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Question:

Discuss that the issue of customer dissatisfaction is a serious issue or not.

 

Answer:

The issue of customer dissatisfaction is a serious issue for ‘One Pound Emporium’ and it must be dealt with seriously. It is recommended that the training needs of employees should be meet. At the same time, it is also important that employees’ involvement must be high in the training and development programs. The organization would have to make continuous efforts to update the training framework to make it applicable through time spam. This continuous update is particularly necessary due to the fact that the business environment is not stagnant and to maintain competitive advantage. This focus on the past competencies to measure the current (or present) competencies is like Pilbeam and Corbridge (2010) stated, generalizes and assumes that it would always be applicable. The competency framework for ‘One Pound Emporium’ should be based on three key principles. These are:

  • People who demonstrate integrity, respect and teaming
  • People with energy, enthusiasm and courage to lead
  • People who build relationships based on doing the right thing

It is also important to mention that the training needs of different employees would vary. For example the training need of store manager may not be the same as the training need of customer facing staff (Clardy, 2008). The specific and generic competencies required for workforce can be discussed as:

Specific competencies: Store Manager and first line supervisors

It is important that manager and supervisor should focus on management and leadership competencies. The specific competencies for store manager and first line supervisors would revolve around social interactions with employees and store staff that has to face customer. Social interaction is what makes good leaders, delight customers and it brings cohesion in a work environment. It includes effective communication, persuasion, active listening, collaborating with others, conflict resolution, friendliness and generally influencing others. Social interaction can be measured through feedback surveys like 360-degree feedback, customer satisfaction surveys or peer reviews among others (Graf, 2007). It can be said that the competency framework for store manager and supervisors should help them to develop a culture where they can create a system of check and balances for store staff. Some of the specific competencies for store managers and supervisors would be:

  • Trusted and respect by peers and management.
  • Recognized as capable to stand-in as delegate supervisor.
  • Positively represents his store staff and cultivates cross learning opportunities from other stores and teams.
  • Develops network of relevant contacts.
  • Recognized as a coaching lead

Generic competencies: Customer facing store staff

The competency for store staff should focus on absolute customer satisfaction. It is important that the store staff should be able to put the customer needs as the top priority (Anderson, 2004). It can happen only when support staff can find a match between their personal goals and objectives and organizational goals and objectives (Dysvik, 2010). The ethical component of competency would also ensure that managers would develop the policies and strategies that follow the ethical code of conduct as defined by the organization.

The UK private sector is very competitive and ‘One Pound Emporium’ must develop a strong competency framework that could satisfy the training and development needs of its employees. Competencies are intangible assets and like most intangible things difficult or near impossible to quantify/measure. However monitoring and analyzing the causal relationship between competence and performance could provide a view to assessing the impact of competence (Ramachandran, 2011). Given the agility and sometimes volatility of markets, organizations use of certain qualities such as creativity and social interaction are also vital for attracting and retaining customer loyalty, so such qualities have transcending functions and benefits for the organization.

There exist various fundamental differences between the culture and nature of business of the private organizations and the public organizations in UK. Beyond doubt public sector HR has lacked credibility and is generally regarded as weak. The reasons of which are poor governance, high corruption rates, political interference, lack of accountability and lack of healthy competition etc. Mostly hit by this are the less developed countries which battle with political crisis and economic instability, especially where there is no drive towards improving the organization’s performance (Guest, 2014). However, this trend is changing, as the market is more competitive; agencies are now held accountable for their activities, encouraging autonomy and decreasing external influence. Once the focus of these public bodies become performance-oriented, HR practices will also adjust to provide adequate/competent staffing, incentives to motivate employees and training so that employees are better equipped to deliver.

 

It can be said that implementing competency framework in private organization is relatively easy because employee at private organization are responsive and understand the reasons for specific action, training or measurement. Dr. Bach (2001) in his paper HR and new approaches to public sector management indicated that most government are mainly concerned with macro-economic issues, particularly the size of the workforce instead of the micro-level focus of contemporary HR practice which concentrates on the motivation and performance of the workforce. Today it is becoming ever more routine for organizations to place more value on their employees, as such the use of Competency-Based Management is even being adopted in large public service organizations. Bonder et. al., (2011) perused their work on competency-based management in the UK public sector. As with private organizations, maximizing productivity and effectively managing employees is just as important. The organizations in UK public sector are able to integrate competency modeling and job analysis and successfully implement a competency framework. The core of the framework is centered on employee competencies at every job level.

It is important for the business and service economics in UK should focus to develop a dynamic and flexible competency framework that could help managers and leaders to bring the best from their employees. To understand what is expected from employee, it is useful to read the job description, yet more interesting to understand the differences between skills and competencies for the best use on the job (Torrington, 2011). It is important that business and service organizations should keep their employees motivated and updated. The corporations in UK must realize that skills required to complete the job may never be constant. Therefore, it is important that employers should develop a culture where employees can work to update their skills. The presence of competency framework would help UK corporations to develop a feeling of self-belongingness among employees.  Finally, managers must see the potential of setting new competencies in addition to workable past competencies. The wisdom behind the new competencies for the future is a benefit to organizations.

The two lifelong learning and training initiatives can be discussed as:

Training initiative to satisfy the customer needs: It would be correct to say that one of the most basic yet important training need for employees is to satisfy the needs of customers. There must be a training initiative to satisfy the needs of customers, as the needs of customers are not constant (Armstrong, 2009). Therefore, the employees must be trained to understand the needs of customers and work accordingly.

Training to develop job specific skills and capabilities: Competencies are more subjective than objective, implying a variation with respect to shifts in the business as these shift drives the workforce and hence HR. Competencies include all knowledge, skills, capabilities embedded in the organization structure, technology etc. The size of the firm, its position on technology, strategy/structure, management and competition will influence HR competence as it continues modify itself, adjusting to reflect current objective of the firm.

As Jerald (2009) wrote, the skills that are to be considered important in the current century is being shaped by many trends and IT that is part of the automation trend takes a central role. Furthermore, he mentioned due to automation computers and computer-driven machineries displaced humans, and computers can now perform many work-related thinking jobs that were only done by human beings before. It is also important that employees should be considered as first line of customers. Encouraging that employees are regarded as customers, promotes a customer driven philosophy and in this case customer driven framework, that ensures the achievement of the organization’s goal. The government of UK would have a key role to play as it would the government’s responsibility to ensure that a system of check and balances could be created. It is also important that the corporations in UK should work as per the laws and policies of UK government. It would help the organizations like ‘One Pound Emporium’ to achieve its goals and objectives.

 

References

Anderson, E. W., Fornell, C. & Mazvancheryl, S. K. (2004) 'Customer Satisfaction and Shareholder Value', Journal of Marketing, 68, October, pp. 172-185.

Armstrong, M. (2009), A Handbook of Human Resource Practice Management, 11th ed. Kogan Page

Bonder, A, Bouchard, C, & Bellemare, G 2011, "Competency-Based Management-An Integrated Approach to Human Resource Management in the UK Public Sector", Public Personnel Management, 40(1), pp. 1-10, education Research

Clardy, A 2008, " The strategic role of Human Resource Develpment in managing core competencie", Human Resource Development International, 11(2), pp. 183-197

Dr. Bach, S. (2001) HR and new approaches to public sector management: improving HRM capacity, World Health Org. Geneva, Switzerland [accessed on the 05th February, 2016 https://www.who.int/hrh/en/Improving_hrm_capacity.pdf

Graf, A 2007,"Changing roles of customers: consequences for HRM", International Journal of ServiceIndustry Management, 18(5), pp. 491-509

Jerald, C.D. (2009) Defining a 21st century education. Available at: https://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Learn-About/21st-Century/Defining-a-21st-Century-Education-Full-Report-PDF.pdf (Accessed: 05 February 2015).

Kuvaas, B. & Dysvik, A. (2010) 'Does best practice HRM only work for intrinsically motivated employees?',International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 21 (13), pp. 2339-2357

Pilbeam, S. & Corbridge, M. (2010) People resourcing and talent planning: HRM in practice. 4th ed. London: Prentice Hall International.

Ramachandran, R. (2011) 'Professional competence and statistical integrity challenges faced in the small area estimation: A public policy tool development perspective',Statistical Journal of the IAOS, 27, pp. 39-47.

Torrington, D., Taylor, S. And Hall, L. (2011), Human Resource Management, 8th ed. FT/Prentice Hall

Woodrow, C., & Guest, D. E. (2014). When good HR gets bad results: exploring the challenge of HR implementation in the case of workplace bullying. Human Resource Management Journal, 24(1), 38-56.

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