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1. Explain how organisational and HR strategies and practices are shaped and developed and explain the purpose and key objectives of human resources management and the HR function within a contemporary business environment.

IHRM4032 Introduction to Human Resource Management

Learning outcomes assessed:

1. Explain how organisational and HR strategies and practices are shaped and developed and explain the purpose and key objectives of human resources management and the HR function within a contemporary business environment.

2. Identify the purpose and key objectives of the HR function in contemporary organisations and be able to demonstrate the process of evaluating current and future human resource needs within the business environment; both in terms of numbers of people and skills and competencies.

3. Appraise the relationship between organisational performance and effective HR management and development. Know how to identify and respond to short-term changes in the business and external contexts and provide solutions to address them.

4. Explain the significance of employment legislation to an organisation’s HR practices and evaluate how to harness effective HR practices in a global marketplace in terms of adding value and positive contribution to sustained organisation performance.

Assignment Case

Study Brief Workforce planning at British Gas

British Gas is part of the Centrica Group. It is the country’s best recognised energy brand. Centrica is a multinational company, with businesses in many countries. Centrica was formed in 1997 and consists of eight separate energy-related businesses, ranging from the supply of gas and electricity to consumers and organisations in the UK and Europe, to storage of gas for other providers, and drain and pipe work maintenance. The UK energy market is highly dynamic. Customers look for the best deals and are increasingly prepared to switch suppliers. In 2007, 900,000 customers switched energy providers. An energy company needs to show it is not just competitive on price, but that it can also provide the right levels of customer service to attract and retain customers. British Gas does not only supply gas but also deals with the installation and maintenance of domestic central heating and appliances. It provides a maintenance and breakdown service for electrical white goods and home wiring. Through the Dyno brand, British Gas also offers drain clearing services, plumbing and home security services. To deliver these services, British Gas needs high calibre staff. It employs more than 9,000 trained gas engineers to install and maintain central heating and gas appliances. Managing a successful large business involves acquiring, developing and maintaining a wide range of resources. These resources include materials, buildings, land, equipment, technology and, crucially, people. Any organisation needs good employees who have the right skills to achieve the company’s aims and objectives. Human resource management (HRM) is the business function that focuses on the people aspects of an organisation. It ensures the efficient management of people in the business. It is responsible for ensuring that an organisation has the right people to deliver its overall business plan. Centrica, the parent corporation of British Gas, has to deliver long-term profitability. Its shareholders expect the business to show a return on their investment by making profits, now and in the future. British Gas needs to contribute to these profits. This means consistently meeting the needs of its customers with competitively priced products and services that give good returns to the company. Residential consumers across the country are the core customer base of British Gas. These customers expect top-class service at keen prices. If British Gas does not meet this standard, the company may lose business to competitors. To ensure customer satisfaction, British Gas engineers must have the technical skills to undertake work to the required standard and the people skills to deliver good customer service. Through its engineer recruitment team, the British Gas

Academy must therefore ensure that the company attracts and retains the best engineers. This involves several complementary tasks. It requires planning to assess the future needs for skilled employees at British Gas. It requires a recruitment and selection programme to bring new people into the business. It requires a training operation to equip new recruits and existing employees with the right skills.

Importantly, British Gas must also ensure that it retains its best people. It is much more cost effective to retain trained and highly skilled staff than recruit and train up new people. British Gas seeks to retain people by offering a mix of financial and non-financial benefits. As well as good pay and a pension scheme, the company provides employees with the opportunity to buy shares in Centrica and it offers a great place to work and high-class training.

Assignment Questions According to an article by Trudy Brunot (2017), Functional Human Resource Management is the glue that holds an organisation together and the functional management areas are the ingredients in the glue. Hence, a functional HR department should cover six functional areas: business management and strategy, workforce planning and employment, human resource development, compensation and benefits, employee relations and risk management You have just been appointed as an interim HR consultant by British Gas. With reference to the above statement and your knowledge of HR management and functions as well as information from the given case scenario, prepare a report to the Executive Board of British Gas to suggest how a functional HR department can address the current HR issues faced by the organisation. Your report should cover the following tasks:

Task 1 (LO1: HR functions in a contemporary business environment). Identify any two people management issues being encountered by British Gas in the case study and discuss how a functional HR department can proactively manage them effectively.

Task 2 (LO2: HR planning in a business environment). Briefly outline with examples how a functional HR department within British Gas can successfully implement a viable HR planning process to manage its growing international staff problems as it is gradually becoming global. You may refer to other current international issues faced by British Gas.

Task 3 (LO3: Effective HR practices and performance management in organisations). Considering the employee wellbeing issue in the case study, discuss one developmental activity a functional HR department within British Gas can implement to effectively improve employees’ performance so that it can retain its employees.

Task 4 (LO4: Influence of Employment legislation on HR practices in organisations). Discuss the implication of employment legislation on you or your workmates from the current practices of the organisation you work within any two of the following areas:

a. Equality and diversity

b. Rewards and compensation

c. Health and Safety standard across the subsidiaries d. Disciplinary procedures 


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