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A small business

The report analyses six problems currently existing within the business, which have been identified by a small business service organisation, and looks at possible means of overcoming them. Research indicates that these problems could be resolved through implementation of Performance Management Systems, Motivation (Retaining and Generating Commitment), Training & Development programmes and Communication. The report has concluded by providing possible ways in which these problem areas could be overcome and by providing recommendations for Helen and Brian to put into action.

Introduction As part of the HR2004 assessment criteria, we are required to complete a report based upon a supplementary case study issued by our module tutor. The supplementary case study is based upon a company called Software Systems. It was established by Helen Marsh and Brian Taylor through the support of a grant and funds provided by Business Link in 1995. The primary risk taken in order to enhance their business idea was that they were required to take out substantial loans secured on their home.

This investment paid off as the company grew rapidly through its initial research and through Helens knowledge of software solutions. The company expanded extensively from a two-person partnership in 1995 to 200 people in 2001.

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The main reason for this was that Software Systems were now able to specialise in offering tailorised solutions to local government computerisation problems on housing benefit and social services. The company seems to be meeting sales targets on a regular basis and most of the outstanding debt is being repaid and things are going to plan.

The aim of this report is to analyse the case study with regards to the main problems that are being faced by the company in the analyst’s opinion. These include the growth dominated strategy, performance management, motivating, retaining and generating commitment from the employees, training and development and finally my recommendations to Helen and Brian. I will first give a brief introduction to each part and then look at the options available. Growth Strategy or Consolidation? Growth strategy and consolidation are an important aspect of any company.

At the 5-year strategic plan review it has been identified that Software Systems is currently facing significant problems within its business. Therefore they need to look at possible growth through means of investment or to look at maintaining and making the most of the current resources available to them. Although the Software Systems seems to be constantly meeting sales targets it may not be possible for the company to grow much more in the future if the problems were to be ignored.

The management need plan for the future and need to aim at resolving the problems identified to enable them to pursue a growth strategy. Below is a SWOT analysis, “the purpose of planning is to predict and prepare for the future, for example through analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). ” (Ackoff, 1983)Within any organisation performance management can play a major part towards the achievement of business goals whilst maximising the input of employees.

The use of suitable performance appraisal systems within a performance management can offer a great deal of assistance in supervising and developing staff. A large numbers of organisations have installed performance management systems and this has been illustrated through a survey conducted by the IPD (Institute of Personnel and Development) in 1987 were “it was discovered that 97 per cent of organisations utilised such a system. ” (Cornelius, 2001).

Software Systems as a business has grown very quickly there has been a lack of formal management of “field based” staff i. e. Sales Representatives meaning that management have failed to set certain guidelines or objectives resulting in employees going out and doing their own thing and as a result there has been no measure of performance evaluation. Software Systems need to look at implementing a performance management system which is applicable to staff and is reliant upon “consensus and co-operation rather than control or coercion, and they require continuous feedback.

” (Marchington & Wilkinson, 2002) Appendix A illustrates the main framework for performance management which links together planning, monitoring/reviewing progress and reinforcing performance standards whilst providing support and guidance to enable staff to achieve their performance expectations. Marchington & Wilkinson (2002) have identified four main stages within performance management:

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