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This paper will discuss various parts of human resource management in a successful international chain of Coffee House Company based in United States, and arguably the world largest coffeehouse company. The company operates over fifteen thousand stores in fifty countries worldwide. The organization's trade line includes beverages such as coffee, tea, juices, soda and pastries. The company is also involved in marketing of books, music and films through its entertainment division.
The Coffee House Company started as a single store business selling roasted coffee to local customers. Currently, the company is a global market leader operating in over fifty countries outside the United States. The company's interest and success in global expansion has been a great determination by the entire management especially the human resources management that has procured and maintained a team of competent employees.
Roles of human resource management
Human resource management has a lot of definitions that generally identify its role in procurement, development and maintenance of competent employees to ensure that the organization meets its objectives effectively and efficiently. The human resource department attempts to secure the best from workers by winning their cooperation. Some top managers describe human recourse management as an art of procuring, developing and maintaining proficient labor force to attain the goals of the organization effectively and efficiently. This definition has been adopted by the Coffee House which has given the full mandate of procurement, development and maintenance of employees to the human resource department (Buhler, 2002).
The human resource exhibits some features like the fact that it is pervasive in nature; pervade in all levels of management and in all departments. An effective human resource management is action oriented in the sense that it does not emphasize on written procedures and regulations. The staff's predicaments are fixed through rational policies. Effective human resources are individual oriented; it helps, encourages and motivates employees to give their best to the organization. The department is people oriented and concentrates on the labor force both as an individual and as a group (Buhler, 2002).
Human resource is future oriented; it ensures that the Coffee House meets its objectives in the future by bringing competent and well-motivated teams. It is development oriented in the sense that its intention is to develop the full potential of the workforce. It comes up with a reward arrangement tuned to the needs of the workforce. Employees are trained to sharpen and perk up their skills. Another feature of human resource management is its integrating mechanism. This is its ability to create and maintain a cordial relationship between employees working at various levels in the Coffee House. The comprehensive function of the human resource is due to its concern with any decision which affects the workforce or the potential of the workforce in the Coffee House Company (Burke & Cooper, 2005).
Studies assert that human resource management has been used by organizations to attain competitive advantage. This refers to the organization's ability to devise strategies to make use of rewarding opportunities, thereby increasing its return on investment (ROI). In the Coffee House, competitive advantage is achieved through customer's satisfaction with value from their transaction with the company. This necessitates emphasis on customer requirements and expectations. Surveys on customer satisfaction conclude that this has been achieved after the Coffee House has tuned its policies to be in line with varying requirements of consumers (Burke & Cooper, 2005).
Another principle of competitive advantage is derived from providing a product or service that beats competitor's ability to imitate. The uniqueness of Coffee House experience in the industry is valued by customers. To enjoy the competitive advantage, the organization has a committed and a competent staff. Employees' behavior has been an emphasis of the human resource management in the company. Employees are said to be productive if they are loyal to the company. Loyalty is determined by the ability of employees to be informed about organization's mission. In addition, loyalty comes when employees fully comprehend the strategic and current levels of success in the Coffee House, involve themselves in decision making, and make these decisions freely without being subjected to any form of pressure (Burke & Cooper, 2005).
Functions of human resource management
There is a growing realization that human resource management can make significant contributions to the success of the Coffee House. Human resource managers are assuming greater roles in top management planning and decision making. The functions of human resource management can be widely categorized into managerial and operative functions. Under managerial functions, it is the role of human resource manager to plan, organize, direct and control human as a resource in the Coffee House Company (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Operative functions are related to specific activities of personnel management. These functions touch on employment, development, compensation and industrial relations of the workforce. This paper focuses on operative functions of human resource management in the Coffee House Company. Operative functions are performed in conjunction with managerial functions. The first operative function of human resource management is procurement. It is the function of human resource management to obtain and employ people who have the necessary skill, knowledge and aptitude (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Procurement is divided into job analysis, planning of manpower, recruitment of manpower, selection of new employees, placement of employees, induction into the Coffee House and internal mobility. Job analysis is the procedure followed when collecting information relating to the operations and responsibilities concerning a particular job. Planning of manpower is a process followed to ensure that the Coffee House will have a sufficient number of qualified people, available at the proper time, performing activities that meet their requirements and grant satisfaction for the people involved (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Recruitment and selection of employees
Recruitment of manpower is the process of looking for potential workforce and motivating them to apply for employment in the Coffee House. Selection of new employees involves ascertaining qualifications, skill and experience of an applicant in order to appraise his/her appropriateness to the job in question. Placement of employees is the procedure followed to ensure all round fit that match the worker's qualifications, interests, skills and experience with the job being offered. When this procedure is followed, the human resource management is able to put the right candidate at the right level (Armstrong, 2007).
Selection in human resource management means choosing or picking the right candidate to join the Coffee House or to undertake a particular task. The fundamental purpose is choosing a person who is most likely perform the job successfully from a group of qualified applicants. A series of steps are followed in selection beginning with preliminary reception where candidates drop their application at the human resource manager's office (Dessler, 2010).
Preliminary interview may be conducted for good public relations after which employment test follow. These are tools which analyze the possible match between candidates and job requirements. For these analysis be depended upon, they should be valid. Tests may be in form of intelligence tests, aptitude tests that measure the candidate's potential to learn some specific skills and personality test that measure essential aspects of a candidate's personality such as, emotional balance, motivation, introversion, and interpersonal skills (Dessler, 2010).
In the process of recruitment and selection, the freedom of managers is restrained by the Coffee House's image, job attractiveness, internal policies of the Coffee House, budgeting support, and government policies. In general, the Coffee Houses depend on time lapse information, yield ratios, and surveys to assess the sources of recruiting. Logically, recruitment targets a huge number of qualified candidates who are ready to take up the job offered at the Coffee House (Dessler, 2010).
Challenges of recruitment and selection
In real working environment, the human resource department in the Coffee House Company has found it hard to obtain and select an appropriate candidate for a job in question. Some talented targets may start to see the position as inadequate compared to their present expectations. Some appropriate candidates may seem less motivated to apply due to some limitations associated with the Coffee House (Buhler, 2002).
Most candidates are attracted by jobs that look promising and avoid dull, boring, and monotonous and those which are not promising in terms of career development. The human resources department in the Coffee House is usually challenged by conservative internal policies. However, the Coffee Houses insist on mechanisms of searching for qualified people in the wider job market in an unprejudiced manner (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Lack of adequate budgetary support is another challenge since successful recruitment and selection exercise requires money. Limited resources may deter recruitment and selection efforts since lack of money may constrain a recruiter's efforts to draw the best candidate for the job. Stringent government policies may deter the ability of getting the right person in a recruitment and selection exercise. Sometimes the government requires reservations for special groups like physically disabled or some tribes. These provisions are to be observed as per the constitution and therefore the recruitment exercise may end up obtaining employees with less qualification (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2009).
Induction and orientation
Induction and orientation into the Coffee House are the methods used to rehabilitate new employees in their new surroundings, practices, policies, and people. Employees are acquainted with the ideology that characterize and drive the Coffee House Company; the mission and the values which shape the existence of the Coffee House Company. Internal mobility is the movement of workers from one position to another through promotions and transfers. On the contrary, external mobility is when employees leave the Coffee House due to different reasons leading to retirement, termination or resignation. Internal and external mobility are guided by well-conceived principles and policies in the best interest of the Coffee House Company (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
The second operative function of human resource management is development. This is the process of improving, shaping, shifting and developing the skills, creativity, aptitude, knowledge, attitude, commitment and values of the workforce in the Coffee House. Development functions are based on the present and the future needs both at personal and Coffee House's level. Development functions includes training, executive development, career planning and development, and human resource development (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2009).
Training is a continuous process that allows employees to gain skills, knowledge and experience to improve their ability to meet their personal goals and the goals of the Coffee House Company. Executive development is a methodical procedure of mounting managerial skills and capabilities via suitable programs. Career planning and development is the process of planning and implementing personal career through education, training, job search and attainment of work experiences (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
The human resources department in the Coffee House Company applies different techniques in training its employees. These include on the job training which encompasses acquisition of skills during normal conditions within the working environment. Both general skills and specific skills of the Coffee House experience are acquired. Another training technique is case method which encompasses providing the trainees with a description of how Coffee House Company has dealt with a difficult challenge in the past. Trainees are required to understand, analyze and criticize the approach followed, propose an appropriate approach and suggest a different method (Buhler, 2002).
Role-Playing training method allows the trainee to build a correct habit systematically in a stress free environment of Coffee House. This is an imitation technique whereby each trainee is assigned a role to play including the descriptions associated with that role. In-Basket Technique method is where a trainee is provided with information concerning the role in question such as responsibilities. The trainee is then asked to respond within a specified time frame. Management games encompass simulators that attempt to present how processes are carried out within the Coffee House. Trainees are provided with information regarding a particular situation and are asked to make their own decisions (Buhler, 2002).
The company also uses outdoor oriented programs where training is carried out in a remote location to combine both classroom seminars and outdoor skills. Coaching and counseling is used by the company to counsel the trainee about his area of weakness. Trainees are assigned to experienced employees who act as their guide. Transfers and rotations are used in the company to allow trainees to be rotated through a number of jobs to widen their skills (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
The Coffee House Company has multiple international investments. To train its employees remotely, computers, virtual reality approaches and distance training are applied. These are self initiated techniques and include communication between the trainer and the trainee via a computer. Distance training is conducted online through the Internet or teleconferences. The company has also used team-building technique in most of its coffee houses. This allows trainees to learn how to work effectively in teams. Motivating teams are selected in order achieve the goal of the Coffee House Company (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Job design and job analysis
The third operative function of human resource management is motivation and compensation. This is a process of inspiring employees to give their best to the Coffee House through the use of intrinsic and extrinsic means. Intrinsic means include achievement, recognition and responsibility. Extrinsic means include job design, work scheduling and appraisal based incentives (Buhler, 2002).
Job design is used by the management of Coffee House to organize the company's tasks and responsibilities in order to achieve a productive line and a staff functions unit of work. In Coffee House Company, job design is done primarily to incorporate the needs of employers to match with the requirements of the coffee house experience. Work scheduling is carried out in the company to motivate employees through job enrichment, flexible working procedures, task sharing and take away assignments (Buhler, 2002).
Workers require challenges at the working environment. In addition, the job itself must be designed in a manner that employees can value. Coffee House Company attempts to develop a framework that incorporates the physical, behavioral and physiological aspects of work. Motivations are forces that enable employees to behave in a particular manner. To exhibit high levels of performance, employees must have the ability and must be motivated. The company's human resource manager attempts to motivate employees by administering rewards, both financial and non-financial (Buhler, 2002).
Job analysis is a prescribed and a comprehensive assessment of jobs. The analysis is carried out in a systematic way by investigating the tasks, duties and responsibilities essential to perform a job. In a coffee house environment, a task is a particular work activity performed for a specific purpose for instance, selecting a method of advertisement. A duty is a bigger work load consisting of several tasks related by some chain of events for instance, doing research and designing a method of advertisement. A job responsibility is an obligation to execute definite tasks and duties for instance, being in charge of marketing (Buhler, 2002).
Human resource managers identify job analysis as a significant personnel activity. This is because it is meant to identify what employees do and what they need in order to do the job adequately. Job information is generally collected through a structured list of questions and is executed in a questionnaire interview format. The company applies a variety of methods to collect information about jobs. Since none of them is sufficient, Coffee House Company obtains job analysis data by applying a combination of several methods (Armstrong, 2007).
Techniques applied to collect information about jobs
One of the techniques used by the company to collect information about jobs is job performance. This technique entails the job analyst to actually perform the job in question. The technique allows the analyst to get the first-hand experience of related factors on the job. The analyst understands the physical hazards, emotional and mental pressures and social demands (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Coffee House Company uses personal observation to collect information about jobs. In this technique, the analyst observes a complete work cycle in order to note the tasks performed the speed at which the tasks are performed and the working conditions subjected to workers. This technique is also accompanied with some regulations that must be adhered to, in order to obtain accurate information. For instance, the analyst is required to observe an average worker during average working conditions. The analyst is required to observe the workers without getting involved. The analyst is required to note the definite job requirements and not the specific behaviors of the workers. The analyst is required to ensure that he collects an appropriate sample for generalization. The demerit of this technique is its failure to note of the mental aspects of the jobs (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Another technique applied by Coffee House to collect jobs information is critical incidents. This is a qualitative approach to job analysis applied in obtaining specific, behaviorally centered job descriptions. The technique requires the analyst to listen to the worker's description of several incidents based on previous experience. The incidents described are assessed and categorized; the analyst then draws the line between effective and ineffective behaviors of employees. This technique has been described as tedious and complicated, and the fact that it requires exceptional analytical skills to interpret the content of descriptions into significant statements (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Coffee House has also applied interviews as a technique for collecting information about jobs. This technique involves asking questions to both workers and their supervisors in either a personal or a group setting. This technique has been used in conjunction with observation to complement the information collected through observation. The technique requires an interviewer who has been trained in proper interviewing methods. General guidelines for this technique include putting the worker at ease, ensuring clarity of the purpose of interview, and encouraging the respondents to talk. The benefits associated with this technique are its ability to dig more information. The demerits are that it is time consuming, expensive and its accuracy can be compromised by the interviewer's skills (Dessler, 2010).
Another technique which has been applied by Coffee House in collecting jobs information is panel of experts. This technique uses senior managers or employees with broad knowledge of the job. The analyst conducts an interview with the group to get the information about the job. The advantage of this technique is that interaction of the group members can add insight and detail that the analyst might not obtain from other individual interviews (Buhler, 2002).
Another technique applied by Coffee House to collect jobs information is questionnaire method. This technique is the most extensively applied method by Coffee House to analyze jobs. In this technique, the workers are provided with a properly designed questionnaire meant to get appropriate job-related information. The questionnaires are given to supervisors who are able to seek additional clarifications from workers, and then they are given to analysts. This technique is highly economical to Coffee House Company. In addition, data analysis is simplified by use of a computer (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2009).
Job evaluation is a formal way used by Coffee House to determine the value of jobs. The process of job evaluation is designed in a systematic manner to give the relative worth of jobs so that the human resources manager can determine which jobs should be paid more than others. Through job evaluation, the human resource manager can establish internal equality between different jobs (Buhler, 2002).
Performance appraisal systems
Coffee House Company carries out performance appraisal to evaluate the performance of employees, who have already been selected, recruited, trained, and have worked on the job for a period of time. The results of performance appraisal are used to decide how employees do their jobs. The method evaluates the behavior of workers at the workplace and generally includes both the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of job performance. Coffee House applies performance appraisal as an objective and systematic way of assessing worker's related behavior (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Performance appraisal involves determination and communication with employees to analyze how they perform in order to establish a plan of improvement. Coffee House Company carries out performance appraisal process in six steps. The first step is establishment of performance standards with the workforce. The second step is setting measurable goals for the manager and employees. The third step is the actual measurement of performance. The fourth step is comparing the actual performance with the set standards. The fifth step is discussion of the appraisal with the workforce and the final step is the action of Coffee House Company's human resource department to initiate any corrective procedures if necessary (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Promotion systems implemented
Promotion is the upward movement of a worker from present position to another position that has better pay, more responsibility and better working conditions. Unlike upgrading which implies a high grade in title and transfer which implies horizontal movement of a worker to another position at the same level, Coffee House uses promotion as a motivational tool (Buhler, 2002).
In most cases, Coffee House management base promotions either on meritorious performance or continuous service. Any promotion has a motivational value as it forces a worker to use his skills and abilities fully and an opportunity to become qualified for vertical advancement. The most common systems of promotion are seniority and merit (Armstrong, 2007).
Merit based system of promotions is applied when a worker is promoted following superior performance in the previous position. Merit implies a candidate's knowledge, efficiency, skills, and experience. Merit based systems have some advantages; for instance, they motivate workers to work hard. In addition, employees strive to improve their knowledge, get new skills and add efficiency. Coffee House Company uses this system to focus attention on talented employees, recognize and reward their commendable efforts in a suitable way (Dessler, 2010).
However, the merit based system may fail to achieve its objectives because it is difficult to measure merit. This system is also subject to personal prejudices. Frustration and discontentment may spread among the old employees in situations where young employees are rewarded for their better performance. Another disadvantage is that in a coffee house environment, a good performance does not guarantee future success in another position (Armstrong, 2007).
Seniority based system of promotions is where the promotion is based on relative length of service. Workers who have the longest length of service are first considered for promotion. The advantage of this system is that the length of service is easy to measure and therefore it is easy to judge the seniority. Favoritism, subjective judgment and any form of discrimination are easily kept at bay (Armstrong, 2007).
The disadvantages of this system are based on its fundamental assumption that employees learn more with length of service. Some studies assert that learning potential may reduce beyond a certain age. This system kills the energy and motivation of the young and more competent workers and the outcome is a huge employee turnover in the Coffee House Company. This system kills the enthusiasm and interest to develop since promotion is for every person depending on the length of time (Armstrong, 2007).
Pay parts, benefits and incentives
Coffee House Company has designed a compensation administration strategy within its human resources department. This is the process of deciding the amount of compensation to be given to an employee. Benefits and incentives benefits are provided to all Coffee House's workers as required by law including social security, workmen's compensation, insurance, and welfare amenities. Incentive compensation is provided based on actual performance of the worker. Other benefits and incentives are offered to motivate employees and improve their loyalty. These include anniversary gifts, birthday gifts and parties, paid holidays, and club membership (Burke & Cooper, 2005).
Maintenance benefits are offered through various welfare measures to protect and preserve the physical and psychological health of employees. The human resource management enforces safety and health standards to all employees of Coffee House Company. The human resource department empowers other departmental managers to ensure a work environment that protects employees from unhealthy conditions, physical hazards, and abuse by other personnel (Buhler, 2002).
Employee welfare covers all the services, facilities and amenities provided to workers for their physical, psychological and social welfare. Employee welfare package includes housing or housing allowance, education, recreation facilities and transportation. Social security measures provided by the management include social security and fringe benefits. Under social security measures, workmen's compensation is provided to cover any worker or their dependent who is involved in an accident. Maternity benefits are provided to expecting women workers. Sickness and medical benefits are provided to workers suffering from different illness in Coffee House Company. Retirement benefits are provided to retiring workers and may include pensions, provident fund, or gratuity (Buhler, 2002).
General supervisory styles and how they support each other
Managing the diverse employees of Coffee House Company requires leadership qualities and supervisory skills. The company supervisors apply leadership styles that suit their personality and the needs of the Coffee House. Coffee House workers also play a role in the type of leadership style applied on them. In general, Coffee House insists on training its supervisors to have the ability to adapt to the altering requirements of the employees and the company (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Among the supervisor styles used is transformational style that necessitates a strong vision and an inspirational leader. Coffee House Company employees are trained to attend to the details while the supervisor focuses at the big picture. The company also uses transactional style that requires submission from employees. Supervisors use this style with unskilled workers who are new to the coffee house environment where a great deal of control is needed. The commonly used style is situational leadership that changes according to the situation. Supervisors switch between a job oriented approach and an employee oriented approach. Coffee House Company supervisors are adequately trained to analyze the needs of the company and workers to determine the best strategy for each situation (Mathis & Jackson, 2010).
Conclusion and recommendations
The role of the human resource department in Coffee House Company is ensuring the full potential of workforce is developed and realized. The human resource department creates and maintains an environment that is conducive to total participation, quality leadership, employee development and growth of Coffee House Company. The philosophy of human resource is to integrate the coffee house experience with the people so that goals are met in timely fashion.
The human resource department should recruit its employees based on merit without any prejudice or discrimination. The recruitment and selection process should be adequately financed to avoid some of limitations. After selection, training should be conducted to equip the new employees with the new coffee house experience. Promotion of employees should be based on merit because seniority based promotions will reduce morale and decrease overall production of employees. Compensation administration and benefit system should come up with a low-cost pay plan that will draw, motivate and preserve proficient workers, and which is perceived to be fair by all workers.