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Human resource management is defined as all those activities related to the management of work and people in organisations. It covers four main areas, which are employee influence, work systems, human resource flow and reward management (Boddy, 2011:328). This report will mainly focus on online recruitment in human resource flow and employees turnover in reward management.
Assess Online Recruitment
Recruitment is a process, which aims to attract appropriately qualified applicants for a particular position from which the organization might reasonably select a competent individual or individuals (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2002:115). Good recruitment and selection can contribute to effective organisational performance, to good employee relations and to a positive public image (Banfield and Kay, 2008). There are various methods for attracting applicants include word of mouth, careers fairs, advertisements and employment agencies. Most companies also use online recruitment, which is growing rapidly through organisations using their own websites, to advertise vacancies (Boddy, 2011:338). Due to the different features of variance industries, companies in different industries often have different online recruitment process. Base on that, three companies' online recruitment page in different industry will be analysed, which are Price waterhouse cooper (PwC), Marks&Spencer (M&S) and Barclays.
Overall, all three companies impress their applicants by well-organized and professional websites. Meanwhile, these websites provide as much convenience and information as possible for applicants during their navigation. Three companies use their main page for different purposes. PwC and Barclays are more concerned about deliver the value and culture of the company. As a supermarket, M&S focus more on their needs for labour. For PwC, it sets their main career page by using a picture of a gentleman with a big smile, to indicate a friendly culture. M&S using highlighted advertisement of employment on the career page. For example, recently, it demonstrates a big image of Christmas and informs that applicants will get 20% discount for most products if they work in the shop during the Christmas. For Barclays, the first thing can be seen is their slogan, 'Stronger on the outside because we are stronger on the inside', which brings a strong image of the company. All these are helpful for companies to maintain prospective employees. According to Gilliland, 'The treatment of applicants during the recruitment process will affect whether they decide to stay in the process' (Anon, 2008:106).
To provide potential applicants an easy browsing, PwC and Barclays both have job search engine to give applicants a short cut for finding jobs that suits applicants by selecting what sphere and types they would like to work in. Although sometimes it is actually waste time for getting nothing by using the wrong key word, it is generally convenient for the most applicants. In contrast, M&S list the latest job vacancies on the main career page to save time for applicants who need a job immediately, and it also allows applicants print or make a bookmark anytime during browsing. According to DeNisi and Griffin (2008:217), as the first point of contact for a potential applicant, it is crucial to create a pleasure experience for searching a job on website; positive impression will make the company seem more attractive as an employer.
In order to show company's reputation and strength, PwC and Barclays both put logos of their achievements on their websites. It demonstrates that 'the Sunday times 25 best big companies to work for 2012' and 'the times top 100 graduates employer for 9 years (2004-2012)'. It is attractive for graduates who are looking for a job experience in a big company. It also has access to team members' blogs that sharing their experiences in PwC. Barclays shows a logo of "Times top 50 employers for women", that may attract more female applicants to some extent base on the female friendly working environment. For M&S, some sentences talking by existed employees are highlighting that showing high level of employees' satisfaction.
The key information in recruitment could be nothing but job description for applicants and the expectations from both companies and applicants. 'The way in which the organization expresses its offer and requirement to potential recruits influences their perceptions of the employer' (Anon, 2008:105).
All three companies describe each available job in general details, including job title, department, responsible to, relationships, purpose of job/overall objectives, specific duties and responsibilities and physical/economic conditions (Bratton and Gold, 2007:254). Clear and detailed job descriptions allow applicants apply for the job that really for them. Apart from general job description, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs suggests that not everyone would be motivated by the same needs at any one time (DeNisi and Griffin, 2008:426), PwC provides different key information to various applicants. For example, both school leavers and students career pages give more detail about internship, opportunities, development and pay&benefits, while experienced career page more talk about life at PwC, experienced employees career in PwC and office location. As for M&S, it provides a clear catalogue for working department, which allow applicants learn more about their future working environment. Barclays use more creative way, what they called "interactive tour", to allow applicants know more about the bank and the position of every department. It also has a page for application process to let applicants know what will happen after their application.
Turning to the expectations, three companies provide clear requirement and description about their ideal employees. PwC gives applicants recruitment process and hints&tips to help them to do fully preparation, which insures the quality of recruiting. Besides, it uses its own method to give applicants an image about what kind of employee they are looking for. For instance, it gives some web links for related understanding and guide for expecting skills. When looking at a specific job in M&S website, it has not only detailed requirement for applicants but also the returns that applicants gain from M&S. Similar to M&S, when looking at a particular job in applying section of Barclays website, there are details about jobs, what company's expectation for applicants and what company can provide to applicants during the working experience.
To conclude, recruitment process is crucial in human resource management for a company as the first communication with potential applicants. 'The recruitment process represents the opening exchanges in the development of the relationship between employee and employer' (Anon, 2008:103). As online recruitment, companies need not only to attract potential applicants, but also to provide treatment and convenience for navigation to maintain applicants in the process. Moreover, for the defect of online recruitment, such as search engine problem, companies need to make technical progress to make improvement.
Strategies on Trained Employees Turnover
Employees will sometimes leave a job of their own volition. They may find a better job or for personal reasons (Baron and Kreps, 1999:85). This phenomenon refers to worker turnover. Soton Data is a large computer firm, which trains mainframe computer operators. These years, it faces a significant turnover problem. Most trained workers move on to other firms, especially its rival firms, after getting the best training from the company. However, when skilled and experienced employees decide to leave, there is a striking loss and a cost to the organisation. It takes time before new recruits perform at their optimum levels. This result will reduce level of productivity and higher unit costs (Banfield and Kay, 2008:229). In order to solve this problem, Soton Data might take the following strategies.
Using some complementary strategies to optimize the training process is one of the most efficient ways to deal with the turnover problem. It may have two directions to retain trained employees: motivate them or force them.
Motivating people is always a good way to build employees' loyalty. According to Baron and Kreps (1999:171), the longer a worker is happily employed, the greater will be the worker's commitment and loyalty to the firm. For many people, money is evidently a major motivator (Boddy, 2011:451). Company may increase salaries, provide employees shares and give fringe benefits which perhaps mean a company car, low-interest-rate loans, and discounts on the company's products. However, those are temporary. When employees earn enough to satisfy their needs, their motivating power withers away (Marcouse, 2008). According to Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, Soton Data could try to meet employees' esteem needs, such as, set up a better company culture.
A good company culture is one of the motivators for most employees. Employers can promote a strong and distinctive culture and workers who are socialised into it will be less likely leave for another firm (Baron and Kreps, 1999:86). A good culture may include good leadership, be responsive to employees' needs and provide development. For example, RedHat, a U.S. software company, allows their employees have flexi-time working or work-from-home options which satisfy employees' needs of keeping balance between work and life. Building a good culture is a win-win strategy for both company and employees in the long-run. For employees, by staying in the firm for a long time, they could gain more skills by daily working, in other words, they would be more productive. For company, this means less costs and more benefit. However, it takes time to build a company culture. It may not have obvious effect in a short time. It requires patience for company. And employees also need time to get involved in a company culture.
To force employees, Soton Data could set a training contract or training agreement that let trained employees stay at the company passively. According to Jones (2011: 185), Soton Data could make the training 'conditional'. If employees would like to have the opportunity for training, they have to sign a contract or an agreement for not leaving the company for a certain period of time, such as, 3 years; or if employees decided to leave the company they cannot take a similar or related job within 3 years after training. If employees break the contract or agreement, then there will be some punishment, such as the penalty for breach of the contract (Jones, 2011).
This strategy insures that trained employees stay in Soton Data or at least would not work for competitors which protect company's benefit in the short-run. It is a basic step for future plan. Only the company keep the employees, there are chances for company to promote employees' commitment and loyalty. For employees, in a force occasion, it may discourage passion for work and training. Turning to long-run, it increases limitation for employees' options of self development. When the contract expires, employees may still choose to leave.
There are two kinds of training, general training and specific training. Specific training is to train the special sills for a specific job. However, training is expensive, especially for specific training. Company may need to hire special instructors, external courses must be financed, internal courses need resourcing with materials, personal and physical facilities and there is no guarantee that trainees will benefit from participating in programmes (Bennett, 1994:33). If the problem still exist seriously, after applying those complimentary strategies, it may be necessary to cancel the specific training programme for Soton Data.
There is an alternative strategy that could be adopted, that is, to establish a 'promotion test system' to find employees, who have the special skills for specific job, instead of giving them specific training. As Baron and Kreps (1999) said, promotions can be viewed as contests or tournaments among employees. Soton Data could hold test once or twice a year to give better position to employees who have higher skill or are more potential. Employees will use their own time to increase their knowledge and improve their skills, such as going to the training school. The company would provide general training only. In the short-run, Soton Data would reduce the loss of trained employees' turnover. According to human capital theory, when on-the-job training is general, the worker pays the full cost of the training, so the firm does not care whether the worker leaves or not. When on-the-job training is firm-specific, a departure imposes costs on the firm (Lazear, 1998:158). For employees, they are more flexible to manage their training and working to achieve their goal. In the long-run, 'promotion test system' would encourage competition among employees. Therefore, increasing firm's productivity invisibly. However, general course could not provide the skill that can meet the specific need for the job. This would lead to an inefficient training, and reduce the efficiency of work as a consequence.
In conclusion, Soton Data could take several strategies to solve the turnover problem of trained employees. It could either encourage employees to stay by building a better culture, or force them by setting contract. Alternatively, the company could only provide general training and adopt 'promotion test system' to replace specific training. All of these strategies have different effects on company and employees in different period of times. Soton Data could choose the strategy which suit their situation most.
To summarize, recruitment and training are key process in human resources management. As the first chance of communication, company attracts and maintain potential candidates by providing a pleasant experience during recruitment process. To build employee's loyalty and reduce the turnover rate, it is important for company to satisfy employee's need, such as training and other needs. It is worth company put effort on gaining ideal employees and keeping them in the company, in order to make more profit in the future.