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HRM Practice: Making Recommendations for Job Filler LLP

Background Information

You are a self-employed HR consultant.  Sarah is a new client who is the Managing Partner of a small recruitment consultancy called Job Filler LLP. 

The company is based in Causeway Bay with 35 employees and a turnover of £5m, these employees include:

  • Administrators who are entirely office based and provide routine administrative support to recruitment consultants, most do not possess a university degree. They are mostly paid minimum wage.
  • Resourcers who support recruitment consultants by working on certain elements of the recruitment process such as identifying and contacting potential candidates.  Resources may hope to progress to being recruitment consultants and are largely office based.  Most possess a university degree.  Resourcers are paid a fixed salary of between £18,000 and £24,000.
  • Recruitment Consultants whose primary responsibility is to win business from clients and oversee the delivery of the recruitment process for their clients. They attend briefing meetings often held at client premises and interview candidates, either at their office, at the client’s offices or sometimes even in coffee shops, hotels etc.  Recruitment Consultants each line manager at least one Resourcer and one Administrator. The Recruitment Consultants are managed by the Partners.  All recruitment consultants possess at least an undergraduate degree with an increasing number also holding postgraduate qualifications.  Recruitment Consultants are currently paid a fixed basic salary of around £20,000-30,000 with a significant amount of their income coming from individual commission bonuses that they receive for each recruitment project they win from clients and complete. Typically, a Recruitment Consultant will receive 5 to 10% of the fee paid by a client as their commission bonus.
  • Partners – There are current two Partners in the business in addition to Sarah and both are minority shareholders.  Wai is the Partner with responsibility for the company finances and David is the Partner responsible for marketing and IT. Partners receive a salary of at least £40,000 plus a share of the company profits.

Sarah’s clients pay a fixed fee for each recruitment project the size of which depends on the nature of the project e.g. seniority or salary of the role being recruited. The business is growing steadily and has been making a relatively modest profit for the last two years. This growth is likely to continue and so Sarah expects to create some additional Recruitment Consultant and Administrator positions within the business during the next 12 months which she will need to fill.  Sarah knows all of the employees quite well and morale has generally been high since she started the company. However, Sarah has noticed that this seems to be slipping and an increasing number of employees seem to be less motivated and enthusiastic than they were. In particular, she has overheard some of the Resourcers complaining that the Recruitment Consultants get a disproportionate share of the credit and financial reward for their work compared to the Resourcers.  However, the ongoing growth means that in the short term Sarah needs everyone to complete more work until the business can demonstrate that it can support additional employees.  Sarah is also aware that she has lost several of her best Recruitment Consultants to one of her competitors due to the more comprehensive benefits packages they are offering.  Within her workforce Sarah has more women than men and often at least one of her employees is pregnant or has been pregnant in the last 12 months, whilst Sarah and many of the other employees are under the age of 40, two of the male recruitment consultants are over 50, and Sarah has two employees from outside the UK.

Whilst the business as a whole has been growing, unfortunately one of the teams that focuses on recruiting to the retail sector has been consistently losing work to competitors and has been making a loss for over six months. Sarah feels that the work is there to be won and that several members of the team have not been performing as well as they should.  Sarah is particularly concerned about Lim who is the only male Recruitment Consultant in this team as his performance has noticeably reduced since he had a car accident three months ago that left him with permanent but minor short term memory problems. Sarah is determined that the performance of this team must be improved if it is to remain a part of the business.

Key Issues

To date Sarah has left all people management issues to the Recruitment Consultants. Where there have been problems with the Recruitment Consultants Sarah has stepped in to deal with people management or HR issues on an ad-hoc basis. However, Sarah has no other qualifications or experience in Human Resource Management and she is worried that if she doesn’t put formalised Human Resource Management policies and practices in place the company will stop growing and stagnate. Sarah has asked you to help her understand the different areas of HRM practice and make recommendations to her as to what policies, techniques, procedures or approaches she should put in place to deal with the issues outlined above and ensure that the performance of her employees and business is maximised moving forwards. Sarah would specifically like you to address the following key areas:

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Training, development and talent management
  • Performance and reward
  • Employee relations and engagement 

As part of your report you need to explain and evaluate the differing approaches that could be taken to HR policy or practice in these areas and identify any relevant factors that might influence the choices Sarah makes about which policies, procedures, techniques or approaches she applies within Job Filler LLP.  You must make recommendations to Sarah which should be clearly presented in a recommendations section at the end of the report.

You must ensure that your arguments are informed by reference to appropriate sources. This includes academic textbooks (e.g. the core texts listed above), Academic journal articles, Government/CIPD/ACAS reports and guidance. If you cannot support your proposals with reference to contemporary and relevant theory and research then your mark will suffer, if your work is not supported with any such evidence it will likely be marked as a fail.  

Your work must be submitted as a single Word document using font size 11 or 12, ideally in Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman font.  Given the limited wordcount for this assignment, you are not expected to include an executive summary. Your work should start with a clear introduction, you should then present a discussion of the areas of HR practice specified above and your work should end with a conclusion followed by a set of cohesive recommendations that are justified with an appropriate business case supported by academic evidence. This means you should present a persuasive case that takes into account the internal and external environment of the organisation and relevant legislation. You must also include a list of references in Harvard format. It is expected that you will draw on At Least 15 Sources which should be mostly credible academic sources (such as textbooks and academic journal articles) to support your analysis and recommendations.  Do not exceed the maximum wordcount stated above, only the first 2500 words of the main report will be marked (in text citations are included in this limit but your reference list is not).  Some additional guidance notes for you:

1. Make sure that your recommendations are clearly focused on HR/people management issues;

2. Use the information available in the case study to justify the areas you are focusing on and shape your discussion;

3. Provide clear and specific recommendations which are informed by theory and research and are relevant to the specifics of the company;

4. All of the above should ensure that you provide a business case, which explains the benefits and rationale for doing something, particularly weighing it against the cost of implementation. Make sure that what you recommend is realistic and reasonable, and well justified.

5. Structure you work clearly with numbered headings and subheadings so that it is well organised and easy to follow.

6. You must incorporate references to appropriate literature into your work to demonstrate how your analysis and recommendations have been informed by sound research evidence.

7. Taking account of both internal and external factors means looking at the political, cultural, social, legislative, and economic context in which the company operates.

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