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Human Resource Management Assignment: Evaluating HR Policies Of Woolworths

Question

Task:
For this human resource management assignment task, you will be required to find and research a real Australian-based company that also operates overseas. You will need to conduct extensive research on the organisation you have chosen, specifically focusing on HR issues and policies relevant to the company. Your report should outline how the HR practices of this company have been affected by external environmental factors (such as the COVID pandemic, Political or Economic instability in the host country). Your report will also provide recommendations on how the company should adjust its HR strategy in future in light of the significant environmental forces affecting both Australia and the host country.

Answer

Introduction
The information provided in this human resource management assignment signifies that in the modern era of the fast-moving business space, a good Human resource department is exceptionally critical for maintaining a productive and employee-oriented workplace. The human resource policies are crucial as they grant structure, reasonableness, consistency, control and fairness (Parveen, Akbar, & Hanif, 2020). The various policies on human resource adopted by the company outlines the compliance on the grounds of employment legislation along with informing employees about their responsibilities and expectations. The following report aims to shed a critical light on the same in the background of Australia’s leading retail and supermarket chain the Woolworths Group Limited.

Background of the company
The Woolworths Group Limited at present is one of the largest organisations in Australia by revenue and the second-largest in New Zealand. Serving and fulfilling the grocery and other leisure needs and requirements of its audiences in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and South Africa the company employees more than 200,000 working staff in its different outlets (Kasanagottu, & Bhattacharya, 2018). The Australian subcontinent is dominated by the group and in the current time has approximately 995 stores across the country. Nevertheless, even in its overseas operations, the company has managed to garnish a good name and reputation for itself by creating its own loyal audience base. The Human Resource department of the giant organisation mainly operates on a structural basis and is largely responsible for developing policies for improving the working conditions of employees (Grimmer, 2019). The company highly pays attention to developing teamwork policies for its employees as well. On a wide basis, both in Australia and in other overseas countries the HR manager of the firm is held typically responsible for developing a code of conduct for the organisation. Such code formulates a working ethic feel amongst employees assisting them to deliver responsible performance for uplifting the name and reputation of the company.

Analysis
HR policies and practices
The term human resource policies and practices majorly shelters governance of the employee base of an organisation which is responsible for developing and implementing the behaviour of employees. The major goal of a human resource management team is to tackle the assets in a well-organised manner, besides evaluating the performance parameters of the workforce in a period wise format (Pulker, et al., 2018). Considering the case of Woolworths Limited the HR department of the firm is highly linked to the brands overall growth for meeting its market expectations and thereby maintaining its market position as well. Taking note on the same the HR policies and practices of the company in the Australian subcontinent and its host countries is outlined below:

In Australia: As mentioned, the Woolworths group has more than 900 stores throughout the Australian subcontinent and hence at times it is even stated that the company holds the reputation of employing a certain percent of the working staff. The company in Australia follows and abides by the norms of a well-structured HR department that is further responsible for framing guidelines for the betterment of the firm (Collings, et al., 2021). The HR manager of company in Australia is known for utilising management tools like strategy development, strategy control and strategy planning. Each of the policy further allows the manager to practice distinct aspect of the business strategy maximizing the success rate of the strategies on the final grounds.

Each policy ever framed by the HR department manager of the Woolworths group is focused at achieving set goals of capturing the larger parts of the Australian market share. The HR manager of the Woolworths group follows a merit-based recruitment policy for hiring the most capable and skill labour force of the Australian subcontinent. Nevertheless, in the country, the company is even known for providing equal opportunities to its workers by allowing exposure to its women employees for letting them experiment with their calibre.

As a matter of known fact, the company is the top-notch retailer of the country and hence the HR department has to take keynotes for keeping its reputation intact. The HR policy of the company further lays exceptional focus on Induction and Training to uplift the skill base and working efficiency of the company's employees. The HR manager of the firm further engages in regular and period wise performance analysis of the workers assisting in reducing the performance gaps if figured on the scale of any particular employee (Sulaiman, Ahmed, & Shabbir, 2020). In addition to the same, the Woolworths group also has talent management systems for enhancing the performance of employees in its organisation.

In the Australian subcontinent, considering the earned revenue and the financial status of the company Woolworths engages in following the formula of employee benefits. The organisation grants benefits to its working population such as: pension plans, flexible working schedules, life insurance, paid holidays etc. The HR manager of the firm further drafts year-wise benefits and perks of working with the company that triggers the capable working force of the Australian subcontinent to come forward whenever the company recruits for distinct positions (Jarvis, & Williams, 2017). Nevertheless, a criteria and the policy made by the HR department that wins the confidence of the working population of Woolworths Group is that initiative of the company to involve its employees in the decision-making process of the organisation.

The employee engagement policy of the Woolworths group in Australia assists greatly in enhancing the knowledge sharing of the workplace. All the same, in the long run, this even helps Woolworths in taking better decisions for its company to compete in the competitive space.

Overseas: In the overseas market the Woolworths group majorly dominates its operations in New Zealand and the South Africa subcontinent. Nevertheless, the company even marks its presence in Hong Kong and Singapore. The HR policies and practices of the company in these countries as well somewhat find its basic cues from its mother origins of the Australian subcontinent. The major role of the Woolworths Group HR manager in South Africa is to develop discipline and positive work culture in the firm. The HR department in South Africa further even takes the initiative of improving employee relations via providing provision and best compensation packages (Analoui, 2017). However, providing training to the working staff of the company remains central policy of Woolworths in each of its country of operation even in modern times.

All the same, the departmental head in New Zealand is responsible for planning the several actions such as training and career development, compensation packages along with employee empowerment policies. Resignation and induction policies of employees are further looked after by the HR department head in New Zealand. Where in the country the HR manager is highly responsible for directing its staff members where the major practice and focus of the manager is to direct and guide the staff on various roles and tasks in organisation. The HR department of the Woolworths Group in New Zealand even assists in strengthening employee relations via the procedure of motivation and satisfaction (Greer, 2021). The skills and talent management initiative taken by the company lets the employees focus on their various career development opportunities at the company. The Code of Conduct followed by the New Zealand Woolworths group finds its cue from the Australian subcontinent where the subsidiary in the country ensures that each employee follows and abides by the norm conflict and violence tolerance.

Environmental forces impacting the company
The environmental forces are majorly the external forces that impact the working operations of the firm on an end to end basis. As the Woolworths group operates on the division of necessities the various outer forces and norms in its different countries of operation triggers its working procedures to a great extent. Similarly, a detailed PESTEL analysis on the same is provided below:

  • Political: The Woolworths group being a top-notch brand has various political factors impacting its business plan. The ban of single usage of plastic in Australia and New Zealand had greatly provoked its working methodology on an upgraded basis. With laws in Singapore and Hongkong getting more stringent about plastic usage it's tough time for Woolworths to uplift its sustainable performance (Grimmer, 2019). All the same, the recent lockdown norms imposed by the central government of different countries owing to Covid-19 even altered the way the Woolworths group was taking its business forward.
  • Economic: Up to the financial year 2018-19 the Woolworths Group claimed to have increased its retail sales by 3.5%. However, the outbreak of the global pandemic in 2020 greatly reduced the purchasing power of its target audiences worldwide (Team, 2021). Nevertheless, Woolworths with its distinct profit programs was able to maintain its audiences and increase its profits via digital platforms.
  • Social: With target audiences moving towards healthier lifestyle in New Zealand and worldwide it has all the more become crucial for Woolworths to introduce such items in its selling list. Woolworths in Australia followed a ‘Grower Fresh Campaign’ that received a 3.5-star rating. In New Zealand, it introduced products for the health-conscious population (PESTLE-PESTEL Analysis of Woolworths, 2021). The Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020 further made people all the more conscious about their health needs. Woolworths with its digital platform and discount codes was further able to trigger its audiences to purchase its segregated products.
  • Technological: The Covid-19 worldwide viral spread in 2020 brought an all total digital and technological outbreak. As per the reports Woolworths was best able to utilise the platform as the company’s sales increased drastically owing to the company’s technology utilisation.
  • Environmental: Woolworths under its ‘Good business journey’ program took the initiative of advancing CO2 systems (SWOT & PESTLE.com, 2021). However, owing to the outbreak of global pandemic the initiative of the company further took a backseat as it altered the entire working methodology of the company.
  • Legal: Changes in legal requirements such as: health and safety, employment, protection, product safety and anti-bribery laws affects the performance of Woolworths to a great extends. The outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 mostly tightened laws related to the same in turn making it tougher for Woolworths to compete in the long run.

Recent changes
In relation to the aforementioned and discussed environmental factors, the Woolworths Group brought about enormous changes in its operations as a response. Firstly to combat the spread of the virus the company relied heavily on technology and digital system and thereby closed all its stores for customers. Next, to respect the employment norms the company not only paid salaries to its current employees but also hired additional workforce to serve its audiences in different countries. The company further added high discounts to healthier food to permit even the lower-income group affected by the pandemic afford the product (Covid.woolworths.com.au, 2021). The big change Woolworth brought into its operations was drawing a line on buying limits for each customer for letting each of its audience benefit mainly in the times of global crisis.

Conclusion
In the end, it can be concluded that HR policies and programs ensure that every employee in an organisation is looked after. The external factors of a country impact and influence the performance of an organisation. These at times even triggers the working methodology of the HR department as witnessed in the case of Woolworths Limited.

Recommendations
On the grounds of recommendations, the Woolworths group can follow the below-mentioned suggestions:

  • Firstly, considering the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Woolworths group should take the initiative of providing its employees paid leaves in case they or any of their family members test positive. As the company holds a strong financial position it can be added that it should consider providing insurance cover to its employees. Amazon following the policy received commendable applause from its workers for the same.
  • As Woolworths was consistently hiring amid the pandemic for meeting the demands of the audiences, the HR department of the firm should take the initiative of forming a policy for the new employees. For instance, the new employees should sense a security with the company and hence the virtual atmosphere of the firm should be strongly interconnected. The HR department should maintain employee relations even while working remotely along with granting incentives to the ones delivering exceptional performance. The UK giant Tesco followed the same to keep its firm in a beneficial state.
  • As HR management is all about supervising and handling the wellness of employees and organisation, in this crucial hour of need the Woolworths group should take the initiative of organising mental health wellness campaign for its employees. As the group has been facing excessive pressure of increased demand it has also put the employees of the company at high stress. The HR manager of the company should further provide weekly online meditation sessions to its employees for keeping their productivity intact. This formula is at present being applied by various big tech companies that have their employees working remotely.

Reference List
Analoui, F. (Ed.). (2017). The changing patterns of human resource management. Routledge. Retrieved from: The Changing Patterns of Human Resource Management - Google Books

Collings, D. G., McMackin, J., Nyberg, A. J., & Wright, P. M. (2021). Strategic human resource management and COVID?19: Emerging challenges and research opportunities. Journal of Management Studies. Retrieved from: Strategic Human Resource Management and COVID?19: Emerging Challenges and Research Opportunities (nih.gov)

Greer, C. R. (2021). Strategic human resource management. Pearson Custom Publishing. Retrieved from: dspace.vnbrims.org:13000/jspui/bitstream/123456789/4407/1/Strategic Human Resource Management view.pdf

Grimmer, L. (2019). Coles, Woolworths and crazed consumers: Industry lacks leadership on plastic crisis: Interview with Matthew Elmas. Retrieved from: eCite - Coles, Woolworths and crazed consumers: Industry lacks leadership on plastic crisis: Interview with Matthew Elmas (utas.edu.au)

Grimmer, L. (2019). Life after Ooshies: Is Woolworths’ new promotion too little, too late?: Interview with Priscila Pho. Retrieved from: eCite - Life after Ooshies: Is Woolworths’ new promotion too little, too late?: Interview with Priscila Pho (utas.edu.au)

Jarvis, J. E., & Williams, I. A. (2017). A case study exploration of strategies to improve first-line supervisor problem-solving abilities in the retail supermarket industry. International Journal of Applied Management and Technology, 16(1), 6. Retrieved from: A Case Study Exploration of Strategies to Improve First-Line Supervisor Problem-Solving Abilities in the Retail Supermarket Industry (waldenu.edu)

Kasanagottu, S., & Bhattacharya, S. (2018). A Review of Metro, Target, & Woolworths Global Business Strategy. International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, 9(7). Retrieved from: Microsoft Word - IJMET_09_07_034.docx (researchgate.net)

Managing our COVID-19 response: Customer Fulfillment Centres | Woolworths Group COVIDSafe. Covid.woolworths.com.au. (2021). Retrieved 6 June 2021, from https://covid.woolworths.com.au/covid-safe/warehouses-support-offices-and-supply-chain/our-response-customer-fulfillment-centres.html.

Parveen, K., Akbar, W., & Hanif, K. (2020). HR POLICIES APPRAISAL FOR THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY OF PAKISTAN USING A MIXED-METHOD APPROACH. Retrieved from: HR Policies Appraisal for the Airline Industry of Pakistan Using a Mixed-Method Approach (tuengr.com)

PESTLE-PESTEL Analysis of Woolworths | Free PESTEL Analysis. Free PESTEL Analysis | Free PESTEL Aanlysis. (2021). Retrieved 6 June 2021, from https://freepestelanalysis.com/pestle-pestel-analysis-of-woolworths/.

Pulker, C. E., Trapp, G. S., Foulkes-Taylor, F., Scott, J. A., & Pollard, C. M. (2018). The extent and nature of supermarket own brand foods in Australia: study protocol for describing the contribution of selected products to the healthfulness of food environments. Nutrition journal, 17(1), 1-14. Retrieved from: The extent and nature of supermarket own brand foods in Australia: study protocol for describing the contribution of selected products to the healthfulness of food environments | SpringerLink

Sulaiman, M. A. B. A., Ahmed, M. N., & Shabbir, M. S. (2020). Covid-19 challenges and human resource management in organized retail operations. Utopia y Praxis Latinoamericana, 25(12), 81-92. Retrieved from: COVID-19 Challenges and Human Resource Management in Organized Retail Operations (redalyc.org)

Team, M. (2021). Woolworths PESTLE Analysis | PESTEL Analysis of Woolworths | MBA Skool-Study.Learn.Share.. MBA Skool-Study.Learn.Share. Retrieved 6 June 2021, from https://www.mbaskool.com/pestle-analysis/companies/17949-woolworths.html#:~:text=PESTLE%20Analysis%20of%20Woolworths%20analyses%20the%20 brand%20on,its%20business%20along%20with%20legal%20%26%20environmental%20factors.

Woolworths Limited SWOT & PESTLE Analysis | SWOT & PESTLE. SWOT & PESTLE.com. (2021). Retrieved 6 June 2021, from https://www.swotandpestle.com/woolworths-limited/.

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