The responsibilities covered by the human resources function in the business Essay

E1: accurately describe the responsibilities covered by the human resources function in the business, showing a thorough understanding of the importance of these resources to the business

Human resources department’s main purpose is to recruit, select, train and develop staff, deal with redundancies, wages and salaries administration and look after staff welfare, health and safety and security. This mean that the human resources department has to focus on finding the right people, training and developing them so that they can achieve their maximum potential, high levels of morale and motivation. The main role of a personnel department at WHSmith is to manage the human resources.

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The human resources department at WHSmith has many different job roles. The different job roles that the HR department focuses on are training and development, personnel and pay rise. These include:

1. Recruitment: this involves replacing candidates or refilling the candidates with new vacancies if the business is expanding.

2. The Selection Process: this involves interviewing the right candidate for the job. The interviewer would be successful if they have good experience and has the good qualifications.

3. The Staff Records: this involves keeping records for every employee working in the past and present. The records are kept on a computer database. On the record the details shown are the employee’s name, address, date of birth, current job and salary etc.

4. Training: this involves developing the employee’s skills and achieves higher qualifications so they can be promoted in a different department. This helps them with more responsibilities and improves their efficiency.

5. Redundancy: this involves when the company finds out that it has too many employees for the work. If this were the case the company would need to get rid of the employees. This will only occur if the company stops trading or when it still does trade but doesn’t require some of its employees.

6. Other employees may benefit from other social facilities in the firm such as cover canteen facilities and pension schemes.

The human resources manager is responsible for:

1. Manpower Planning: this focuses on forecasting the number and the type of staff the organisation needs in the future.

2. Attracting sufficient candidates with the right qualities.

3. Training and developing staff so that they perform to the highest level.

4. Designing jobs that both interest and stimulate the workforce.

5. Introducing and managing change.

6. Providing fair and legal procedures for discipline and grievances.

7. Keeping within law on issue such as health and safety, equal opportunities, sex discrimination and termination of employment.

8. Dealing with the trade unions, staff tribunals and other legal actions

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The main functions that the HR department deals with are:

1. Human Resources planning: this focuses on analysing all labour results and skills in terms of demand and supply.

2. Recruitment and Selection: this involves attracting and recognising the best candidate for the job.

3. Training and Management Development: this includes assessing and satisfying training needs.

4. Terms of Employment: this involves concerns that might affect the business such as the laws, disciplinary matters, redundancy, dismissals, the health and safety at work, welfare and social functions.

5. Pay and Benefits: this is measured and structured to attract, retain and motivate new staff.

At WHSmith they have different departments to work at. These departments are:

1. Books Department-the books department deals with books for different genders, age groups etc. WHSmiths also can do special orders over the Internet as well as orders from stores. They are known for their special offers on books such as 2 for �10 and 3 for 2.

2. Stationary Department- WHSmith is very well known for its stationary requirements for over 200 years. Million of children have bought their first crayons, pencils and paper from their stores. WHSmith has built a reputation for leading the market in stationary and for new and innovated product. For instance, they are expanding stationary ranges such as fashion and home office stationary that meets the customer’s change in needs. The stationary department deals with stationeries like fairy princess, Lexmark Z601 Printers, 3 for 2 on WHSmith PC consumables and stylish pens. They are constantly having 3 for 2 offers on a wide range of products.

3. Gifts and Cards Department-they offer wide range of cards for all occasions they have a good range of gift wrap offers such as 3 for 2. Giving gifts to relatives and friends can be a difficult task for some people so WHSmith has made this easier by them selling gift vouchers, book tokens and theatre tickets.

4. The News Department-as being the company known for its wide range of magazines sold it also offers customers who have special orders on certain magazines all around the country. WHSmith also offers international magazines as well as newspapers for all customers. Newspapers are also sold at stores

5. Entertainment Department-WHSmith entertainment began in the 1960s when they offered the definitive range of music on the high street. Through the decades, technology has driven dramatic shifts from LPs to CDs, DVDs and possibly in the future to digital downloads to PCs and even mobile phones. They will sell access of 13 million DVDs and 10 million CDs per year as well as computer software. They have a wide range that they offer as well as they do special orders i.e. on DVDs, CDs, Videos etc. They also sell radios, DVD players and game consoles such as playstaion, game boy, X-Box etc.

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The main member of the HR department is the personal manager. The personal manager provides and develops systems so that they can carry out theses functions and maintain accurate records as the law has requested them. Most of these records are stored on a computer database. As for the department, the department has to be aware of the information under the Data Protection Act 1984. All records must be kept safe, secure and private.

WHSmith needs to care about the equality and diversity that adds value to the future of the business:

* A balanced workforce who reflects the diversity of our customer base will help us to better understand the needs of all our customers.

* By investing in all the available talent we will increase our ability to attract and retain the highest calibre employees and retain our current market position.

* A team’s ability to contribute to the success of the business through creativity and improvement will be enhanced by the diversity of people’s experience and perspectives and will be more open to change.

The Human Resources Department also checks the Labour Turnover. Before the labour turnover is checked, the internal staff resource needs to conduct a skills audit. This way they could be assed. How can they be assed is by:

* Age, skill, previous works experience and training

* Succession

* Gender and marital status

* Data employment commenced: how long have workers been working for you?

* Qualifications

* Performance and attainment

When they completed the audit, this allows the HR manager to provide and chance for measuring and analysing the:

* Labour turnover

* Labour stability index

* Sickness and accident rates

* Age structure of the workforce

* Succession.

The labour turnover measures the number of workers leaving the organisation over a time period, usually a year as a percentage over the average number of people employed.

The labour turnover, sickness and absence have to be analysed for the organisation to be successful in the skill workforce. In this way they can identify if any employers are likely to leave or fill any vacancies. Reasons why employees may tend to leave is because they may be ill, retiring, or having children. Therefore, some employees may leave because they may not be satisfied by the job they are carrying. WHSmith may use this by:

* Increasing pay rise,

* Having good communication skills with the employee,

* Training,

* Appraisals.

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Elements of Human Resources Planning:

Advantages for human resources management

Disadvantages for human resources management

This is mainly concerned with the way in which people are managed. It may include:

* How to motivate and satisfy workers;

* How to develop an organisational culture or approach in employee’s e.g. good relations with customers, flexibility or quality at all stages of production;

* How to support and develop employees e.g. by training or by improving health and safety;

* The most suitable relationships between the employer and the employees or their representatives;

* Evaluating alternative policies and their likely costs.

Disadvantages for human resources management concerned with qualifying the number and type of employees that a business will need, deciding whether they are available and planning how to get them. This is often known as the human resources or workforce plan. The human resources plan will:

* Anticipate the likely future demand for workers;

* Analyse current employees and their skills;

* Anticipate future supply of workers from inside the business or outside. It will take into account factors such as promotion and labour turnover;

* Plan how to make up any shortfall of workers or reduce an excess of workers.

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E2: explain how external labour market information is used to plan human resources within the business

If the human resources plan shows that if the labour market will need to employ employees from outside of the organisation, this is because the more accurate the labour market data is the more details of the external labour is available. The data that the external labour will include are:

* The number and occupation of seeking work;

* The average rates of pay;

* The number of full time and part time workers;

* Supply of skills locally including the qualification of school leavers and graduates entering the market;

* The labour force in different age ranges;

* Gender and ethnic mix of the labour force.

Many other organisations will compete if the availability of labour market is available. This means that the skills shortage may not only present difficult in recruitment but it also pretence a threat to the existing skilled employees to other competitors.

The UK labour market trends are:

* Population: this depends on the size of a business. This needs to depend on the trends of the population, for instance, locally, nationally and interpersonally.

* Ageing Population: the population is slowly but surely getting older. But as for the medical advances, the medical department allows people to live longer and therefore spend more years in retirement.

* Full/part time employment.

* Unemployment.

Employment data is very important to a business success. This is because the government collects that data and makes it available in a range of publication. Official government data includes data from the office of national statistics:

* Regional trends;

* Annual abstract of statistics;

* Labour force survey;

* New earnings surveys.

The labour market statistics for London for September 2003:

The Labour Force Survey data over the year towards July specify employment and unemployment in London. The data for three months shows the employment rate at 69.7%, down to 1.1% for the earlier year. The unemployment rate in London in 2003 was 7.5%, up to 0.8% the year earlier. This is good for WHSmith because there is a low amount of people that are unemployed so that WHSmith could recruit them if possible, but as for the large amount of people that are not employed there is a disadvantage towards WHSmith. This is because wages could be lower or that there is higher unemployment due to people having lower skills.

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The employment in London was 69.7% in May to July 2003 down to 1.1% the year earlier. The employment level was 3.41 million in May to July 2003, down 18,000 on the same period a year earlier. As for the employee job figures they were down to 5,000 in the quarter to March 2003. In the month of March, the employee jobs were down to 21,000 in the year of 2003. The main reason why employment has been declining is because of manufacturing, service and construction industries and partly offset by growth in ‘other’ industries.


The unemployment rate in London was 7.5% in May to July 2003. It increased 0.8% on the same period a year earlier. The rates for men and women in May to July 2003 were 8.2 and 6.6% in that order.

WHSmith doesn’t really need to look at the council data before they advertise their job description. This is because WHSmith need multi skilled people so that their employees could be trained specially to deal with specific tasks e.g. wedding stationary orders.

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This pie graph above shows the employment in London for men and women. As you can see the employment for London according to the Labour Market Statistics have the highest levels. This represents in total 3,409 people were employed in London. Comparing London with North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East, South East and South West, London has the second best employment level.

As you can see above that employment level in the London for men and women is increasing. But as for the employment for men, that is increasing rapidly. The labour market statistics predict that the employment for men’s would increase more quickly in the next few years. But as for women, they are increasing but not increasing as well as men.

As for WHSmith this information should be good because employment rates are increasing in London. This information will help WHSmith by analysing many jobs that are available in the future and try to recruit the right people for the right firm.

A growing number of people employed will make it difficult to attract other workers. This is because people who are already employed, they might not find a reason to leave the job unless a better and more attractive offer comes ahead. People will be more selective in where they may want to work. This is because there are more offers so people can chose their jobs.

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C1: interpret relevant labour market information and compare your interpretation with how the business has used labour market information

The Labour Market in Ealing

The government has estimated 116,363 employees working in Ealing. The greatest amount in this is 23.4% working in business services. Retail trade and wholesales, in which 21.9% employee’s work follow these business services.

As a whole employment figures in Ealing in business services are 23.4%. This is a lot higher than the whole country. The whole countries figures states 15.5% for Great Britain (this is slightly higher than West London, 21.6%.

Employment in retail trade and wholesale is comparatively high for Ealing at 21.9%. Only 3 London Boroughs have a higher proportion of people working. Those include West London at 17.8%, London 15.3% and Great Britain 17.7%.

Percentage of Total Employment in Manufacturing, Retail and Wholesale and Business Services in 2001 for Ealing, West London, London and Great Britain.

The number of people working in Ealing has increased from 113,845 in 1999 to 116,363 in 2001. This is because the retail trade, wholesale and repair had the biggest increase. This is from 23,708 employees in 1999 to 25,510 in 2001. As for the manufacturing, this had the greatest decrease from 13,846 employee in 1999 to 12,313 in 2001.

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Population as a whole in Ealing has a higher proportion in male workers, which is 55.5% than West London, which is 55.2% and London, which is 53.0%. As a whole for Great Britain, this comes out to be 51.1%.

Ealing has a slightly higher proportion of full-time workers. Full time workers in Ealing are 76.2% than London, which is 76.1% and Great Britain, which is 69.3% but less than West London, which is 76.9%.

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E3: identify the features of key recruitment documents and describe the factors to be considered when planning to fill a vacancy and carrying out interviews

Recruitment is an important process that involves firm’s most valuable interest. This is known as the workforce. Any organisation will have the best resources and the latest technology, but it will always require a good, strong workforce in running the firm.

The Human Resources Department’s role is to see if there are any vacancies and if there is, the human resources department will see if that job is to be filled. This process begins with the term Recruitment. These may occur if any staff members have left the job because of retirement or resignation. Another reason why they leave is because the job roles may be changing within the firm and the job may have been redecorated with new technology so that new employees will be needed to perform some tasks that old employees might not be able to do. Other reasons may include staff having been dismissed or promoted and other staff members needed due to the firm’s expansion.

If an vacancy has occurred at WHSmith, WHSmith would need to make sure that the vacancy is required to be recruited or not. If it needs to be recruited then WHSmith would need to go through the Recruitment Process. This will only happen if the job is needed or whether there are any employees willing to cover the position.

When choosing the right candidate the human resources department will need to go into stages of The Recruitment Process. The stages of the Recruitment Process are:

1. Identify the Vacancy

2. Draw Up a Job Description and Person Specification

3. Advertise Internally and Externally

4. Shortlist

5. Selection i.e. Interview

6. Appoint a Candidate.

Before a business recruits new employees, the personnel department will carry out some form of job analysis. A job analysis is a study of what a job involves. This contains the skills, training and tasks that are needed to carry out the job.

Firms in many ways can use a job analysis. These include selecting employees, setting pay, disciplinary interviews, promotion and job appraisal.

Once the business has analysed what the job involves, then the HR department considers drawing up a job description. The job description has the number of uses. This allows the firm to tell candidates what the job expects from them. This also helps the personnel officers to decide on the qualities that successful candidate must have.

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Once WHSmith has recognised that there is a vacancy that needs filling, WHSmith will tell the human resources management to buy in and keep the best available candidates so that they can meet the organisation needs. WHSmith will create a job description when WHSmith thinks that a job needs filling.

The job description is a mean of communication. This means that it suffers from the usual problems of misunderstanding and distortion. It is a simplification as it is rarely possible to include every feature of a particular job. A job description often includes details such as:

* The Job Title

* Grades

* Department Section

* Location

* Responsible To and For

* The Job Purpose

* Duties and Responsibilities

Job Description of WHSmith:

Cracking Seasonal Jobs at WHSmith Stores! Are you, energetic, enthusiastic and seeking temporary work?

We’re looking for Seasonal Sales Assistants to join our team in WHSmith stores across the country, and although a retail background is useful, it’s not essential.

Do you like being part of a team? Do you like what we sell? If you are keen to give our customers a welcoming and friendly service during one of the busiest times of year, then WHSmith could have the job for you!

We offer a competitive hourly rate, excellent staff discount*, weekly pay and have hours to suit almost everyone. So whether you’re seeking part-time, evening or weekend work ask in store and you could be working with us in less than 7 days!

*Subject to current rules of the scheme

We are recruiting Seasonal Sales Assistants in all our largest stores, listed below. Just contact you’re nearest branch on the telephone number provided.

Once the skills and knowledge needed to perform a particular job have been outlined in the job description, they often rephrase into a person specification. This sometimes refers to the human specification or the job specification. A job specification shows the profile of the type of person needed for the job. A Person Specification includes:

* Physical Characteristics

* Experience

* Qualification

* Aptitude

* Motivation

* Any Special Circumstances

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WHSmith can use this job specification to outline the profile of the employer working at WHSmith. WHSmith can see what type of person they and see what jobs have they done in the future. This is an effective element for WHSmith and it is carried out clearly so that anyone can analysis it. If the employee does not achieve this properly, then the employee is considered to be lying.

A business can use a job evaluation to compare the value of different jobs. Any job can be broken down into a number of factors. These factors are the skills, efforts, responsibility, knowledge and tasks that the job involves. This allows the business to decide on the wages or salary for the job. If another job has greater skill or responsibility, then the business may award it at a higher rate of pay.

This is effective for WHSmith as it is evaluating the value of different jobs in the department. WHSmith can evaluate any department and consider to have different pay. If this is not achieved then some jobs would be underpaid because this is a matter of human judgement.

If vacancies do exist then the personnel department must fill them. This often happens when firms fill vacancies by recruiting new employees – external recruitment. An alternative is to appoint internally from within the business.

The reason why advertising jobs inside the business is successful is because it gives employees within the company a chance to develop their career. This means that they may consider a shorter induction period, as the employee is likely to be familiar with the job. Employees will get to know more about the internal candidates’ abilities. This should reduce the risk of employing the wrong person.

There are many ways of attracting candidates from outside the company. The choice of method often depends on the type of vacancy and the type of employee a business wants. Each method has its own benefit and problem. The methods for external recruitment are:

* Commercial Employment Agencies

* Job Centres and Professional Recruitment Agencies

* Headhunting

* The Career Service

* Government Funded Training schemes

* Visiting Universities

* Advertising Agencies

Job Advertisement is very important stage when choosing the most appropriate media for advertising the job description and job specification. The decision on what to include in a recruitment advertisement is important because of the high cost of space and the need to attract attention.

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Job advertisement is also important stage for WHSmith because WHSmith would like to advertise their job advert in a public place where everyone (from any race) could see it. The most effective areas they would advertise it on tabloid newspapers e.g. the mirror. This should be clearly written out and should be very affective, if it doesn’t then it should be improved. This could be improve by using more colour and possibly pictures.

The first time that a business receives information about the candidates for a job is when advertising when they apply for the job. Applicants may have collected details about the job from the business itself or from a job centre. A Curriculum Vitae (CV) often accompanies this. The CV lists applicants:

* Personal Details e.g. name, address, nationality etc.

* Educational Qualification

* Hobbies and Interests

* Past Job Experience

* Reasons why the candidate is suitable for the job (strengths)

* References or names and address of referees who will provide references. References are a confirmation of the abilities, skills and experience of the candidate.

As for WHSmith this is an important element because WHSmith would like to choose the right candidate for the right position. If they don’t then they may end getting a bad reputation. The CV should be clearly written out and should tell a detail response about the candidate. If this is not clearly written out then the managers would not accept the candidate for an interview.

Shortlisting is when an organisation will need to decide whom they wish to interview and test. Recruitment is a very costly process so it is important to choose the most appropriate people for the interview. Approximately 6-8 people are interviewed. From this they decide which one’s are capable for the job.

The next stage is interviewing the candidate. The personnel department is also involved in interviewing. This is carried out and to help managers to adopt good interview practise. By following certain guidelines, the business hopes to employ the ‘right’ person for the job. It also aims to carry out the interview in a way that is fair to all candidates. These guidelines might include the following:

1. The interview should allow information to be collected from candidates that can be used to predict whether they can perform the job. This can be done by comparing replies with the criteria that successful applicants should have.

2. The business should give candidates full detail about the job and the organisation. This will help them decide whether the job would suit them.

3. The interview should be conducted so that candidates can say that they have had a fair hearing.

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When conducting an interview, there are a number of factors that could be taken into account when carrying out interviews. The interview should be conducted around a simple plan and be based on a number of questions against which all candidates will be assessed. It is also considered good practice to prepare a suitable place for the interviews e.g. warm, quiet and ventilated room. The interviewer should also ensure that the candidates have a friendly reception and are informed or what is expected of them.

The average interview takes around 30 minutes. The interview plan organises the time to cover the important areas in assessing applicants. The plan must be flexible enough to allow the interviewer to explore areas that may come up during the interview.

In the Interview:

* Introduce yourself to the candidate.

* Adopt a suitable manner, show respect and be friendly.

* Make sure the interview is not interrupted.

* Conduct the interview at an unhurried pace.

* Have a list of questions that need to be asked.

* Encourage the candidate to talk by using ‘open’ questions such as:

o ‘Tell me about your present or last job…?’

o ‘What is your opinion on…?’

o ‘What do you find interesting in…?’

* Concentrate on those areas not fully covered by the application form.

* Be alert for clues in the candidate’s answer, probe where necessary, and be more specific in the questioning if you are not satisfied.

* When the interview has ended, make sure the candidate has no further questions and let the candidates know when the decision will be made e.g. within seven days.

* Write up your assessment notes immediately.

* Prepare for the next interview.

This is very important element for WHSmith because the managers at WHSmith look out for body language, dress sense and the way the candidate approaches towards other candidates. Interviews at WHSmith are not like normal interviews but they are different. This means that the interviews aren’t taken singly but taken in a group, a group of 15-16 candidates. At the interview the candidates do various of activities that relate to WHSmith. The first activity they consider to do is introduce themselves-they basically tell each candidate about themselves (what’s their name, their age and education). The second activity they do is a selling activity. They basically have to sell a few products to the manager. In this way the manager can see how good they can be with the customers. And lastly the last activity they do is a group activity where they get 10 different names (basically with different backgrounds etc) and they have to pick which one should survive. The interview basically lasts for 3 hours.

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E4: identify key aspects of the business’s training and development programme and explain its importance to the performance of the business

Training and Development at WHSmith

Training involves employees that are being taught new skills or improving skills that they already have.

Development approaches the individual and his or her motivation from a different angle from that of training. When training the individual, this enables to contribute to meet the objectives of the business better so that the personal department is more concerned with enabling individuals to develop themselves in the way that best suits their individual needs.

WHSmith has written a document to ensure that employees at WHSmith understand WHSmith policies that will help protect the employee, customers and the company. This will help the employee to be familiarise with the rules and procedures that WHSmith offers.

As with most policies and procedures, there is a lot of important information that the employee will need to be aware of. Employee’s and WHSmith’s customer’s safety and well-being are paramount because of the manager or members of the Regional team. These people check personal files to ensure that every employee has received the appropriate training and have signed any documentations that are relevant.

Age Restricted Product:

This deals with selling products with restricted age group. This means that the laws should ensure that WHSmith will be able to offer clear the guidance to customers about the suitability of specific products detailed. These include:

* Videos, DVDs and Multimedia

* Knives and Blades

* Solvent-Based Products

* National Lottery

* Tobacco and Cigarettes.

WHSmith Pricing Policy:

Explaining the way in which they price their products to ensure that the customers can identify the price at which they sell them. Customers often compare two similar product or different size packs in order to understand the value for money that they are getting and to be able to make a sound judgement on whether they will proceed and buy the product. Therefore from a customer’s point of view it is essential that they clearly price the products.

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Security Rules and Procedures:

Providing guidance on various ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ that are necessary to protect the employee and the company. As a member of WHSmith employees are in a position of trust when handling the company’s cash and property. These rules are in place to ensure that the small minority of staff wish to abuse this trust understand the likely outcome of their actions.

Rules and Procedures for Cash Handling:

Giving employees clear guidelines in how to handle cash and record transactions correctly. Often used in conjunction with the using the Till Training Module. The Rules and Procedures for Cash Handling are designed to give all employees all the information that the employee will need, support the till training that will receive and ensure that are able to deal with confidently with the payment and cash handling processes. This will in turn to ensure that WHSmith’s customers serve in a consistent manner.

Health and Safety Policy:

Details about the employee and the business’s responsibilities to ensure that the employee has a safe working environment and that customers have a safe place in which to shop.

The Health and Safety Policy Manual lays down detailed procedures for maintaining health and safety in WHSmith stores. This is available on the intranet. WHSmith don’t have a rule for every situation, in fact there is no substitute for basic common sense.

WHSmith aims to make you aware of health and safety matters in general so that WHSmith can see how to avoid doing anything which might put the employee, employers or the customers into a dangerous situation.


Newly appointed employees are most likely to leave the business in the early weeks of employment. This is called induction crisis. One approach is to help the new job by using an induction programme. Induction programmes are not usually about specific job that the employee will do, but it’s the way in which the business works. WHSmith may contain information about some or all of the following:

* The organisation – history, development, management and activity.

* Personal policies.

* Terms of employment – including disciplinary rules and union arrangements.

* Employee benefits and services.

* Physical facilities.

* General nature of the work to be done.

* The role and work of the supervisor.

* Departmental rules and safety measures.

* The relationship of new jobs to others.

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WHSmith may also contain:

* A detailed description of the employee’s job;

* Introduction to fellow workers;

* An explanation of the values that the business feels are important, such as good attendance;

* Follow up after several weeks.

Even with these, induction is unlikely to work without careful timing and without making sure that the employee adjusts to the new social and work environment.

The aims of training

Training involves employees being taught new skills or improving skills they already have. A well-trained workforce has certain benefits for the business:

* Well-trained workers should be more productive. This will help the business to achieve its overall objectives, such as increasing profit.

* It should help to create a more flexible workforce. If WHSmith needs to recognise production, workers may have to be trained in new tasks.

* New machinery or production processes can be introduced more quickly if workers are trained to use them effectively.

* It should lead to increase job satisfaction for employees. Well-motivated workers are more likely to be more productive.

* It should reduce accidents and injuries if employees are trained in health and safety procedures.

* It may improve the image of the company. Customers are more likely to have confidence in personnel who are confident, competent and have knowledge of products or processes. Good applicants are also more likely to be attracted if a training programme is part of the job.

* It can improve employees’ chances of promotion. The business, as a result, should have qualified people in important posts.

Identifying the need for training

A business knows when it needs training. One method might be to use the job description to find out the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. If there is a difference between the knowledge and skills of the employee and those actually required, this may indicate a need for training.

Employees can also be asked about areas where they feel there performance is lacking – areas where they have problems. This may involve gaps in their knowledge and skills. This should make them more committed to training. Training needs are found at different levels within a business.

The organisational level:

A business may need to train workers if there have been changes in a company’s goals, objectives or even the introduction of new processes. Training may also be needed as a result of the company surveys or changes in the law.

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The departmental level:

An indication of the need for training may come from personnel statistics, such as absence levels, turnover levels, production levels and customer complaints. Any difference between the departments could show that training is needed.

The individual level:

At this level information from appraisal may be useful. Managers may also request that employees receive extra training. Increasingly, however, workers are identifying their own needs and designing their own personal development plans.

Once a need for training has been identified, a business must decide what skills and approaches should be achieved at the end of the training period. They may also be some criteria to measure how well the trainee has learnt the skill e.g. type a letter with no more than one mistake, and details on how to perform a task e.g. always are polite and helpful when taking telephone calls.

Training needs may be put together as a training or staff development plan. However, the business must take into account whether it has the financial resources to carry out the plan. This will depend on its training budget.

On-the-job and off-the-job training

Training is divided into two types:

On-the-job training:

This takes place when employees are trained while they are carrying out an activity, often at their place of work.

Off-the-job training:

This takes place away from the job at a different location. This may, for example, involve release from the job for periods of time to attend a course at a college.

Methods of training

Businesses may use a variety of training methods. Some might be carried out as the job is being done or others might take place away from the job. Sometimes training may be a combination of training whilst doing the job and away from the place of work.


This involves where a coach will guide the trainee through the use of the equipment or a process.


This involves the trainee being ‘paired’ with a more experienced employee. The trainee carries out the job but uses the ‘tutor’ to discuss problems that may occur and how best to solve them.

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Job rotation:

In some large companies this has been used for the training of ‘high fliers’. The employee works in different departments for short periods – picking up skills from each. The aim is that when the person is promoted and reaches the ‘top’ of the business, they will have a range of experiences that can be used.

In-house courses:

Businesses may put on courses for their employees and staff them from their own workers. A firm might also run a course aimed at achieving a specific goal. Courses may also run by the personnel department for marketing and finance managers in the business, to help them improve staff motivation. Some businesses have their own training centre.

Another option is for a business to run its own courses away from the place of work. It could be for one day, a weekend, a week or a longer period. Courses are often for specialist reasons, such as working in teams or Total Quality Management. These courses can make use of simulations. Businesses sometimes stimulate business activity during courses. Trainees are divided into teams and compete with each other, making business decisions and carrying out tasks. Other forms of stimulation might include an ‘in-tray exercise’, where the trainee might be told they are leaving the country tomorrow and must clear an in-tray of letters and memos. Sometimes these course lead to qualification.

Self-awareness training:

This is where trainees complete self-assessment questionnaires. Questions may be asked about personal values, individual learning styles, how the individual interacts with others, personality and interests. The trainee then receives feedback from the person carrying out the questionnaire.

Traditional apprenticeships:

In the past, businesses took on ‘trainee’ workers. They served an ‘apprenticeship’ over a period of time, often in a skilled trade to become a tradesperson, such as a carpenter. When they ‘qualified’ they were made employees of the business.

Apprenticeship is declining form of training that can take place at the workforce. This is when they are qualified. From this they can build their employees for the firm. An employer might want to use on-the-job training because it saves money; use of resources within the organisation and the skill/task is not too complex. It’s in an actual working environment.

Many of these methods require a single to work with an employee. One-to-one training has complications for the business. When the employees training another, the quality of the training will depend on the ability, willingness and time available to the tutor.

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Investors in People:

This is a DfEE initiatives, set up in 1991, to encourage the development of skills in the workplace. It provides a training and employee relations quality standard to which employers can commit themselves. To achieve the standard, employers must meet certain criteria. These include a commitment to develop all employees, regular planning to review training, action to develop new recruits and existing staff, and evaluating investment in training. Companies that achieve the standard can display a plaque, which is valid for a certain period.

Evaluation of training

As businesses have demanded greater value for money, it has become important to evaluate training. Evaluation is simple when the result of the training is clear to see, such as training workers to use new technology. Training is designed to give results, such as:

* A health and safety course;

* A word processing course;

* A design course.

In this way this could be evaluated by observing the results. This may be a reduction in accidents, increased typing speed or designs with greater impact.

It is difficult to evaluate the success of a management-training course or a programme of social skills development. It is usual to use end of course questionnaires, where course members answer a number of questions. The problem is that the course will have been a break for most employees from the normal work routine. This can make the participants’ view of training appear of more value than it is. Also questionnaires tend to evaluate the course and not the learning. This often means that the person attending the course is assessing the quality of the tutors and visual aids, instead of what has been learnt.

To overcome these problems a business might:

* Ask participants and managers to complete a short questionnaire at the start of the course to focus their minds on what they hope to get from it;

* Give out another questionnaire at the end of the course focusing on learning and what could be applied back at the job;

* Give further questionnaires to review the effects of the course on performance.

This helps the employees to concentrate on what has been learnt. This process may, however, be costly for the business.

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E5: explain the purpose of performance management and describe how the business’s approach may be influenced by motivational theory

This is a term that is used to describe the process in which employees participate with their superiors in setting their own targets.

How can WHSmith measure the level of individual performance?

* Setting and receiving targets (Smart) – WHSmith must have some way of telling if its strategies have been successful. This will provide important feedback, which may influence future decisions taken by WHSmith. First WHSmith needs to set strategic performance targets and indicators. No real understanding of the success, failure, viability or otherwise of any strategy can be achieved unless accurate, measurable and achievable performance targets are drawn up. Targets and indicators need to be specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic and time based, known as SMART targets.

* Projects.

* Measuring individual and group output e.g. time and motion study.

* Appraisals.

* Self-evaluation.


After a period of time working in a job, a firm may appraise the employee. This is an attempt for WHSmith to find out the qualities, usefulness or worth of its employees.

WHSmith uses these appraisals:

* To improve the performance;

* Provide feedback;

* Increase motivation;

* Identify training needs;

* Identify potential for promotion;

* Award salary increases;

* Set out job objectives;

* Provide information for human resource planning;

* Assess the effectiveness of the selection process.

The problem with having all of these aims is that the person carrying out the appraisal may have conflicting roles. If appraisal is designed to help the performance at WHSmith this helps them act as a basis and help at the same time. This makes it difficult to be impartial. It is also difficult for the person being appraised. One way around this is for the appraisal system to review the performance of the worker only.

Many appraisal schemes at WHSmith have been linked to performance appraisal. This involves observing, measuring and developing the performance of employees. Performance can be ‘measured’ against criteria such as output, quality and speed.

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Appraisal has been seen as most suitable for employees in management and supervisory positions especially in clerical, secretarial and manual staff, with skilled or technical jobs that are being appraised.

There are a number of people that might be involved in appraising an individual. Appraisers may be referred to as raters. These are people who ‘rate’ the performance of an individual.


WHSmith carries out this appraisal by the employee’s superior. The advantage of this is that the supervisor usually has intimate knowledge of the tasks that a worker has been carrying out and how well they have been done.

People ‘above’ the immediate superior can be involved in appraisal in two different ways:

WHSmith may ‘approve’ the superior’s appraisal of the employee. A manager further up the hierarchy may also directly carry out the appraisal. This is more likely to happen when individuals decide if a worker has the potential for promotion.


This is a relatively new idea and not greatly used. WHSmith does not carry out self-appraisal in traditional appraisal schemes although the superior’s decision officially ‘counts’. The ratings that the employer has given may be changed, however, in the light of the employee’s comments.

Peer appraisal:

WHSmith sometimes argue that appraisal by peers is reliable and valid as they have a more comprehensive view of the employee’s job performance. The main problem is that peers may be unwilling to appraise each other. This can be seen as ‘grassing’.


Appraisal by subordinates at WHSmith is another less used method. This is because it is limited, as subordinates will only know certain aspects of the work of other employees.

360 degrees appraisal:

This method gathers ratings from a combination of supervisors, peers and subordinates. Self-ratings and customer ratings may also be used at WHSmith. This provides feedback to individuals on how their performance is viewed by WHSmith stakeholders. It also encourages individuals to self-diagnose their strong and weak areas that identifies where training is needed. The information from 360 degrees appraisal can help a WHSmith when making personnel decisions e.g. whom to choose for promotion.

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Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

The first comprehensive attempt to classify needs was by Abraham Maslow in 1954. Maslow’s theory consisted of two parts. The first concerned classification of needs. The second concerned how these classes are related to each other.

Maslow suggested that ‘classes’ of needs could be placed into a hierarchy. The hierarchy is normally presented as a ‘pyramid’, with each level consisting of a certain class of needs:

The classes of needs were:

* Physiological needs e.g. wages high enough to meet weekly bills, good working conditions.

* Safety needs e.g. job security, safe working conditions.

* Love and belonging e.g. working with colleagues that support you at work, teamwork, communicating.

* Esteem needs e.g. being given recognition for doing a job well.

* Self-actualisation e.g. being promoted and given more responsibility, scope to develop and introduce new ideas and take on challenging new job assignments.

SELF-ACTUALISATION: realising your full potential.

ESTEEM NEEDS: gaining the esteem and respect of others, gaining self-esteem and self-respect and feeling competent.

LOVE AND BELONGING: receiving and giving love, affection, trust and acceptance and affiliating with or being part of a group.

SAFETY NEEDS: protection from dangerous objects or situations, protection from physical and psychological threats and the importance of routine and familiarity.

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PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS: obtaining food, drink, air, rest and activity.

Maslow argued that needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic needs. They are concerned with survival. These needs must be satisfied before a person can move to the next level.

Once each level is satisfied, the needs at this level become less important. The exception is the top level of self-actualisation. This is the need to fulfil the potential. Maslow argued that although everyone is capable of this, in practice very few reach this level.

Each level of needs is dependent on the levels below. Maslow’s ideas have great appeal with every businesses especially WHSmith. The message is clear – find out which level each individual is at and decide on suitable rewards.

Unfortunately the theory has problems when used in practice. Some levels do not appear to exist for certain individuals, while some rewards appear to fit into more than one class.

There is also a problem in deciding when a level has actually been ‘satisfied’. There will always be exception to the rules of Maslow’s outline.

Taylor’s Scientific Management:

Research into the factors that motivate individuals had been carried out long before Maslow’s ‘hierarchy’ of needs. Frederick W. Taylor set out a theory of scientific management in his books ‘The Principles of Scientific Management’ in 1911. Many of these ideas (e.g. scientific management school) come from the work of Taylor.

Taylor suggested that such arrangements were random and inefficient. Management did not understand the shop floor and allowed wasteful work practices to continue. Workers on the other hand left to their own devices. This however, would be as little as possible. ‘Soldiering’ would also take place. Soldering is when you are working slowly together so that management does not realise the worker’s potential. When soldering takes place the workers would carry out tasks and ways they were used to rather than the most efficient way. Taylor’s scientific principles were designed to reduce inefficiency of workers and managers. This is because they wanted to achieve the ‘objective law’ that management and workers agreed on. However, this will reduce conflict between the workers and the managements. Taylor believed his principles would create a partnership between the managers and workers. This is based on an understanding of how the jobs should be done and how the workers are motivated.

Taylor’s approach:

Taylor discovered the ‘best way’ of carrying out a task. This is when you:

* Pick a dozen skilled workers.

* Observe them at work and note down the elements and sequences adopted in their tasks.

* Time each element with a stopwatch.

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* Eliminate any factors that appear to add nothing to the completion of the task.

* Choose the quickest method discovered and fit them in their sequence.

* Teach the worker this sequence; do not allow any change from the set procedure.

* Include time for rest and the result will be the ‘quickest and best’ method for the task. This is because it is the best way for all workers that have been selected to perform the task. This must meet the time that is allowed.

* Supervise he workers so that they can be ensure that these methods are carried out during the working day,

Taylor has simple view of how to motivate people at work. This is when giving them an extra pay rise. Taylor felt that workers should receive a ‘fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work’. This is because pay should be linked to the output through piece rates. If a worker doesn’t produce a ‘fair day’s work’, the worker would face a loss of earnings that will exceed the target that would lead to a bonus.

Taylor’s message for WHSmith and other businesses is very simple. The message is to allow workers to work and managers to manage based on scientific principles. Many firms today still attempt to use Taylor’s principles.

Problems with Taylor’s approach:

There are a number of problems with Taylor’s ideas. This means that the notion of a ‘quickest and best way’ for all workers does not take into account individual differences. There is no guarantee that the ‘best way’ will suit everyone.

Taylor also viewed people at work more as machines, with the financial needs, than as humans in a social setting. There’s no doubt that money is an important motivator. Taylor has overlooked that people should also work for reasons other than money.

Theory X and Theory Y:

In 1960, Douglas McGregor published ‘The Human Side of Enterprise’. This was an attempt to apply the implication of Maslow and the work of Taylor to the business e.g. WHSmith. In this McGregor gives different reasons why people should work. McGregor had introduced the terms Theory X and Theory Y to describe the differences of the main ideas of the two theories.

Theory X

Theory Y

* Workers are motivated by money.

* Workers have many different needs, which motivates them.

* Workers are lazy and dislike work.

* Workers can enjoy work

* Workers are selfish; ignore the needs of the organisation to avoid the responsibility and lack ambition.

* If motivated workers can organise themselves and take responsibility.

* Workers need to be controlled and directed by management.

* Management should create a situation where workers can show creativity and apply their job knowledge.

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Theory X tells us that people are lazy. If this is accepted then the only way to get people to work is by using strict control. This kind of control can take one of two forms. One type of method is to use coercion. Coercion is a threat of punishment for rules if they are broken or the targets are not achieved. This is known as ‘stick’ approach. The problems with threats are that they are only effective if the person is being threatened, they should be carried out. Many other employment laws and company wide agreements have made it difficult for managers. This is because of a ‘carrot’ approaches this may be more suitable. Other hand people have to be persuaded to carry out tasks that have been promised or rewarded. However, this type of theory is very similar to Taylor’s.

Theory Y assumes that those things at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy motivate most people. For instance, people are responsible, committed and enjoy having control over work. Most people will get involved in work and contribute towards the solution of a problem that may arise.

Business managers in WHSmith tend to say that their own assumptions are closer to Theory Y than to Theory X. this is because many tests on management training courses tend to show that their attitudes are closer to Theory X than they might like to admit. However, managers think that they are like Theory Y and workers are closer to Theory X.

Most firms especially WHSmith behave according to Theory X especially in WHSmith where shop floor workers are concerned. The reason why this is because of the use of money and control to encourage workers to behave according to the supposition of Theory Y when dealing with the management.

Herzberg’s two-factor theory:

In 1966 Fredrick Hertzberg attempted to find out what motivated people at work. Hertzberg asked a group of professional engineers and accountants to describe incidents in their jobs, which gave them strong feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Hertzberg then asked them to describe the causes in each case.


Hertzberg divided the causes into two categories or factors:

* Sense of achievement

* Chance of promotion


Factors which motivate

* Chance of improvements

* Recognition of effort

* Nature of the job itself

* Responsibility


* Pay

* Conditions

* Company policy

Hygiene factors

Factors that need to be met to prevent dissatisfaction. Will not motivate in themselves

* Relationships with higher levels of the hierarchy, such as management

* Treatment at work

* Inability to develop

* Feelings of inadequacy


These are the factors which give workers job satisfaction e.g. recognition for their effort. Increasingly these motivators are needed to give job satisfaction. This is because this can be argued that will make the workers more productive. If WHSmith rewards its workforce they could achieve their target and from this they are likely to motivate them to be more productive. However, this is not guaranteed as other factors can also affect productivity.

Hygiene Factors:

These are factors that can lead to workers being dissatisfied e.g. pay or conditions. Improving hygiene factors should remove dissatisfaction. An improvement in the hygiene factors alone is not likely to motivate an individual. But if they are not met there could be a fall in productivity.

There is some similarity between Hertzberg and Maslow’s ideas. They both point to needs that have to be satisfied for the employee to be motivated. Hertzberg argues that only the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy motivate workers.

Hertzberg’s ideas are often linked with job enrichment. This is where workers have their jobs ‘expanded’, so that they can experience more of the production process. This allows the workers to be more involved and motivated. From this they have greater sense of achievement. Hertzberg used his ideas in the development of clerical work. He selected a group of workers in a large corporation. Performance and job attitudes were low. Hertzberg redesigned these jobs so that they were given more responsibility and recognition.


Hertzberg’s theory does seem to have some merits. This will only happen if they improve pay or the conditions at work. This may remove dissatisfaction. However, these things become taken for granted. There may be better conditions that will be asked for in the following years. Evidence of this can be seen in wage claims, which are aimed to be above the rate of inflation in some businesses every year. Job enrichment may also be expensive for many firms. In addition it is likely that any benefits from job improvements will not be seen for a long time and that businesses will not be able to continue with such a policy in periods of recession.

Surveys that have tried to reproduce Hertzberg’s results have failed. This is because different techniques have been used. From this there is a problem that problem is by relying too much on what people say they find satisfying or dissatisfying at work as this is subjective. On the other hand if individuals feel happy and satisfied when they are at work then they tend to see it as their own doing.

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WHSmith influenced by Hertzberg two-factor theory:

* Hygiene Factors:

The hygiene factors are based on the need for WHSmith to avoid the unpleasantness at work. If these factors consider to insufficient by employees at WHSmith, then they can cause dissatisfaction with work. WHSmith will be affected by these hygiene factors:

1. Company policy and administration

2. Wages, salaries and other financial remuneration

3. Quality of supervision

4. Quality of inter-personal relations

5. Working conditions

6. Feelings of job security.

* Motivator Factors:

Motivator factors are based on an individual’s need for personal growth. When they exist, motivator factors actively create job satisfaction. If they are effective, then they can motivate an individual to achieve above-average performance and effort. WHSmith motivator factors include:

1. Status

2. Opportunity for advancement

3. Gaining recognition

4. Responsibility

5. Challenging or stimulating work

6. Sense of personal achievement and personal growth in a job.

Applying Hertzberg’s model to de-motivated workers:

What might the evidence of de-motivated employees be in WHSmith?

1. Low productivity

2. Poor production or service quality

3. Strikes, industrial disputes, breakdowns in employee communication and relationships

4. Complaints about pay and working conditions.


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