Analysis of Human resource function for Blue Valley Inc
This paper was prepared solely for academic purpose. The researcher shall not be held liable for any shortcomings as a result of implementing the recommendations of this paper.
Table of Contents
Human resource is one of an organization’s most valuable resources. It refers to the “people” part of an organization. This according to Bratton & Gold (2009) is the only “live” part of an organization. For Blue Valley Inc, there are several functions that are assigned to the HRM department. These include recruitment of employees, determination of specific jobs to be performed by employees, remuneration of employees, employee motivation, staff development and staff evaluation among others.
The purpose of this paper is to report on the implementation of HRM strategies in the organization. The paper will start by evaluating the current implementation and make recommendations for further implementation. The paper will also report on the benefits of implementation of HRM strategies to an organization. The paper will rely on both primary and secondary data. Primary data will be derived from respondents whereas secondary data will come from literature materials.
In the recent past, managers have been adjusting to new rules in the business world. Companies have flexible so as to absorb shocks related to dynamisms of the business environment. In order to stay ahead of rivals, companies must apply tactics like Strategic HRM to link the human resource function with a company’s overall strategy; Bratton & Gold (2009). In the past, strategies were applied for the purposes of positioning. However, nowadays the business environment has become more dynamic and strategies are supposed to keep the business moving on. A strategy is therefore a “game plan” that is applied by a business to ensure survival in a rather vibrant market.
As a company tries to interact with its environment, it comes through several strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The company has therefore to design a good strategy to counter the effects of weaknesses and face the threats. It should also be in a position to take advantage of any strength and grab any opportunity within the shortest time. The environmental conditions experienced by firms are usually based on customer demands, accessibility of customers and a company’s products and services. A company should come up with strategies to ensure that customer needs are analyzed and satisfied. Availability of customers is another major issue that leads to formation of strategies. A firm may develop a strategy that will help it to reach a desired market share. A company’s products and services are also a major determinant of the company’s strategies. A firm is supposed to put up strategies to ensure that its products are the best in the market. When we look at all these forces that lead to formulation of strategies we can evidently see that strategies are essential tools that are meant to give a company a competitive advantage; Analoui (2007).
Blue Valley incorporation is a private global security firm. The firm has 2300 employees. The firm has 12 locations where it operates. It has branches in South East, North East, Middle East and Europe. The firm has registered a growing trend over the last few years. According to the interview, the firm has many entrepreneurial functions that take place within. Innovation is part of the firm. Every manager in the firm has a role to play in ensuring that the firm achieves its goals. The firm has been struggling to establish itself by offering quality oriented services as well as an employee oriented approach. The firm values its customers and always struggles to satisfy them.
In Blue Valley Inc; the human resource management is one of the major management functions. The HRM department in Blue Valley has many goals. To begin with, it is the part of the organization that is responsible for building the workforce. The function performs many employee enhancement programs. These include employee training. This program has been designed to train employees on how to improve their performance through enhancing teamwork and co-operation. The program is usually executed by external as well as internal facilitators. Some of them are members of top level management in the company and others are outsourced from other companies. Lecture methods, group discussion and brainstorming are the main instructional methods in the program. Resources used in the training include journals with case studies from other companies, books and videos. The department requires finances to carry out these programs. These are used to pay the facilitators and to buy materials. The curriculum for the entire process is usually directed towards training employees to form groups and to make use of them. The recent career planning move of being in charge of your own career refers to a situation where employees are left with the responsibility of manning their own careers. In order for the move to work, employees need to be given proper training on all the required areas of the career. The move is likely to be taken positively by most employees as it offers them freedom to manage their career aspirations.
The other duty performed by HRM department of Blue Valley Inc is employee recruitment and retention. Employee recruitment refers to the process of advertising positions, screening applications, conducting interviews and selecting the most qualified employees to fill the positions. Employee retention on the other hand refers to the processes that are carried out after the employees have been recruited. These include job rotation. This refers to transfer of employees from one job to another. It is used by companies that intend to train their employees to take on different roles. There are several benefits that cone with job rotation. To begin with, the company can develop its employees in such a manner that they can shift seasonal jobs. This reduces redundancy and increases employee morale. The other benefit of this is the fact that it reduces time wastage as employees are fully occupied. On the side of employees, job rotation breaks the monotony of having to engage in one activity all through.
The other function related to employee retention is promotion of employees. This according to Bratton & Gold (2009) is a form of motivation that is given to employees who are found to be performing well. Those employees who portray negative performance are reprimanded. When an employee has been fast tracked, it is good that such a person is informed. This ensures that the person observes his or her actions that could lead to loss of job. Theory of carrot and stick states that an employee should be rewarded when he or she performs well. In the same way, an employee should be rebuked if he or she fails to perform. This ensures that employees are aware of their weaknesses as well as strengths
A company that does not align its management functions to the overall strategy cannot achieve its goals; Analoui (2007). Long term goals of a firm include profit growth, increased investor confidence, increased customer loyalty, employee morale and harmonious relationship between all stakeholders; Reddy, Appannaiah & Sathyaprasad (2010). In this paper the researcher will evaluate the extent of alignment of the Human Resource function of Blue Valley Inc to the company’s overall mission and vision. The researcher will critically highlight on the weaknesses of the HR department. The main aim of this research is to provide information to the managers. This information will help the management to correct any mistakes in the HR department. The researcher will also suggest possible solutions that can be applied by the organization.
The specific objectives of the study will be:
- To examine the HR department of Blue Valley Inc
- To evaluate the effectiveness of HR department of Blue Valley Inc based on requirements of best practice.
- To gather responses from managers and workers about their perception on the effectiveness of HR department
- To draw conclusions about the specific case
- To make recommendations for improvement
In many organizations, the human resource function is not given the relevance it deserves. As a result, many issues related to worker morale, employee conflicts and resistance are experienced; Kearns (2008). This research will aim at evaluating the level of implementation of HRM strategies in Blue Valley Inc. The researcher will give comments on the current state and provide recommendations for the future.
An organization cannot exist without the human resource department; Kearns (2008). It is thus important for any business to ensure that proper HRM strategies are put in place. This enhances worker morale which in turn increases efficiency and effectiveness of a firm. This research will act as a mirror for Blue Valley Inc to focus on its HRM function. The insights derived from the research will help the company to adjust its HR department accordingly.
The research questions for the study will be:
Q1. Are the employees of Blue Valley Inc adequately motivated?
Q2. Is there any significant relationship between employee motivation and company performance?
Q3. Are there any areas that the HRM department of Blue Valley Inc needs to adjust in order to enhance effectiveness and efficiency?
Ergonomics is a scientific discipline that is concerned with understanding how human beings and other elements of the system interact with their work. It applies theoretical principles, data and methods to maximize the contributions of all elements of the systems; Analoui (2007). Ergonomics can be categorized into physical ergonomics which deals with physical characteristics of human beings, cognitive ergonomics which looks at the relationship between the intellectual capacity of human beings and their performance at work and the organizational ergonomics which looks at the overall optimization of community resources. These includes: the structures, policies and processes. Ergonomics being the study of the relationship between human beings and work is very useful in human resource management. It helps in planning, designing and evaluating tasks and jobs in order to make them compatible with needs, abilities and limitations of people. There are several strategies that can be applied in HRM.
There are several HR functions performed by HRM. These include organization design, staffing, performance management, training and organization development and reward systems. There is an order in which these functions should be performed. For instance, you cannot reward an employee before staffing him or her. The first HR function to be performed is organization design; Kearns (2008). Hr department should try to understand its position in the entire firm. The second function staffing. After the function is fully established, it should look for employees and assign them to duties. Performance management and training and development can come together. Finally, the department has to design reward systems for the employees.
Kearns (2008) defines job enlargement as the process of rotating employees around various jobs. It also includes assigning some extra duties to be done during normal routine. Due to increase in the level of competition among firms, every organization is trying all it can to incur minimal costs. Having an employee to each position in a firm could mean more employees and therefore more money will be spent on employee related issues like salaries, insurance and employee development. To avoid these, the firms have started training few employees to work on various assignments. This ensures that a company minimizes the costs that are incurred to maintain the employees. This leads to reduction in the direct labor cost which implies a lower manufacturing cost per unit. This increases the competitive advantage of the firm. Enlargements also break the monotony of the employee and thus enhance effectiveness. There are several methods of job effectiveness: the first technique looks at a job enlargement as the horizontal expansion of the contents of a certain job. This means that a person’s scope of work will be increased beyond where it previously was. For example, a person who was previously instilling/fixing gear boxes in a motor vehicle assembling industry could be developed to a position where he/she can assemble the whole vehicle.
Job enrichment on the other hand includes involving workers to managerial functions of higher ranks. This increases motivation of workers in the workplace. It also increases the propensity of the workers to achieve their goals. Due to the increase in the work of employees it is necessary to transform the employee so that they can be able to work at every level. This transformation of the employee to work at a higher level is what is referred to as job enrichment. It is the vertical expansion of a job. The worker at this level may plan his/her own working schedule and may be given powers to make decision. This approach increases the confidence of the worker and makes him or her more effective. The worker then gets more motivated to perform the job. It capitalizes on job satisfaction as a way of enhancing performance. For example, the secretary may be given approval to sign letters on behalf of the CEO without the letters having to be approved by the CEO; Kearns (2008).
Flexible work schedules are good for the performance of a firm but sometimes they are not easy to implement. Some factors like resistance held by managers in delegation of duties can sometimes limit the implementation of these flexible work schedules. This is caused by the managers holding that by delegating some duties, they may be reducing their powers. Another limitation is where some workers due to individual differences do not desire enriched or enlarged jobs. These are the kind of people who enjoy being in their “own world”. Technological limitation is the other main factor that hinders the implementation of flexible working schedules; Mondy, Noe & Gowan (2011). According to Analoui (2007) modification of jobs could sometimes lead to extra costs as far as expansion of technology is concerned. That means that expansion increases cost of operation.
There are several personalities in the HR functions with different duties; Reddy, Appannaiah & Sathyaprasad (2010). According to the responses given, there is a human resource professional that is responsible for performing duties related to employee selection, planning of information systems and training of employees. There is also a line manager who is responsible for employee assistance and counseling. A line manager is usually focused on employee performance of duty. In the HR function, there are some duties which can be performed by outsourced consultants. These include duties related to remuneration, termination, transfer, promotion and training. This is done to prevent conflicts that may arise within an organization. Finally, there are some HR functions that are shared. These include job related functions like job design and succession issues.
The theory of high performance suggests that the emotional and intellectual connection employees have towards their work is placed at the heart of their performance. This is profound among knowledge workers in different companies Analoui (2007). The level and extent of engagement varies with regard to human resource management. Many companies are downsizing or performing cost reduction measures to overcome modern day economic turbulence. Therefore, it is vital to understand and enhance employee relations for the effective running of organizations at reduced cost. Managers and leadership that engage employees have become pivotal with regard to creating a favorable working atmosphere. This is crucial in balancing the cost of running an organization and addressing the issues of employees; Kearns (2008).
This section presents the research methods that will be used by the researcher. The researcher in this study will seek to assess the human resource management strategies applied by Blue Valley Inc. The study will be in the form of a survey. A survey is a research that is limited to a specific sample; Gaur & Gaur (2009).
The research shall adopt a quantitative survey design. According to Singh (2011), this research design makes use of measurable quantities to answer the research questions. The data for the research will be collected using descriptive techniques. Descriptive research determines and reports the current situation; Gaur & Gaur (2009). This research shall seek to unveil some human behavioral characteristics. For this reason the researcher will use this method for data collection. After collection, data on patient satisfaction will be coded using Press Ganey scores. This will enable the researcher to perform a quantitative analysis of the data.
In this study, there are independent and dependent variables. According to Gaur & Gaur (2009), independent variables are those variables that are manipulated by a researcher. They are those variables that the researcher changes to observe the resultant changes in the dependent variables. The dependent variable is therefore the observed variable. In this case there are many dependent variables. These include employee motivation, output per worker and company overall performance.
Manipulation of variables will be done by holding implementation of HR strategies as a control variable. This will therefore be the independent variable. A set of questions will be posed to the employees and management before and after application of the HRM strategies.
The target population of the study shall comprise of Blue Valley employees. However, the results will be generalized to other organizations. According to Singh (2011), population refers to a set of objects that conform to a given criteria. According to Gaur & Gaur (2009), it refers to the objects for which the researcher wishes to generalize the results of the research. Target population is a set of items from which an unbiased sample is selected.
A sample is a portion of the entire population Gaur & Gaur (2009). It is a portion of a larger population that is representative of the entire population. Sampling is the process of selecting a number of items from the population. The selection is done such that the items selected will form a representative sample. According to Singh (2011), a representative sample size should be selected with the population in mind. He added that for a large population size, a sample of 2 percent is a good representation. This research shall adopt simple random sampling (SRS). This is a technique where the researcher randomized the process of sample selection to remove any biasness; Yang (2010).
Using SRS, a sample of 30 participants will be selected from the employees of Blue Valley Inc. The sample will comprise of junior employees as well as management level employees.
The research will employ questionnaires and interviews as methods of data collection. According to Gaur & Gaur (2009), questionnaires are sets of questions that are used to obtain important information about a population. The questions in a questionnaire are organized in a certain manner to avoid boring the respondents and to reduce any subjectivity. Interviews on the other hand involve oral questions directed to the respondents. For this research a pre-established questionnaire will be used to enhance uniformity of questions as well as validity of responses. The research shall also apply observation methods. In this case, the researcher will observe the level of implementation of HRM strategies.
Gaur & Gaur (2009) defined reliability as the degree to which the values obtained by an instrument are free from measurement errors. These errors are referred to as random errors. The questionnaire will be pilot tested before the study to ensure that it was fit for purpose. The results of the pilot test will be used to make some adjustments on the questionnaire. The researcher intends to reach a reliability coefficient of 0.8.
Gaur & Gaur (2009) defined validity as the extent to which an instrument measures what it has been assigned to measure. Singh (2011) noted that validity is the degree to which the sample of test items represents the contents that the test is supposed to measure. The questionnaire will be subjected to construct and content validity tests during piloting.
To researcher will collect data for the study by manipulating the independent variable and observing the results. To begin with, the researcher will present the questionnaire with a list of questions to the respondents (employees and managers of Blue Valley Inc) before implementation of HR strategies. The researcher will then allow 30 days for implementation of the strategies. This time duration will be allowed so that the employees can get used to the system. The researcher shall then take the same questionnaires to the respondents. This time round the researcher will be intending to capture the impact of implementation.
A combination of both primary and secondary data will be used in the study. Primary data will be collected through administering of questionnaires to the target sample, interviews and observation. Secondary data will be obtained from textbooks, journals, magazines and the Internet. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21 was used to analyze the data. Before analysis, the data will be coded to ease the process of data analysis. SPSS has been preferred for its speed, accuracy and availability; Singh (2011). Descriptive statistics including percentages will be used in order to summarize data. They will be mostly used in the research due to their simplicity. Considering the education levels of the population, they are the most efficient methods of analyzing the data. Gaur & Gaur (2009) defined descriptive statistics as statistical procedures used for describing and analyzing data that enable the researcher to organize data in an effective and meaningful way. Inferential statistics including chi-square test and cross tabulation will be used to test for independence. Yang (2010) defined chi-square test as test that attempts to describe independence between variables. However, the chi-square will not be emphasized in the report due to its complexity. Tables and graphs will be used for data presentation.
Several ethical issues will be observed in the research. According to Singh (2011), a researcher should observe ethics at all times. In this study, the researcher shall rely greatly on the respondents. Apart from secondary data from textbooks and previous research, all the other data will be provided by the respondents. The researcher shall therefore hold the respondents with due care. This ensures that all the information held within the respondents is submitted to the researchers.
The questions will be framed in a manner that is not likely to offend the respondents. The researcher will be very careful when collecting data from patients. Questions will be well framed to ensure that all information is extracted. Finally, the researcher shall assure all the respondents that the information collected will be treated with utmost confidentiality
This research methodology will have several limitations. To begin with, data collection will be done in phases. The first phase will be conducted before implementation of HR strategies. The second phase will be done after implementation. The assumption of this research therefore is that there will be no employee turnover during the period. The other limitation of the methodology is the sample size. The researcher will have to do with a small sample as it will be very expensive to increase the sample.
The HRM department of Blue Valley Inc has several challenges. These prevent it from achieving its desired results. To begin with, the department faces stiff competition for highly qualified employees. The goal of this department is to recruit the top layer of employee in the job market. However, all firms hunt for these qualified employees in the same manner. Competing with other firms becomes requires finances. The company has to give better pay to its employees compared to others.
The other challenge faced by the HRM department of Blue Valley Inc is the changing market conditions. For every business, market is an integral part. The size of a market determines the amount to be produced. This in turn determines the amount of supplies to be acquired. The size of the market also determines the number of employees to be hired. According to managers responses, sometime when market demand drops, the department is required to lay off some employees. This becomes a major challenge as the goal of the department is usually to retain the employees until they attain the required levels of experience. These market uncertainties cause a drag in the process of employee recruitment and retention.
Another challenge faced by the HRM department is changing technology. As the head of the training department, HR manager has to ensure that employees are given refresher courses on any advancement in technology. To achieve the highest level of efficiency, a company has to employ the most recent technology. This way, the firm has to keep recruiting its employees every now and then to ensure that they are up to date with the most current technology.
According to this research, there are several duties that HRM department at Blue Valley, Inc should assume. To begin with, the department should maintain professional practice among the employees. Professional practice according to Jeffs (2008) refers to a practice that is guided by common rules and regulation. He pointed out that in a profession; people are trained in a uniform manner to handle similar situations. A profession has several salient features Kearns (2008). These include uniform curriculum. To train professionals, learning materials and content have to be prepared in a common place. This helps in unification of practice. If professionals are trained independently, there are going to be diverse practices in the same profession. Another feature is a common set of guiding principles. Professional practice is guided by common rules Gilmore & Williams (2009). Failure to adhere to these rules leads to excommunication of a member.
Professional development is the process through which professionals are created Mabey, Skinner & Clark (2008). This process according to (Mondy, Noe & Gowan, 2011) takes place in educational institutions and the working environment. Professional training in colleges and universities is referred to as out-of-job training. In a case where professionals are developed while working (on-the-job training) they are given an opportunity to test their skills on a real working environment; Mello (2010). This gives them competence as well as confidence to carry their professional duties. Before developing a professional, one is required to fully understand the concept of professional practice. Professional planning is also required to ensure that the process runs smoothly; Sadler (2008).
HRM department in Blue Valley should maintain Operational effectiveness. This ensures that the firm achieves its goals using minimum resources. Every strategy should ensure proper utilization of business resources. Whenever a firm attains its goals in this manner, the cost of production is reduced and the firm enjoys competitive advantage through offering low prices. For this reason therefore, the main objective of any strategy is to ensure attainment of competitive power; Sadler (2008). This occurs when the firm commands a larger market than its competitors. Such differences as operational efficiencies cause variations in profitability between a firm and its competitors. This arises when a firm is able to bring down the production cost to a level that is relatively lower than the competitors’. This in turn leads to low prices which further take the firm to realization of high profits for the company.
Strategic partnership refers to coming together of several departments to ensure that an organization achieves its strategic mission; Sadler (2008). The strategic mission of every firm is to maximize on efficiency and effectiveness. This goal carries all other goals. When a firm s able to produce quality products at a relatively low cost, it implies that the firm can sell the finished products at relatively lower prices. This will in turn promote the firms competitive advantage. Strategic partnerships can be formed by departments within one firm or by a number of firms.
There are several strategic functions that should be performed by HRM function in Blue Valley, Inc. To begin with, the department has agitated for competitive compensation programs. These are programs of compensation where employees are compensated tactfully to enhance their productivity as well as to promote healthy competition among them. The other strategic human resource function for Blue Valley Inc is recruitment and retention of employees. As explained earlier, the motive of this strategic function is to hire the most qualified employees. The other strategic goal of strategic HRM is to promote positive employee relations. This includes creation of conducive environment for co-existence of employees. The department is responsible for harmonious co-existence between the employees. Change management should also be exercised by Blue Valley’s HR department. Whenever a change occurs in one business function, all the other functions have to adjust themselves to fit into the new form of business; Sadler (2008). Changes in businesses refer to cultural change, management change, organizational change or even product change. For example when a business changes the products that it produces, the technology requited to produce the new items may be different from the former technology. This means that the human resource function may require some restructuring to be able to produce the new products. Finally, the human resource function must me aligned to the global market strategies. This means that employees should be developed to produce goods and services that will compete favorably in the world market.
In conclusion, the Human Resource function is one of the major functions. It adds value to almost all other functions; Analoui (2007). To begin with, HR function deals with the “people” part of an organization. This is the most sensitive part of an organization. It represents the section that has feelings. The HR function is directly connected to performance. The other functions that are directly linked to the HR function are flow of information and flow of work. Basically, we can conclude that the Human Resource function is directly linked to all other functions in an organization.
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