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The Problems Facing Harwood Electronics

When Harwood Electronics was founded in 1985 in Bolton, it started with a labour force of 50 people. Currently, it already has nearly 250 employees as it expands. Of the 250 staff, 200 are employed as technicians, the rest being made up of managerial, supervisory and support staff. 80% of the employees are part time, 75% percent are women and 35% percent come from ethnic minority backgrounds. The company has a board of directors made up of a chairman, finance, sales, operations and productions directors and the senior management team broadly reflects the make-up of the board.

The organisation does not have a Human resources Management director. The HRM function falls within the remit of the Operations Director and there are no members of the senior management team with professional HRM qualifications. Although the company has enjoyed a period of expansion, it has a poor reputation as an employer especially in terms of its relationship with its employees. The management style of the company is “traditional” in that employees are regarded as factors of production to be employed and dismissed as necessary and whose cost to management should be minimised (low pay and no real prospects of a job security.)

The subordinate position of employees is regarded by management as part of the “natural order” and any attempt to introduce trade unions has been resisted. Management believe strongly in the right to manage and are well known for pursuing what could be described as negative personnel policies. However, in the last five years, the company has begun to experience ever increasing high turnover rates and high rates of absenteeism. This can be largely explained by the attitude of the company to recruitment and selection in that a culture of “if they breathe take ‘em on” has existed.

Prospective job applicants in the main have come from the Job Centre. Interviews are held lasting no longer than 10 or 15 minutes and are carried out by whoever happens to be available/ in addition, the company has lost a number of Industrial Tribunal cases including two involving sexual harassment and three cases are awaiting court hearings in relation to breaches of Equal Opportunities provisions. These problems have attracted the interest of the local press and the resulting bad publicity has seen a drop in orders for the company.

Clearly, Harwood Electronics has a number of serious problems to confront. Among these are three major concerns which fundamentally affect the productivity and growth of the company: the lack of a Human Resource Management, bad publicity, and the absolute practice of the Equal Opportunities policies. The Following is a List of Problems and Suggested Strategy on How to Deal With Them: I. Lack of a Human Resource Management The company is continuously expanding, and as it grows, so do the responsibilities of the whole management and supervisory team.

Although it is clear that the human resource function falls under them, the number of employees is growing, now with 250 employees. That lot is not manageable, and a whole department should be created so as their needs as well their specific functions and responsibilities are fully addressed. This is where the need for a Human Resource Department comes in. According to www. answers. com, Human Resource Management is “replacing personnel management and implying that personnel managers should not merely handle recruitment, pay, and discharging, but should maximize the use of an organization’s human resources.

” (http://www. answers. com/topic/human-resource-management? cat=biz-fin) Human resource management plays a vital role in any organization, especially if it has more than 100 employees, as it is “responsible for how people are treated in organizations. It is responsible for bringing people into the organization, helping them perform their work, compensating them for their labors, and solving problems that arise” (Cherrington, 1995, p. 5).

There is no HRM department in Harwood Electronics and the situation apparently lays out the need for one. Having an HRM department will ensure a better employee-employer relationship which will fundamentally affect the reputation of the company in a positive way, thus reversing the bad publicity on its image, and will also result to a higher productivity and development rate of the company. The responsibilities of the HRM department will include staffing, employee relations, training, and benefits and incentives.