Virgin Marketing and Human Resource Strategies
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Critically evaluate, appraise and analyze the management of human resources to aid the development of business strategy in Virgin Trains
- Virgin Trains is successful today because it is known for running high quality, fast and reliable state of the art trains over the different cities of UK including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. A very good management of people is the key to success in all the businesses.
Management of Human Resources
Human resource management focuses on the recruitment management and provide the right direction for the people who work in the business. They deals with all the issues related to the employees including hiring, performance management, safety, benefits, employee motivation, organisation development, administration and training. An effective HRM system allows the businesses to address human resource issues strategically.
In virgin trains, they are managing the human resources very well as there is a set of managers responsible for the operating area in each region and they link up with others to share the ideas and expertise. The managers of the business are working actively with all the employees within the business. They ask them questions about how to improve something and their point of view and ideas. This technique is very effective as it makes the employees feel special. If the employees know that their views are important for the business, they will even work harder.
Strategy is the direction and scope of an organisation over the long term. Corporate strategy is about strategic decisions in all type of businesses. In Virgin Trains, corporate strategy is their business policy which they make to run the business successfully and to work towards it.
Critically evaluate strategies of Virgin Trains for people recruitment, retention,
Training, learning and development which maximize the skill and contribution of people
- The case study shows that the virgin trains supports to hire people who are willing to adopt the vision of the virgin trains. Apart from the person specification, virgin also looks for the people who are willing to support the vision and allow them to speak freely. They also look for the people who have a calm behaviour and can listen to their customers without panicking. This type of recruitment sets out the relationship between the organization and its people - respecting different views and encouraging openness and honesty. They can get the best of the resource by publishing their vision along with the hiring ads. In order to retain them, virgin trains undertake the development of their employees very seriously. They have encouraged their employees to take part in decision making. They have always appreciated the suggestions coming from the employees who are directly in contact with the customers. This encourages the lower staff and they feel free to share their practical experiences with the managers to develop much more suitable services for their customers.
For The development of their employees, virgin trains arranges workshops every week to keep them up to date with the current market trends that help their employees to deal with the customers and the daily challenges in a much better way as compared to their competitors. Virgin trains have given their employees a lot more benefits and some great training programs to develop their personal skills.
Approaches to Select Right Candidates
There are different approaches to select the candidates. To attract the pool of candidates they use media like newspapers, websites, internet, internal hiring and through job fairs arranged in universities and colleges as well. The best one would be to hire from within the organization. As the people inside the organization will already have an idea about the culture of the organization and they will prove better to be promoted. In case of new hires, the best idea would be to get new blood in the organization through job fairs arranged in colleges.
The strategies adopted by virgin to develop and retaining employees are ideal. They have arranged workshops on weekly basis and on the job training that proves great for the employees. Another thing is the participation of the employees in decision making which motivates employee and helps retaining them. Virgin has developed a talent wheel for their employees who help them to identify what sort of behaviors does their employee posses that help the organization in future training as well as promoting the right employees. In this way they are not only finding the best but also reducing the extra cost and saving the time that would have been wasted on someone not capable enough o handle the positions at higher level. In this way the bad performances can be improved through the training sessions and also can help employees to self manage them.
The best thing to do while checking with the performances is to run a 360 degree performance reviewing program in which all the peers, sub ordinates and managers take their part to evaluate their co-worker. In this way, you can get the right idea about how much an individual is performing at all levels. As we also see in case of the management development, Virgin is running learning and development training courses for its managers. These courses are actually targeted to improve the leadership skills. A lot of leadership programs for front line managers are also helping the cause of management development.
Due to all these steps, virgin rails has successfully set up the KPIs such as reduced leaves, improving customer satisfaction and lowering the staff turnover.
Critically appraise strategies for positive employee relations, performance
Management and rewards in Virgin Trains
- Appraisals motivate and encourage the employees to give their best performance and improve as much as possible. Appraisal system gives opportunity to the staff to improve their performance and set targets for their selves to achieve. If the employees will do self-appraisal, this will help them to manage their own performance and make improvements in their selves.
Appraisal schemes can help employees feel that their good work is recognised and that they are valued. The management of Virgin Trains gives appraisals to their staff if they done their work well. It can also provide an opportunity to discuss any weaknesses they might have, and to come up with the solutions. They can also link the appraisal systems to decisions about pay, bonuses and other incentives such as share schemes. They also give appraisals to the more junior staff like cleaners, drivers and others. They could be more motivated by the appraisals.
All of these methods of rewarding system for the employees are maintain to motivate the workers and to make feel loyal with the company. There are so many different reward systems which specially designed to suit the workers needs. For example, the pension schemes to their workers who want to stay with them longer. But for the lower jobs like cleaners, drivers, porters won't accept pension schemes if they are not staying with the hospital for longer period.
Employee Involvement Techniques
Every business use employee involvement techniques to run the business. Virgin Trains also uses these techniques in the business so the workers more involved in decision making. The employees fell happy and motivated if the management involve them in the decision making process. They involve their employees in the actions which they take for the good cause of the business. They ask them what they think about the particular matter and discuss it with them. They may do whatever they want but they always involve their employees in the decision making process. The employees feel more loyal with the business and it makes them feel happy and secure. It also makes them feel that they have a value so they can express their feelings easily.
Virgin Trains do suggestion schemes within the business where the employees can communicate easily with their managers. The employees can give their personal suggestions to the management. Through this way, they can involve their employees with the personal matters of the hospital. Through employee's suggestions, they could save a lot of money. They give prize to the employees if the suggestion is successfully implemented. This method motivates the employees to give useful suggestion to the management.
Virgin Trains support their employees to make sure that their performance is managed effectively. Supporting staff have two forms, one is mentoring and the other is monitoring.
Mentoring - it is when the management allows one employee to get access to another employee for help and advice. This is very important as it encourages the employees to achieve the best performance. A senior employee who has vast experience in the work can be work as a mentor. The mentors will pass on their knowledge to the employees to support them. This will be very beneficial to the employees as they will get the ideas from their mentors which help them to improve their selves.
Monitoring - through this, the managers can measure and analysed the performance of the employees. They can work together with the employee to see if they are improving their performance or not. They can do formal or informal monitoring to see their performance.
The management of Virgin Trains is making their workers more competent so they carry out their tasks easily. They need to make sure that the staff has enough training and experience to do the work. If they have competent staff, they can deliver better service to the patients. This will create a very good reputation for the business. They should invest enough money in staff training so they have latest training for the work. Then they can check the level of performance of the employees with other employees and the workers of other hospitals and see how they are doing. Through this they can check that if the staff needs more training so they can arrange it for them.
Critically appraise the importance of marketing within the development of business plans of Virgin Trains and analyze the processes of market development
Objectives must be set before producing a marketing plan, as marketing success cannot be measured without these. Marketing Objectives "a statement of what is to be accomplished through marketing activities," McDaniel Et Al (2009), 2 simply set out what the business is trying to achieve.
Marketing Mix Decisions
The 'marketing mix' involves elements of marketing (7 P's) being used together in order to meet customers' needs and expectations to gain a brand image and reputation. (Marketing Teacher. 2010)7.
The 7P's will now be looked at in relation to Virgin Trains, and the importance of using them will be shown.
As Virgin Trains is a service organisation, the product will be the trains running in the big cities of UK. They aim to provide the best service to their customers. The 'product' is an important element of the marketing mix as it must meet customers' needs and expectations.
The prices for the tickets are not high at Virgin Trains. It depends where someone is going to. The price range of tickets is £10 to £50. The price for the travel from Birmingham to Manchester is as cheap as £10.50. They have pricing strategy for their trains so people prefer to travel on Virgin Trains. They constantly do special offers on different ticket prices so to attract the customers. 'Psychological pricing' will be used to attract more customers, because it will seem like they are spending a lot less. The company will also use 'penetration pricing', where the price is set low in order to gain market share, once the product reaches the 'growth' stage in the product life cycle, prices will then be slightly increased.
Place includes all the train stations in big cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh .etc. big train stations like Piccadilly train station in Manchester are used as distribution channels. Retail outlets such as Selfridges, other large outlets will be used as distribution channels.
Places of distribution are important, without these the customers are unable to know about the service and travel. Consequently, these locations have been chosen cautiously, for example customers from the local areas can catch the train from their nearest big city.
The main promotion technique used by Virgin Trains is advertising; this will be done by using the internet, train stations and magazines .etc. On some occasions the company may do special promotions such as 'buy one get one half price', this will encourage customers to purchase more as they will be saving money. They do special offers on their website by selling cheap tickets.
'Promotion' is a key element to make customers aware of what the company has to offer and advertisements give customers a vision of what to expect from the business. Sales promotions also help to generate more income and attract new customers.
'People' includes staff as well customers. In Virgin Trains, all the management and people who are dealing directly or indirectly to the customers have the knowledge and skills such as good communication, to help them whilst interacting with customers.
These people all play an important part of the company, as the staff is required to assist customers in order to gain brand reputation, and customers are required to use the service again and again.
This entails the process of providing a service to the customer from the first, to the last point of sale. Therefore Virgin Trains should obtain customer feedback to measure if their current practice is efficient and helpful to customers. The process of buying the tickets from the stations and via their website must have to be easy and secure to meet customers' expectations
The physical evidence allows customers to make judgements on the company based on their perceptions; this can be related to the building, uniform, etc. Virgin Trains are the main physical evidence for the people and also the stations where they can catch the trains. All the trains must be in good condition so the customers have a memorable and comfortable journey. They also have their own website where people can go and find the information they need. This is a very effective way of giving the information to their customers as people can check the ticket prices and timings from their home.
Critically evaluate, appraise and analyze the place of information systems and new technologies in developing business and marketing strategies and planning
The main role of Internet marketing is simply to provide quality information to the online public, and making it accessible to them by taking into consideration the different methods used by Web surfers. One of the biggest advantages of online marketing for Virgin Trains is that it facilitates quick and easy sharing of information amongst consumers. This reduces the company's marketing costs to a large extent.
On the internet, there is wide range of websites to look at for so customers have wide variety of choice available. They can also compare the prices of the tickets and choose the suitable for them with reasonable price. There is wide range of information available on the internet so people can check and get that information from their homes. Internet also allows the customers to download the information they need.
Internet marketing provides opportunities to the businesses. Through the internet, Virgin Trains have the opportunity to develop their service. They can use latest technology in their website to meet customer expectations. They can put different images of the service they provide on the website so people can look at them.
Having a website is very beneficial for Virgin Trains as they can communicate with their customers even better. Customers can contact them through internet. Through this they can get the contact details of their customers and use it for the future promotion.
Customers find it very easy and convenient to buy and look for the information over the internet. It saves their time to go out and look at prices and timings because some people don't like going out so they find it very easy to use the internet as they can check and get all the information from there.
New Technology in Developing Business
The new technology is improving day by day so Virgin Trains needs to keep pace with the new technology because to stay competitive in the market. They have to make sure that they meet customers' expectation. They can do this by providing them the latest technology online.
One of the biggest advantage of the use of the internet is that it overheads the business cost. For example, they have cheaper tickets available online so the customers, who will get the tickets from the internet, will get cheaper prices. This will save the time of the people and more and more customers will use the website and buy tickets from it.
An online business have to provide payment security to their customers as well so Virgin Trains have to make sure that the payment method they are using is safe and secure for their customers. If the customers will have the experience of non secure payment method then it will go against the business. They will loosen their customers because they will stop buying from them online and not trusting them anymore. This will affect the strategy of their business. The benefit for having an online presence is that they can be seen by more customers nationally and internationally. Their customers will increase so this will have a big impact on the business.
Investment in Information Technology
If the businesses want to achieve benefits from e-business, they must invest in the field of IT. They can do investment in hardware and software requirements, security issues to consider, designs and maintenance of a website and network technologies. This is very important as it will beneficial for the business itself.
Critically evaluate, appraise and analyze the place of information systems and new technologies in developing business and marketing strategies and planning
Marketing and Operation in Manufacturing
Total Quality Management (TQM) - m It means that the management of the business not just need to check the quality of the products on the production house but to check as the whole organisation. Everyone within the business from managers to employees involves in TQM effort to improve the processes, products and services because it requires approach that is much more comprehensive. This process requires the quality department to spend more on doing planning rather than just inspection and control. This means it is not just the products but it is also the process of producing products and the service, which they provide to the customers.
Internet is the most important and popular tool which people choose to search for any product. So for the manufacturing business, it is the best way to market their products. First of all, they need to have an internet appearance so people can search them over on internet through the most used search engine Google. The images of the products are as important on the website as the website itself. They need to convey very large amount of information because there is a lot of information available on the internet and the competition is strong.
The main principle of marketing is to understand the customer's needs. Carrying out a research to find out what people want from you is very important. The competition is always strong for manufacturing business so they need to be very careful when selecting the pricing strategy for their business as the customers will easily move to the other businesses if they found the products expensive. This will have a big impact on the business and its strategies.
Service and Not-for-Profit Organisation
A service organisation is the one who provides the service to their customers and make profit from it. It is also known as profit organisation. The best example of service organisation is Virgin Trains as they are providing the best service to the customers all over the UK. Whereas, a not-for-profit organisation is the one which does not distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders but use them to peruses their goals. The example of the not-for-profit organisation is the charitable organisations, trade unions or public arts organisations.
Both profit or service and not-for-profit organisations are similar in many ways.
They both need to generate their revenue to spend on the operations of the company to survive and grow.
They both are producing a good or service for the society.
They both employs people and managed and run by them who are employed for them.
Marketing strategies for profit and not-for-profit organisation
They both need to make a positive relation with the target audience. Target audience are the group of people which they want to sell their product or service to. The selection of media to do marketing is very important. A not-for-profit organisation needs to choose the right media for promotion. They need to make sure that they have a visual identity even if they are not selling any products. They need to frequently display their organization's name and logo on newsletters, reports, signs, and brochures. A memorable, well-designed visual image will strengthen awareness of the organization.
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