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IHRM4032 Introduction To Human Resource Management Spring 2018

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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.

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.
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.
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.



Management of human resources of an organization is pivotal to the success of the organization. Human resource management team plays a wide variety of roles in the business starting from recruiting competent employees, ensuring the employees are fairly compensated, putting efforts in retaining employees, managing organizational talent and addressing employee grievances (Jackson, Schuler & Jiang, 2014). The case in the picture has thrown light to a lot of issues faced by the employees working with Sports Direct. The employees have repeatedly complained of issues like ill treatment, no work-life balance, discrimination, and unfair wages. The organization has also been accused of recruiting employees in an unethical fashion.

Such news have been making rounds in the market and the organization is facing the brunt of it in the form of declining goodwill. This report throws light on major issues raised by the employees and other stakeholders of Sports Direct along with legal and managerial recommendations to fix the same.

Two people management issues


Employment relations

Employment relationships refer to the relationships that exist between the employer and the employee (Craven, 2016). It is clear from the case study as well as numerous news articles that Sports Direct employees and employers do not share a positive or amicable relationship with each other. This is harming employee performance, organization’s goodwill as well as working environment for employees. For the success of any business, it is imperative that organizations work as a group of people who are working towards a single goal. This therefore requires employers and employees to build and maintain positive relationships and take efforts in addressing issues faced by each other


As an interim head, I would focus on the importance of effective employment relationships that much exist in a business. Such relationships require effort and can be built through effective communication (Karanges & Lings, 2015). A recommended solution to address this issue is ensuring that both the parties come together and negotiate on areas that impact them. Relevant parties of the group must collectively bargain for their say and address the issues that is being faced. This will not only accomplish establishment of better relationships but will also improve organizational efficiency and create a channel of communication within the team (Stanciu, Condrea & Zamfir, 2016). Negotiations between different stakeholders of Sports Direct will eventually lead to improved employee satisfaction and better performance.

Ineffective policies and regulations

Various Policies and regulations at Sports Direct are unfair, inefficient and even unethical. Employee salaries are being deducted without any genuine reason, employees are working on zero hour contracts and cases of discrimination have been observed. Employees have depicted a clear dissatisfaction with their working environment. Policies and regulation of the firm must be aimed at increasing organizational effectiveness as well as ensuring the satisfaction of all the stakeholders of the business (Barak, 2016).


In order to make sure that fair policies are successfully designed and implemented in the firm then it is recommended that effective communication channels are established in the business to ensure that issues faced by employees can be addressed (Carroll, 2015). These policies must be defined through effective communication and focus group discussions. Sports Direct could also adopt an open door policy. This policy suggests that the top management of the business must leave their doors open at all times to encourage open flow of communication by depicting that they are always available to talk (Webster & Ryan, 2016). Cases of discrimination have been observed at Sports Direct and employees may not be particularly comfortable in reporting such cases. Therefore, open door policy will encourage even lower level employees to report such offenses to the top management. Collective bargaining must be done by including relevant parties in order to finalize official policies that are fair to all and work towards enhancing organizational effectiveness (Cross, 2015). Collective bargaining helps organizations in better coordination and building improved relationships within each other. Developing policies will help Sport Direct in conducting their processes in a more efficient and organized manner resulting in increased performance and improved employee satisfaction.


HR planning process for Sports Direct

The purpose of an HR planning process is to understand the gap that exits between the organization’s current manpower and the required manpower (Cascio, 2018). If the organization has more employees than those required by the organization, the business needs to look at transfers, voluntary retirements or layoffs. On the other hand, if there is a dearth of employees within the organization, then the business needs to focus more on recruitments and job role expansions. HR planning process is vital for employee satisfaction at Sports Direct. In the process of HR planning, the organization must firstly terminate all zero hour contracts and focus on hiring employees on a full time basis. It is also essential that upon identifying the need for additional human resource, Sports direct must resort to ethical ways of recruitment. The HR planning process ideally consists of the following steps:

  1. Define organizational objectives: The first step of HR planning requires the organization to evaluate its long term and short term goal (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). This must be done by all the departments of the organization. It is important that while finalizing organizational and department goals, every department can anticipate a tentative requirement of human resources in the business. This would help Sport Direct in figuring out an approximate number of total employees required for the smooth functioning of the business.
  2. Inventory of present human resources: This step requires the firm to identify and make a concrete list of all the individuals who are currently employed by Sports Direct. This would include all the part time employees, full time employees and zero hour contract based employees. This would not include freelancers because they are legally not associated with the firm.
  3. Forecasting supply and demand of human resources: The two things that need to be achieved in this step is an analysis of the supply as well as demand of human resources of the firm and for the firm. Supply would be analyzed by understanding available candidates who are willing to work for Sports Direct. On the other hand, demand would be analyzed by identifying the number of people that are required to fulfill the above mentioned goals of the business (Wolf & Floyd, 2017).
  4. Estimating manpower gaps: Post an analysis of the demand as well as supply, the gap between the two would be analyzed in order to understand if there is a dearth or an oversupply of employees within the business (Sparrow, Hird & Cooper, 2015).
  5. Human resource action plan formulation: In this step, Sports Direct would formulate an action plan in order to fulfill its human resource requirements. The plan would depend upon the analysis of the previous step. If Sports Direct has a shortage of employees then a recruitment plan would be finalized and if the organization has an oversupply of employees then a laying off or lateral transfer plan would be finalized
  6. Monitor, control and provide feedback: Once the HR plan has been implemented, it is essential to consistently monitor it (keep checking the status of the human resource requirements), control it (ensure recruitment or laying off is stopped once the desired state has been achieved) and provide feedback for the same (if the plan has been effective of not?).

HR planning process at Sports direct will help the firm is managing talent in an effective manner. This will result in increased employee satisfaction and better performance from existing employees. It is imperative that the HR planning process is practical and easily implementable.

One developmental activity: Performance management plan

The increasing number of issues faced by Sports Direct have adversely hampered organization’s goodwill and positioning in the minds of its stakeholders. In order to address these issues and enhance employee performance, a well-developed performance management plan needs to be implemented. Performance management plans help organizations is assigning short term and long term goals to employees as well as consistently monitoring their performance with respect to the assigned goals (Buckingham & Goodall, 2015). The aim of this plan must be to organize the performance management process by allocating fair goals to employees and assisting them in achieving the same.

Goal setting theory has also been proved as an effective tool of motivating employees to work hard (Lazaroiu, 2015). A performance management plan will lead to consistent performance reviews and hence constructive feedback provided to employees which will assist them in enhancing their learning and in turn improving their performance. The following aspects must be introduced in the performance management plan:

  1. Short term and long term goals must be provided to all the employees after thorough analysis of their competencies and organizational needs.
  2. The goals allotted to employees must be SMART in nature (Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound) (Northouse, 2018)
  3. Employees must be motivated to fulfill organizational goals in a timely manner.
  4. Performance reviews must be conducted frequency in order to evaluate the performance of employees.
  5. Weekly reviews must be done at a team level, monthly reviews must be done at a departmental level and quarterly reviews must be conducted at the organizational level.
  6. Transparent and constructive feedback must be provided to employees in order to ensure they are on the right track. The aim of the feedback must be to improve employee productivity rather than being critical about the employee’s performance (George, 2016).
  7. Feedback provided must be 360 degree in nature including employee’s peers, seniors and juniors in the feedback process (Das & Panda, 2017).
  8. Appropriate trainings must be provided to employees depending upon their needs and the feedback given to them.
  9. Competent employees must be rewarded or recognized for their hard work and exemplary performance.
  10. Non-performing employees must be put under a unique PIP (Performance improvement plan) and guidance must be provided to them in order to improve their performance.
  11. Employees must be able to track their performance on a regular basis by asking their direct supervisors.
  12. No discrimination must be done in the performance evaluation process of employees.
  13. The performance management plan must be critically reviewed and monitored consistently and any identified loopholes must be immediately addressed.

Performance management plan for employees would help sports direct in ensuring that all the employees are working to the best of their ability and are dedicated to achieve organizational goals for the business. This performance plan must be documented and sent across to all the employees via email. Implemented of a well-defined performance management plan will assist Sports Direct in attaining organizational efficiency by keeping employees motivated and on track.


Employee legislations in UK

Country laws are created to ensure that the citizens and the organizations of the country that are bound by the law remain ethical with their business. United Kingdom government has defined a set of rules that are directed towards ensuring that UK businesses run smoothly and the organization as well as its employees are protected against any unethical practices by either. Sports Direct is also similarly bound by various UK laws and it is imperative that the issues currently faced by the firm are seen in the light of these laws to understand their repercussions. Laws in UK applicable to the current issues at Sports Direct are as below:

Race Relations act 1965

Discriminating employees on the basis of race, age, gender or caste is a punishable offense by law in the United Kingdom. In 1965, discrimination was on the grounds of race was prohibited in the workplace. Discrimination on the basis of gender is punishable since 1975, against disability since 1995, against religion in 2003 and against age in 2006. The race relations act of 1965 was further replaced by Race relations act of 1976.

Equality act 2010

United Kingdom laws have been written in the manner to treat every citizen of the country equally. Therefore, equality act of 2010 forbids any organization to discriminate against employees. It is unlawful for any organization of United Kingdom to discriminate against its employees or treat them unequally on the basis of sex, religion, disability or race.

Sports Direct must immediately take a note of the aforesaid laws and ensure that they mend their ways. Discrimination of employees has been noticed frequently at Sports Direct and under the laws defined by the country’s government, it is strictly prohibited. Employees at Sports Direct must also enhance knowledge about these laws and ensure that they are able to address such issues as and when faced. They must understand that they have every authority to take the case to court against an organization if they have witnessed discrimination in any form.

Pay and Wages

A lot of employee’s primary motive to work with an organization is to be able to generate a certain amount of salary for themselves. Therefore, pays and employee wages are a source of motivation for employees across different organizations. It is therefore the responsibility of the organization to ensure that they pay all their employees fairly. United Kingdom government has defined a minimum wage for all the employees employed within the country. This wage is defined by the number of effective working hours of the employee.

National minimum wage act 1998

The act has defined a minimum wage for every employee of the country. At present, €7.50 per hour is paid to all the employees who are aged over 25. €7.05 is paid to employees aged between 21 and 24 and €5.60 per hour is paid to employees aged between18 to 20.

Employment rights act 1996

Sports Direct has been accused of deducting employee wages for small reasons like taking phone calls or attending to sick family members. However, the employment rights act of 1996 has forbidden employers from docking or deducting employee salaries unless the same has been agreed upon by the employee in written at the time of recruitment.

Sports Direct must ensure that employee wages are paid fairly and in a timely manner. This is imperative to the growth of the organization and employee satisfaction. Delayed or deducted salaries of employees are a major source of demotivation within employees and hence an effective policy must be defined to make sure that the organization does not deduct employee salaries. Every employee’s salary must be discussed and finalized at the time of recruitment and the salary slips must be sent across to employee by the end of each month.



Sports Direct has been facing severe issues and has been accused of unethical practices including racial discrimination, untimely payments of wages, ill treatment of employees, salary deductions, unethical recruitment and unsafe working environments.  This report throws light on various issues and recommends Sports Direct to create an effective performance management plan in order to ensure improved employee performance. The organization is also recommended to understand laws pertaining to employee wages and against discrimination in the workplace. Sports Direct must ensure that they conduct themselves in an ethical manner. Effective implementation of the performance management plan, institution of anti-discrimination and equal employment policies will not only lead to increased employee satisfaction and retention but also result in improved organizational goodwill and positioning in the minds of its stakeholders.



Armstrong, M. and Taylor, S., 2014. Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

Barak, M.E.M., 2016. Managing diversity: Toward a globally inclusive workplace. Sage Publications.

Buckingham, M. and Goodall, A., 2015. Reinventing performance management. Harvard Business Review, 93(4), pp.40-50.

Carroll, C.E. ed., 2015. The handbook of communication and corporate reputation (Vol. 49). John Wiley & Sons.

Cascio, W., 2018. Managing human resources. McGraw-Hill Education. New York.

Craven, J.A., 2016. The Employment Relationship. NY Practice Guide: Business and Commercial, 4.

Cross, J., 2015. Workshop Training: Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations for New Administrators and Labor Representatives. Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy, (10), p.5.

Das, U.K. and Panda, J., 2017. The Impact of 360 Degree Feedback on Employee Role in Leadership Development. Asian Journal of Management, 8(4), pp.962-966.

George, D., 2016. Trust & Growth in the Workplace: an Analysis of Leadership in Flat Organizations.

Jackson, S.E., Schuler, R.S. and Jiang, K., 2014. An aspirational framework for strategic human resource management. The Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), pp.1-56.

Karanges, E. and Lings, I., 2015. The influence of internal communication on employee engagement: A pilot study. Public Relations Review, 41(1), pp.129-131.

Lazaroiu, G., 2015. Work motivation and organizational behavior. Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice, 7(2), p.66.

Northouse, P.G., 2018. Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications. United States.

Sparrow, P., Hird, M. and Cooper, C.L., 2015. Strategic Talent Management. In Do We Need HR? (pp. 177-212). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Stanciu, A.C., Condrea, E. and Zamfir, C., 2016. The importance of communication in quality management. Ovidius University Annals, Economic Sciences Series, 16(2), pp.393-396.

Webster, W. and Ryan, L., 2016. Introduction. In Gendering Migration (pp. 13-30). Routledge.

Wolf, C. and Floyd, S.W., 2017. Strategic planning research: Toward a theory-driven agenda. Journal of Management, 43(6), pp.1754-1788.

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