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Analysis of HR function and recommendations Essay

This report presents an in-depth investigation into Allianz’s organisational structure, its business sector, size and how the HR function fits within the organisation. HR roles and its areas of responsibility will be analysed indicating whether Allianz meets these responsibilities. Recommendations will also be proposed to address areas where the HR function needs to improve. APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM OR TASK: Discussions with the HR Manager will enable to understand the HR function and how it fits into Allianz. Research information to complete this report will be gained from academic literature, company website, intranet, staff handbook, corporate plan, financial and management reports.

BACKGROUND TO THE ORGANISATION: Allianz Group is a global financial services provider offering clients a wide range of insurance and finance products under strong well-known brands. In the UK, Allianz Insurance plc is a private limited company and is one of the largest and best known insurers with an operating profit of 4 billion. It comprises of several trading divisions and for this report its trading division, Retail Animal Health (RAH) will be discussed. RAH currently employes over 300 staff and provides pet insurance under the brand name Petplan with a gross written premium of177 million for 2007 (Allianz, 2008).


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Allianz HR fits within the company by supporting and contributing towards the development and accomplishment of the company’s corporate strategic business plan and objectives through its HR business objectives. It is seen by the business as a strategic partner, an employee advocate and a change mentor. As stated by Dessler (2004) employers these days want HR “to address strategic issues involving the competitiveness and performance of their firms” (Dessler, G. 2004, p 5).

Allianz has a tall organisational structure in place, following a mixture of the functional and divisonal structure. Allianz divides the business into functional areas as shown in appendix A and then into its different trading divisions which are managed in a decentralised way. With reference to appendix B, the functional structure exists at RAH with its own finance, marketing, HR, operational department, etc. The HR department at RAH sits within the trading division as a corporate service function.

But reports directly into a centralised HR function at head office as shown in appendix C (HR’s organisational chart). Corporate objectives are cascaded down horizontally and vertically from the Chief Executive via the HR Director to the Senior HR Manager and then to the HR Manager at RAH. These objectives will also be equally cascaded down from the RAH Director to HR Manager at RAH. HR, reports directly to the Chief Executive of the company as opposed to Finance or an Administrative Function as shown in appendix A and C, so it has more control and influence. As the HR Director sits on the management board HR is on everyone’s agenda.

The HR function is also influenced by external factors, as identified by the PESTLE analysis (see appendix D). b. Who are the Stakeholders With reference to the stakeholder map in appendix E, both external and internal stakeholders are seen as having a stake in HR’s time and activities. Internal stakeholders such as directors, shareholders, management, employees and customers have an important influence on what the HR function should be doing and how it should be doing it.

ROLES OF HR: HR’s different roles include taking an Executive and Advisory role by making decisions, taking appropriate action, advising managers and employees on the disciplinary, capability, performance and employment law issues and being Educational by passing on HR expertise. According to Martin and Jackson (2005) HR’s administrative role “consists of maintaining procedures and operating systems” (Martin & Jackson, 2005, p.20) to deliver administrative efficiency in the way work is organised and implemented.

Armstrong (2006) states HR’s role is to provide services covering all aspects of human resource management to all employees which includes employee relations, employee reward, staff welfare company benefits, health and safety HR acts as an auditor by monitoring equal opportunities are available to all individuals, policies and procedures comply with legislation and are carried out consistently and correctly by line managers (Armstrong, 2006).

HR works closely with the business to make change happen by facilitating the process. According to Ulrich (1997 cited in Armstrong, 2006, p 55) “one of the key roles of HR professionals is to act as change agents, delivering organisational transformation and culture change”. HR acts as a mediator between management and its employees to settle disputes, resolve issues and reconciling differences.

HR represents management in negotiating and bargaining with the union, with employees when implementing policies, introducing new working practices (Gennard and Judge, 2002 cited in Marchington and Wilkinson, 2005) and with companies administering staff benefits. Another role of HR is to be seen as a co-equal professional, being proactive in leading new initiatives by delivering business improvement through people, and in delivering training and coaching sessions.

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