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There are many challenges today within the workplace facing human resources management and how people are managed. The business climate has been turbulent such as the global recession, competition in pricing as well as laws concerning employment strengthening the case for new initiatives to be enforced. As a result, the human resources management team have provided a booklet on issues concerning the benefits and drawbacks of four key subject areas such as the graduate assessment centres, absenteeism through a punitive approach, performance related pay and flexitime as a flexible working option. This will also include facts and figures illustrating the importance of each topic as well as defining key areas in order for MW Associates to make a decision about how to deal with these HR issues when they establish their new leisure operation.
What is Flexible Working?
Flexible working can be and has been defined in variety of different ways. For example according to CIPD Factsheet (2010) flexible working is described as working arrangements between the employee and their employer in terms of working time and working patterns.
Flexible working has also been defined as the ability a company can employ people when and where required in the interest of everyone Pettinger (2002, p5).
Flexitime working arrangement is an arrangement that allows employees to choose the start and finish times they wish to work, according to the given parameters. The working arrangement of flexitime being offered to employees began in the 1970s and was mostly common in the public sector according to IRS (2007). According the IRS survey of 2007 on flexitime and other working arrangements, organisations where men make up 60% of the workforce are much more likely to offer their employees flexitime arrangements to those with either with other genders.
It is suggested that in order for a flexitime arrangement to work it will rely on the goodwill and trust, as well as good monitoring and good management (XpertHR professional, 2005).
Companies that use flexitime and the Benefits experience
British Telecommunications (BT) is one of UK most known and recognised brand, and is also known for providing product and services in over 170countries worldwide (BT, 2010). BT is also one of the UK leading companies in providing employees the options of flexible working arrangements such as flexitime.
A report by the Family Friendly Working Hour Taskforce of 2009 found out that BT retention of their employees improved with the percentage(over the last five years)of its UK female employees returning to work after taking maternity leave reached 90.99%, saving the company £5million a year in recruitments and inductions (Family Friendly Working Hour Taskforce, 2009).
City Sightseeing Glasgow
City Sightseeing Glasgow is another company that found the benefits of providing their workforce flexitime as a form of working arrangement, twice a year in the summer and winter season. The imitative was originally for older employee who wanted to reduce or change their working pattern, however due to the success of the initiative the company expand it to the entire workforce. The company saw absenteeism levels drop, retention rate increase to 90-95% and expand their recruitment market among students and women want to return to work (Family Friendly Working Hour Taskforce, 2009).
A Human Resource Management International Digest article (2005) highlighted that LillyUK one of the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical companies, has been making flexible working arrangements available to their employee since 1996. The article reports that one of the working arrangements that Lilly offers to their employees is flexitime, and since the introduction of the arrangement the company had noticed they were able to attract more high-caliber recruits by 30%.
Other forms of Flexible Working Arrangements
The graph below illustrates the finding of IRS survey (2010) of the forms of flexible working arrangements, and their popularity with organisations.
The Graph above shows the forms of flexible working arrangement that companies offered in 2009 and as shown part time working was the preferred method of arrangement with 93%, and with flexitime with 54%.
Pros and Cons of Flexible working
Social factors are sources of disadvantage, working suffering from isolation and not feeling part of an organisation. Foot (2005.p183).
Workers on flexible contracts tend to be more emotionally engaged, more satisfied with their work, more likely to speak positively about their organisation and less likely to quit. (CIPD,2010)
A flexible workforce is harder to manage and impose higher administrative costs in areas such as recruitment. Hendry(1995.p401)
Provides a pool of staff that can be called upon to work at short notice. (IRS, 2009)
The company may have difficulty of maintaining staff development and upgrading skills. (Businesslink, 2010)
Enables employees to achieve a better work-life balance. (CIPD,2010)
The Potential Drawbacks and Challenges presented should MW Associates choose to implement Flexible Working Arrangement
In order for MW Associates to implement flexible working arrangement such as flexitime within their organisation they would have to overcome the challenges that would be presented to them, this could come in the form of line managers being reluctant to accept flexible working arrangement.
Flexible working arrangements may have affect communications between line managers and employees, so it would important for MW Associates ensure that they establish a clear process for how flexible working works in the organisation. CIPD, 2010
Performance Related Pay- The Benefits and Challenges
According to Foot and Hook (2008) performance related pay is a term that is closely linked with relationship between an individual's pay progressions to his or her level of competence. It seeks to be a tool for motivation.
This pay scheme is now popular in many organisations since being introduced in the 1980's, according to MW Gilman (1998) the average proportion of employees covered by an organisation's IPRP scheme to be in the range of 70%- 80%, suggesting that this is the most beneficial way to get people to work to their best. Though, the CIPD recent reward management report (2009) again records the popularity of individual based bonuses and incentive plans at 61% as the highest way to reward its employees.
Companies/ Sectors that use PRP and the Benefits experienced
Chelsea Football Club- Supervisors are encouraged to reward staff who work exceptionally well and go the extra mile each game with a 'star', this is an extra £15.00 on top of the basic pay. This is very beneficial for the company as some employees will perform better than others in order to get the extra reward, therefore the company will get the best output possible out of their employees.
Staffs do what is asked of them when asked to do so.
People are only working hard because they know there is a possibility of a reward, not because they want to or is required as part of the job.
The reward will motivate some staff to work harder.
Supervisors can be bias without realising and the reward to friends or the same people.
If the same people are getting the reward consistently, the organisation will recognise this and it will give them an idea of who to promote.
Although you get an extra £15.00, for those who get taxed it doesn't make much of a difference as it is taken in tax.
(Primary Research, Samantha Koranteng, 2010)
NHS Consultants- Clinical Excellence Awards
The ACCEA (Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards) give Clinical Excellence Awards to recognise and reward the exceptional contribution of NHS Consultants who work over and above that normally expected in the job to the values and goals of the NHS and to patients care.
The committee offers 3 bands, 'Bronze, Silver and Gold' this is good because it makes it more accessible and highlights a good range that consultants can reach, in effect it makes it fairer.
The fact that you have to apply for it suggests that it's not an automatic recognition, the long process and stages may deter qualified candidates from applying.
Consultants can apply for the scheme on their own behalf so the scheme can have a large volume of applicants.
(Department of Health, 2010)
Local Education Authorities-Teachers
In teaching there are pay scales that are dependent on performance, provided performance is satisfactory the teachers' pay will go up a grade, once on the highest grade through recommendation they can move up to a higher grade.
Teachers may become too target orientated and forget that there job is to educate.
This can identify teachers that are unsatisfactory and training can be provided to make them to the standard
(Christine Blower, acting NUT general secretary. May 2008)
The Potential Drawbacks and Challenges presented should MW Associates choose to implement such HR Approaches
MW Associates should pose a policy whereby employees know they have security of their earnings and a contract that states there is a minimum level or fall back rate, this will not be difficult to do however MW Associates need to highlight how much employees will gain after they have exceeded the standard or basic level of work asked for.
The organisation also needs to clearly devise a method of analysis that can fairly and ethically distinguish between the better performances of one employee to another. Alternatively they could introduce a bonus scheme where the incentives are non monetary, they could offer days off work, paid holidays or organised staff social gatherings.
Managing absence through a `punitive approach` - is this effective and what are the alternatives?
Absence can be seen as a problem to many organisations with short term absence being largely unprepared compared to long term absence. Although, many organisations use appraisals with regards to performance management in helping employees develop and learn more about the business in order to prevent absenteeism. According to NSW Nurses Association (2010), absenteeism can be defined as when an employee is constantly or continuously failing to attend work as scheduled, in particular, when their absence forms a pattern which suggests that the employee is dissatisfied with their work or that their absence could have been avoided. Absenteeism can be also considered grounds for dismissal "according to Redgoldfish, (2010). It is important to manage absence because of the loss of money concerning indirect costs such as the replacement of staff, loss of labour and production as well as costs to the business regarding its reputation. These are just some of the factors in why management of absence is important.
Forms of Short -Term & Long term Absence
Short- term Absence
Long term Absence
According to (Travel Trade Recruitment, 2009) being more and more persistent time off work
According to (Visual Human Resources 2009) definition long term sickness absence here is any absence lasting more than ten consecutive days.
Unauthorised absence for any reason
Consultation with the employee
An assessment of alternative employment being offered (e.g. reduction hrs, home based
Sickness / injury
Medical investigation into sickness
Facts & Figures / Costs of absence
Short term absence is harder to manage because it is largely unplanned. There are many factors involved concerning absence this can be seen as health problems such as smoking, heart disease or a good night out unable to get up to attend work the next day. Factors such as stress or the responsibility of bringing up children as well transportation far away from your place of work can be seen as absence related. The psychological contract (Guest, 2002) is related to absence for example, this can be seen as a psychological contract which may be imprinted inside the employees or employers head rather than an actual contract. For example, the employee could punish the employer by not attending work because they are unhappy with the organisation. In any case managing absence is an important factor now as sickness absence costs UK employers 11.6 billion a year according to People Management (2010).
Many organisations lose much capital having to replace staff, loss of labour and production, poor customer service, as well low morale and bad reputation. However, (CIPD, 2009) review short-term absence shows that many companies are implementing return-to-work interviews (83% of organisations), followed by trigger systems to review attendance (74%), and the provision of sickness absence information to line managers (73%) and the use of disciplinary procedures (73%). Another key way to manage absence is through accurate measurement and monitoring so that the organisations can make an assessment to tackle any problems they may have. However, the Bradford factor is like a calculator and has helped reduce absenteeism by 20% such as creating "triggers" whereby action is taken. The average number of days absent per employee, per year is 6.5 days with average cost of absence each employee per year is £754.00 (Bradford factor, 2010).
The punitive approach in dealing with absence is about teaching employees discipline. This can be seen as lateness, authorized absence and behaviour. It is like having a parent to nurture the employee and to learn respect, compassion as well as taking responsibility. This can be seen as the harsh approach such as reduced pay through absence by using discipline. Other factors such as performance feedback can be used, corrective actions and effective communication.
Clear about what is expected
Few opportunities for progression
Can identify when someone needs help
Support employees make the work interesting
The Council / Local Boroughs
Policies are more generous with regards to absence compared to the private sector. Although most absence is short term there is criticism for the high level of sick leave from council staff. "The procedure of conducting back to work interviews has now been implemented across the board" (Nutt, 2009).
This can be seen again in the public sector with many taking duvet days those feeling hung over or unable to face a days' work. However, a punitive approach is taken concerning "the official term for this form of leave, then deducted from the employees holiday entitlement" (Watts, 2007).
As a private organisation as big as this seen as one of Britain's biggest retailer they have introduced no pay for the first three days off sick, not to penalise people being ill but to discourage those taking the odd day (Ryle, 2004).
The Potential Drawbacks and Challenges presented should MW Associates choose to implement
In order to manage absence it can be suggested that MW associates implement the encouragement of team work which will lead to more commitment within the working environment working as a team. To make the tasks more interesting as well as training and good management control procedures with the odd reward for attendance.
What is a Graduate Assessment Centres?
According to Colman (2010) Assessment Centers is defined as a variety of testing techniques designed to allow candidates to demonstrate, under standardized conditions, the skills and abilities that are most essential for success in a given job(Coleman, 2010, p.3).
The assessment centre approach involves using a battery or range of selection tolls that simulate the relevant attributes, skills and competencies required in the job. (Peter et al, 2004, p.95).
Type of Activities used in
There are many types of activities are being used in assessment centres depending on the company. But the core ones which are generally used include; In-basket exercises, leaderless group discussion, role-playing, behavioural interview. (George & Scott, 2010, p.204).
The IRS survey (2009/10) identified assessment centre is the most effective selection method.
In the year 2010 almost 75% of graduate recruiters rate assessment centres as their single most effective selection method. The use of assessment centre rises from 52.7% to 95.2%. (IRS survey,2010)
How effective are your organization's assessment centres in identifying the best candidate(s) for a position?"
(source: IRS survey)
Reliability & Validity
The key issues in an assessment centre are the reliability and validity as similar test are administered to the same person on two separate occasions the results could be very similar unless something has changed the individual. The reliability of assessment centre is much greater than single interview. (Peter et al, 2004, p.95).
Validity that shows the extent to which the test is providing useful information related to the job. There are five types of validity; face validity predictive validity, concurrent validity, construct validity, content validity. (Peter et al, 2004, p.95).The table bellow suggests that assessment centres are the most effective method of selection, predicting effectively how a candidate is likely to perform in a job approaching 70 per cent of the time.( Derek et al, 2009. P.94)
The table of selection method and predictive validity