Human resource management is a critical aspect of every organization. It is the backbone that ensures that the employees working for the firm are hired effectively, trained efficiently, rewarded appropriately and treated fairly (Hendry, 2012). The importance of human resources play a significant role in the success of organizational goals. The case throws light on various issues faced by GTR due to employee dissatisfaction. The employees have been deliberately conducting strikes in order to get a better pay, appropriate working hours and efficient working culture. These strikes are adversely affecting many passengers who commute daily. In this report we have tried to identify and reach the bottom of critical human resource management issues faced at GTR and have recommended solutions for the same.
Task 1: Organizational issues and their solutions:
As given in the case, there are various issues that GTR is currently facing leading to employee dissatisfaction and retaliation from their end. Due to the criticality of the railway industry, and high density of passengers, employee strikes are affecting many regular travelers. The demands put forward by the unions are unreasonable and impossible for GTR to succumb to. The important organizational issues are as below:
Conflict in pay rates
It has been observed in the case that there is a severe conflict in the wages given to employees and their expectations on the same. Salaries are the most important aspect of every organization (Anker, 2017). They lead to employee motivation and provide them with a purpose to work hard. In the case, it has been noted that employees have been going on strikes and demanding unreasonable hikes which is impossible for GTR to deliver. These strikes have been affecting over 300000 passengers who travel by GTR railways. Therefore it is imperative the urgent and stern measures are taken to address the same.
1. Negotiation with unions: GTR leadership including directors must conduct one on one meetings with the unions ASLEF and RMT. Negotiations must be effectively conducted among leaders and efforts must be put in to reach a reasonable conclusion (Korobkin, 2014). Few negotiating details must be kept in mind by both the parties.
a. Both the leaders should be prepared well and should have a valid justification of their demands.
b. Timing also plays a very important role in negotiating well. Anything demanded at a right time can ensure positive results (Chen, 2015).
c. Leaders must anticipate compromise and bridging the gap between the two demands rather than adamantly sticking to their own demands (Saeed, 2014).
d. Detailed conclusions must be drawn rather than vague. For example, rather than promising a hike in salary, exact percentage of the hike and the time duration of the same must be decided upon.
e. Once the negotiations have been done, it is most important that both the parties remain committed to what is decided under all circumstances (Robins, 2014). Unions should ensure that they must not strike again and GTR must ensure that they pay exactly what is promised.
f. Close the meeting with a recap and confirm what will be the final pay of the employees.
2. Collective Bargaining: Collective bargaining is the process of negotiating salaries, wages, working conditions and other benefits between employers and a group of employees (Cooper, 2015). Such interests are commonly presented by the labor unions, in this case, which are ASLEF and RMT. This right to collectively bargain is a right given to every employee (Cheng, 2017). The procedure of collective bargaining essentially involves the following steps:
a. Preparation: Any collective bargaining effort requires preparations by the employees as well as employers.
b. Discussion: After preparation both the parties must discuss on the issue. GTR as well as ASLEF and RMT will put their points forward and discuss the employee salary
c. Propose: After the discussion, both the parties will propose a specific solution.
d. Bargain: Upon hearing out the proposal, employers as well as employees will work towards bargaining their side (Jackson, 2016).
e. Settle: Once the bargain has been effectively done, both parties must reach a conclusive settlement and stick to it.
Extra roles and responsibilities for current workers
Every employee must have definitive roles to perform in an organization and it is important that these roles are clearly defined. Whenever employees are asked to perform extra duties on a regular basis, it creates a sense of frustration among employees and leads to demotivation. This in turn adversely affects their performance and decreases efficiency.
- Effective communication: Communication practices in the organization must be clear, effective, and transparent (Shockley, 2014).
- Clear job roles: Every employee must be well aware of his or her exact job role in the firm (Rawasky, 2014).
- Focus group discussions should be conducted to ensure that employees are satisfied and if there is a concern employees can raise it (Krueger, 2014).
- Fair employment policies must be practiced throughout the organization (Shields, 2015).
Task 2: Formation of a viable HR planning process
Growing staffing concerns at GTR is a matter of urgent attention. An HR planning process must be in place to resolve issues faced by GTR. Ideally, an HR planning process involves understanding present as well as future human resource needs of the organization which is essential for the firm to accomplish its goals. If there is a surplus of employees then, strategies must be placed about how they can be laid off and if there is a dearth of employees then strategies must be laid out to hire more employees (Huynh, 2014). Important processes involved in the HR planning process are as below:
- Analyzing objectives of the organization: The very first step in the formation of a business plan proposal is to analyze what are the objectives that are meant to be fulfilled by the firm. This should include both long term as well as short term objectives (Armstrong, 2015). A detailed analysis must be done about how much manpower is explicitly required to fulfil those objectives. GTR needs to entirely redevelop the railways’ infrastructure to accommodate more passengers and modernize the current ongoing practices.
- Analyzing current manpower inventory: Based upon the objectives defined in the first step, the organization must reinstate the current manpower inventory (Armstrong, 2014). In the case GTR has hired over 26000 employees annually. While analyzing the manpower inventory, every employee working in every department must be listed down along with department and salary details (Rahim, 2015).
- Forecasting demand and supply of human resources: Once the analysis of the current manpower has been made, forecast must be made about the demand and supply of human resources at GTR. Demand would include the number of employees required to fulfill the objectives listed in step 1 and supply would relate with how many employees are currently working with GTR and how many potential candidates are willing to work for GTR.
- Analyzing manpower gaps: Upon this demand and supply analysis, the difference between the two would be referred to as manpower gap (Handley, 2014). This particular case would indicate that GTR is already having a surplus of employees. Employees have signed contracts and hence the firm cannot immediately fire them and therefore most employees have been working with GTR since a long time.
- Formulation employment action plan: Once it has been established that there is a surplus of employees, efforts must be put in to formulate an action plan to remove that surplus. This would essentially involve laying off employees, transferring employees to other departments or indulging current employees in new roles which would be required once the process of modernization of railways’ infrastructure begins.
- Training and Development: Upon introducing employees in their new roles, training must be provided to them that would help them get accustomed to the new roles and perform their new duties to the best of their abilities (Arneson, 2013). Also, good recommendations must be provided to employees who are being laid off. Exit interviews must be conducted and the HR head must ensure that the entire procedure of laying off employees is smooth and hassle free.
- Monitoring, controlling and feedback: Once the action plan has been decided, it must be monitored at every step. It must be ensured that no employee is left unsatisfied and also there is sufficient work for the existing employees of the firm. Feedbacks must be taken at every step as this would help the organization address grievances and fix issues if there are any.
Task 3: Developmental activities recommended to GTR
Performance management is an extremely critical issue at every organization. It is imperative that HR heads work efficiently towards performance management. Performance management involves crucial tasks like rewarding employees for effective work contributions, providing transparent feedbacks to employees and more importantly practicing fair employment policies within the organization. One key developmental activity which can be immediately implemented at GTR is as below:
Recognition and rewards framework
Recognition of employee’s work is one of the biggest sources of motivation for the employee. According to Maslow’s theory of needs also it is clear that once the safety and social needs of an individual are satisfied, the self-esteem needs take precedence. Efficient rewarding structure in the organization creates work transparency, provides motivation to employees of the firm to perform better (Wilches, 2014). Following things must be kept in mind while designing a rewards framework:
- Transparent: It is crucial that the rewards framework is transparent and every employee understands the criteria that they must fulfill in order to be eligible for these rewards. The recognition and rewards criteria must be dependent on the top management but it must be effectively communicated to the entire organization (Nosek, 2015). This helps employees in understanding exactly what their objectives that need to be accomplished are.
- Effective: The rewards framework must be effective as well as efficient. This indicates that employees who perform must be rewarded accurately. The criteria for every reward must be clearly defined and there should be no ambiguity in the same. The firm must ensure that the purpose of a reward structure is to ensure that the performing employees feel valued and the non performing employees feel motivated.
- Unbiased: The reward structure must be free of any bias or personal connections of the employer with the employees. This comes with a level of transparency in the structure of assigning rewards. There must be checks at different levels (Team level, department level, city level and organization level) to make sure that no employees are being unfairly favored. The performance of rewarded employees must be made public so there is no discrepancy in the structure.
- Timely: It is crucial to time the rewards offered to employees. Rewards given too frequently may not be values and if rewards are given too late then the employees will lose motivation to work towards the goals. At times, a surprise recognition in a formal or informal manner can be a huge source of motivation for employees.
- Feedback: The employees who do not succeed or win rewards often feel disheartened and hence it becomes the responsibility of their managers to motivate them and provide them with a valuable and transparent feedback which would help them cope up and deliver a better performance in the future.
Task 4: Influence of employment legislation on HR practices
The equality act came into force in October 2010 with an aim to provide a simpler, more effective and consistent legal framework to prevent discrimination in workplace. The act was done to take a strong stand against direct or indirect discrimination faced by employees on the basis of their caste, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age or race. This act has largely influenced and affected HR practices across the United Kingdom. The two key areas upon which the influence of this legislation is the most are as below:
1. Pay related: The equal pay act of 1970 throws light on the importance of equality of pay within the organization and across industry. The fair pay policy ensures that all the employees are treated fairly and no employee is underpaid or overpaid in the organization. Similar pay creates a level of transparency in the organization and trust towards the employer.
The actions taken by employers at GTR clearly indicate their dissatisfaction with the pay structure they were offered. They chose to strike against the company and did not work which even adversely affected the passengers who travel regularly by southern railway. These acts and their implementation is extremely important to any organization as it makes sure that no employee is being treated unfairly.
2. Contracted working time: Most organizations in the UK propose a 48 hours per week working structure. These contracted work timings firstly make it very clear from the time of hiring about the amount of hours that the employee would have to give in. This ensures that there is no miscommunication. Working time must be contracted as this also implies that whenever an employee works extra, he or she gets appropriately paid for the additional hours worked.
Brexit effect on HR laws
Britain would most definitely consider revisiting some of the UK legislations specifically the ones that affected the human resources of the organizations. Working time regulation appears to be the most likely act which will be repealed by the Britain government upon exiting from the European Union.
Working time regulations undermine labor flexibility and increases the costs of hiring staff. WTR focuses on areas like employee working hours and rest breaks. The whole idea would be to reduce the burden on the Britain employers particularly relating to breaks, record keeping and rest periods.
Attempt would be made to ensure the work contracts are not limited to just 48 hours as sometimes employers want additional effort from employees. Many previous governments have also fought hard against this restriction. Employers are also currently required to record hours of work to ensure that this maximum does not exceed over a 17 week period. Attempts to reduce such efforts are expected to be popular among businesses. It is also expected that UK businesses would have more freedom to decide how statuary pay should be calculated.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Human resource management is an important aspect of any organization. The case discussed above tries to address issues of employee dissatisfaction at GTR. Employees are facing various organizational issues including conflicts in pay rates, contracted times of employment and extra roles and responsibilities for current workers. It is hence recommended that GTR’s top management meets with the union leaders and negotiate upon issues to reach a common ground. The report lays emphasis on the importance of efficient and effective communication and GTR must work to build proper channels for the same. GTR also needs an appropriate HR development process in place as that will eventually lead to fair compensation of employees and employee satisfaction. Lastly, GTR is also recommended to conduct various training activities and improvise their rewards and recognitions framework to ensure employees remain motivated.
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