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IHRM4032 Introduction To Human Resource Management  

tag 0 Download 12 Pages / 2,916 Words tag 09-07-2021

Question 

Learning outcomes assessed: 

  • 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. 

Case Study Brief: Southern rail ailing rail operator: “Govia Thameslink Railway”.

With the increasing tension between the operators of southern raiI and its employee population, over various issues such as pay, contracted times of employment as well as staff numerical strength physically needed for an operational train, the fundamental roles implementable by a functional HR department within the organisation are becoming glaring obvious.

Starting operations in 1997 as a partnership business between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis, Southern's parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), is the UK’s busiest rail operator and currently accounts for about 35% of all rail passenger journeys. It has run Southern since 2001 and in 2015 this was integrated into the GTR franchise. With an average annual turnover of £3.21billion it currently employs approximately 26,000 employees.

In the last couple of years however, employees’ union such as union for train drivers and operators ASLEF and Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have accused the company of sabotaging their efforts and employment rights and in response to this have organised various strike actions which has had adverse effects on over 300,000 regular passengers using the southern rail route.

In the last month, 80.8% members of the train drivers' union ASLEF on Southern rail and the Gatwick Express have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action on 2nd and 4th August over a pay dispute, that GTR claimed their offer worth 23.8% increment would have taken a driver's base salary from £49,001 to £60,683 for the existing 35-hours, four-day a week contracted working times.

A spokesman for GTR said the proposed strike action across one week "is a deliberate move to cause maximum disruption for passengers…and to do so in protest against four-year offer to increase pay by 24% is simply breath-taking”. Commuters, the vast majority of whom are seeing pay rises many times less, will understandably be as shocked and frustrated as we are," he said.

GTR claimed the company is determined to modernise their rail operations in order to increase capacity on their trains and train route has passenger numbers have doubled over the last 12 years on the very busy UK's rail network route. All these changes require modernisation of its infrastructures, trains and working practices and stated it was crucial for the trade unions to co-operate with them to implement these much-needed changes.

In a separate dispute with the company, over the introduction of driver-only operation (DOO) on some routes, train drivers have also stopped working overtime. The long-running conflict involving ASLEF and RMT union accused GTR of replacing conductors with "on-board supervisors", with the extra responsibility of duties such as closing train doors and switching to the drivers and called for the transport secretary Chris Grayling
to intervene in the matter.

All the current problems the company is facing, has also contributed heavily to its recent re-tender loss of its West Midlands franchise to rival Abellio, the UK arm of the Dutch state railway, ‘Mitsui’ the Japanese conglomerate and East Japan Railway.

Case Discussion :

You have just been appointed as an interim HR consultant by GTR. Using your subject knowledge of the key HR management and developmental functions as well as information from the given case scenario, prepare a report to to the Executive Board of GTR on how to manage the current issues faced by the company. Your report should cover the following tasks:

Task 1 (LO1: HR functions in a contemporary business environment).    

Identify two people management issues GTR is currently facing and discuss how the HR department can proactively manage them effectively. 

Task 2 (LO2: HR planning in a business environment).    

Briefly outline with examples how the HR department within GTR can successfully implement a sustainable HR planning process to manage its current staffing-related issues.

 Task 3 (LO3: Effective HR practices and performance management in organisations).    

Discuss one developmental activity that GTR's HR department can employ to effectively improve their employees' performance. 

Task 4 (LO4: Influence of Employment legislation on HR practices in organisations).    

With regards to the current strike action, discuss the significance of industry relevant employment legislation on GTR stance within the following areas:

  1. Pay and wages.
  2. Contracted working times. 
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