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Employees are a business’s most important assets Essay

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Employees are a business’s most important assets; this is why they created the Human Resource department. Its purpose is to manage, train and look after the workers of the business. It is also their responsibility to implement health and safety legislation at work and look after the employees. There are many roles that this department manages; these ultimately help the business to achieve its objectives. These include:

* Manpower planning.

* Recruitment and selection.

* Induction and training.

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* Promotion and transfers.

* Appraisal and termination of employment.

* Rewards and conditions of employment.

* Working conditions.

* Career development and welfare.

* Wage bargaining and disputes.

An effective and efficient business manages their employees or human resources well. The better this is done, the more the workers will be happier, better motivated, more productive and more responsive. Badly managed workers are more likely to skip work, be less enthusiastic and less willing to show initiative.

The HR department at Chester Zoo fulfils the responsibilities of looking after its staff according to court laws and employees’ rights. It has to deal with employee issues such as equal employment and unjust dismissal, plus in rare occasions, drug testing and “Aids in the work place”.

There are several things involved in human resource, these are:

* Planning how to motivate and satisfy workers.

* Planning how to develop a certain organisational culture or approach in employees.

* Planning how to support or develop employees, i.e. training.

* Analysing current employment needs.

* Forecasting the likely future demand for employees by the business.

* Forecasting the likely future supply of workers that will be available to hire.

* Predicting the extent to which workers leave the business.

The HR department controls many important parts of the company and without it the business would collapse. There are several areas of importance that the department looks after.

* Recruitment, retention and dismissal of staff. There are several stages, which the department goes through to recruit the correct person for the job. Once you’ve got the staff you need, it is very important to keep them happy and inspired about the job, this is where the task of retention comes in. Dismissal of staff can become very expensive if not done properly. Unfair dismissal could mean that ex-employees could sue the company for thousands of pounds. In the Zoo this is done on the advice of the human resources department. If the department has decided to recruit staff they would advertise and read the applications and personal statements. However the department that is looking for staff would undertake the interview. The Zoo’s HR department would do the necessary paper work and help the new employee settle into their job. Retention in the Zoo works around motivating the staff. The HR department has to find ways of motivating staff, other than money.

* Training, development and promotion of staff. Through training and development the staff become more experienced and the more experienced they become, the better they’ll be able to do their jobs. Promoting staff not only saves time in having to recruit more experienced staff, but also keeps the employee happy. A disadvantage to promoting staff is that you need to recruit more, less experienced staff that then requires training. At the zoo the HR department would look at the budget and if there was enough money and the rewards out weighed the disadvantages of training then they would go ahead with it. They would also make sure that there were enough staff to cover emergencies. The Zoo’s aims to develop its staff:

* Encourage them to attend and be involved in planning meetings.

* Give opportunities to attend relevant training courses, conferences and seminars.

* Give opportunities to visit other Zoos.

* Encourage them to share experiences with other Zoo staff.

The Zoo prefers to promote its existing staff, as it not only encourages everyone to work harder, but is also cheaper.

* Monitoring and maintenance of good working conditions. Poor working conditions lead to employees becoming unhappy and dissatisfied with their job. Working conditions need to be high to help retain workers. The Zoo ensures that the working environment for its employees remains good by offering coaching, advice and sorting out disputes.

* Health and safety. The health and safety standards must be high to keep the workers happy, but also to keep them safe from danger. If a worker had an accident at work then they could sue for thousands if it is proved to be the Zoo’s fault. At the Zoo the HR manager oversees both monitoring & maintenance of good working conditions and health & safety.

* Liaison with employee organisations and trade unions. The business needs to get on well with the trade unions and employee organisations, so the groups don’t start making big demands. If the groups are happy with the business they usually don’t start asking for massive pay increases or demands which could cost a lot to the business. The Zoo doesn’t have a union; instead it has a staff association that does the same role.

The human resource department has a manager; there are four different types.

* Handmaidens. They help other line managers to do their work, but not in a very co-ordinated or systematic way.

* Regulators. Set out and put into practice employment rules. They only set out short-term rules about how people should conduct their business at work; they do not develop an overall pattern covering long-term human relations in the workplace.

* Advisers. Generally don’t get involved in managing human relations at work, leaving the line managers to do it. However if the line managers need help, the human resource manager is there to advise.

* Change-makers. They want to make a deal with issues relating to motivating people. They introduce a range of related initiatives in order that the development of workers is given high priority.

Chester zoo has an adviser style manager; they initiate the process of recruitment and decide whether they can afford it. They also decide if they need a full time or part time worker. If they do decide to recruit then the job of interviewing would be handed over to the head of that department, since they would know what type of person would be best for the job.

The HR department has the task to make sure that the business sticks to legislation acts, because if they don’t they put the business at great risk of being sued or fined.

* Equal pay act 1970. Covers the equal value for the same work performed by men and women.

* Rehabilitation of offenders act 1974. Aims to help people who have served prison sentences to have a reasonable chance of securing employment following a period of rehabilitation.

* Sex discrimination act 1975. Covers the basic premise that it is unlawful in employment to discriminate on the basis of sex or martial status.

* Race relations act 1976. Makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment on the grounds of race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin.

* Disability discrimination act 1995. Grants statutory rights to people with disabilities and gives limited protection to them.

Chester zoo covers all these issues, except with some cases the disability discrimination act. They can justify that they can’t put a disabled person into the lion cage, because it would be dangerous for both the disabled person and the lion. Cages are designed to house animals in the best possible way, and incorporating disability equipment could be dangerous for the animals.

Effective HR management can improve competitiveness of the Zoo by analysing the current and future needs of its workers and what other businesses are doing to recruit skilful workers. HR can improve efficiency and save money with effective operating model, e.g. by preventing accidents at work HR could promote safety at work, with the aim of cutting both on and off the job accidents.

The Zoo can’t rely on a cheap labour force to keep them competitive, instead they must invest in human resources to train and develop their staff. With new technologies and IT playing a bigger role in business, they must keep up with the necessary skills to stay ahead and innovate new attractions for the Zoo.

The Zoo needs to anticipate the visitors’ needs for the present time and in the future. With the help of the HR department they can analysis data and work out what the public needs are. This information can then be used to decide on new and improved attractions.

Competition by other firms for workers may affect the supply of labour available to a business. If competitors offer higher wages to workers with specialist skills then a business may have to raise its wage level to recruit the staff it needs. The Zoo’s HR department has to decided where to draw the line between skilful and cheap workers.

Task 2

Major conflicts can occur between the HR department functions. Below are examples of such conflicts and what the Zoo would do to sort out the situation.

* Finance and the number of employees. The more employees you have the more work can get done and also the less work each employee needs to do. This makes the workers less stressed, but at the cost of employing more people. It’s a choice between more profit for the business or happier workers. At Chester Zoo if two departments wanted seasonal staff, it would be up to the human resource department to work out how many they can afford in each department. However, because the zoo is a charity, it only has a limited budget and so money is always an important factor.

* Need for training and constraints of time. The more experienced and knowledgeable the workers the better and quicker they can do their job. Training workers costs money and also means that whilst they are being trained they can’t do their job. Since the job needs to carry on, with or without the worker, other employees will have to cover or temporary workers hired. Human resources have to keep within the budget so they can only allow so much training. Improving workers skills is essential to keeping them motivated, especially since their pay isn’t very high. The department has to balance these two points successfully. The Zoo is a charity and therefore has a small budget to deal with. This unfortunately could lead to the situation where little training goes on. However, the zoo has a small wage bill and therefore one of the ways in which to retain staff is to train them. It works out cheaper to train and retain staff, than recruiting new staff.

* Career progression. If for example there was a promotional job and two people applied it would be up to the human resource department to tell the person who didn’t get the place feedback on why they didn’t. At the Zoo it is very important to retain staff and therefore they would tell the unsuccessful candidate what to improve on and what courses/training needs to be done. It is quite likely that the Zoo will also pay for this training; therefore next time the candidate would be in a better position. If the Zoo didn’t do this, it would have a high labour turnover and lose trained workers.

* Getting the job done quickly versus health & safety. The HR department needs to make sure that the health and safety laws and legislation are being meet by all departments. A Zoo is a very dangerous environment and with wild animals means that situations will occur which wouldn’t happen in an office. If a worker had an accident at work and it was found out the HR department had failed to do its job then the worker could sue. But following health & safety regulations can slow the job down. In the induction part of a new job, the HR department at the Zoo puts great emphasis on the health & safety instructions, making sure that everyone knows them as it could mean a matter of life or death.

* Personal conflict. Employees who experience conflict with each other would be sent to the HR department to smooth problems out. For example if a managing director disliked a subordinate and this affected his appraisal, then a conflict between the two could occur making the subordinate unhappy. The human resource department would then have to chat to the manager about not bringing personal feelings into work and reassure the subordinate. Conflicts in the business place could end in good workers leaving, law suits against the business and/or that company being know as a tough place to work, discouraging new people to join. The Zoo’s grievance procedure is:

* Bring the problem to the attention of the line manager.

* Or if the employee feels unable to do this, or feels they have not got a satisfactory result.

* Bring the problem to the attention of the personnel manager.

* Or if the employee feels unable to do this, or feels they have not got a satisfactory result.

* Talk to a member of the staff association who will raise the issue on their behalf and accompany them to any meetings with management.

The Zoo can’t afford lawsuits or bad publicity; it is quite concerned about person conflict issues and hope to resolve then as soon as possible. Neither do they want to lose workers and gain a reputation as being a bad employer. If this happens the Zoo would have to increase wages to attracted workers back, which would be bad for their tight budget.

* Time keeping, commitment, sickness and holidays. If a worker was being consistently late then the human resources department would need to talk to the worker and find out what is happening and whether the issue could be resolved by them starting work 30 minutes later and adding the time to the end. Workers by law have at least some holiday time off and it is up to the human resources department to organise this.

They would approve or decline holiday requests depending on whether the business can do without them for that period of time. If a worker were consistently being sick and having too many sick days then again it would be the HR department responsibility to talk to the worker and find out why and what the problem is. For example it could be a stress-related condition. The Zoo is very concerned about issues like this, as they would have to recruit more staff to deal with the work. The Zoo encourages employees to take holidays when the Zoo is closed and maybe offer more time off if they did.

Conflicts might also arise between different HR management activities within the Zoo. Some of these possible conflicts include:

* Training v recruitment. Training motivates staff, and ultimately training someone is meant to get them a better job. However it might be cheaper to recruit a new member of staff, rather than training an existing one.

* Catering v keepers. The Zoo’s mission statement is saving animals and plants from extinction, this requires keepers to look after the animals. Caterers though aren’t needed for the animals; instead they are needed to feed the visitors. A caterer might be employed instead of a keeper just to increase profits by selling more food.

* Gardening v keepers. Again gardeners aren’t a crucial to looking after animals, but they are needed to keep the Zoo looking smart and tidy. If the gardens were poor, visitors might not return, as they didn’t like environment.

* Pay v holiday. This only applies to keepers. Workers who don’t take as much paid holiday might expect to get increased salaries. The Zoo wants keepers to take as little holiday as possible, as holidays would require more temporary workers. However the Zoo has limited money and therefore can’t pay as well.

Task 3

Chester Zoo uses external data to work out future employment trends, how many males and females are unemployed and whether they are looking for full time or part time work. For example if the trend showed in the future there would be a growing female part time workforce, the Zoo might offer part time jobs catering towards female needs.

External data can also predict whether there will be skill shortages, if so the Zoo might increase staff training or increase salaries for workers with more skills. Availability of labour locally and internationally and competition for employees can also be attained from the data. Once Chester Zoo knows what the current and future situation is they can plan how to retain and/or recruit staff in the future.

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