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Organizational Image and Brand

Discus about the Queensland Rail Recruitment Challenges.

The success of an organization is largely contributed by the effectiveness of its employees, whose performance is dependent on recruitment. Any challenges in the workforce arising from recruitment, therefore, need to be addressed for effective operations toward achieving company goals (De Cieri & Kramar, 2003). Queensland Rail is an organization providing transport as a railway operator in Australia. The organization operating in Queensland and has been estimated to offer over 20,000 employment opportunities each year. The railway operator has however faced various challenges in recruitment, which has impeded the recruitment of the top talent required by the innovative company. This paper seeks to highlight some of the recruitment challenges faced by Queensland Rail as a result of engaging in poor recruitment practices. It also makes recommendations on how they can be solved and possible recruitment strategies for the company.

Organizational Image and Brand

Research has shown that companies offering candidates a poor experience during assessment damage their brand to an extent that has the candidates no longer consuming from it (Ogunfowora, 2014). Queensland Rail’s brand and image were put at risk through poor recruitment practices that gave candidates the wrong perceptions. The organization had poor communication in their recruitment process. This is made evident by reports indicating a lack of job advertisements even after plans by Queensland Rail to employ more people after staff shortages were identified. This lack of proper communication kept the qualified individuals needed by the fast growing organization from applying for the positions. It also frustrated candidates seeking employment information on Queensland Rail and hardly find it. The frustration experienced by the candidates, therefore, damages Queensland Rail’s brand and fails to attract the top talent needed by the company (Allen, Mahto & Otondo, 2007).

Queensland Rail is committed to protecting their brand and image by ensuring they are used in accordance with the organizations stipulated behavior (Worthington, Russell-Bennett & Hartel, 2010). Consequently, it is recommended that the recruitment practices carried out are transparent, open and accountable. Queensland Rail can achieve this through the employment of a better communication system where all potential candidates for the job are able to access all the information regarding the position. Scheduling by the transport provider should also ensure announcements are made in time and the given information is clear and easy to understand. Contacts through which the candidate can communicate with Queensland Rail in the case of any questions should also be included in an effort towards openness and transparency. These recommendations will ensure that Queensland Rail remains the leading provider of integrated transport services in Australia.

Supply and Demand of Staff

A commission of inquiry launched to investigate the train crewing practices at Queensland Rail in 2016 identified shortage of staff as one of the problems facing the organization. This was found to be as a result of an increased demand for train crew services between 2014 and 2016 that did not meet the supply of the hired train crew. The supply of qualified personnel also decreased due to recruitment decisions by management to cease driver recruitments and reduce the training offered to recruits. Another reason for the decreased supply of train crew staff was the restriction on Queensland Rail’s ability to make external recruitments. This created challenges in recruitment, burdening the organization and depleting guard ranks. These poor recruitment practices, therefore, led to a low supply of train crew that could not meet the demand of Queensland Rail and a disruption of their operations (Broadbridge, Maxwell & Ogden, 2009).

A program should be implemented at Queensland Rail with the intention of predicting the train crews demand and supply. The recommended program should also take into consideration any future projects and changes in operations that will require staff recruitment (Si, 2015). Keeping a surplus of staff especially train crew is another recommendation that Queensland Rail requires in addressing the shortage of staff supply. Proper recruitment practices will ensure this supply is developed and maintained over time as a preventive measure. In an effort to keep the supply of train crew in surplus, the process of recruitment should remain open to attract external applicants. Open recruitment further contributes to diversity in the applicants resulting in diverse staff (Campion, 2015). The implementation of these recommendations will prevent further disruptions in Queensland Rail’s train operations.

Queensland Rail, in an effort to address train crew shortages, has spent an estimated $100 million on recruitment agencies. The high cost paid to the agencies is brought about by the need to find qualified candidates fast and the urgency to fill critical roles. The money used in the recruitment process is incorporated in the calculation of return on investment. High costs in the recruitment process may, therefore, lead to major losses to the company if they exceed the returns resulting from this practice (Munstermann, Eckhardt &Weitzel, 2010). The cost of recruiting staff, therefore, needs to be economical to ensure that staff recruitment creates a return on investment and is beneficial to Queensland Rail with regard to financial results.

High Cost of Recruitment Process

Recommendations that Queensland Rail may choose to implement to address this issue include seeking cheaper alternatives that are just as effective and even more efficient (Breaugh, 2017). This could be done through the introduction of an automated recruiting system, which will make the process simpler in terms of selection, communication and scheduling processes of recruitment. This will minimize the costs used in these processes and better management of the process will ensure Queensland Rail does not end up in situations where they have to hire staffing agencies for urgent staffing (Lad & Das, 2016). Queensland Rail should also focus on the proper scheduling of their recruitment to ensure it is always ready to effectively fill critical positions without the having to pay heavy costs for fast service.

The transport industry is a highly competitive jobs market that is also dynamic and always in need for new talent. These facts put Queensland Rail at the risk of losing their top talent due to poor recruitment practices. The human resource department in charge of recruitment at the organization has not set up a system where top talent is identified and retained. The top talent or high performers are also not rewarded and this makes the employees lack the motivation to fully perform and deliver their services to Queensland Rails (Samuel and Chipunza, 2009). The unsatisfied employees might also choose to leave the organization to Queensland Rail’s competitors offering better recognition and reward. Failure to retain top talent affects the organization’s long-term growth and causes the company to incur costs through replacing employees. For a transport company priding itself in innovation, Queensland Rail ends up lacking the staff responsible for creating and maintaining this innovation (Armstrong, Brown & Reilly, 2011).

Identification of top talent at the company and retention of these employees is significant to the growth and performance of Queensland Rail. A system that identifies top talent and rewards them is, therefore, necessary in the organization. Rewards could be in the form of promotions and raised ranks, which will work as an incentive to motivate the staff (Hauskanecht, Rodda & Howard, 2009). Motivated staffs are  less likely to leave the company and give better performance at work. Implementing the system will, therefore, ensure growth for Queensland Rail through retention of talented employees who are in line with the company’s innovative goals. The company is also meant to experience good financial results due to better performances (Sebastian, 2007).Introduction   

Staff Retention Failure

In the final 2017 report of the Commission of Inquiry into Queensland Rail’s train crewing practices, it was acknowledged that part of the staff consisted of an aging workforce. This was made clear in a statement explaining that in an effort to retain employees, Queensland Rail was supporting the transition of staff into retirement among other practices. The transport provider also acknowledged the fact this decision would probably have a negative impact in the long term (Rudolph, Toomey & Baltez, 2015). The dominance of an aging workforce in an organization is often an indicator of outdated skills and a shortage of relevant skills (Beck, 2014). This has a negative effect on the transport industry, which requires an innovative set of skills by workers in order to stay ahead of the competition and grow. This is made harder by the fact that the younger generation is not attracted to the transport industry with regard to career decisions. Those eventually pursuing this career choose to pursue other careers first before finally settling on the transport industry.

It is recommended that the recruiting department at Queensland Rail, therefore, needs to effectively campaign for the application of jobs by qualified young people. The recruitment campaign will focus on getting more young adults to take consider the transport industry in their career. This can be achieved by changing the image of employment in the transport industry to make it attractive to young people. The current image of working at Queensland Rail may portray negative perceptions of a working environment that is not sophisticated and this diverts the interest of young people. Queensland Rail can also use a recruitment system that collects demographic information and makes the process of finding younger people easier. Queensland, therefore, needs to invest in a workforce including young people who are more likely to grow the company through new ideas and skills (Zimmer, 2016).

Conclusion

The challenges discussed in this paper make it clear that although Queensland Rail is the leading integrated transport provider in Australia, it is facing some recruitment challenges that hinder its operations. The transport industry is dynamic and competitive and these do not allow for any disruption. Challenges such as staff shortage, recruitment costs and flight risk of unsatisfied employees should be addressed. All of the mentioned challenges arise from poor recruitment practices and lack of investment in the proper recruitment strategies. Recommendations offered in the report offer solutions to problems faced by Queensland Rail in the form of reduced costs, a system that will assist in better recruitment practices and better management of operation schedules.

Based on the recommendations offered, the ultimate solution for the recruitment challenges faced by Queensland Rail seems to be the implementation of an automated system customized for their recruitment needs. The system brings make the recruitment process more organized resulting in minimized costs, better communication with candidates, improved brand image, less time is taken to fill critical positions, attracting and retaining the organization’s top talent. Incorporation of recruitment strategies in addition to this will ensure the company carries out its functions effectively and remains the leading provider of integrated transport services in Australia.         

References

Allen, D. G., Mahto, R. V., & Otondo, R. F. (2007). Web-based recruitment: effects of information, organizational brand, and attitudes toward a Web site on applicant attraction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(6), 1696.

Armstrong, M., Brown, D., & Reilly, P. (2011). Increasing the effectiveness of reward management: an evidence-based approach. Employee Relations, 33(2), 106-120.

Beck, V. (2014). Employers’ views of learning and training for an ageing workforce. Management Learning, 45(2), 200-215.

Breaugh, J. A. (2017). to Recruitment. The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Recruitment, Selection and Employee Retention, 12.

Broadbridge, A. M., Maxwell, G. A., & Ogden, S. M. (2009). Selling retailing to Generation Y graduates: recruitment challenges and opportunities. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 19(4), 405-420.

Campion, M. C. (2015, January). Minorities versus Nonminorities: Implications of Subgroup Signaling Markets for Targeted Recruitment. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2015, No. 1, p. 18281). Academy of Management.

De Cieri, H., & Kramar, R. (2003). Human resource management in Australia.

Hausknecht, J. P., Rodda, J., & Howard, M. J. (2009). Targeted employee retention: Performance?based and job?related differences in reported reasons for staying. Human Resource Management, 48(2), 269-288.

Münstermann, B., Eckhardt, A., & Weitzel, T. (2010). The performance impact of business process standardization: An empirical evaluation of the recruitment process. Business Process Management Journal, 16(1), 29-56.

Ogunfowora, B. (2014). The impact of ethical leadership within the recruitment context: The roles of organizational reputation, applicant personality, and value congruence. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(3), 528-543.

Rudolph, C. W., Toomey, E. C., & Baltes, B. B. (2017). Considering Age Diversity in Recruitment and Selection: An Expanded Work Lifespan View of Age Management. In The Palgrave Handbook of Age Diversity and Work (pp. 607-638). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Samuel, M. O., & Chipunza, C. (2009). Employee retention and turnover: Using motivational variables as a panacea. African journal of business management, 3(9), 410.

Sebastian Reiche, B. (2007). The effect of international staffing practices on subsidiary staff retention in multinational corporations. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(4), 523-536.

Si, X. (2015). Models and methods for operational planning in freight railroads (Doctoral dissertation).

Worthington, S., Russell-Bennett, R., & Härtel, C. (2010). A tri-dimensional approach for auditing brand loyalty. Journal of Brand Management, 17(4), 243-253.

Zimmer, Z. (2016). Global ageing in the twenty-first century: Challenges, Opportunities and Implications. Routledge.

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