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The Human Resources department is vital for the wellbeing of any organisation. Before coming to the UK to study for my Master Degree I have worked for one year in the Design, Development and Optimization department of Ericsson Telecom Romania and I could easily observe the involvement of the HR team into the organisation as well as its interfaces with other departments. The aim of this essay is to analyse four of the activities of the HR department and the way the HR members apply their policies in regards with the support they offer to the line managers. I will begin this report by analyzing the company I chose both from an external view (PEST analysis) but also from an inside view (SWOT analysis). Then I will choose four of the activities of the HR department, discuss about their approaches, theirs key strategies but I will also offer practical examples of how Ericsson Telecom Romania put all of these into practice.
The context in which the company runs the business is vital for the well being of the company and is well summarized by the following analysis.
-the government encourages the great companies to come and open headquarters in Romania by offering them a tax exemption
-for employing students the Romania government lowers the taxes they should pay to the national authority of finance
-the president of one of the parties who holds the power in Romania is involved in the company
-there is an economical crisis in Romania and people are desperately looking for jobs
-the council tax is lower than in western countries
-Romanian people are really looking for jobs and see Ericsson as a great opportunity
-it is a growing market in Romania due to the fact that people depend more and more on technology
-Good Romanian Universities
-new discoveries made on Wimax and LTE the future technology for 4G
-the sector of R&D is getting more and more attention and uses new technologies
-the possibility to integrate the Ericsson business in a cloud architecture
Well-known Swedish national brand (for more than 100 years)
Reputation for quality and integrity
Well advertisement policy by using an appropriate marketing strategy
A good emphasis on the quality of the engineers employed
Good infrastructure( by using 90% Ericsson proprietary equipment)
Flexibility in offer a wide range of services starting form monitoring the network to the proper development of it
good recommendations from people who already used the Ericsson's services and are satisfied with it
lack of documentation for the tools used
bad communication strategy inside the company
not a very competitive website
focused more on budget cutting than on the quality of people employed
The extension on the handset phones by forming a joint venture with Sony
Opting to use in the future the LTE technology for 4g which seems to be better and the one adopted by Nokia (the Wimax one)
The prime provider of telecommunication services for the World Cup Championship in South Africa 2010 and London Olympics 2012
Nokia is focusing more and more on the services part
More Global Delivery Services Centre had to be closed and some are being transformed into GSC
A new blueprint enforced from Stockholm that has to adjust to the customers and employees needs in Romania
In the context of the global recession my context analysis shows that Ericsson business is still a strong one due to the right approach senior managers had as well as its well known brand. In my opinion these are the key factors that influence the Ericsson's business. Furthermore I will emphasize on the fact that the company really complies to the Romanian law legislations and that the Romanian Universities really offer graduates with strong background knowledge to work in the telecom industry.
Recruitment and Selection:
Organisations are aware of the importance of having the right people involved in their projects and therefore they offer the right importance to the recruitment process. In order to achieve great goals with the company they first need appropriate people and qualified ones. This is the main reason why the recruitment process and the methods related to it are maybe the most important and with the highest priority in the HR management. (Margaret Foot, Caroline Hook, Introducing Human Resource Management, 4th Edition, 2005, Prentice Hall)
The role of the HR managers in this process is to give valuable advice regarding the laws of employments that apply in the specific country. The line manager is the one preparing the job description and consulting with the HR specialist. (Dennis Hoffman, Managing People and Organizations, MSc 2010).
The terms of recruitment and selection are often linked together even if they have different targets and they operate differently. Recruitment can be defined as the process oriented towards finding potential employees and also attract application from the one that suit the position advertised. This operation is usually outsourced to an agency. (Tom Redman, Adrian Wilkinson, Contemporary Human Resource Management, Text and Cases, 2nd edition, 2006, Prentice Hall)
The recruitment process is highly influenced by some inner and external factors, such as the legislation from the country it is enforced, not to discriminate any persons, offer fair rights for every person as well as ensuring that the ultimate goal of this process is to protect the benefit of the company. The role of the Human Resource management team is to make sure that of the legal, business and moral aspects of the recruitment process are respected.
Most companies consider as a first step towards recruitment searching internally. And this strategy is probably not the most suitable one as some of the principles mentioned above may not be respected. For example the organisation I chose to talk about usually looks for people internally before looking for someone externally, but this applies only if the position is not a managerial one. The HR team from Ericsson prefers people from inside the company as they already know the Ericsson's procedures and the training period is no longer necessary.
The first step in the recruitment process is to identify the need for the position the organisation needs. One of the mistakes usually made is considering that a job description will remain the same in the future. (Tom Redman, Adrian Wilkinson, Contemporary Human Resource Management, Text and Cases, 2nd edition, 2006, Prentice Hall)
The strategic plan of growth of the organisation has to be well examined by the HR team as well as any other reasons. For example here we can include the reassignment of a person, dismissal or maybe retirement. Of course that each of the above mentioned reason requires different approaches. The HR has to find the best strategy to offer the best possible solution filling the places. The recruitment process for my organisation relies completely on the HR department and therefore every aspect of it has to be well documented. It is the role of the line manager that looks for a certain person to fill in a position in their departments to offer a complete job description which would include all the specifications needed. A next step that lies in the hands of the HR specialist is to write a person specification, which provides more details about the persons we are recruiting. Nowadays the most often used model for find out the a person's specification is the one belonging to Alec Rodger documented in 1952 and which covers aspects as "physical make-up, attainments, general intelligence, interests, disposition and circumstances." (Margaret Foot, Caroline Hook, Introducing Human Resource Management, 4th Edition, 2005, Prentice Hall)
Ericsson's approach towards the stages of the recruitment process is the following: the line manager for example for the Business Support Systems creates a job description for the position she wants to fill and after that the HR specialists are using different techniques to search for people internally. But if the job would be for the position of BSS UK Manager the process of recruitment would be outsource to an experienced agency by the HR team.
There are many possibilities to advertise a job and I cam mention some of them: on-site notice boards, local newspapers, professional journals, recruitment agencies, internal notice boards, Internet sites, television. In most cases it is the job of the HR administrative officer to place the job advertisement in the appropriate places.
Any successful campaigns will results in finding the best people for the advertised job. Therefore the strategic approach towards selection begins. It is the HR department duty to choose the best person for the job and they can do these using different methods such as interviews, tests, assessments centres, references. The interview is probably the most often used technique of selecting people and this is performed by the line manager who will ask specific question for the job needed together with the HR specialist. Interviews can be hold over the phone, face to face but no matter the type of it, the interview must be held by an experienced person and allow enough time for it (Michael Armstrong, Human Resource Management Practice, 10th Edition, 2006 )
Learning and development:
Most organisations want to improve performance, to generate income for the stakeholders whilst the people working in the organization would want to "acquire and develop the knowledge' (Armstrong, 651). Learning and development can help achieve these goals for both parties. Therefore people are happier; they can make future plans while the organisation continues to grow. This process of learning must be business oriented but also focused on the desires and needs of the employees. According to Walton "strategic human resource development involves introducing, eliminating, modifying, directing and guiding processes in such a way that all individuals and teams are equipped with enough skills". The process of learning is a shared responsibility between the HR team, line manager, senior manager and the actual employees. Armstrong argues that the process of learning is a continuous one not just a series of training sessions. Even so the link between individual learning and the organizational benefits it's not so easy to establish (Armstrong, 656).
In my organization the HR team organizes periodically series of training on different levels but is the line manager's duty to select the most appropriate people from his team to go and participate. We can also see a different kind of situation in each the employee finds a perfect opportunity for development and training and asks his manager to enrol him to that training. However "a learning organization is one which facilitates the learning of all its members and continually transforms itself (Armstrong 661).
There is often a distinction made between learning and development. Learning is the means by each a person develops new knowledge whereas development is related to a person's ability to acquire experience and self guide himself through the learning process.(Armstrong 665)
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The Investors in People standard provides a framework for organizations to follow, making sure that all the key principles are respected.(hook 281)
The first step in the process of learning and development is to assess the learning and development needs. This is the duty of all the employees, knowing his/her weak points. But the true responsibility in an organization falls into the role of the line manager. They have to assist their staff with support, learning opportunities and also coaching. (Armstrong 689) But sometimes the line managers need help with this from the HR specialists who must provide support and guidance.
The next step is to set up appropriate objectives for the employees' process of learning. These must be realistic and very clear. After that the planning of the learning or development occurs and this is an activity that the HR department must fulfil. They have to choose the most appropriate location, prepare the necessary handouts and also inform the participants about the administrative details. After the training is carried out there is usually an evaluation. It is very important to"assess its effectiveness in producing the outcome specified when the activity was planned."(Armstrong 693).
The specialised literature defines different type of learning: instrumental, cognitive, affective and self-reflective learning. The concept behind the learning curve talks about the times it takes an "inexperienced person to reach the required level of performance in a job or a task."(Armstrong 706 +poza scanata pagina 707 cu learning curve)
Health and safety:
This section of my essay talks about managing health and safety in organisations. These policies are concerned with protecting the employee and any customer affected by the organisation's products.
Every single person who work in the organisation has the duty to eliminate at the maximum any kind of possibility of hazards. This is not only the responsibility of the employee but also of all the managers who have to protect their team, because any kind of infection illness or disease can have catastrophically impact on the business. The role of the HR department is to enforce some regulations regarding the policy and proper behaviour conduct at work but also instruct the employee about the adequate approach in case something goes wrong. Therefore written health and safety policies are required and should consist of three main part: 1.the general policy statement, 2.the description of the organisation for health and safety and 3.details of arrangements for implementing the policy.(Armstrong 961)
The most important aspect of this activity is to try to prevent any kind of health problem. This is the main purpose of what is known as risk assessment. Its main purpose is to identify the main reasons for hazards such as stacking and storage, processing of raw material, receipt of raw materials, lifting, and installation of equipment, using electricity or failure to wear protective equipment. But the main goal of this risk assessment is to enforce it not only to write about it. As a consequence the HR team should be informed of every single operation that goes on the organisation and try to make it noticeable to the employees by using warning signals, barriers, imposing the use of protective equipment.(Armstrong 964)
The line managers have the duty to train their team about the appropriate procedure that must be adapted in case of an accident. In my organisation every there weeks the HR department organized an exercise about fire escape exits and my line manager always emphasised on this exercise my discussing about it carefully in out next weekly staff meeting.
But every organisation is also controlled my a professional audit company who verifies that every aspect related to health and safety is respected. According to Saunders(1992) "it will examine hierarchies, safety planning processes, decision making, delegation, policy making and implementation as well as all areas of safety programme planning".
In most organisation the HR team emphasises on the prevention of accidents and hazards and this can be achieved by induction courses and training. This procedure should be applied for all employees new one, those who changed the department or even old one.
Health and safety is also usually measured using the frequency rate (number of injuries/number of hours worked X 100,000) , the incident rate (number of injuries/average number employed during the period X 1,000) or severity rate (the days lost through accidents or occupational health problems per 1 million hours worked).(Armstrong 969)
One of the newest HR focuses is the one concerning the welfare of the employees. In other words there is a specialised job, the HR specialised on the happiness of the employee. The policy behind this new branch is that a happy and satisfied employees adds value to the organisation. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) tries to make employees aware of the real benefits of having a more proactive approach towards their jobs.
But now the question is how much can a line manager interfere in his employee's life and its aspects? The line I think it is drawn in the moment that the employees' personal life affect his work. Having an employee that can easily cope with stress factors is vital to any line manager and therefore most of the HR department provide "employee assistance programmes " in order to assist with any worrying thoughts. Another aspect that is taken into account by line managers is to keep some good working relationships and a friendly atmosphere within its team.(hook 389)
There are many aspect of personal life that can interfere with a proper behaviour at work. The HR department must have procedures to deal with these kinds of situations or maybe others more severe such as drug consumption, alcoholism or some form of discrimination in the workplace. My organisation offered their employees free services to a private clinic with different kinds of facilities as well as a 50% discount to one of the most sophisticated health club in the city. These kinds of services keep the employees happy and give them enough reason to keep working in the same place. Beside of these facilities the organisation I chose to talk about had a strong policy about discrimination enforced every time there was any slight doubt.
One of the most important aspect of employee's welfare is stress and dealing with stress. This appears when someone is worried about a problem or cannot cope with it. After carefully studying the stress problem the Health Safety Executive elaborated a series of standards for managing stress.(hook all the way 392) It is the HR duty to present these standards to all employees and also offer support in order to make them effective. These standards refer to the following areas of work :Demands, Control, Support, Relationships, Role, Change.( detalii aici despre cum ericsson a foslosit standardele astea) (Hook 392)