Employee resourcing and development is essential to all organisations and highly contributes towards the organisations success. Employee resourcing is ‘the part of human resource management which focuses on the recruitment and release of individuals from organisation’ and ‘the management of their performance and potential while employed by the organisation’ (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2010). Employee development is ‘the process & facilitation of learning and knowledge that support business goals, develop individual potential and respect and build on diversity’ (Harrison, R., 2009). Employee resourcing and development can significantly add value to an organisation and help to cement the HR business partnership, and this essay will critically analyse the extent to which resourcing and development activities do so.
Employee absence levels can have substantial negative impacts on organisations; and therefore it is becoming increasingly common to see organisations introducing new, or revising existing, absence management programmes. A study from CIPD found that the ‘annual median cost of absence per employee was £595’ (CIPD, 2013); costing the UK economy £17 billion per year (ACAS, 2010).
If an employee is absent from work it is highly likely that the organisation will be faced with both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs being those associated with the hiring of, and paying for, temporary staff while the particular employee(s) are absent (ACAS, 2010); Statutory Sick Pay if the employee is absent for 4 or more days in a row; occupational sick pay, if it is part of the particular organisations terms and conditions (GOV.UK, 2013). Secondly, indirect costs are those related to low morale amongst remaining colleagues, who may be expected to take on extra responsibilities as a result of the absence; decreased customer satisfaction, if temporary members of staff are not adequately knowledgeable in particular areas of customer interest; reduced reputation with both customers and potential employees, potentially affecting future business; decreased performance and productivity, as a result of demotivation of remaining colleagues and lack of staff in relation to workload. All of which can significantly impact upon organisational efficiency and effectiveness (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2009). Efficient absence management can reduce the detrimental effects that employee absence can have on an organisation, and can also be seen to contribute towards added value. The study carried out by CIPD found that ‘return-to-work interviews and trigger mechanisms… are ranked among the most effective approaches for managing short-term absence’ (CIPD, 2013). A return-to-work interview is a crucial part of an absence management programme – welcoming employees back to work following their absence and checking that the employee is well enough to return to work (ACAS, 2010). If an employee returns to work before being fully recovered there is the chance that the employee will take longer to return to full health, reducing productivity and potentially resulting in them being absent again in the near future, and possibly for a longer period. There is also the risk that they could pass on their illness to other colleagues resulting in further absences (Robson, 2006) and further impacts on productivity.
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The return-to-work interview also allows organisations to identify the cause of the employee’s absence and to assess whether their absence was work-related (ACAS, 2010). This then enables the organisation to take steps to prevent the same employee, or other employees, being absent for similar reasons in the future; this may include training updates in health and safety for example. The cost of such changes will be potentially outweighed by the benefits, by reducing employee absence levels in the long-term. A return-to-work interview may also outline the underlying reasons for absence, such as the employee having to take care of an elderly relative (ACAS, 2010). In these circumstances an organisation may decide to develop different working arrangements with that particular employee, for example flexible working. Flexible working allows the organisation to fit around the employee’s schedule, potentially reducing the number of days that the employee needs to take off work unexpectedly as a result of their circumstances; thus reducing the negative impact that unexpected absences can have on productivity and associated costs. It also enables organisations to plan ahead – if they know that a particular employee is going to be off work then they can recruit temporary/part-time staff to fill in on these days; reducing the impact that the extra workload could have on colleagues stress levels and allows the organisation to maintain levels of productivity.
The effectiveness of flexible working and the extent to which it adds value, however, relies heavily on whether or not it is valued by the employees themselves (Hodge, 2009); therefore this should be investigated prior to it being implemented. As previously mentioned trigger mechanisms, such as the Bradford Factor is also found to have an ‘overwhelmingly positive impact on absence’ (CIPD, 2013, p. 31). The Bradford Factor is a ‘mechanism for weighting frequency of sickness absence’ (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2009 p. 340). Such management techniques of monitoring absence increase productivity and reduce levels of absenteeism; which in the long-term will reduce organisational costs, resulting in increased profit. A study looking into the impact of positive intervention in absence management found that trigger mechanisms reduced absenteeism, especially if sick pay was withdrawn or there was the threat of disciplinary action (Baker-McClearn, et al., 2010). However, this was also found to ‘contribute to low morale, lack of commitment to work, stress and anxiety’ (Baker-McClearn, et al., 2010), all of which could potentially lead to reduced productivity resulting in increased costs. There was also a close link found between the use of trigger mechanisms and increasing levels of presenteeism (Baker-McClearn, D. et al., 2010). Presenteeism can be used to describe people ‘who, despite… ill health… are still turning up at their job’ (Unison. 1999, as cited in Baker-McClearn, et al., p. 311). For example, employees would come into work feeling unwell as, one, they couldn’t afford to remain absent if not receiving sick pay and two, they were frightened of the consequences disciplinary action would bring. This has severe impacts upon productivity, with findings showing that ‘productivity drops from 75% on ‘normal days’ to 55% on ‘sick days’’ (Newcombe, T., 2013). Therefore, although the Bradford Factor is effective in reducing absenteeism, it is questionable whether the benefits of this outweigh the negative impacts on the employee and the impacts that presenteeism can have on the organisation. As previously mentioned, HR aims to improve employee productivity through absence management. This consequently improves employee performance, which contributes towards organisational objectives, such as improving performance – potentially leading to increased profit margins. Therefore the alignment of the HR practitioner’s objectives with the business manager’s objectives helps to reinforce the business partnership; with both partners working together to achieve organisational objectives.
Employee well-being has been defined by CIPD as ‘creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allow employees to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organisation’ (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2009, p. 416). It is becoming increasingly common to see organisations adopting measures designed to promote employee health and well-being; as organisational researchers have found that dysfunctional employee well-being can have widespread costs for the organisation (Wright & Chuang, 2012). For instance, employee well-being strategies aim to create a healthier workforce which consequently leads to reduced absence levels. Therefore, as a result, this then leads to a reduction in the significant financials costs related to employee absence (Bevan, S., 2010). Employee well-being also aims to target long-term absence related to depression and anxiety; both of which prove to be ‘more complex and costly to manage, and have more significant consequences for employers’ (Bevan, S., 2010, p. 11). Therefore, it is likely that the costs of implementing such well-being policies will be outweighed by the significant savings and increased added value that will be seen as a result. These measures have not only been found to positively influence an employee’s health and well-being, but also to add value to an organisation through improved employee productivity and commitment (Bevan, S., 2010). As previously mentioned, well-being can have a positive impact on absence levels which as a result improves employee productivity. Macdonald (2005) also suggested that well-being strategies contributed towards employee morale, increased levels of productivity and employee retention (Pilbeam, & Corbridge, 2009). Research has also gone onto to find that there is a significant link between employee well-being and job performance, workplace accidents, customer engagement, quality defects and profitability. Job performance has been found to be highly correlated with employee well-being in a number of organisational studies (Thomas, et al, 2012).
Absence management is one way in which performance can be improved within all organisations, particularly within the domiciliary care sector. With government cut backs and managements time being constrained, absence management schemes can often be overlooked, resulting in high levels of absenteeism. As previously mentioned, the Bradford factor has been found to have an ‘overwhelmingly positive impact on absence’ (CIPD, 2013, p. 31) and is one way that domiciliary care businesses could monitor absence effectively and efficiently, without taking up too much of management’s time and without incurring substantial costs. Return-to-work interviews will also enable management to identify the key reasons behind the absence, allowing management to take steps to potentially prevent absence of the same reason occurring again. Both techniques will in theory reduce absenteeism as employees will be aware that their absence is being monitored, and so they will be less likely to be absent from work as frequently; therefore overall increasing organisational performance.
Recruitment and Selection
Recruitment is ‘the process of generating a pool of capable people to apply for employment to an organisation’ and selection is ‘the process by which managers and others use specific instruments to choose from a pool of applicants a person or persons more likely to succeed in the job(s)’ (Braton and Gold, 2007, as cited by French & Rumbles, 2010). The recruitment and selection process is ‘fundamental to the functioning of an organisation’ (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2006, p. 155), and it is also said that ‘the success of an organisation depends on having the right number of staff, with the right skills and abilities’ (ACAS, 2010, p. 3). Therefore, the right recruitment and selection procedures are crucial to an organisation finding the best candidate for the job.
The recruitment process is extremely important when it comes to adding value to an organisation in the long-term. Poor recruitment processes – which result in the wrong candidate being selected for the job – can be very expensive for an organisation in terms of employee turnover, organisational costs and employee morale (ACAS, 2010). Good recruitment can ‘significantly contribute to effective organisational performance, to good employee relations, and to a positive public image’ (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2010, p. 156). The first step in the recruitment process is to create an effective job description and job specification. It is vital that the skills and competencies outlined within the person specification are accurate in relation to the needs of the job. If this is not the case then there is the chance that an individual will be employed with false expectations, potentially resulting in them not performing as well as was originally intended (ACAS, 2010). In worse cases, the employee may lose faith in the organisation and leave to work for potential competitors, taking with them the training they have received. Not only is this is a waste of an organisations time, money and resources – all of which can be potentially avoided if an organisation has an effective recruitment procedure in place – but it can also have an impact on existing employees morale. For example, it can be demotivating for existing employees to see new employees coming and going within a short space of time. The process of recruiting and training new employees can also be lengthy, in which time colleagues will potentially be expected to take on extra responsibilities; possibly impacting upon employee productivity and overall organisational performance. Over recent years online recruitment has become increasingly popular. Online recruitment shortens the recruitment cycle (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2010), which can be of great benefit to some organisations who find that their lengthy recruitment process can result in them losing potential candidates (CIPD, 2013). A survey carried out by Chapman and Webster (2003) also found that most organisations (within the USA) that used technology based recruitment and selection techniques, did so because they found that they added value in terms of improved efficiency, reduced costs and increased the number of potential candidates. This improved efficiency and reduced costs will potentially allow organisations to increase their profit margins, and by widening the applicant pool the organisation has a greater chance of finding the ‘right’ candidate for the job. However, although this method of recruitment generates a high volume of candidates, it does not necessarily mean that these candidates possess the relevant skills or attitudes required for the job. It is also particularly important that the recruitment and selection process is fair. The employer must recognise that it has a legal obligation to make sure that they do not unlawfully discriminate against potential candidates during the recruitment and selection process (ACAS, 2010). In ensuring this, an organisation reduces its risk of facing legal costs that may be incurred if it were to be seen to demonstrate unlawful recruitment and selection procedures; improving the organisations reputation and therefore adding value. For example, if an organisation is seen to operate ethically and value equality then it is likely that the organisation will see an increase in their customer base and also in the number of candidates wanting to work for the organisation – increasing the likelihood of the organisation finding the right person for the job.
‘Inappropriate selection decisions reduce organisational effectiveness, invalidate reward and development strategies, are frequently unfair on the individual recruit and can be and can be distressing for managers who have to deal with unsuitable employees’ (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2010, p. 155). Therefore, it is important that the selection process is carried out effectively, ensuring the ‘best’ candidate is chosen for the job. The selection process not only produces a shortlist of applicants for the interviewing stage, but it also provides the organisation with feedback in regards to their job advertising and the application form. This will help improve the organisations future recruitment and selection procedures, making the process of finding the ‘right’ candidate more effective; therefore saving organisational time and reducing any potential costs associated with ineffective selection procedures. It is essential that the selection process gains the commitment of managers and supervisors, by involving them in the process of selecting a candidate (ACAS, 2010). The managers and supervisors will have first-hand knowledge and experience and therefore will know what it is they need in future employees, making the process of selecting the ‘best’ person for the job more effective. This again will add value to the organisation, as if the right person is selected for the organisation then it is highly likely that they will perform well, potentially improving organisational performance overall. The involvement of the managers and supervisors will also help settle the new employee into the organisation, making them feel comfortable within their new role; potentially reducing employee turnover levels and the costs associated with this. The involvement between HR and business managers throughout recruitment and selection also helps to reinforce the business partnership. This involvement ensures that recruitment and selection is carried out in line with the organisations strategy – ensuring that the candidate selected contributes to organisational objectives. Recruitment and selection can be an issue within a lot of organisations, in particular those within the domiciliary care sector. Domiciliary care tends to involve very demanding work, and due to ineffective selection techniques the wrong candidates are selected for the jobs; therefore resulting in high levels of employee turnover. Psychometric testing is one selection technique that would allow domiciliary care businesses to assess the personalities of potential candidates; improving decision-making and allowing managers to ‘develop more informed and accurate perceptions about the ability and potential of individuals’ (CIPD, 2009, as cited in Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2010, p. 202). This will help ensure the ‘right’ candidate is chosen; reducing employee turnover and any associated costs, and improving employee morale and productivity – therefore enhancing overall organisational performance within this sector.
Talent management is ‘the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of those individuals who are of particular value to an organisation.’ These individuals ‘make a difference to organisational performance either through their immediate contribution or, in the longer-term, by demonstrating the highest levels of potential’ (CIPD, 2013). Talent management has become an increasingly common practice within a lot of organisations, due to a weakening economic climate which has put pressure on organisations to cut costs and increase efficiency and productivity (CIPD, 2013). In the current climate ‘having a rigorous, cyclical, ongoing process around Talent Management [can] be a key differentiator between success and failure’ (Couch, 2012). Talent has been seen to add value to organisations, particularly as talent management has become ‘integral in engaging employees in the organisation’, if practiced effectively (Morton, 2005, p. 11, as cited in Hughes & Rog, 2008, p. 746). Engaged employees are committed to the organisation and therefore will be less likely to leave; this as a result minimises employee turnover and any associated costs. Towers Perrin (2003) supports this idea, as he found that 66 percent of highly engaged employees plan to stay with their current employers, compared to only 12 percent of disengaged employees. It is also more likely to see higher levels of performance from engaged employees; potentially improving customer service and productivity, as well as increasing sales and profits (Hughes, J. C. & Rog, E., 2008).
Effective talent management also ensures organisations can successfully attract and retain talent, reducing the risk of talent leaving the organisation or being employed by a competitor – thus allowing organisations to gain a competitive advantage. Organisations that focus on retaining talented individuals are also able to add value through reduced recruitment and training costs as a result of not having to recruit talent externally, or develop talent internally. Retention of talent also reduces the negative impact employee turnover can have on organisational productivity and employee morale; which in turn can potentially have a consequential effect on profit margins (Chitakasem, N., 2011). There is evidence, however, to suggest that talent management doesn’t always add value to organisations. Lewis and Heckman (2006) argued that ‘improvements in bottom line results [prove] to be temporary, despite an ongoing commitment to talent in the organisation’ (as cited in Hughes & Rog, 2008, p. 745). Therefore, it is important organisations evaluate the effectiveness of their talent management scheme as this can contribute highly to its success, enabling them to maximise their return on investment (CIPD, 2009). Also, a focus on external recruitment and retention of “high talent” employees could: increase competition amongst internal candidates, consequently discouraging teamwork; lead to existing employees feeling undervalued, resulting in increased turnover; redirect training and development from those employees who may be struggling to those who are capable, reduce performance of those who don’t receive training; and ignore fixing cultural or other systematic issues which hinder employee performance (Hughes & Rog, 2008). Whelan & Carcary (2001) also say that those employees who are not seen to be ‘key talent’ can become demotivated as a result of them feeling unappreciated within the organisation; leading to falls in productivity and potentially negatively affecting profit margins. Therefore, in some cases, talent management may not always add value; the extent to which talent management adds value can depend on how well the organisation manages those employees who are not seen to be ‘key talent’. Organisations implementing talent management programmes may also experience resistance from some employees; as talent management makes their performance more visible to employers and creates a direct link between future career opportunities within the organisation and rewards (Little, B. 2010). Resistance from employees will likely have a knock on effect on productivity, resulting in profit margins being affected; again affecting the extent to which talent management can add value to an organisation. Overall, talent management, if managed effectively, can significantly add value to an organisation. Maximising employee performance and productivity, improving employee retention, and increasing the flexibility of employees etc. all contribute towards an organisations success.
However, the business partnership plays a significant role in the extent to which talent management can add value within an organisation. A survey carried out by the Corporate Executive Board’s Corporate Leadership Council (CLC) discovered that ‘HR must effectively partner with business line management to drive talent outcomes’ (Martin, 2010). It is important that line manager’s work with HR practitioners so as to ensure that talent management is directed in the right areas of the organisation and that it is aligned with strategic goals. The HR practitioner must also be knowledgeable of the organisations objectives so as to implement talent management programmes that will contribute towards achieving these goals. As a result, this will potentially help to reinforce the business partnership, encouraging HR to work in partnership with the business leaders to improve its performance and future success. Talent management can be beneficial for many organisations in terms of developing and retaining talented employees so as to improve organisational performance. The domiciliary care, as previously mentioned, has problems with employee retention and therefore talent management could be one way of addressing this issue. Appraisals could be used to assess employees’ performance, and allow managers to identify talent within the organisation, and the training needs (Pilbeam & Corbridge, 2010). Managers can then support and mentor talented employees through further training programmes (CIPD, 2013), such as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ’s). This support will contribute towards employees feeling valued within the organisation, and this along with the increased knowledge and motivation will help to improve employee performance; which as a result will potentially improve employee retention and the overall performance of the organisation.
In conclusion, absence management, recruitment and selection, and talent management, if effectively managed and implemented, can improve organisational performance. Absence management was found to reduce the negative costs associated with absenteeism, and improve employee morale and productivity. Effective recruitment and selection was found to improve the chances of finding the ‘right’ person for the job; therefore increasing employee performance and reducing employee turnover. Finally, talent management was found to increase employee engagement and motivation through mentoring, and improve employee performance and retention through development. Therefore all three resourcing and development activities contribute towards improving organisational performance, consequently adding value to the organisation. Finally, the aim of human resources to achieve organisational goals through these resourcing and development activities helps to contribute towards cementing the business partnership.
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