The aim of the Human Resource Management is to anticipate changes within the internal and external environment ensuring that the organizations objectives are fulfilled (Nankervis, Compton and MCCarthy, 1993: 53). Over the last decades, due to the development of new technologies and the globalisation, the organization's challenge of adjusting to the environmental demands has become more valuable and remarkable (Palthe and Kosser, 2002). The external factors forming the organization's contextual environment are varied and one way for the firm to analyse their impact is the PEST model (Thomas H., 2007). This is an efficient tools for HRM because it group the environment factors in four elements that shape and determine the firm decisions.
The aim of this paper is to describe how the external factor may affect one organizational HR policies, on this purpose I will use Momentum Services Limited as vehicle to illustrate this argument.
Potential external influences on HRM policies and practices.
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Momentum Services Limited is a medium sized Company who provide the on board service of Eurostar International Limited. The stated mission of Momentum S. L. is building excellence within the Company, stimulating and providing high standard of performances at all levels, in order to provide a perfect product of Costumer Services. Internally, the Company has a fixed hierarchical structure, yet it sponsors the use of interdisciplinary collaboration, in order to promote innovative solutions and product development. Being a contractor, the Organization long term vision is to renew the Contract with Eurostar, to do so Momentum S. L. has drawn three main objectives:
Delight the customers by exceeding their expectation
Promote the growth of the company.
Improve the performance continuously.
Indeed, in this order of ideas, the HR contribution will be oriented to stimulate the collective employee performance on the purpose of enhancing the firm effectiveness (Lepak et al., ). There are different ways for HR to influence the employees' performance: directly, by influencing their ability to perform (shaping skills, knowledge and abilities), indirectly influencing their motivation to perform (with rewards to stimulate expected behaviours) (Lepak et al., ). Accordingly: HR practices may be grouped in to policy domains targeting employees skills and abilities or or policies that focus on the effort and motivation.
On the purpose of answering to the question that founded this paper, it will follow a description of the major external elements that affect the Momentum HRM's strategies and, as consequence, his policies.
Social and Cultural and environment
The social and cultural environment justifies the changes in values and lifestyle (Muller-Camen, Croucher and Leigh, 2008).
People have a key role on the organizations, because they are the firm's resource and they decide the type of products produced and sold. Therefore, HRM strategies need to realise the better use of their resources in order to achieve the organization's objectives and satisfy the customer needs. Gardner and Palmer (1992: 7) stated: There are many factors beyond the direct control of individual employees and employers, and group of employees and employers, which seems to affect strongly and even direct their actions. Furthermore, strategies are surely peculiar to the organization characteristics (type, orientation, size) and it is fundamental for the HRM system, to consider how the environmental factors shape their behaviours.
Eurostar International Limited is the high speed service between London, Paris and Brussels. In the last three years, it has been seen that even though they represent only the 20% of the passengers, business traveller brings to the Company almost the 80% of the incomes based on the ticket selling. For this reason Eurostar settled a number of interventions to implements the Business Class service (e.g. carte blanche elite, quiet coaches, lounge, on board service). On her side Momentum Services' has act on different levels to ensure their human resource be on line with their Contractor objective. To do so The HRM policies are specially designed to recruit and select the right people, to train and develop their skills, at last incentive the right behaviours rewarding them.
Recruitment and selection process are of paramount importance in order to hire only highly motivated personnel, ready to perform an excellent standard of services and entirely committed with the company mission. First of all a selected team of on Line managers and team leader are involved through the selection process. The Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedures aim to provide clear guidance to selection and appointment of staff. Momentum Services' recruitment process is extensive and electronic, candidate may apply by adding their curriculum online. The selection process is organized in four steps clearly stated in the recruitment policies:
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Selection on CV and application letter. In this first stage, people will be selected on the basis of their experiences and formations
A quick telephone interview. Where the candidates are assessed on the basis of their general attitudes in imaginative situation. Their ability on talking either French or English will be assessed too.
Selection day. It consists of a number of tests, group exercises, and a one to one interview. In this stage the candidates attitudes, knowledges and experiences are deeply valuate.
Administration checks (references, drug and alcohol test), uniform fittings, and confirmation of the starting date and training.
In addition, in line with the standards of positive and professional behaviour and for the representative role of the stewards, the Company has settled a fixed dress code which addresses to personal hygiene, care of the uniform, hair style and make up.
As seen from Fernandes (2001: ): Globalization, changing demographics, skills gaps, and worker shortages can have a profound effect on a nation's ability to maintain its competitiveness. There is increasingly need of training an well prepare staff to maintain the Company ability to compete on the market.
Accordingly, Momentum Services' HRM strategy promote the learning and development area both on-the-job and off-the -job (Lepak et al.,. â€¦). The policies related to this topic emphasize the Company aim of organize training plans customised to both the employees and business needs. On-the-job, crew will be provided with specific training related with specific performances (techniques on how to boost the selling's at the bar, language and body language techniques in a business class service. Of-the-job, the Organization propose an NVQ course in (customer service) to promote further education level in synchrony with the professional practices. Indeed education, training and development require injection of money, planning and evaluation, just like any other capital investment (Cooper and Lybrand, medium sizeâ€¦).
The traditional approach of "command and control" management style is now
being criticized as being too rigid and counterintuitive to the philosophy of
organizational learning, continuous improvement, and total customer satisfaction
(Alles et al., 1997; Drake et al., 1998; Raiborn et al., 1996; Sarkar, 1997; Simons,
behavioral theorists often associate
intrinsic motivation with empowerment, i.e. responsibility for work outcomes and
decision-making autonomy. According to behavioral theorists, intrinsic motivation
often increases job satisfaction, which in turn improves job performance. Although
the principal-agent model and the organizational job model appear to be at odds
with one another, they deal with the very core of human nature.
Furthermore the literature has emphasised that, performance management system are related with positive attitudes.
To promote positive attitudes and excellent performances, Momentum Services Ltd, has established a model of PRP give to the employee twice in a year derived, in part from Eurostar Customer service score, calculate on the basis of: questionnaires, mystery shopper and customer complaints, in part from a personal assessment, derivate from the overall feedback form (from supervisors) and the knowledges related to the product served on the on board safety.
The political environment it is consistent importance for the HRM for different reason, mainly because governments have the power to make low and, as consequence, to direct the employment relationship between capital and labour force. Moon (1991) noted the impact of legislation in area such as equal opportunity, occupational health and safety and industrial relations (Kane and Palmer, 1995: 9).
Above all, for Momentum services policies are directed to maintain a fair amount of weekly working hours structuring a system of rotation designed to embrace both, the Company needs and the employees' right. Furthermore, working in strict contact with the Union, have been focused on the importance of the health and safety law.
For example Momentum services Ltd has a strict references Policy of the Company: Momentum Services Ltd requires references from all employees which should be given on the administration day before starting work.
In order to receive a security pass to work on board Eurostar, each employee must bring one year's work reference from the last employer(s). This/these reference(s) must be typed or written in English on Company headed notepaper. Only an original is acceptable and must be signed by a former line manager or the HR Department and should mention for each reference one starting date and one finishing date (dd/mm/yy)
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In addition to this, we require one character reference from a person who has known the individual for more than a year, is not a family member, and who can comment in ENGLISH on the individual's honesty and suitability. This character reference must also contain a contact telephone number for the person writing the reference. After have past the probation period (6 months). The Company require ten years references on the same basis of the above. This references policy in one way reassure Eurostar about the reliability of the staff selected, furthermore answer the safety issues related to migrations legislations.
Furthermore, in order to start working it is compulsory to pass a Drug and Alcohol test. For Safety reason (any time during the trip steward are responsible for the passenger safety), Momentum Services have a strict drug and Alcohol policy. Reporting the Company statement : All employees of Momentum Services have to comply with the Company's Drugs and Alcohol Policy as part of their conditions of employment. You are not allowed to consume alcohol for a certain period before your check in. You are not allowed to work under the influence of drugs. All staff receive a copy of the policy for their own reference. Random checks for drugs and alcohol may take place at any time without prior warning.
International and national economic changes
Dramatic changes are affecting the world of work. Examples include increased global competition, the impact of information technology, the re-engineering of business processes, smaller companies that employ fewer people, the shift from making a product to providing a service, and the growing disappearance of "the job" as a fixed bundle of tasks. These trends are producing a redefinition of work itself. They provide great opportunities for industrial and organizational psychologists to contribute to the betterment of human welfare (Casio, 1993). Changes for Momentum on the probation period and flexible contract. (HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment)
Action of Unions