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Managing the Human Resources Assignment - Sweety Sweets Ltd Case Study

Assignment Brief

As part of the formal assessment for the programme you are required to submit a Managing the Human Resources assignment. Please refer to your Student Handbook for full details of the programme assessment scheme and general information on preparing and submitting assignments.

After completing the module, you should be able to:

Your assignment should include: a title page containing your student number, the module name, the submission deadline and a word count; the appendices if relevant; and a reference list in AU Harvard system(s). You should address all the elements of the assignment task listed below. Please note that tutors will use the assessment criteria set out below in assessing your work.

1. Critically evaluate HRM and its role within the organisation and the wider global environment having regard to ethical and professional behaviour;

2. Critically evaluate the main processes of employee resourcing, development, relations and reward, leadership, motivation, flexible working and appreciate their contribution to organisational effectiveness.

3. Effectively use CIT to communicate in a variety of settings;

4. Undertake multidisciplinary research through the acquisition of skills relevant to the context of HRM.

5. Lifelong Learning

Manage employability, utilising the skills of personal development and planning in different contexts to contribute to society and the workplace.

Maximum word count: 3,000 words

Please note that exceeding the word count by over 10% will result in a reduction in grade by the same percentage that the word count is exceeded.

You must not include your name in your submission because Arden University operates anonymous marking, which means that markers should not be aware of the identity of the student. However, please do not forget to include your STU number.

This assessment should take you no longer than 3 4- hours and can to be completed at any point during 24-hour window. Please ensure you give yourself adequate time to upload your completed paper to Turnitin.

For further guidance on the TCA assessment please click on this link:

• Answer all of Section 1.

• Answer THREE questions in Section 2 (one per subsection).

• Read each question carefully before answering.

• Write clearly and legibly.

• Questions may be answered in any order.

• Within Section 1 equal marks are allocated to each question (15 Marks).

• Within Section 2 equal marks are allocated to each question (20 Marks).

• If a question includes reference to ‘your organisation’, this may be interpreted as covering any organisation with which you are familiar.

Learning Outcomes

• The case study is not based on an actual organisation. Any similarities to known organisations are coincidental.

Note: In your responses, you are allowed to improvise or add to the case study details provided below. However, the case study should not be changed or compromised in any way.

Sweety Sweets Ltd is a long-established family business. The company manufactures up- market confectionery products (chocolates, fudge, toffees, soft drinks and ice creams) at a factory in the Midlands which employs 50 people. The product range is then mainly sold through a chain of thirty small, branded Sweety Sweets shops which are prominently located on high streets in cities and towns across the UK. The retail division employs around 150 people at any one time, many of whom work on a part-time basis. There is a head office located adjacent to the factory at which a further team of 20 people are employed in management and administrative roles.

The Chairman and Managing Director of Sweety Sweets is the formidable Candy Sweet, who inherited the company from her father who founded it sixty years ago. She has run it for the past thirty years, for most of the time with considerable success. She oversaw the opening of a flagship shop in London’s Oxford Street and greatly extended the company’s product range. Under her leadership the brand was consolidated, Sweety Sweets shops becoming well-known as excellent places for people to purchase gifts and treats for themselves. The company continues to enjoy high levels of brand recognition in the UK and remains popular with its loyal, older customer base who have shopped for its products for many years. In the past few years, however, business conditions have become much more challenging. The company has lost about 25% of its overall market share and has seen its retail sales dwindle rapidly. The biggest concern is that the average footfall on the high streets where Sweety Sweets’ shops are located has declined by around 5% year-on-year for the past five years.  

The company has also received some reports from mystery shoppers it has employed which have given poor feedback on levels of customer service offered in its stores. Meanwhile new competitors with a more sophisticated, original and up-to-date brand image have attracted a
lot of business away from the company’s outlets, building a prominent online and global reputation which the company has been unable to match.

Assignment Instructions

At the same time, it is costing Sweety Sweets a great deal more to import the core products that go into their most popular products, while many fixed costs associated with running high street retail outlets have increased. In the last year the company went into the red for the first time in its history. Losses of over £500,000 were reported by its accountants.

On the HR front things have been going badly too. Staff turnover levels are higher than at any time in the company’s history and managers are struggling to recruit new staff to work in the retail outlets who have either the experience or the aptitude required to meet the company’s expectations. Absence levels are running at high levels too, requiring a degree of overstaffing to ensure that stores can open and close on time.

Just when Candy thought that things couldn’t get any worse, Sweety Sweets has been the subject of a series of negative stories in a local newspaper that have been picked up on social media. The firm’s factory operation has been labelled the worst place to work in the county it is based in. Some former staff members have been interviewed complaining that they were all employed on insecure contracts on minimum wage rates and that insufficient attention is given to health and safety training. Poor reviews have also been posted by employees on the Glassdoor website. A week later further stories then circulated in social media criticising the unhealthy nature of the company’s products and the amount of single- use plastic packaging it uses. Claims are also made that it imports products grown on plantations that use “slave labour”. These stories are all considerable exaggerations and in some respects untrue, but they are doing a lot of damage to Sweety Sweets’ hard won corporate reputation.

1. Evaluate major theories relating to motivation, commitment and engagement at work and apply these to Sweety Sweets’ business model. What different factors are affecting their business operation? (15 marks – LO1)

2. Provide an analysis which explains why the company’s general and HR business costs are increasing. (15 marks – LO2)

3. Drawing on examples of published research on HRD or organisational practice explain what general steps Sweety Sweets managers might take to reverse the company’s poor recent record as far as recruitment, retention and absence are concerned. (15 marks – LO 3)

4. What advice would you give Candy about the financial and HR steps she should take to re-establish Sweety Sweets’ ethical and corporate reputation? (15 marks – LO5)

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