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Human Resources Processes Utilised

With Stuart Rose taking over the Marks & Spencer helm, he is unveiling sales figures for the quarter to 1 April of more than double analysts’ expectations, predicting full-year profits ahead of City projections and paying a bonus to shop floor staff, on top of an incentive already announced, in less than two years when he first took charge (Blackhurst 2006:29). In the 2005 count, there were 70,500 Marks employees around the globe (‘Marks & Spencer Group’ 2006:par1).

As employees hold the key to a dynamic and efficient business, Rose recognised that it is vital to reward them sufficiently and justly in accordance with their contribution to the success of the organisati...

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...on. It enabled the company to attract and retain talented employees required to meet the organisation’s business strategy and also motivated employees to operate at productivity levels that made possible for the organisation to achieve its objectives.

Allio (2006:4), in congruence to the reward system at M&S, stated that the necessity for the reward strategy of an organisation to be congruent with business objectives and the consequent movement towards greater flexibility and variability are considered together with the important and growing concept of broad-banded basic pay systems. A well-managed remuneration system requires that certain ranges be used in the determination of performance-related and standard pay system in the company.

The firm wanted the employee composition to be diverse in order to reflect the nature of the people that patronise them, exactly as diverse. In line with this, they integrated in their recruitment and selection process written commitments to equal opportunities covering age, disability, race, marital status, political opinions, colour, gender, hours of work, national origin and religious beliefs.

They also provide a mix of flexible working arrangements including leave for paternity, adoption and IVF treatment, as well as child breaks and career breaks that help encourage workforce diversity. Faced with increased foreign and domestic competition, M&S engaged itself in HRM planning on a near-continuous basis while simultaneously trying to ensure that their employees are working efficiently.

New technology, shifts in labour demand, and improved work methods have each altered the organisation’s human resources needs. The firm then strives to find individuals with the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform adequately the activities required. It is through the company’s effective HRM planning that adjustments and refinements are made, transforming the organisation’s workforce to meet the projected future needs of the firm.

They operate employee representation forums called Business Involvement Groups (BIGs) in every store and office area that encourage employees to share knowledge and promote debate about the business. Regarding the pay and benefits, the firm has reward packages that include elements of fixed pay, a wide range of benefits and variable performance related pay. As for the training and development of their employees, the trainings they offer are designed to develop individual talent and capability.

In 2005/06, Marks provided over 102,000 days of training. There are various training and development methods utilised by M&S such as on-the-job training, classroom training, internal training courses, external training courses, informal training, on-the-job coaching, life-coaching, training assignments, mentoring, and tasks, skills, training, technical training, product training, behavioural development training, role-playing and role-play games and exercises, attitudinal training and development, distance learning, accredited training and learning.

All of these are part of training menu and are all accessible to utilize and relate according to individual training and organizational training needs (Woodruffe 2000:82). The company also claims to operate a system to ensure workplace health & safety is safeguarded and we provide a range of occupational health services. To provide guidance on the behaviour of the members of the organisation, they have developed a new consolidated Marks & Spencer Code of Ethics that sets out values and the responsibilities they have to their customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, government, communities and the environment.

The various departments within the organisation are driven to perform their individual responsibilities in contribution to the overall growth of the company. Marks & Spencer works closely with various external partners to ensure that the environment within the confines of the organisation is at the optimum level conducive to high performance and harmonious working relationships. Each business unit develops its own corporate social responsibility strategy based around the brand value of trust.

Performance management is an important process within M&S in influencing both the extrinsic and intrinsic motivations of employees, that is, increasing employees’ perceptions and understanding of job tasks and subsequently their job satisfaction. Elements of performance management provide M&S employees with a more accurate understanding of job tasks (task identity and task significance) through objective setting, leading to a clear sense of direction.

Performance management for the firm also serves to focus employee efforts and attention on critical tasks through the use of performance feedback, which therefore assists employees in reducing job errors and minimizing the risks of learning through trial and error. In addition, where employees desire jobs that allow them to make good use of their skills and talents, performance management increases job task “fit” (skill variety) through the identification of training and development needs that are consistent with individual and organizational goals.

The issues tackled in the strategies are identified from a combination of customer research, understanding within the business and by talking with other key stakeholders, NGOs, government etc. For each issue an action plan is developed which balances customer and stakeholder expectations and other commercial pressures’ (‘Marks & Spencer’ 2005:par4). To this end, it is evident that the organisation places high value on their corporate social responsibility and takes it seriously. The corporate culture of Marks revolves on how they respond to the environment, the customers and their own employees.

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