Managing Human Resources In Modern Business

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Human Resource Management is a way of management that links people-related activities to the strategy of a business or organisation. HRM is often referred to as "strategic HRM". It has several goals:

To meet the needs of the business and management (rather than just serve the interests of employees);

To link human resource strategies / policies to the business goals and objectives;

To find ways for human resources to "add value" to a business;

To help a business gain the commitment of employees to its values, goals and objectives

The link between Human Resources and Business Strategy

All elements of the business strategy have implications for human resources, as illustrated in the table below. The challenge for management is to identify and respond to these HR challenges:

Examples of Key Strategy Issues

Possible Human Resource Implications

What markets should the business compete in?

What expertise is required in these markets? Do existing management and employees have the right experience and skills

Where should the business be located to compete optimally?

Where do we need our people? How many do we need?

How can we achieve improvements in our unit production costs to remain competitive?

How productive is the workforce currently? How does this compare with competitors? What investment in the workforce (e.g. training, recruitment) and their equipment is required to achieve the desired improvement in productivity?

How can the business effect cultural change?

What are the current values of the workforce. How can the prevailing culture be influenced/changed to help implement a change programme?

How can the business respond to rapid technological change in its markets?

What technological skills does the business currently possess? What additional skills are needed to respond to technological change? Can these skills be acquired through training or do they need to be recruited?

An important part of HRM is the Human Resources Plan. The purpose of this plan is to analyse the strategic requirements of the business in terms of manpower - and then to find a way of meeting the required demand for labour.

Human resource management can be identifying in direction of Hard-Soft and Loose-Tight. HRM has both side hard (tight) and soft (loose).Soft HRM in an important strategic planning building it will show the company the path of further where it's now what need to be done in future and it can be well defined as a future planning process a development in HRM. The components of SOFT HRM are categorized as;

Defining where the company is now

Identification of where the company is now and what its strengths and weakness is an important component for soft HRM in decision making. Without a proper understanding of the company's present situation HRM cannot be continued else it will end up with a mess.

Defining where the company want to be in the future.

A proper forecast of the future is an essential component not only for HRM but also for any other management function. This will give a guide to human resource and it's easy to make decisions and plans.

Analysis of the external environment.

Environment is an important fact to business because environment consists of people who some time company identify them as customers and sometimes as employees. The knowledge of external environment will give company opportunities and threads.HRM is managing people the source where people come from is the external environment so analysis is an important fact.

Plans to implement necessary changes.

After identification of the company present, future progress and the external environment company can take HRM decisions which are necessary to the company. This will be very useful to a company in planning decisions such as recruitment and cost management.

The determination of type of works need to be carried out by workers are recognized as HARD HRM. In human resource management a proper level of activities are need to be maintain. There might be different departments in a company and it doesn't want all departments to be efficient. HARD HRM activities can be categorized as;

Forecasting of employees

A certain number of employees are needed to be in the company to carry out day to day work and to give out the expected out put in a given period. The forecast of demand in future about the product and services makes employee changes.

Analysis of employees

Analysis of the current working employees within the company makes the company future demand plans on product or supply. This will also effect on the future recruitments

Monitoring and reviewing employees

HR activities are practically monitored and review of the existing employees is important in order to get a successful HRM in a company.

Human resource is an asset to a company some companies don't know how to handle it. According to Storey (1995) HRM is "A distinctive approach to employment management which seek to achieve competitive advantages through the strategic deployment of a highly committed capable work force using an integrated array of cultural, structural and personnel techniques".

He as defined Personnel management as" A series of activities which first enable working people and their employing organization to agree about the objectives and the nature of their working relationship and secondary ensure that agreement is fulfilled".

According to the above definition we can understand that HRM is a resource centred and PM is work centred which mean that , according to HRM its main focuses is on recruiting people to work and managing them as management need and PM focuses on the employee work, giving them goals, employee arrangement to work and arranging them to be paid.

According to David Guest there is a frame work for HRM in a company which is called as GUEST model. The model can be achieved a superior individual and organizational performance. If company's HRM practises are applied in to the model that will produce an excellent individual performance.


Since 1885 Unilever has developed dramatically and as a result of that the company has lasted for more than 100 years. Although Unilever wasn't formed until 1930, the companies that joined forces to create the business we know today were already well established before the start of the 20th century.

In 1990 Unilever's founding companies produced products made of oils and fats, principally soap and margarine. At the beginning of the 20th century their expansion nearly outstrips the supply of raw materials. First World War affected the company in 1910 through tough economic conditions. Lot of companies at that time tried to keep their investors interest in Their Company and not loose them.

In 1920 when this situation turns up side down when business expanding fast all the companies agreed not to manufacture same product in order to have profit, as a result of this the company named U NILEVER was created. The business didn't start as a flash it had been formed in a critical era of world war and in economical crisis stages. The turning point for unilever was in 1940 when they expand their business internationally and continues to do further investments in research and development.

They mainly focused on the food market which was a great business at that time. With the emerge of European Economic Community in 1950s the standard of living has rose and new markets were opened unilever made that as a advantage and instantly get in to the global market.

In 1970s Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector had been very difficult economic condition to manage and the inflation was high the company had to change their view and to change their process in business. In 1980s the company however manage to be the one of the world biggest companies, and at that time the company's main focus was in the products and brand names.

With a clear mission in the 21st century company has launched a path to growth, a five-year strategic plan, and in 2004 further sharpens its focus on the needs of 21st century-consumers with its Vitality mission.

Unilever new mission

'to meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene, and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good, and get more out of life'

The new mission of the company provides a new entry to consumer health and life style through good manufacture process to their needs. This mission was launched in 2004 mainly focusing on 'bringing Vitality to life'



HRM Strategy:

The focus of Unilever is to recruit the best employee to the company which will produce high level of out come with good quality. Unilever has more than 100,000 employees and the cost of employee recruitment is very high and the salary is also the same, so as a result in some branches unilever has decided to reduce the number of employees to maintain the cost.

HRM Practice

Each year Unilever has been designed more than 10,000 new jobs and the process of selection is getting rough. Since E-Recruitment has been invented Unilever has chosen that in recruitment process and that has given the company the best employees and that will ensure the security of employees. The existing employees will be rewarded with salary incensement and other benefits.

HRM Out comes

The flexibility in company is very high and there are lot of part-time workers than fixed workers in the production unit. The reason for that is most of the production unit was in Asian countries and the labour is cheaper than European countries and they work either contract basis or part time. Though employees work flexibly the qualities of products have been in a good standard.

Behaviour out come

The company has spread over 150 countries and each has been producing same products in four major business criteria and all are working harder in order to achieve future goals. The company motivation is to improve employee skills so that in turn it will benefit the company.

Performance outcome

Though the company has spread around the world with more than 100,000 employees, the labour turnover is very high and complains of employee dissatisfaction is very high. Unilever in UK has the best productivity rate than any other unilever round the world. Due to low quality of out put in products customer complaints are increasing and as a result the company has to analyse the mistakes and re arrange the production plan which will cost an extra.

Financial Outcome

The labour cost maintains will reduce the extra cost that company has to hold and that will give a profit to company. Each year company will produce about €5 billion net income.

Evaluation of the GUEST model

The guest model is an important measure to be use to get knowledge about HRM in a company. The main advantage of the module is that it critically classifies the HRM input and out puts and it's easy to study the company's Key HRM strategies.

Unilever is a multinational company and the module is rather complicated to calculate the specific HRM strategic and it's rather concern on individual performance than social index. Some concepts such as commitment and involvement are a mess. Such concepts cannot be measured or identified because the company is widely spread. The company more prefer the Legge module than guest model because it's complicated and some concepts won't match with the company. Module is efficient in calculating the human recourse management within the company and its a summary of what HRM means the company but in case of multinational company like Unilever cannot get through this process perfectly because of that the company has spread all over the world and as one unit company cannot collect the sufficient data and if company performance and the nature is always defer from one country to another.

Task 2

Today flexibility in the work environment is considered important. Taking your

organization as an example, review and discuss the ways of developing flexibility

within the workplace

Flexibility in work is an important key to a company, if the company need employee attraction and not to lose them. Flexibility means the way of working, which means that flexibility can be based on time and location. The flexibility in work can be categorized as follows;

Part-Time Workers

Part time workers are cheaper to recruit and they are not permanent and cannot involve in management procedures. The rights of part time workers are limited.

2. Fixed/Short-Term Contract Workers

Workers who are taken at a specified period as the company need.

3. Outside Contractors/ Sub Contractors

Group of workers or individual worker requites from out side the company for a special work at a specific time.

4. Self Employed labour

People who work for an exact company as a self employed basis.

5. Agencies

Agencies which supply employees to companies which seeks for labour.

6. Get the customer to do the work

Without any employee customer fulfil his needs by him self by use of technology.

7. Shift working

A continue way of working where employees work according to a time based system.

8. Flexi-Time

A way of making decision by employee about his working time with in a core time

9. Job Share

A way of sharing once works with other who work full time job on a part time basis.

10. Annualized Hours

A number of hours labour is given to employee and he need to complete that within a year.

11. Tele working

An easy way of working, by the use of technology employee can work at his own place, home, or even at road.

12. Hot Disking/Hotel ling

Employees need to go outside the company for specific job and they have a specific desk for them self in the office for permanently.

13. Home working

This is the same as tele working and work can be carried out in home and this no need of network or communication

As shown above flexibility of work can achieve the company a high standard in business and the satisfaction of the employee will be high because they get what they need. The flexibility in work will give advantage as well as disadvantages. Some of them are as follow.

Employer view

Employee satisfaction will reduce employee strikes etc.

High level of outcome can be achieve

Cost of employee is low

Sometime cost cannot be maintained

Employee internal competition will effect on company

Company manufacture process or sales can be continue without a stop

Employee view

Employee satisfaction is high

Working stress is low

There will be a new 'can do' attitude in the business

Time can be managed to do personal works

Employers will miss use the labour

Some times salary payment will be postponed.

At Unilever, they are giving employees (and not just the women) the chance to work flexibly for years. Flexible working can mean Working part-time, Working from home Job sharing .

Most who take up the opportunity are parents. But not all. One Unilever employee played hockey for the Olympic team and was allowed to work flexibly in order to train more often. Another was given a sabbatical to practice with his rock band. These examples show how unilever has given flexibility for their employees.

When it comes to maternity and paternity packages, Unilever beats many other businesses. Company also believe in educating managers about the merits of employing mums.

Work life initiative has been developed many years in response to employee request in Unilever. Unilever believes that this will make employee attraction on the company and the satisfaction will rise above the roof.

Unilever sees the flexibility as an important issue because that directly effect on employees and without them company cannot carry out the works. Unilever as a company has arrange different ways of flexibility in work specially for mother who work full time, company has given them a holiday system where they can take holidays without a pre notice. The most of the part time worker in the company are employed in Europe rather than Asia.

Task 3

Discuss the issues of providing equal opporlunities within the workplace and

evaluate how well the chosen organization provides equal opportunities for its


Over the past 30 years, several federal laws have been passed to ensure equal employment opportunity. Some of the most significant legislation and executive orders are as follow;

Civil Right Act 1991

Americans with Disability Act 1990

Vocational Rehabilitation Act 1973

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) 1967

Civil Rights Act 1964

The point of the law is to stop discrimination practices that are unfair to specific groups and to define enforcement agencies for these laws. EEO legislation attempts to balance the pay given to men and women; provide employment opportunities without regard to race, religion, national origin and sex; ensure fair treatment for employees of all ages; and avoid discrimination against disabled individuals.

The heads of all operating companies and units in the UK have committed their businesses to achieving greater diversity. Every Unilever Company in the United Kingdom has an equal opportunities Policy and actively pursues equality of opportunity for all employees.

Company's equal opportunities policy is designed, among other things, to ensure that people with disabilities, and other under-represented groups, are given the same training, development and prospects as other employees.

The company carries out regular employee monitoring surveys and has also conducted an equal pay audit. The company continues to review ways in which greater diversity can be achieved in recruitment and selection.

The company continues to put in place policies which promote the achievement of diversity in the business. Unilever has policies on home working, flexible working, maternity and paternity leave, child care provision and career breaks, which help company to meet this objective.

Equal opportunities and managing diversity at Unilever

Unilever understands the importance of diversity and that's why it is a critical component of company has a diverse consumer base with a diverse array of needs. By mirroring that diversity within company's own organization, Unilever can develop powerful consumer insight and incorporate it throughout the business. Company seek and welcome unique talents and perspectives at Unilever, because they strengthen us as a company and help us on our journey to add vitality to life in a variety of ways.

Unilever has created many avenues to enhance and expand the diversity of the company. Led by senior management, company's diversity councils help shape the diversity and inclusion philosophy company deliver to employees. Through training and awareness efforts, employees appreciate the power of diversity and the need to leverage the unique ideas, experiences and abilities employees all possess to build their business.

Unilever recruitment strategy continues to evolve to ensure that our workforce reflects the demographics of their consumer base and fulfils the talent needs that will keep Unilever competitive and successful now and in the future.

Diversity for growth of the company

Unilever believes that working in an environment of openness and respect helps employees perform at their very best and ultimately succeed.

When employees express their own thoughts and ideas - and encourage others to do so - it contributes to a diverse marketplace of ideas that helps make Unilever a more robust organization with a better understanding of its markets. Because Unilever's diverse employee base reflects the broad backgrounds of our consumers, we're able to anticipate and respond to what they want more quickly.

The employees express pride and satisfaction when we're first to market innovative products that meet consumers' evolving needs. The individual uniqueness of each and every employee, and our commitment to growing diversity, make that possible.

Diversity at Unilever

Unilever recognizes the strength of inclusion and diversity. Understanding, respecting and valuing their similarities and our differences are powerful and compelling concepts for today's business environment. They are also the tenets by which we have outlined a fundamental business strategy to assist in reaching company goals.

1. Recruit

Recruit a diverse workforce that appropriately reflects the demographics of our consumer base and fulfils the talent needs that will keep Unilever competitive and successful. Diversity furthers company understanding of the marketplace by valuing the ideas and thoughts of all employees and other stakeholders in the business.

2. Retain Employees within the company

Retain employees by fostering an environment in which all employees understand and value each other - and our differences. company recognize that all businesses change over time. For business to grow, company need employees who possess an in-depth understanding of the business and the flexibility to anticipate and respond to changes in the marketplace.

Company can develop and retain employees by providing equitable opportunities, together with a challenging environment that rewards new approaches, risk-taking and novel points of view, thereby creating a culture that values diversity.

3. Grow the business & innovate

Continually grow the business and innovate by embracing diversity of thoughts and ideas. Create a work environment that fosters and supports enthusiasm, business risk and new ideas. Innovation is key to driving their business forward both now and over the long term and it hinges on a multiplicity of ideas and ways of approaching a problem. By building a diverse employee population that brings many different life experiences to the table, we vastly improve their prospects for innovation and growth.

4. Development of employees

Develop employees to help them reach their professional potential. As organization customers and distribution channels continue to evolve, so too must our employee base. Investing in the development of employees is essential to organization growth.

5. Hold accountable in company

Establish accountability. All employees are responsible for proactively supporting Unilever's goals, and they are evaluated accordingly. Specific behaviours and actions that promote an understanding and appreciation of diversity are incorporated into individual performance plans.

Diversity is one of the thrusts of Strategy into Action, the plan that drives all aspects of our business. Employees are expected to contribute to the success of diversity goals just as they are expected to contribute to other priorities of the business

By focusing on Unilever goals for diversity as part of our overall business strategy, we recognize that they are intertwined. Indeed, our success and prosperity are inextricably linked to company ability to embrace diversity in every part of the organization. Valuing diversity is the job of everyone - Unilever employees, contractors, and vendors. It is the way we work and the way we do business, day in and day out.

Task 4

Identify the key emerging issues in the area of human resources management in

generai and explore the topical issues and practices of human resources in your


Armstrong and Baron define performance management as 'A process which contributes to the effective management of individuals and teams in order to achieve high levels of organizational performance. As such, it establishes shared understanding about what is to be achieved and an approach to leading and developing people which will ensure that it is achieved'. They go on to stress that it is 'a strategy which relates to every activity of the organization set in the context of its human resource policies, culture, style and communications systems. The nature of the strategy depends on the organizational context and can vary from organization to organization.'

In other words performance management should be:

• Strategic - it is about broader issues and longer-term goals

• Integrated - it should link various aspects of the business, people management, and individuals and teams.

It should incorporate:

• Performance improvement - throughout the organization, for individual, team and organizational effectiveness

• Development - unless there is continuous development of individuals and teams, performance will not improve

• Managing behavior - ensuring that individuals are encouraged to behave in a way that allows and fosters better working relationships.

While most firms have a human resources or personnel department that develops and implements HRM practices, responsibility lies with both HR professionals and line managers. The interplay between managers and HR professionals leads to effective HRM practices. For example, consider performance appraisals. The success of a firm's performance appraisal system depends on the ability of both parties to do their jobs correctly. HR professionals develop the system, while managers provide the actual performance evaluations.

The nature of these roles varies from company to company, depending primarily on the size of the organization. This discussion assumes a large company with a sizable HRM department. However, in smaller companies without large HRM departments, line managers must assume an even larger role in effective HRM practices.

HR professionals typically assume the following four areas of responsibility: establishing HRM policies and procedures, developing/choosing HRM methods, monitoring/evaluating HRM practices, and advising/assisting managers on HRM-related matters. HR professionals typically decide (subject to upper-management approval) what procedures to follow when implementing an HRM practice. For example, HR professionals may decide that the selection process should include having all candidates complete an application, take an employment test, and then be interviewed by an HR professional and line manager.

HR professionals also consult with management on an array of HRM-related topics. They may assist by providing managers with formal training programs on topics like selection and the law, how to conduct an employment interview, how to appraise employee job performance, or how to effectively discipline employees. HR professionals also provide assistance by giving line managers advice about specific HRM-related concerns, such as how to deal with problem employees.

Line managers direct employees' day-to-day tasks. From an HRM perspective, line managers are mainly responsible for implementing HRM practices and providing HR professionals with necessary input for developing effective practices. Managers carry out many procedures and methods devised by HR professionals. For instance, line managers: Interview job applicants Provide orientation, coaching, and on-the-job training

• Provide and communicate job performance ratings

• Recommend salary increases

• Carry out disciplinary procedures

• Investigate accidents

• Settle grievance issues

The development of HRM procedures and methods often requires input from line managers. For example, when conducting a job analysis, HR professionals often seek job information from managers and ask managers to review the final written product. Additionally, when HR professionals determine an organization's training needs, managers often suggest what types of training are needed and who, in particular, needs the training.

Health and Safety at Unilever

Occupational Health and Safety is an essential element of a successful and sustainable business in today's global village. Consequently, Unilever takes responsibility for Occupational Health and safety very seriously. Sustainable, profitable growth for Unilever is dependent on:

• Providing consumers and customers with products that are safe in use.

• Protecting the health and safety of employees and contractors.

• Managing activities so as to provide care and protection of the environment

"To achieve a safe working environment and a world class reputation for Unilever in Health & Safety at Work"

Some companies take some actions in order to retain health and safety in the company. Some may be in success but some companies can't achieve that goal. Unilever achieves health and safety by followings;

• Developing, designing, operating and maintaining facilities and processes that are safe and without risk to health.

• Developing, introducing and maintaining systems, which will establish appropriate standards of occupational health and safety and ensure compliance with all applicable legislation and internal Unilever standards by means of regular auditing?

• Setting annual improvement objectives, targets, and reviewing these to ensure they are being met at company, divisional and departmental levels to ensure continual improvement.

• Involving all employees in the preparation, review and implementation of this policy and providing appropriate training and safety awareness.

• Holding management at all levels accountable for the occupational health and safety performance of their staff.

• Providing for dissemination of information on health and safety at work by establishment of suitable communication networks both within Unilever Ghana and with outside bodies.

Recruitment Process at Unilever

Recruitment refers to the process of screening, and selecting qualified people for a job at an organization or firm, or for a vacancy in a volunteer-based organization or community group. While generalist managers or administrators can undertake some components of the recruitment process, mid- and large-size organizations and companies often retain professional recruiters or outsource some of the process to recruitment agencies. External recruitment is the process of attracting and selecting employees from outside the organization.

The recruitment industry has four main types of agencies: employment agencies, recruitment websites and job search engines, "headhunters" for executive and professional recruitment, and in-house recruitment. The stages in recruitment include sourcing candidates by advertising or other methods, and screening and selecting potential candidates using tests or interviews.

Job Analysis

The proper start to a recruitment effort is to perform a job analysis, to document the actual or intended requirement of the job to be performed. This information is captured in a job description and provides the recruitment effort with the boundaries and objectives of the search. Often times a company will have job descriptions that represent a historical collection of tasks performed in the past. These job descriptions need to be reviewed or updated prior to a recruitment effort to reflect present day requirements. Starting recruitment with an accurate job analysis and job description insures the recruitment effort starts off on a proper track for success.


Sourcing involves;

1)advertising, a common part of the recruiting process, often encompassing multiple media, such as the Internet, general newspapers, job ad newspapers, professional publications, window advertisements, job centers, and campus graduate recruitment programs;

2) Recruiting research, which is the proactive identification of relevant talent who may not respond to job postings and other recruitment advertising methods done in #1. This initial research for so-called passive prospects, also called name-generation, results in a list of prospects who can then be contacted to solicit interest, obtain a resume/CV, and be screened.

Screening and selection

Suitability for a job is typically assessed by looking for skills, e.g. communication, typing, and computer skills. Qualifications may be shown through resumes, job applications, interviews, educational or professional experience, the testimony of references, or in-house testing, such as for software knowledge, typing skills, numaracy,and literacy, through physiological tests or employment testing. In some countries, employers are legally mandated to provide equal opportunity in hiring. Business management software is used by many recruitment agencies to automate the testing process. Many recruiters and agencies are using an applicant tracking system to perform many of the filtering tasks, along with software tools for psychometric testing.


Human resource management is an important function not only for Unilever but also for all the companies which manage human power or which deal with people. HRM is a key point for a company for its success if that function fails or malfunctioned the company will fall because the effect of bad HRM are not friendly to the company. Company labour cost will increase and because of that cost of production will rise and the sales will decrease, Because of less Sales Company cannot stay in the market or face the competition. The difficult management function within the company in known as HRM. Lot of studies has carried our around the world by professors and proffecianol authorities in order to maintain a successful HRM in companies

This case study is written in order to those companies which need basic knowledge of HRM and for students who want to know the meaning of HRM and how that functions.Unilever is a multinational company which has spred over 150 countries with about 200,000 employees. That much of employees are a asset to a company and the management is very important else employee dissatisfaction will leave to Unilever company down as mention above. HRM is not just a management function like finance management, production management etc, its special because it always deal with real people and they are hard to handle and the understanding in to be there within the company and employee to achieve success in future.