Identify current concerns of Human Resource Management Practitioners.
One can easily underestimate the complexity of running a large organization. Problems which arise due to difficulties associated with day to day operations fall into the jurisdiction of HRM practitioners. However HRM does not merely exist to extinguish potential fires, in an ever changing environment human resource management is constantly evolving and is expected to respond to current issues, both in the private and public sector. It is also important to note that HR practitioners must operate within the appropriate legal, social and political frameworks, and this in itself can create serious challenges. This paper attempts to identify and discuss issues which are currently affecting HR practitioners. In order to achieve this, I wish to use three different case studies as a means of both identifying and discussing these concerns. The first case concentrates on the issue of junior doctors working in the Irish health service. The second will discuss the tensions which may arise with the increase of women in the workforce of one developing economy. While the final case will examine the future requirements of the changing Irish labour market.
Eilish O’Regan the health correspondent for the Irish Independent revealed that some “junior hospital doctors are still working shifts of 36 hours or more despite a four-year-old EU directive aimed at reducing unsafe hospital practices. From August this year the new phase of the directive will came into practice, the main change is the reducing the working week to 48 hours” (Eilish O’Regan, 2009). The objective is to reduce the reliance on junior doctors and use the funds instead to employ experienced doctors.
This is a serious issue for HR practitioners in the public service, especially when any front line health service is affected. To adhere to the EU policy a huge culture change must occur in the Irish health service. This issue highlights problems which may arise when International regulations come into direct conflict with national practices. The fact that a number of junior doctors “tripled their basic salary with overtime last year” (Eilish O’Regan, 2009). means that this action is not popular even among junior doctors. Despite the record number of doctors qualifying in Ireland filling the required number of junior doctors and hospital consultants will be a challenge, due to the pour state of the public finances. While attracting Non EU doctors also has problems, currently Non EU doctors are required to sit an exam before they are allowed to work in Ireland. An ever increasing amount of non EU doctors are choosing Britain instead of Ireland as Britain waved the exam. While externally Ireland faces financial strains and competition from England, internally smaller and more regional hospitals will find it far more difficult to adapt and compete due to these new regulations, as the staff of smaller hospitals may become extremely agitated due to timetabling issues.
In Turkey’s dynamic economy, HRM is recognized as one of the most important tools in maintaining organizational effectiveness and competitiveness. Turkey is a relatively young nation which has undergone significant change in a relatively short time. Women are beginning to play an increasingly active role in the economy. However in spite of this, societal values and expectations may create a barrier for career advancement of women. “In Turkish culture, maintaining family integrity, harmony and taking care of children are the primary responsibilities of women” (Zeynep Aycan, 2006). While the role of women has evolved in the business world, Turkish culture has not progressed as rapidly. According to Zeynep Aycan the possible “ harm to the family by women’s work is of constant concern” (Zeynep Aycan, 2006). This concern is one of the underlying rationales behind the lack of practices which are designed to maximize the female workforce to their fullest potential. Although in Turkish law companies are not legally required to give women lengthy maternity leave, or facilitate staff with a great deal of flexibility in work schedules. Ethical values come into constant conflict with Turkish law. Currently Turkish organizations have modelled their HRM policies on that of the Western world. Turkish HRM practitioners will have to design policies which will enable the maximization of the female workforce, without alienating the social values of the Turkish culture.
With the current economic crisis, the Irish government plans to revive the economy from the brink of total collapse by focusing on the so called ‘smart economy’. While this may be the way forward in terms of job creation, the declining number of students both in second and third level who are choosing higher level math’s coupled with an ever decreasing uptake of the sciences is of serious concern. This is further compounded with the fact that an ever increasing amount of graduates are choosing to emigrate in ever growing numbers. Large Multinational firms who are located here or maybe considering a move to Ireland will question if Ireland’s future remaining workforce will be able to satisfy their job requirements. The Irish government is concerned that Multinational companies who are looking for a gateway in to Europe may start to reconsider Ireland as an attractive destination. Many of these Multinational organizations require highly educated workforce especially in the areas of math and science.
According to the predictions of the ‘Expert Group on Future Skills Needs’ which was published in July 2010 by the CSO, Ireland will require IT developers, testers and engineers and managers in production, sales and marketing. While the country is a flush with job seekers. Many of these individuals came from areas such as the construction sector, and it is unlikely that these individuals would possess the necessary qualifications in areas like science, I.T and engineering. Despite the global recession many firms in areas such as ICT, management, science, engineering, healthcare, sales and finance are still recruiting however they are finding it difficult to fill vaccines. This is a result of the lack of Irish candidates who posses lack of language skills, relevant experience, and a preference for permanent posts (slow take-up of temporary positions). Currently Ireland and Scotland are the only two European countries who do not require a foreign language up to the end of secondary level.
These issues all reflect underlying tensions which exist. HRM practitioners must be weary of national and international law and policy changes such as Ireland and the EU policy change. While the example in Turkey demonstrates the need to adapt to social norms and culture. In Turkey many practices are being implemented within the legal framework, however this does not necessarily make it ethically correct. The final case study reflects the need for HRM practitioners to be proactive in finding solutions and may consider pressurizing the Irish government to change the legislation to allow non EU doctors practice here without first sitting an exam. One argues that the above current issues reflect underlying tensions and contradictions within the HR role.
Section Two: Selection Strategy.
Meister Software UK is a branch of a German owned worldwide network of software companies. We provide a total information solution for manufacturing companies. We are looking to recruit a graduate candidate for a sales role. A successful candidate will:
- Have the capacity to work in a highly pressurized results focused environment.
- A strong emphasis on presentation and negotiation skills.
- Experience is an advantage but not essential.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Be expected to deal sensitively with prospective customers, while still making decisions in a complex and businesslike manner.
- Expertise in the software industry is essential.
- The ability to work both in a team and independently.
- Have the capacity to empathize’ with prospective customers.
- An understanding of geopolitical issues in which may affect the business environment.
- Proficiency in a second language is preferable but not compulsory.
- Target graduate areas include IT, Marketing, Finance and Commerce.
- Large reward packages are available.
- Please be aware that we will assess candidates from a non graduate background if they have a considerable amount of relevant experience in the area of sales and this will be assessed on a case by case basis.
We want to see who you are and how well you can present. We are asking you to submit a 2 minute video telling us why you think you are the right person for us.For us, it is key to get to know you and to see if you have what it takes to work in our highly competitive environment.We have a few pointers on the video below:
- The video should be approx 2 minutes long. Think carefully about what you want to say in the video and ensure that you are clear, concise and engaging
- We are not judging you on the quality of the video production. We don’t expect a work of art. It is about you!
- Tell us why you want to work for us.
- Remember, the video is your chance to show is who you are. Your video is your chance to stand out from all the other applicants.
Please send your applications and video attached to careers@MeisterSoftware.Co.UK
Stages of selection process from advertising to evaluation to job offer.
Stage 1: Advertising.
¡ Meister Software should advertise on UK recruitment websites.
¡ On College Campus.
¡ Recruitment agency.
Stage 2: Assessing C.V’s.
- Avoid bias.
- Compare candidates to job spec not to other candidates.
- Video C.V.
Stage 3: Testing.
¡ Personality tests (measures personality dimensions such as extroversion, conscientiousness, ability to get on with others, etc.)
Stage 4: Structured interview.
¡ Structured interviews are more valid than unstructured ones
Stage 6: Job offer.
¡ Upon careful consideration if there is a candidate who meets the requirements, a job offer is extended. One stresses the need to offer the job only if a candidate meets the requirements. Under no circumstances should the job be offered to the best person from all the applications, the job must only be offered if the right candidate is available.
Stage 1: Advertising.
Graduates with studies in fields such as IT, would be desirable as they would have an understanding of the technical specifications. Marketing, Commerce and Finance graduates should have an understanding of sales techniques and have a broader understanding of the customer needs. As recent graduates would be computer literate it seems appropriate to advertise on UK recruitment websites. While there is an argument for advertising on international sites e.g French, German etc this would be rather expensive and time consuming. Also one argues that as this is job is based in the UK, arranging interviews would be difficult and Meister has in the past no ‘trouble in attracting a sufficient number of candidates’. Furthermore any possible applicants who are seeking to relocate to the UK would log on to UK recruitment websites. While currently Meister Software is only looking to recruit one sales candidate their is a justification for touring campuses around the UK. Meister Software is a growing business it has gone from 78-108 staff members in the last year. Touring these campuses will not only inform possible applicants about the sales role it will also increase the profile of the company amongst graduates. This is important as n the future Meister may be looking to recruit e.g finance, HR practitioners or indeed B.I.S personnel. Becoming a recognized employer to the student body will ensue that Meister will be able to attract suitable candidates. A Recruitment agency would allow Meister to outsource the initial stages of the recruitment process. They could
- Manage and respond to any queries from the advertising campaign.
- Conduct first round interviews.
- Conduct any necessary technical tests.
The recruitment agency would provide Meister with a focused, elite search, where Meister could assign the responsibility of the search to the recruitment agency for a specified search period (e.g. four weeks). This would include headhunting, database search, referral search, reference checking and short list generation for the duration of the agreed exclusive search period. Finally, arranging medicals, second round interviews and communicating feedback to both successful and unsuccessful candidates (http://www.hwa.ie/about.asp). Using a recruitment agency will ensure speed and help to pick out the best candidates from the large amount of applicants. It will also ensure that a wider spectrum of people is looked at with a view to fulfilling the vacancy. Also the dual selection process of using both a recruitment independent recruiter and Meister HRM practitioners will help to eliminate bias. As we have seen Meister has had problems with ‘selecting the right type of candidate in the past’ the use of a highly experienced recruitment agency will help Meister not to repeat the same mistakes of the past while also having access to a huge network of potential candidates. Meister has decided not to advertise on national press as the UK websites, college campus presentations and the use of a well known recruitment agency will attract a sufficient number of candidates who meet the job spec.
- Those candidates who meet the required standard will be passed on to Meister Software for review; the recruitment agency will have assessed and removed any unsatisfactory candidates from the file.
Stage 2: Assessing C.V’s.
When assessing C.V’s it is important to avoid bias of any sort. Candidates should be compared to the job spec and not to other candidates. Only when and if a sufficient amount of applications/ C.V’s meet the required standards should the HR professional move on to the test centre stage. The recruitment agency will help to pick out the better candidates saving Meister the trouble and time of going through hundreds of C.V’s. Candidates are asked to make a two-three minute video. This will enable Meister to assess the candidate’s presentation and communication skills which is in the job spec. The video will also allow Meister to gauge to a certain extent the candidate’s manor, charisma and personality.
- Successful candidates will be invited to come to a test centre on a chosen day.
Stage 3: Testing.
Personality tests (measures personality dimensions such as extroversion, conscientiousness, ability to get on with others, etc.) The personality tests are crucial to judging the candidates suitability for the role. An ability to deal sensitively with prospective customers, being “human” rather than “clinical” were pointed out in the research study. References were made to “style of behavior that was non-threatening and non-arrogant but also challenging when required”. Questions such as:
- “Who do you think would give you the best reference?”
- “Why do you think you are right for Meister?” ”
- “Outline any extra curricular interests and pursuits you take part in”.
- “If you are successful in this application what role do you see yourself working in 5 years time?”
Will help to determine what type of personality and interests the candidate may or may not have in common with current good staff.
- Those who meet the required standards are asked for interview.
Stage 4: Structured interview.
Structured interviews are more valid than unstructured ones. Personal from the recruitment agency and personal such as general managers and team leaders at Meister will be on the interview panel. It is crucial that the Team leader or head sales person should be on the panel as they will be working together on a regular basis. It is important that the candidate can work with fellow members of staff as working as part of a team is a requirement. A list of questions should be made out to be asked to each candidate. All questions and answers should be documented in order to discount any future legal challenges. Also these answers may be useful in the future when assessing any future candidates for a similar role.
- The successful candidate is invited in and the job offer is extended.
Stage 6: Job offer.
Upon careful consideration if there is a candidate who meets the requirements, a job offer is extended. The job offer should only be made if the candidate is right for the job. It is not a simple matter of picking the best out of all the applicants, the candidate must be the person for the job. In this case considering past difficulties it may be advisable to place the candidate on a probation period. Under no circumstances should the job be offered to a candidate who is not fully happy with the contract of employment as this could lead to further issues down the line.
Eilish O’Regan, (2009), “Junior doctors still work 36 hour shifts,” Accessed online: http://www.independent.ie/health/latest-news/junior-doctors-still-work-36hour-shifts-1602042.html. (Accessed: 11th of November 2011).
Eilish O’Regan, (2009), “Unfair roles for Junior doctors” Accessed online: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/unfair-role-for-junior-doctors-1602102.html. (Accessed: 11th of November 2011).
Harry Walsh, 2010, “About us,” Accessed online: http://www.hwa.ie/about.asp, (Accessed: 11th of November 2011).
RTE newsroom, (2011), “EC in threat over junior doctor working hours” Accessed online: http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0929/doctors.html. (Accessed: 11th of November 2011).
Una Halligan, “Expert Group on Future Skills Needs Statement of Activity 2010”, Accessed online: http://www.skillsireland.ie/media/national_skills_conference_presentation_martinshanahan.p
df, (Accessed: 11th of November 2011).
Una Halligan, “Expert Group on Future Skills Needs Statement of Activity 2009”, Accessed online: http://www.forfas.ie/media/egfsn100701-national_skills_bulletin_2010_summary.pdf, (Accessed: 11th of November 2011).
Una Halligan, “Expert Group on Future Skills Needs Statement of Activity 2008”,Accessed online: http://www.hea.ie/webfm_send/1589, (Accessed: 11th of November 2011).
Zeynep Aycan. (2006), “Human resource management in Turkey Current issues and future challenges”, Istanbul, Turkey, Koc University.
Case: Meister Software UK (drawn from Bratton & Gold, 2007).
Meister software UK is the British subsidiary branch of a German owned worldwide network of software companies. Meister software is the generic name for a range of software modules that provide a total information solution for manufacturing companies with a turnover of at least £50 million. The British branch is growing rapidly, and during the past year the number of employees has increased from 78 to 108. Most of the employees are graduates with sales, computer or finance backgrounds. The work is highly pressured and results focused, in return for which large reward packages are available.
Sales staff in particular, needs strong presentation and negotiation skills as the market is very competitive and contracts can be worth in excess of £0.5 million. Recently, however, the company has had enormous difficulty in selecting the right calibre of staff for the sales role, even though they are able to attract candidates in sufficient numbers. They recently commissioned an analysis of the role to help provide a more successful model for the selection of salespeople at Meister. The model should allow the selection process to:
- Identify differences between recruits that are important to the role
- Carry out the identification of differences in a reliable and consistent manner
- Make valid predictions about the future performance of recruits with confidence.
The findings revealed some interesting features of the sales role at Meister relating to the basic skills and attitudes of such a role, as well as indicating how the role was expected to be performed at the company. The first of these Meister factors concerned what was seen as ‘professionalism’, suggested to be ‘an ability to deal sensitively with prospective customers, being ‘human’ rather than ‘clinical’. References were made to style of behaviour that was non-threatening and non-arrogant but also challenging when required.
Complementing professionalism was the need to ‘make decisions in a complex manner’. This meant that sales people were expected to be able to use large amounts of information, often simultaneously, to identify patterns and develop several possible alternative actions. Such skills were accompanied by a ‘tolerance for ambiguity and a capacity to empathize’ with prospective customers. In particular, reference was made to the need to be able ‘to understand people and political issues as well as facts’.
It was expected that salespeople would ‘show pride’ in working for Meister and in the Meister product, but it was not expected that a salesperson had to sell at all costs. Prospective customers had to be ‘right’ for Meister. This depended in part on how far sales staff could ‘present information in a confident manner’ and also in part on how far they could ‘adapt their behavior as they formed relationships with prospective customers.’
The establishment of mutual expectations was seen at Meister as being a core value, and a sales person had to be able to identify quickly if these could not be formed with a prospective customer. The salespersons understanding of this would partly be formed by her or his interactions with others at Meister, which highlighted the need for ‘peer respect and being a team player’ rather than an individualist. It was, however, still expected that a salesperson would be ‘self-Motivating and able to work alone’.