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IHRM4032 Introduction To Human Resource Management

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IHRM4032 Introduction To Human Resource Management

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Course Code: IHRM4032
University: Greenwich School Of Management

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Country: United Kingdom


Learning outcomes assessed:

Explain how organisational and HR strategies and practices are shaped and developed and explain the purpose and key objectives of human resources management and the HR function within a contemporary business environment.
Identify the purpose and key objectives of the HR function in contemporary organisations and be able to demonstrate the process of evaluating current and future human resource needs within the business environment; both in terms of numbers of people and skills and competencies.
Appraise the relationship between organisational performance and effective HR management and development. Know how to identify and respond to short-term changes in the business and external contexts and provide solutions to address them.
Explain the significance of employment legislation to an organisation’s HR practices and evaluate how to harness effective HR practices in a global marketplace in terms of adding value and positive contribution to sustained organisation performance.

Task 1 (LO1: HR functions in a contemporary business environment). Identify any two people management issues being encountered by Oxfam in the case study and discuss how a functional HR department can proactively manage them effectively.
Task 2 (LO2: HR planning in a business environment). Briefly outline with examples how a functional HR department within Oxfam can successfully implement a viable HR planning process to manage its growing international staff problems (You may refer to other current international issues facing Oxam, namely: Haiti scandal etc).
Task 3 (LO3: Effective HR practices and performance management in organisations).Considering the reported employee wellbeing issue in the case study, discuss one developmental activity a functional HR department within Oxfam can implement to effectively improve employees’ performance.
Task 4 (LO4: Influence of Employment legislation on HR practices in organisations). Discuss the implication of employment legislation on the current practices of Oxfam within any two of the following areas:

Sexual Harassment
Racial discrimination
Health and Safety
Disciplinary procedures


The report gives an insight into human resource management from the perspective of an interim Human Resource (HR) consultant. The report mainly revolves around the HR functions and management in dealing with the case put forward by Oxfam and present it to the executive board. The aim lies in portraying how a functional human resource can effectively deal with any HR related issues faced by an organization. Functional HR management acts as the glue between any organization and the areas of functional management. Therefore, the department of functional HR has six functional areas which includes, workforce employment and planning, business strategy and management, compensation, benefits, human resource development, risk management and employee relations. The report focuses on the various aspects of human resource. This includes, the functions of the HR in contemporary business environment, HR planning in business environment, effective practices of the HR and the performance management within the organizations and the impact of the employee legislation on the practices of HR within an organization.
Task 1:
The two people management issues that Oxfam encountered are as follows:
Firstly, Oxfam expressed immense support in favour of a perpetrator as the management was in dire need of her services while the organization showed inexplicable hostility towards the victim who faced sexual harassment.
Secondly, Oxfam not only led to constructive dismissal of the victim but also expressed their favour in support of adopting restorative justice by the victim. This form of justice refers to the alternative means of dealing with the gender-based violence where the perpetrator and the survivor seek for a voluntary resolution.
According to Dessler (2013), Human resource management refers to the means of training, acquiring, compensating and appraising employees along with taking care of their labour relation, fairness concerns and health and safety. Thus, the purpose of HRM lay in maximizing the organizational productivity through optimization of the employee effectiveness. According to Gubman (1996), the primary mission of the human resource remains in acquiring, developing and retaining talent, aligning the workforce with business and act as exceptional contributor to business. Therefore, the human resource manager can acquire, retain and develop talent through job analysis, employee motivation and training and development. Further, the HR manager can align workforce with business through planning and be a contributor to business through development and training. Again, the HR manager follows certain principles that include recognizing the strength of relationship between the organizational success and human performance thereby producing the need of developing people to utmost potential as contributors for the realization of business plans. This happens since there is a mutual interest between organization, the managers and the employees in the development and the survival of the organizations (Stone and Stone 2013).
Thus, a functional HR department can proactively manage the issues of Oxfam effectively through the following ways (Nankervis et al. 2013):

Through supporting the organization in the achievement of the objectives through development and implementation of the strategies of human resource integrated within business strategy.
There should be provisions for higher performance culture. Globalization has ensured freedom to the working professionals for working anywhere across the world. The working professionals have ample number of profitable opportunities for working therefore retaining the best talent of the industry is no amount of joke. The HR department should not only ensure maintaining harmonious relations but also provide a brilliant working environment and offer more benefits and remuneration to motivate and retain the professionals.
Ensuring that an organization has skilled, engaged and talented people as per the demand
Ensuring creation of positive relationship between employees and management along with maintenance of mutual trust
Ensuring and encouraging the application of ethical approach towards the management of the people. The human resource department should also adopt the techniques of handling conflicts between employer and employee and between the employees without hurting anyone’s feelings. Although it seems impossible in avoiding the conflicts amongst the people but by handling them in a tactful manner helps the HR managers in resolving issues. The HR department should listen to each of the groups and then communicate and decide in a manner that helps in avoiding future conflicts.

Task 2: 
According to Armstrong (2006), human resource planning in a business environment involves retaining and attracting a considerable number of people having appropriate expertise, skills and competencies along with anticipating problems of the potential deficits or surpluses of the people. Human resource planning also involves developing a flexible and well-trained workforce thereby contributing to the ability of the organization in adapting to changing and uncertain environment. It also helps in reducing the dependence on the external environments when the key skills remains in short supply through the formulation of employee development and retention strategies.
Human resource planning also helps in improving the usage of the people through the introduction of flexible systems of working. In other words, human resource planning refers to the process of identifying and analyzing the availability and need for the human resource so that the organization is able to meet the objectives (Hoch and Dulebohn 2013). Effective HR planning involves the right people, right capabilities, right place and the right time. Thus, effective human resource planning helps in the determination of the gaps within existing work force of an organization. Further, it also helps in determining the number of employees to be recruited along with their qualification. However, the principles of human resource planning involves clarity of the objectives and the alternatives, accurately forecasting the demand and the supply, ensuring staff cooperation and forecast of  the resources, being flexible, realistic, practical and adjusting to the environment.
A functional human resource department can successfully implement a HR planning process for managing the growing staff problems internationally by adopting the following steps:

Through assessment of the present capacity of Human Resource: The functional HR department of Oxfam can manage the growing problems related to staffing by implementing a HR planning process whose first step involves accessing the current staff. Before hiring newer employees for Oxfam, the HR department should consider the talent at the disposal. There should be a skill of inventory for each of the current employees. For instance, this is done in various ways such as self-evaluation of the employee through questionnaire or looking over the reviews of the past performance or a combination of both (Bratton and Gold 2017).

2. Through Forecasting of the Requirements of Human Resource: The functional human resource department of HR at Oxfam should access the demand of the company for the qualified employees against the supply of these employees either outside or within the organization. Thus, the careful management of demand and supply plays a vital role. Demand forecasting refers to the number of demanded employees in terms of quality and calibre for meeting Oxfam’s present and the future needs. The supply forecasting however, refers to the present resources necessary to meet the market demand.  Thus, the HR planning process in Oxfam should be such that it matches the demand and the supply (Aswathappa 2013). For instance, the HR department can achieve this through hiring of newer employees or training of the current employees or through combining both approaches.

By Developing the Talent Strategies: The functional HR department can deal with the issues of international staffing through talent development. For instance, the steps for this include recruitment, selection, hiring, development and training, remuneration, performance management and employee relations (Oladapo 2014).
Undertaking the Process of Review and Evaluation: It is also necessary for the functional HR department at Oxfam to undertake an evaluation whether their planning process has enabled the company in achieving the goals related to profit, production, employee satisfaction and retention (Smither, Houston and McIntire 2016).

Task 3: 
The employee performance is based on outcomes. Performance is even measured based terms of the behaviour. According to Kehoe and Wright (2013), the employee performance is measured against performance standards put forward by an organization. A number of measures need consideration while measuring the performance of the employees. These included the efficiency, productivity, effectiveness, profitability measures and quality.  
The developmental activity that the functional HR department within Oxfam can implement for effectively improving the employees’ performance involves necessary training and development (Alfes et al. 2013). The training refers to the set of programmes and courses where the durations, content and the details remain clear to both the organization and the personnel who undergo the training. Unlike the informal trainings and the programmes, the formal training is planned earlier and calls for evaluation. The employees might undertake such courses and programmes while they remain completely off the work for a specific duration or be present in work on part time basis. Such programmes held either within organization or outside the job. The training undertaken off the job seems to be increasingly effective as the employees remain away from their workplace and has their complete focus on training. Some of the types of training which includes, apprenticeship training, on/off-the-job training, job instruction training, lectures, audiovisual-based training, programmed learning, videoconferencing and tele-training, electronic performance support systems (EPSS), simulated learning, computer-based training (CBT) and the internet-based training
Employee training is one such developmental activity that has a key role in improving the employee performance and increases their productivity. This also helps in placing the organization in better positions for facing competition and thereby staying at top position (Sung and Choi 2014). There lies difference between organization that train employees and the ones do not. Training not only helps in improving the overall employee performance at the current job but also enhance employee skill and knowledge required for future jobs thereby leading to an enhanced organizational performance. Thus, training helps in developing the competencies of the employee for efficiently implementing in job related to work and achieving the objectives of the firm in the most competitive manner.
Training is such a developmental activity that helps in increasing the job satisfaction and improvement of self-esteem since the employee has better understanding of the workings within the company (Elnaga and Imran 2013). It will also help the employee at Oxfam in enhancing their morale and loyalty towards the company. Excellent training opportunities will in reducing the attrition rate.
Training can also enhance employee commitment at Oxfam provided it meets the needs and expectations of employees (Albrecht et al. 2015). Moreover, the companies retain employees who accept their training and are subsequently committed to the company. Successful training program involves the management in providing the accurate communication and information regarding the training.
Well-trained employees at Oxfam can ensure paying off significantly for the companies since the employee turnover remains quite high (Phipps, Prieto and Ndinguri 2013). The cost involves the separation costs that included the exit interviews, administrative functions in relation to the termination, unemployment compensation and severance pay.
Task 4:
(a) Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment has been an important portion of the Equality Act in the United Kingdom (Hepple 2014).  However, close to two thirds of the women experiences sexual harassment at the work place. Thus, by providing route for the individuals in bringing about claim for harassment does not prove sufficient in stamping out discriminatory behaviour and attitudes of women at the workplace.
The employment legislation on sexual harassment influences the current practices of human resource department at Oxfam are as follows:  

Ensuring Criminal Proceedings: The human resource department should initiate the necessary action as per the law by initiating a complaint with appropriate authority. The department should make sure that the witness or victims are not discriminated or victimized (McDonald, Charlesworth and Graham 2015). The human resource department should also have provisions for the victims of the sexual harassment in either seeking their transfer or the transfer of perpetrator.
Undertaking Disciplinary Action: The functional human resource department should ensure initiation of suitable disciplinary action according to the rules for dealing with such misconducts.
Appointment of Complaint Mechanism: The human resource department should have provisions for an appropriate complaint mechanism for redressing complaints made by victim (Hlavka 2014). Moreover, the complaint mechanism ensures time bound treatment of the complaints. The department should also ensure a committee consisting of other support services and special councillors for maintenance of their confidentiality.

(b) Racial Discrimination
The Equality Act of 2010 prevents the employees from unfair treatment.  Racial discrimination falls under the category of indirect discrimination when specific regulations and rules within workplace indirectly prevents an individual belonging to certain race from keeping the job or from progressing within an organization(Barak 2016). Racial discrimination is however visible at various stages throughout the process of employment.
The implication of the employment legislation of racial discrimination on the current human resource practices of Oxfam are as follows (Greene and Kirton 2015):

Reviewing Workplace Practice and Policies: The functional HR department of Oxfam should have policies related to selection and recruitment, employee benefits and pay, employee performance appraisals and review, dress of work place, redundancy and dismissal.
Ensure Diversity and Equality as part of Culture:The benefits includes the development of better understanding of the employees, gaining access to the diversified perspectives and increase in credibility of the brand. Presence of diversity policy ensures undertaking the aspect of racial discrimination seriously. To ensure its severity the functional human resource department at Oxfam can either ensure a zero tolerance approachto racial discrimination or set up a goal for the creation of diverse workplace. The HR should also review policies and changes to law.  
Complete Support of HR in Handling Racial Discrimination: The functional HR department at Oxfam should directly involve itself in resolving a case related to racial discrimination. The department should extend their support to the line manages in handling complaints thereby enabling them in following the disciplinary procedures and the organizational equality in a proper manner. The functional human resource department should make sure that there is sensitive and fair treatment of the accused and the complainant. There should also be maintenance of confidentiality. In case, the complaint reaches the tribunal it is necessary for the human resource department to show that the company did every possible thing in preventing discrimination.

Albrecht, S.L., Bakker, A.B., Gruman, J.A., Macey, W.H. and Saks, A.M., 2015. Employee engagement, human resource management practices and competitive advantage: An integrated approach. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 2(1), pp.7-35.
Alfes, K., Truss, C., Soane, E.C., Rees, C. and Gatenby, M., 2013. The relationship between line manager behavior, perceived HRM practices, and individual performance: Examining the mediating role of engagement. Human resource management, 52(6), pp.839-859.
Armstrong, M., 2006. Strategic Human Resource Management-A Guide to Action 3rd Ed.
Aswathappa, K.E.M.A.L., 2013. Human resource management: Text and cases. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.
Barak, M.E.M., 2016. Managing diversity: Toward a globally inclusive workplace. Sage Publications.
Bratton, J. and Gold, J., 2017. Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave.
Dessler, G., 2013. Fundamentals of human resource management. Pearson.
Elnaga, A. and Imran, A., 2013. The effect of training on employee performance. European Journal of Business and Management, 5(4), pp.137-147.
Greene, A.M. and Kirton, G., 2015. The dynamics of managing diversity: A critical approach. Routledge.
Gubman, E.L., 1996. Human Resources: The gauntlet is down. The Journal of Business Strategy, 17(6), p.33.
Hepple, B., 2014. Equality: The legal framework. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Hlavka, H.R., 2014. Normalizing sexual violence: Young women account for harassment and abuse. Gender & Society, 28(3), pp.337-358.
Hoch, J.E. and Dulebohn, J.H., 2013. Shared leadership in enterprise resource planning and human resource management system implementation. Human Resource Management Review, 23(1), pp.114-125.
Kehoe, R.R. and Wright, P.M., 2013. The impact of high-performance human resource practices on employees’ attitudes and behaviors. Journal of management, 39(2), pp.366-391.
McDonald, P., Charlesworth, S. and Graham, T., 2015. Developing a framework of effective prevention and response strategies in workplace sexual harassment. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 53(1), pp.41-58.
Nankervis, A.R., Baird, M., Coffey, J. and Shields, J., 2013. Human resource management: strategy and practice.
Oladapo, V., 2014. The impact of talent management on retention. Journal of business studies quarterly, 5(3), p.19.
Phipps, S.T., Prieto, L.C. and Ndinguri, E.N., 2013. Understanding the impact of employee involvement on organizational productivity: The moderating role of organizational commitment. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 17(2), p.107.
Smither, R., Houston, J. and McIntire, S., 2016. Organization development: Strategies for changing environments. Routledge.
Stone, R.J. and Stone, R.J., 2013. Managing human resources. John Wiley and Sons.
Sung, S.Y. and Choi, J.N., 2014. Do organizations spend wisely on employees? Effects of training and development investments on learning and innovation in organizations. Journal of organizational behavior, 35(3), pp.393-412.

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