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Marriot International Inc

Similarly, the “Marriott Way” is built on fundamental ideals of service to associates, customers, and community. These ideals serve as the cornerstone for all Marriott associates fulfilling the “Spirit to Serve. ” The Marriot management takes pride in the following (Marriot International Inc 2007): There have been discussion groups in the stores for some years. But during Marks & Spencer’s financial difficulties in 1999 staff was involved in a consultative process called Clearview, which moved communications up a gear (Higginbottom, 2003).

It involved brainstorming sessions between employees and managers to consider what was wrong with the structure, processes and culture of the business. M&S recognised the contribution that such a process made to the organisation’s recovery. A review of the staff focus groups in spring 2001 indicated that they wanted a structure that enabled issues to be represented at a more senior level and wanted managers and staff to sit in a combined forum (Higginbottom, 2003). This led to the creation of Bigs at a local and area level in September 2001.

Local Bigs were set up in 309 shops, head office locations, the financial services unit and its distribution centres. Area Bigs provided a forum for issues that affected more than

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one store or business area. The company also had a European council, established in 1995 in line with EU legislation. But discussions were confined to issues affecting more than two countries. This was despite the closure of continental European stores in 2001, leaving the European council with members from only the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

A review in March last year highlighted the need for a national forum (Higginbottom, 2003). M&S provides training to the representatives elected to the national Big. They will participate in a two-day induction course on subjects such as questioning, communication and influencing skills. The company is also running sessions around business structure, an overview of the different arms and subsidiaries of the business and the relationships with stakeholders. Another issue that arises from expanding employee involvement is to ensure that managers are kept informed about the role of the national forum.

M&S has tackled this by ensuring that an allocated number of management representatives sit on the area Bigs (Higginbottom, 2003). The company also made sure that managers were not excluded from the consultation process by giving them an opportunity to participate in the working groups to establish the national Big. The employment standards team has issued a trainee toolkit called “Big place”, which explains how Bigs work and their role within the organisation. But how will information flow back to staff on the ground?

(Higginbottom, 2003) According to M&S, under this new structure it will be the responsibility of the national representatives to feed back to the area groups and for these groups in turn to feed back to local groups. The company will support the flow of information using the intranet, email and staff magazine. To run as a representative for the national Big, staff have to be members of one of the area Bigs and their application has to be seconded by a fellow member.

A list of candidates is drawn up by an election coordinator for each division, which can encompass up to 10 area Bigs. The members of the area Bigs within a division then vote for the list of candidates and the national representative is the candidate with the most votes. It would be foolhardy to suggest that M&S’s problems are over on the strength of one successful sales period and the HR team are determined not to seem cocky about what they’ve done.

But their achievement is undeniably impressive, and their enthusiasm and willingness to learn from their mistakes is infectious. Especially, when one considers how tough it must have been working at M&S over the past few years (Rana & Crabb, 2002). The HR function has its own vision statement: to be a trusted and valued business partner and to make M&S a great place to work. M&S now has 200 HR people at its head office and around 450 in the stores, including administrative and support staff. Most of the company’s 270 stores in the UK have some form of HR presence.

Under the new structure, 300 of these employees will move into shared service centres 100 at head office, and the rest in eight centres around the country (Rana & Crabb, 2002). One of the barriers to change is technology. Up until 2002, M&S has never had, an integrated HR system, which is amazing when you consider that every member of staff has their own unique working pattern. For such an approach to work effectively and efficiently, you need a staff-scheduling system linked into time and attendance. M&S has introduced PeopleSoft 7 to fill this gap (Rana & Crabb, 2002).

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