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5HRF Managing Human Resource Management of the British Telecom Assessment Answer

5HRF Key Points

Q1

  • Briefly introduce your chosen organisation.
  • Describe the HR function within it. Underpin this with models and theories of HR.
  • Compare it to HR in organisations of different sizes and sectors. This can be general or specific.

Q2

  • Describe three key organisational objectives that your HR function has main responsibility for. E.g. improve absence rates,
  • Consider how these/HR have evolved/are evolving.
  • Explain at least two different ways that HR (objectives) can be delivered (general question)

e.g. shared services, outsourcing or HRBP.

  • Include some advantages/disadvantages

Q3

  • Explain how HR is involved in/responsible for ensuring ethical business practice.
  • Consider why HR should always act professional and fair.

(This is a general question but try and support his with a workplace example)

Q4

  • Select and describe two major theories of change management e.g. Lewin or Kotter.
  • Select one of the theories and illustrate it in practice – a hypothetical or workplace example is fine.
  • Include evaluation, an overview of the outcome and the overall impact.

Q5

  • Explain some criteria/data that could be used to evidence HR’s contribution to business success.
  • Explain how this would be presented and analysed Examples: benchmarking data, balanced scorecard, SLAs, KPIs, metrics etc.

Q6

  • Evaluate/critique the research in the article: Is it valid? Do you agree with the findings? Is it useful/ persuasive? What is the overall quality, in your view, of the document?
  • Consider how the article has linked HR practice with positive organisational outcomes.
  • Then provide a clear explanation of the impact of high-performance working and human capital investment on organisations. This should include wider reading application and ideally some workplace examples. Does this link with the article?

Answer

MANAGING AND COORDINATING THE HUMAN RESOURCES FUNCTION

Introduction:

In every organisation, human resource management is very much vital, and quality performance is dependent on the activity of the human resource department. Human resource manager has different roles and responsibilities to maintain, and the most important one is recruitment and training. In this assignment, various aspects of the human resource management of the British telecom will be analysed and explained and also a critical article review will be done.

Question 1

1.1 Variation of HR functions between organisations. 

The chosen organisation on which the Human Resources model analysis will be done is British Telecom. British Telecom or popularly known as BT Group plc is the oldest telecommunication service provider in Britain (Btplc, 2019a). The company, apart from telecommunication services, also provides IT services and other subscription services. The company was founded in 1969 and is 50 years old as of today. The company earns a yearly revenue of 23.746 Billion GBP and had a net income of 3.841 Billion GBP in 2018 (Btplc, 2019). The Company had 106,400 employees in the year 2017. In the year 1980, when the company was first introduced to the public, it acted as a post office telecommunication services (Btplc, 2019b). The company has a total of seven divisions, namely Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, BT Open-Reach and BT Technologies. The company is the oldest in the UK, is the most trusted telecommunications company in the country.

Being one of the oldest organisations in the country and has handled its human resources optimally over the past years. The HR functioning in the organisation is based upon a total of six steps. These six steps make complete HR functioning from employee recruitment to achieving the ultimate business goals optimal. The HR model of BT Plc starts with their recruitment process. The recruitment criteria and the process is based upon the cost-effectiveness, flexibility, legitimacy, completing the business goals such as increasing profits, market share and market capitalization, and so on. The initial recruitment process, which includes the training, recruiting employees, and other steps actually decide the smoothness of the rest of the HR model. 

1.2 Comparison of HR delivery in different sectors and organisations of different sizes

The company believes that instead of moulding the HR model with respect to the employees, an organisation should recruit such employees who fit into the decided HR model. The recruitment process is the starting point of the complete model, which is then succeeded by the actual HR motives and practices. The HR practices and model can only be optimal is there is positive and strong coordination between the HR and Managers. The HR model created by the HR's can be practical and applicable if they are applied and practices by the various managers who are in the chain of command of the total process (Btplc, 2019b). If there is no coordination between the HR and the managers, then the HR model will not yield optimal results. For instance, if a manager tries to do things differently, even though the intention is positive, it will directly affect the actual HR practices that were intended in the HR model.

The objectives set in the created HR model can differ with respect to perception. The perceived HR practices and actual HR practices are different in nature. The HR model outcome directly depends on the percentage of difference that exists between the perceived HR practices and the actual HR practices. The optimal results are reached when there is no difference in the actual and perceived HR models.  The fifth step of the HR model in BT is the completion of HR Goals.  The completion of HR goals is directly dependent upon the HR outcomes (Btplc, 2019a). The set of aimed HR outcomes in the organisation collectively complete the complex HR goals. These HR goals primarily consist of profit, market share, market capitalization, and so on. The last step of the business model measures the Efficiency of the total outcomes and the extent to which it is practically effective and the amount of impact it has in the HR goals.

By critically analysing the whole HR model in BT, it can be said that the HR model in BT is loosely based on "The 8-Box Model by Paul Boselie" (DigitalHRTech, 2019)The 8 Box model is also based on a set of 6 steps as the HR model used in BT. All the steps that BT applies in their model are similar to the rules defined in the 8-Box Model.  The 8 Box model, in general, is based on two factors.  The model compares various external and internal factors that influence the HR function in an organisation and moulds these factors according to the advantage of the organisation or if a certain factor cannot be moulded or changed it is eliminated from the scenario (DigitalHRTech, 2019). The same steps are taken by the BT HR model (Btplc, 2019a). The BT employee recruitment is based upon the HR model, or one can say that the model is not changed for the recruitment process, but only such employees are recruited who fit the BT HR model, and this makes the whole outcome as well the process very effective in nature. The 8 Box model also commented on the importance of the degree of difference between the intended HR practices and perceived HR practices. The 8 Box model also gives importance to the Efficiency (DigitalHRTech, 2019), Effectiveness and Impact in the total outcome of the HR model.

The primary competitors of BT in the Telecommunications market are Virgin Group, Vodafone and Orange Telecom. The HR practices followed by the Competitors of BT are completely different in nature, Orange Telecoms’ HR model is based upon “The Standard Casual Model of HRM” while on the other hand Virgin Group’s HR model is based upon “The HR Value Chain” (DigitalHRTech, 2019). Vodafone’s HR model is also based on an advanced model of The HR Value Chain known as “The HR Value Chain Advanced”.

For instance, FedEx Corporation is considered to have one of the best HR model (Versai, 2016). The company considers that their employees are the key in top quality production.  FedEx has always been an employee centric organisation and their HR model includes Employee Appreciation at all levels, “People-Service-Profit “Model and so on (Versai, 2016). Compared to BT, the HR model of FedEx is better as BT does not includes employee appreciation in their HR model but follows a traditional HR model known as the 8-Box Model. Another organisation that is considered to have one of the best HR models is Sage Products. Sage product is a healthcare company. The company has included benefits such as free onsite mammograms, fitness centre in their HR model. The benefits also extend to the family members of the employees.  

Question 2

2.1 Examples of organisational objectives that the HR function is responsible for delivering and the relevant evolution

HRM functions and model are always dynamic in nature and has changed over time. The change was brought about in the ways how these objectives were perceived with the key aims being constant. In the past, the various HRM objectives used to be the improvement of absence rates, performance improvement, and so on. In the current times, these objectives have been generalised into three points, which are:

a.   Concrete Allocation of Organisational Structure and Increase in Productivity

The organisational structure involves various departments in a company. All these departments, such as The HR Department, Production department, and so on, should be placed in a logically created hierarchy (Noe et al. 2017). The algorithm of this hierarchy should be created to maximize productivity. Moreover, the departments should be placed and assigned tasks in such a way so that no two departments clashes and affect each other's productivity. 

b.  Constructing a Coalition between All the Departments in an Organisation

To create a model in which there is no clash between two departments, there needs to be proper communication between these departments. For example, the HR model created by the HR department can only yield optimal results if they are followed by the managers of other departments.

 c.   Maintaining Employee Satisfaction

Apart from creating a structural hierarchy and creating a connection between the elements of this structure in an organisation, a company always needs to take care of their employee satisfaction (Noe et al. 2017). If the employee satisfaction is out of place, then no HR model or Structural Algorithm will be able to yield optimal performance results 

2.2 Significant methods of delivering HR objectives

The two ways by which HR objectives can be delivered are as follows:

a.   Shared Services 

Shared Services is a method of reaching HR objectives when a single agenda/goal is reached by multiple departments. The main goal is divided into multiple short term goals and divided among these departments. Each department has its own set of goals to achieve. The advantage of this method is that the time span of reaching the goal is reduced to a major extent (Bangemann, 2017). The disadvantage of this method is that as a single task is divided into many subgroups; thus, the results are not optimal in nature and error frequency is increased.

 b.  HRBP (Human Resource Business Partners) 

Human Resource Business Partners or HRBP are individuals who interact with a company’s high leadership and develop a strategy to achieve a common agenda. This method is also known as alignment. The key objectives have evolved significantly in the HR model of the organisation. The first step of hierarchy has project admin who decides the basic architecture of the HR model and then it goes on to project lead. Project lead makes sure that the model has been applied optimally. The complete outcomes is then reflected in personnel files and leading talent programmes. The advantages to this method are that HR’s can easily identify the shortcomings/obstacles that need to be removed to achieve a certain goal as they are constantly in contact with the interior structure of the company (Brown et al. 2016). Furthermore, HR's can also get daily updates on the working of the company. Thus, they can improve their plan that will be applied to complete their goals with respect to these changes. The disadvantage of this method is that the decision of HR is heavily influenced by the details they see on an everyday basis and can cause errors in the final result of the model.

Question 3

3.1 Involvement of HR in/responsible for ensuring ethical business practice.

The role of human resources in ethical business practices can be summarized as follows:

Organizational Ethical Culture: The HR can decide on the ethical culture of an organization through the recruitment and maintenance of ethical recruits and employees of the company. HR may stress the need for an ethically responsible employee to shape up the responsibilities of the employees (Vickers, 2019). It is through this the employees would become aware of the ethical issues and regulations of the company which they would abide by to form an ethically aware organization whose ethics is a top priority. The existing culture of the organization would also help the new recruits to follow on the same footprints, and their notion of the ethical behaviour and attitudes would not be skewered.

Value and Ethical Integration through Leadership: The leadership of the company should also be ethical in their functions as the employees are more likely to emulate their leaders. Hence, the HR must also seek to instil ethical leader to take the ethical mantle of the company forward. The leaders would also provide moral maxims for the organizational employees. The value created by the leaders is more likely to be attached with the default functional basis, and the employees would become much more ethical and consider carefully before their every move. The leaders of the company are responsible for upholding the ethics of the company.  

Conflict Resolution and Information: The main source of unethical activities in the organization stems from the conflicts. Hence, the conflicts of the organization must be resolved by the human resource department to root out any possible causes of ethical issues in the company. The HR department must be unbiased and provide a justified solution to the conflicts which is bound to form a reference of ethical values in the organization (Harris, 2019). The HR must also be aware of the conflict and any ethical issues developing in the company to prepare and nip the problem in the bud. A better-informed HR works more efficiently.

A business case for managing HR can be achieved in three-steps/target. To construct an optimal business case a HR should look at the currents scenario of the budget requests or reduction in budgets as requested by the senior leaders (Vickers, 2019). The second step is to define the desired scenario/condition and a well defined plan of action by which the desired conditions can be achieved. The three steps should always comply with the ethical restriction with respect to the employees and should be deployed in a Just manner. No unnecessary changes or action should be taken. 

3.2 Why should HR act professional and fair?

The Human Resource department must always act professional and fair because their treatment of the employees is what sets the tone for the leaders as well as employees to follow. The moral of the employees are highly motivated and influenced by how HR managers treat employees. As for example, the act of favouritism or inclination is very demoralizing for the employees, and the productivity of the employees also goes down, which is ultimately harmful for the organization (Cascio, 2015). The need for the HR to act professionally is also another aspect as they are only responsible for the professional output and contributions of the employees and whatever they do in their personal time should not be the concern of the employees. The HR must not hold it against them for low productivity at work. 

The work, the employee of the company, does in private time cannot be related to their low productivity work. HR may criticise the employees for their low productivity, but that should not be related to his or her passion at their leisure time. The functionalities of the HR must also be within the professional ambit of the organization and in accordance with the ethical standards observed by the company. The differentiation of fair and equal treatment of employees is necessary by the HR department (Nicholson, 2019). Equal treatment of the employees does not mean fair treatment. One example can be that of the two employees in the same role, the one with the more initiative and drive must be treated differently than the one who only meets the minimum requirements for the tasks which are both fair and encouraging.

The HR must act rationally in the context of the organization. Since the quality control and the ethics in the business is such a qualitative factor, the maintenance and control in that regard is very much impossible and yet the improvement of the organization is hinged on the consequences of the administrative fairness. The management of the HR is also of significance for the continued improvements and justice in the organizational decisions and delivering the desired goodwill (Nicholson, 2019). The guidelines of the HR functionalities should be explicit in their definitions of the conditional decisions which would be based on various situational awareness and leadership. For example, the case of any unduly behaviour must be handled strictly and according to the law while any mistakes at work must be handled more sympathetically to strive for greater organizational attrition. The cases are different and must be treated separately.

Question 4

4.1 Major theories of change management

The two theories of Change Management selected for the purpose are "Kurt Lewin's Three-Step Change Model" and "John Kotter's 8-Step Change Model".

a.  Kurt Lewin's Three-Step Change Model

Kurt Lewin's Three-Step Change Model is one of the most popular change models in the world. As the name suggests, the model is based on three steps that are to be completed to achieve a defined set of goals or change in a certain system. The model was introduced in the year 1947. The three steps that are described in the change model are as follows (Accipio, 2019),

1.  Unfreezing

The first step, known as "Unfreezing" is based on the removal of the stubbornness of human nature. We as humans are very resistant towards change, that is what the step is aimed at. This step deals with optimising the view of the individual who is supposed to be going through the aimed change (Cummings et al., 2016). The individual needs to let go of any constraints that are stopping them from going through the aimed changed and thus making the whole process easy. After this step is achieved the actual change takes place. This steps also deals with making the individual realise that the change that is going to take place is actually important for them and can cause positive effects in their lives.

2.  Change

The second step deals with the change that needs to take to take place. Once the individual has completed the process of unfreezing, they are ready to adapt to the aimed change. A set of steps has to designed first, which is specific and depends upon the change that is desired.

3.  Freezing

The third and last step comes when the individual has achieved the desired change. This is the opposite of the first step. This step is necessary to make the change that has taken place in an individual permanent or sustainable for a long time (Accipio, 2019). The term freezing here refers to freezing the attributes or qualities that the individual as achieved for a long time 

 Lewin’s Three-step Change model

Figure 1: Lewin’s Three-step Change model

(Source: Saylordotorg, 2019)

b. John Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model

As the name suggests, this change model consists of 8 steps.  These eight steps are as follows,

1.  Creating Urgency

The first step requires an individual to see the importance of the desired change. The individual needs to understand that the changed that is aimed is very important and urgent (Frontlinemanagementexperts, 2016).

2.  Forming a Powerful Coalition

This step directs the individual to work in a team and form a strong coalition with others and develop a process to make the results optimal (Frontlinemanagementexperts, 2016).

3.  Create a Vision for Change

The step is self Explanatory

4.  Communicate the Vision

The vision that is created in the last step needs to be communicated with others who are involved in the procedure. The vision needs to be unified.

5.  Remove Obstacles

The various obstacles that are stopping one from completing the objective need to be removed.

6.  Create Short-Term Wins

The model encourages an individual to create short term goals and achieve them one by one.

7.  Build on the Change

After the various short term goals have been completed, change starts to happen. The individual, at this point, should start accepting the change. This step is similar to the third step of Kurt Lewin's Model "Freezing (Frontlinemanagementexperts, 2016).

8.  Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture

This step recommends the users of the model to increase the sustainability of the change and make it fit with the dynamic nature of the corporate culture (Frontlinemanagementexperts, 2016).

Kotter's 8 step change model

Figure 2: Kotter's 8 step change model

(Source: Frontlinemanagementexperts, 2016)

4.2 Implementation of Kotter’s 8-step change model in an organisational context 

The above two described models are quite similar in nature if looked closely. The only difference between Kurt Lewin's Model and John Kotter's model is the number of steps involved in the whole model. Kurt Lewin's Model has a total of three steps that deals with the realisation of the importance of the desired change, the change actually taking place and making the change sustainable. One can say that John Kotter's Model is a more specific design of the former. John Kotter's Model has been selected to demonstrate the application of the change model. For this purpose, a hypothetical organisation has been selected, which will be called "Imperial Brands" (Imperialbrandsplc, 2019). ABC Holdings has been facing various problems related to employee performance. They want to improve employee performance. The chosen model suggests a total of 8 steps to bring about an aimed changed in an organisation. The steps that need to be taken in "Imperial Brands" to improve employee performance with the help of "John Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model” are as follows,

Step 1:

The first step of the chosen model suggests creating urgency for the change that is required (Frontlinemanagementexperts, 2016). Imperial Brands can explain the negative outcomes of poor employee performance to their employees.  The company can explain that if the performances of the employees are not improved in the next business quarter, then they will need to let go of a few of their employees as they will not be able to meet the income targets. Thus, Imperial Brands will not be able to pay the salaries of all the employees. This will lead to the growth of a sense of emergency in the minds of the employees. This step can also be considered as the first step in Kurt Lewin's three-step change model.

Step 2:

The second step is to form a strong coalition. Imperial Brands will further need to explain to their employees that the targets that are set to improve their growth cannot be achieved individually. They will need to work in a team and make up for performance shortcomings collectively.

Step 3:

The third step needs to create a fixed vision to bring change (Veling et al., 2018). Imperial Brands need to fix a certain target the employees need to achieve, which makes the outcome clear.

Step 4:

Imperial Brands needs to communicate the vision and results that will be derived from the outcome of the whole process (Frontlinemanagementexperts, 2016). The various positive effects that the improvement in the performance of the employees will have needs to be communicated and explained to the employees such as rise in salary, various promotions and new job roles.

Step 5:

Imperial Brands needs to identify the various obstacles that are stopping the employees from achieving optimal results and remove them.

Step 6:

Imperial Brands further needs to create short term easy goals that employees can easily achieve. This will boost the confidence of the employees. 

Step 7:

The rise is confidence that the employees will have due to step seven needs to be continued and similarly consecutive goals have to be created and achieved (Rothwell, 2017). This will lead to the achievement of the bigger targets. Step 2 to Step 7 can be considered a detailed breakdown of the second step of "Kurt Lewin's Three-Step Model."

Step 8:

The last step is to make the change permanent and long-lasting. Imperial Brands needs to reinstate the effects that brought about change has caused. This step can be compared to the third change of Kurt Lewin’s model. 

The overall impact of the application of this model will be positive. The model aims to bring about a sustainable change and thus will have an effective outcome.

Question 5

5.1 Explain some criteria/data that could be used to evidence HR’s contribution to business success.

The addition of value to the organization by the Human Resources department is manifold. However, the contribution of HR to the success of the organization is not readily measurable in the traditional sense of the metrics. The applied and implied strategies which the HR adopts may lead to organizational change, which can become critical for the success of the organization. The contributions of HR to success can be shortlisted as the following:

Advice and Service: The HR may advise the leadership and the employees of the organization regarding the ethical and alternative functionalities and methods which can be taken up by the employees of the company (Ulrich & Dulebohn, 2015). This would refine the abilities of the organization whilst the ethical considerations are also applied by the employees. The services of the HR department include regular surveys and feedback of the employees to improve the services of the company. 

Recruitment: The HR department is also responsible for the recruitment of the employees of the organization. The requirement of the organization depending on the tasks and functions is fulfilled by the HR through their hiring of competent employees who are capable of performing the responsibilities of the office. Thus the quality of the task is a direct contribution of the HR department who do not do the work directly and yet greatly influences the kind of work done by the company through their choice of employees (Today, 2019). The timing of the recruitment and the cost of the recruitment is also decided by the HR. This saves both precious time and financial resources for the company. 

Motivation and Development: The HR department is also responsible for the development and motivation of the employees. The engagement levels of employees, along with the turnover rates of the labourers is tracked by the HR which is crucial for the development and the regular functioning of the tasks of the company (Patel et al. 2017). The participation of the employees and the investments by the company as well as the effectiveness of the employees on a definite task is assessed by the HR of the company. 

The HR policies and benefits for the employees is a guiding curve on the way an employee is going to perform. The HR contribution has improved KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) such as weekly and monthly performance and production rate. Moreover with HR involvement the employees show a higher engagement rate. The policies and benefits provided by HR policies create a lasting impression in an employee’s mind and improve productivity and engagement. The staff turnover is reduced upto a major extent and employee retention has increased. Branding has improved and HR policies also resulted in increased performance rates.

5.2 Presentation and analysis of HR’s contribution to business success

The benchmarking data is the analysis of the performance and process followed by the company against the best practices of the industry, which would improve the relative analysis. The quality, cost and time required for the completion of the tasks of a company are compared, and the weaknesses are determined for improving (Duan et al. 2016). The balanced scorecard acts as a tool for the management of the strategic performance of the company, which is focused on the implementation of the strategies and its effectiveness. The KPIs takes into account the input, output, control, time, mechanism and activity of the organization to determine the success of the organization in which it has engaged. 

The particular metrics which can be used to measure the success of the contribution of the HR to the organization are higher engagement, lower turnover of the staffs and the justice and fairness in the workplace improves the performance of the employees. The measurement however poses another dimensional difference where the relation of the HR success cannot be directly measured. Hence, the associated impacts of the HR policies are measured to associate the success of the HR for the organization. 

Question 6

6.1 Critique of the research in the article

The article has focused on the mechanisms of the integration of HR in the strategic decision-making process of the company, which is inclusive of employee participation and involvement (Kim & Sung-Choon, 2013). There is a handful of research that focuses on the assimilation of the strategies of HR strategies. This article is valid as it deals with the HR functions which contribute to the success of the organization.

It may be agreed with the findings which present a grim picture of the management sphere, and no literature is available on the same. It is very useful to know how HR practices are used to improve the business of the organization. It is persuasive and adopts a rigorous approach to explain the integration of the HR strategies in the organizational context. The quality of the document is scholarly and presents the evidence for the claims made in it. 

6.2 Link between positive organisational outcomes and HR practice as depicted in the article

The article has taken a complementary approach for the linking of the HR practices with positive organizational outcomes. The use of the high-involvement work practices used by HR is indicative of the involvement of the employees and the unions in the decision making processes of the company. The acceptance of a new strategy is enhanced by the involvement of the employees in the decision, which is considerate of their opinions, which is bound to improve the morale and encourage the employees by motivating them. The participation of the unions in the decision-making process safeguards the common interests of the employees. It cultivates shared objectives and vision by the employees who strive towards a common goal (Kim &Sung-Choon, 2013). The article has taken into consideration the various stakeholders of the organization who contributes to the success of the organization through their actions and functionalities. The associated efforts of the employees and the organizational management make it easier for the employees to achieve theme as the targets are much more in tune with the necessities and inclination of the employees which is beneficial for the company output. Hence, the article has considered the various dimensions of employee encouragement and attestation of the views guaranteeing better drive and commitment for the employees to complete the tasks of the organization, which leads to its success.

6.3 Impact of high-performance working and human capital investment on organisations and link with the provided article

The impacts of high performance working in organizational success can be a metric to understand how the employees of an organization work collaboratively to achieve a common goal. The high performance of the employees makes the employees commit to the cause and vision of the company, and the association of the employees makes it their responsibility to attain the objectives which have been decided by the company in consultation with the employees (Huang, 2016). The high performance of the employees also increases the productivity of the organization. The human capital investments made by the company are also beneficial as the right kind of employees is brought into the organization who are willing and capable of doing the tasks of the organization. So, the investments of the organization must be in the proper recruitment and developments of the talents who can take the company forward (Kim & Sung-Choon, 2013). The company also includes the differences of opinions between the labour unions and non-union, which helps the HR to manage conflicts and help to resolve issues which may become an issue in the future. For example, a professional working in a technological firm must always be considerate of the innovations and technologies being included in the organization. The discussion of the unions and employees with the management of the company increases the functionalities through better communication and association where the views have modified. Hence, the use of high performance of the employees helps to improve the success and productivity of the company. It is relatable to the article, which also states similar conclusions through their research.  

Conclusion:

From the above description, it can be said that Human resource is very much vital for any organisation. In this assignment, various theories and models of human resource management have been described. Besides this, the fair and ethical practice of HR has also been explained.

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