs are also a must to keep in mind during the recruitment and selection process.

Recruitment process

This is the process which helps the organisation to get the acquired HR and also helps to replace employees (retirement). Managers must give very careful consideration to the vacancy before beginning the recruitment process. They must identify if it is fixed term, or short-tem vacancy and has to check if can be filled internally.

They have to plan how to find and attract the candidates to the job.

Then they have to identify the job role, being recruited for. In this stage they have to identify the job design i.e. what skills and qualifications are required for the post.

Then job description and job specification has to be identified in detail.

Then we have to advertise the job in order to attract applicants. Media of advertising the job can be chosen depending upon the target candidates and the advertisement should be effective as well. It should provide a realistic job preview and specific information about the job activities, the qualifications, knowledge required and the range of pay.

And finally the effectiveness of recruitment should be reviewed.

Selection process

First of all the applications are shifted.

Out of all the received applications the most suitable candidates are short listed and this is done by matching the job description we have advertised to the candidates.

Among the short listed candidates, more filtration is done and the most suitable candidates are selected and are called in for interview and testing. Interview may be taken by one or a group and may have different phases or one single phase. Some tests such as Aptitude test, IQ test and psychometric tests may also be taken in order to make sure that the right candidate can be picked.

Candidate will be communicated for the success of their application and will be called for a meeting-induction of the new employee where Contract of employment is signed. Employee will be given Employment manual, Whitbread Team member hand book Health and safety manual, first aid and more information about the organisation, its rules, policies, procedures, and codes and so on. Then they will be called for an OJE (On Job Training) which is a four hour basic training session to make the employees aware of the working procedure and the store.

The employee will now be given a probation period of 1-3 months in order to learn and improve. This way the selection procedure ends.

3.1 Discuss how organisational culture affects requirement and retention of staff

Organisational culture

Culture is the general personality or identity of an organisation which comprises of values, norms, assumptions and tangible signs of the organisation and its people. According to Shein (2004), Organisation culture is 'basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by the members of an organisation, that operate unconsciously and define a basic taken for granted fashion.

Effect of organisational culture on recruitment

Organisations culture plays a great role on the recruitment process. Due to diversified people, Whitbread picks people from diverse backgrounds. There isn't a typical Whitbread employee. Despite being from diverse backgrounds, Whitbread people are always friendly, passionate and ready to help. They come from hundreds of countries across the world, and from all age groups. There are common things we believe in - people and team work; passion for winning; continuous improvement and caring for guests - but it's the diversity of people who make up our company and their ability to meet the needs of our customers that make us successful. But in some places it is seen that there is some kind of power culture which breeds use of power in the recruitment process. Example: polish management gives priorities to polish people to join the company.

Effect of organisational culture on retention

Whitbread as a brand is very dedicated in keeping its people. Whitbread has 34,000 people servingĀ overĀ 9 million customers every month. And as the frontline of the business, they are fully dependent on people to deliver the brand promises, so they look for the very best people in the hospitality industry - and they do all that they can to keep them. It is also seen that some kind of person culture has arisen which has been adversely affecting the retention of privileged group of employees and favouring the powerful group.

3.2 Assess work life balance and the changing patterns of work practices

Work life balance issues

Work life balance can be simply explained as the maintained balance of time and effort of a person that he spends his work and other aspects of his personal life.

Benefits of Work life balance:

Benefits range from increased motivation, productivity and retention, to better customer service and considerable reductions in both costs and CO2.

Work life balance reduces work overload. It takes people off the routine job and provides them with new experiences through

1. Job rotation-Changing the job description

2. Job enrichment -giving more responsibilities vertically i.e. one step up or down

3. Job enlargement-adding more tasks to the daily routine job.

This will help the employees to enjoy their job while they work, creates excitement while doing different tasks and keeps the passion and motivation at work. It saves time as well.

Changing work life practises

Most of the employees want to work more flexibly in order to achieve a better balance between their jobs and the rest of their lives. While growing numbers of organizations are trying to accommodate their employees' requests and are doing it not out of altruism but for good business reasons

Work life balance allows people to do Flexible hours, Shift works (normal/short), Changing schedule, Part-time jobs, Home-working, and Seasonal works and so on. The pattern of work is changing every day in order to maintain the passion of their people at work n keep them with the company for long term. This will benefit the company as they can use the experience, knowledge and skills of their employees as their inevitable competencies. Whitbread came up with new ideas to retain their people at work such as Telly working (working from home by using TV, Internet), Annualised hours (no. of hours to work is designated and the employee can do any shifts and cover the hours), Time back mechanism (work extra hours this month and take paid leave next month). Whitbread also came up with the idea of career breaks where an employee can take a break of 3-12 months after working for minimum of 3 years in the company.

Due to all this effort focused on Human resource, Whitbread has been able to retain their staffs for longer time. This has also improved the image of the company as being one of the greatest place to work as it was found that the employees were satisfied with their job and team turn over had reduced to less than 10% compared to last year.

Problem with flexible working practices:

Along with the bright side of the flexible working practise came the dark side where it is observed and believed that flexible/part time staff is not as dedicated to the job as the full time staff. At the same time an issues of dominance or superiority of full time workers on the flexible staff was also noticed. This has added an extra responsibility to look after the people for the line managers.


4.1 Identify the process to be followed in grievance situation

Grievance is the state of concerns, problems or complaints raised in the company the employees. The management should encourage employees to settle them informally with their line manager as much as they can, but they should also have formal procedures available to the employees. Existence of formal grievance procedures in place allows the managers to give reasonable consideration to any issues which can't be resolved unofficially and to deal with them consistently and fairly.


The process to be followed in a grievance situation is identified below:

Employee informing you of the grievance

The employee should write a letter with reasons of grievance to the line manager. The letter should also state the desired outcome.

Calling him/her to a meeting

In this stage the employee will be entitled to be accomplished to the meeting by a work colleague or a trade union or if under 18 or disabled by a parent or guardian.

Investigating the grievance

Line manager will conduct investigations as may be necessary after the meeting to consider your grievance in the event that it cannot be resolved at the meeting itself..

Making a decision

The outcomes of the meetings will be communicated with the employee as soon as possible.

Offering the right to appeal

If the grievance is not resolved at this first formal stage, the employee will be entitled to invoke the second appeal stage within 7 working days of receipt of the letter confirming the outcome of stage 1. the letter will identify the person the employee should write to, in line with stage 2 of the process which is the final stage.

4.2 Describe the stage of a discipline issue that results in dismissal


An employee is dismissed when their employer terminates their contract. If an employee feels they have been unfairly dismissed they may complain to an employment tribunal.

Just as formal disciplinary action should only be necessary if informal methods have failed to resolve the problem, so dismissal should be the last resort in terms of sanctions. The principles for handling disciplinary situations up to and including dismissals are set out in the ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance. Whilst the Code is not, in itself, legally enforceable, employment tribunals will take its provisions into account when considering relevant cases.

Stages of Dismissal

Investigation:-If the performance or the conduct does not meet acceptable standard the matter will be investigated properly.

Sending out a letter:-A written warning letter is sent to the employee for a meeting.

Holding a meeting: meeting is held with proper interaction and communication from both the parties. Claims are forwarded from both sides and justifications are given.

Making a decision:-a decision is made and the employee is informed about the reasons of conducting the meeting, improvements expected, appeal procedure and then a copy of the warning will be kept in the employees personal file for a period of 6 months for disciplinary procedure. If no improvement is seen then dismissal decision will be made including any sanctions-first written warning, final written warning and dismissal

Offering the right of appeal:-Whitbread gives the rights to its employees to appeal against any informal disciplinary penalty. There is an appeal procedure which has to be followed. The dismissed individual should write to the person identified in the warning/dismissal letter; appeal must be received within 7 working days of receiving warning/dismissal letter and in the appeal letter the grounds on which the disciplinary action should be re-herd should be stated.

4.3 Explain the role of ACAS, Employment Tribunals and other external agencies that could be involved in grievance, discipline and dismissal process

Role of ACAS Grievances, discipline and dismissal process

ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) is an agency that provides advice and guidance, mediation, conciliation etc. on employment issues. ACAS aims to improve the company's and working life through improved employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance. ACAS helps both employer and employee by providing free advice from the website or by calling telephone helpline. They also help Employers in our more specialised services, including training, workplace projects, conciliation and mediation.

ACAS settles the employment disputes in wide range. It saves employees from being mistreated, discriminated, disciplined or dismissed unfairly at work. They listen to the both parties, investigate on the matter in detail and make fair judgements.

[Management and representatives who might have to deal with grievances should be trained for the task. Such training should focus on interpersonal skills, and should also include familiarisation with your grievance procedures and their operation.]

Role of employment tribunals in grievance, discipline and dismissal process

Employment tribunals are independent judicial bodies who determine disputes between the employees over employee rights. They hear claims about the matters to do with employment which includes

Unfair dismissal

Redundancy payments


Wages and other payment related issues.

An employee tribunal is like a court. Though it acts independently, it is not as formal as court and cannot give legal advice. And the hearings are mostly open to the public.

Role of other external agencies in grievance, discipline and dismissal process

There are more external agencies that deal with the disputes, misunderstandings and grievance at work. Some of them are described below:

Equality and human rights commission deals with all the aspects of equality and discrimination claims. This commission has helped in making steps towards making a greater harmonisation of support across equality agenda such as sexual matters, religious beliefs, gender, disability and age. They are committed to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to use their talent and skills to the full and become confident participants in the organisation.

Information commissioner's office is the UK's independent authority set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information. It is a confidential helpline service on all aspects of equality in the workplace.

Health and safety executive have a general duty to safeguard the health and safety of their employees, and make reasonable adjustments for staff with a disability. They have a mission to prevent death, injury and ill health at work in UK.

In this report I have tried to explain how HR plan at Whitbread plc supports its strategic objectives. I have also made an effort to evaluate the current legal requirements that influence HR plan and recruitment and selection procedure, discussed the effect of organisation culture in retention and the work life balance. The role of different agencies in settling disputes at work is explained in the last part.

It is seen that the HR planning of the organisation is an integral part of the business. HR plan in Whitbread has been an important aspect that has been supporting it to gain its strategic objectives. At the same time it is very important for Whitbread to develop and maintain alignment between business strategy and HR strategy in order to make the organisation successful in the long run. At the same time if the company looks after its people properly and with equality, that will make a big difference and the rise of bad culture can be stopped before they start.