HRM Performance and Training Director
The shops all have the same basic structure and offer the same range of goods. The largest shop is the Runcorn store with a staff of 36: store manager, deputy manager, two security staff (flexible working rota), two cleaners, and the rest of the staff work in teams of six within the stores: one supervisor and five staff. The teams work across 5 departments, meat, bakery, canned foods, fresh foods and sundries. Once allocated to a team it is not common for staff to be relocated to different departments.
The shop in Aigburth has 31 staff and follows the common structure of the other stores within the group, when it opened approximately half the staff moved to it from other branches. Promotion upwards meant that long- serving staff were placed in the supervisory and managerial positions. New staff were recruited to fill the other vacancies.
The shops are seen locally as providing excellent customer care and friendly environment, supported through loyal staff. The business strategy is to continue expansion into the Bootle area of Liverpool within the next three years. However, lately there has been a rise in customer complaints and staff turnover. The old and new staff seem to be in conflict, with long-term staff complaining about new staff’s attitude and lack of customer care.
The culture of the stores’ is dominated by the paternalistic style of the store managers, reflecting that of the Mr Green. Opportunities for promotion are very limited, staff development does not have a structure and is often overlooked completely, and promotion tends to go internally to long-serving staff. Sophie, Director of HRM and training and development, ensures the policies of induction and health and safety are completed, together with till training.
Recognising the need to resolve the issues, Mr Green recruited two new graduates as trainee deputy managers. Both without retail experience, Mr Green was non-the –less impressed with their innovative ideas for the company. Their training was to shadow a shop manager to learn the necessary skills in order to take over responsibility. Sophie and Mr Green saw this approach to training as appropriate taking into consideration they both had Business degrees.
Some complaints started to come in from other staff, suggesting the new trainee managers were pushing them to complete too many tasks, with the outcome of reduced customer care. After two months one of the trainees left the company, and the second suggested he too was thinking of leaving. Mr Green was concerned as he had planned on using the new recruits to run the proposed Bootle outlet.
A Director’s meeting was convened, where the results of the exit interviews revealed that staff were frustrated at the lack of promotional opportunity and felt they were constantly being watched and told what to do. The outcome was to conduct an anonymous staff survey, distributed through shop managers and deputies, detailing age, length of service and their views on the company and their role within it. Sophie analysed the responses, with a 75% return she felt the outcomes would give a fair reflection of the views of staff.
The results indicated that the longer serving staff generally felt the company was good to work for, offering job security and good customer care. The younger, new staff members however, were much less content indicating a negative attitude to the company. They saw the culture as slow and backward looking ‘old fashioned’. They were bored and did not see themselves staying for the next 12 months. A key issue was their perception of the key driver on customer care taking precedent over any opportunities for self- development within the company. They also felt they should be offered further training across departments. A critical factor that was raised was the view that supervisors and managers patronised them and did not offer them any responsibility.
Sophie suggested most issues raised could be resolved through a training and development policy, for example a customer care training course. She also recommended supervisors should attend a certificate in Supervisory Management. These and any other proposed changes would naturally impact on the company budget, but were seen as a long term gain. Louise estimated a cost of £100,000 over a three year policy adoption period.
Considerations Sophie will have to include in her policy document – planning stages, who may be eligible for training, – the processes involved and perceived gains.
Student Task: You have been called in by the company as an HR consultant, to draw up a draft Employee Development Policy, you will need to consider the internal and external contexts the company finds itself working within.
You may need to consider inclusion of policies such as :
Health and Safety
Time scale and responsibilities
Line management role
Senior management role
Relevant theoretical support through wide range of media, inclusion of examples
Presentation : correct use of APA referencing, spelling and grammar
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