HRM Assignment: SHRM Policy Analysis For Woolworths
Details of the HRM assignment
Students are required to choose an organisation with which they are familiar, and then to select two SHRM policies to be implemented in that organisation. The policies may include designing and implementing cultural transformation, strategic workforce planning and talent management, strategic development of the workforce, aligning performance management and compensation processes, leveraging effective leadership processes and management competencies, managing diversity, managing stress and improving workplace health and well-being, managing the impact of technology and globalisation, and managing employee voice and employment ethics, or other relevant issues.
The chosen policies should be analysed in relation to their components and applications; and critiqued in relation to their contents, accessibility, efficacy, effectiveness, legal compliance, consistency with other policies and with contemporary HRM principles and benchmarks.
Recommendations for the improvement of the policies, and their justification should be included in the business report. Relevant references should be provided. Students will demonstrate additional research beyond the course material and the course textbook by using recent peer-reviewed academic journal articles published between 2008 and 2019 (minimum of 20).
The current HRM assignment sheds light on the concept of Strategic Human Resource Management that refers to the association's human resources of the companies with strategic tools for improving the overall business performance. It was also helpful in developing an organizational culture to foster innovation and flexibility while also create a competitive advantage in the industry. In other words, Strategic HRM deals with aspects that have a direct and indirect impact on employees like hiring, fair pay, terminations & resignations, training, and administration. The report will involve analysing two aspects of SHRM in the context of Woolworths Ltd.
Background (SHRM Policies)
The strategy is said to multidimensional concepts that reject the theories and practices of traditional competitive advantage. Thus, strategies are termed to be specific, measurable, and achievable planning sets that are developed in alignment with stakeholders of the firm. In current times, human resources are considered to be one of the important aspects of the firm hence, the companies have been aligning their strategic tools with the processes of HRM for creating competitive advantage and increasing the overall performance of the firm. In today's world, SHRM serves as proactive tools through the company plans for satisfying and meeting the needs of its employees (C L DuBois & DA Dubois2012, p. 800). However, many companies still lack SHRM thereby leading to an unsatisfied workforce that has impacted service delivery and brand image.
Employment ethics like Fair Pay should be practiced especially when in retail sectors as the companies pay less to employees for saving costs. In this view, Woolworths has been accused of underpaying 5700 employees that amount to up to $300 million. Additionally, the company operates in the retail industry in which the employees work under stressful conditions and high targets. Hence, it becomes important for the firm to manage stress and improve workplace health and well-being.
Describing the Organization (Wool Worth Ltd)
Woolworths Group Limited is owned locally in Australia and is a public listed firm. The company derives its profits from selling food, liquor, merchandise in the supermarket industry. Its ahs employed approximately 196,000 individuals while operating in Australia and New Zealand. It has its headquarters in Bella Vista (New South Wales) and is also listed in ASX as WOW. Woolworths Limited operates through 180 Big W departmental stores at discounted rates in retailing hardware, stationary books, homeware, toys, sporting goods, and others. Woolworths Limited operates through 320 venues that are licensed and 540 retail liquor stores(IBIS World 2020). The hospitality services of the company include restaurants, bistros, cafes, gaming, nightclubs, and others. The sales revenues of the firm are reported to be $43 B as of May 2020.
However, the company has been criticized for several HRM policies that include underpayment and managing stress well being.
Analysing the Context
In recent times, Strategic Human Resources Management has been one of the important aspects for the firms.
Employment Ethics and Employee Voicing- Unethical practice by employers includes payment, harassment, nepotism, and others. These practices negatively impact the morale and motivation of the employees (Tucker 2008, p. 319). In this view, it was reported that Wool Worth will repay approximately $300 million to the salaried managerial staff. This scandal is considered one of the largest underpayment scams in Australia (Mitchell & Marin- Guzman 2019). The managers that were underpaid work under WoolworthsSupermarket, Metro Stores, and Big W. In recent interviews by the managers, it was disclosed that a new enterprise agreement covered all staff of supermarkets excluding the managers (Fassin et al 201, p. 425). Workplace ethics are values and moral principles that should be followed by managers and the workforce. The implemented employment ethics fosters relations amongst the employee- employers and employee – customers (Abdullah & Valentine2009, p. 90).
Also, the company lacks proper forums that encourage employee voicing about the conduct and disparities faced by the workforce while working with managers and other colleagues (Ogbari et al 2016, p.50). Woolworth has always been in the news for improper employment practices that are conducted in various units owned by the firms. This includes harassments, disparities of working hours for men and women, underpayments from the manager's annual salary, for management of breaks and leisure times, poor working conditions, and many others (Rhodes 2016, p. 1501). Lack of employee voicing programs in the organizations has resulted in reduced brand trusts by the investors and the customers.
Managing Stress and Well Being- In the workplace scenarios like the retail industry, the employees are often exposed to extreme work pressure in the long term. Companies like Woolworths earn low-profit margins as they sell products at discounted rates. High-profit margins can be only generated through improved sales volume while maintaining customer relationships becomes important for sustaining high competition in the industry (Cho et al 2013, p. 671). Meeting organizational objectives of Woolworth exposes the workforce to work beyond their working hours and days. Stressful conditions improve the performance in the short- term but continuous work stress can lead to unhealthy habits and mental sickness. Stress causes breathing issues and raises the speed of heart rate thus resulting in unhealthy habits like lack of sleep, overeating, high addictions to drugs, and alcohol (Tuckey et al 2015, p. 131). Many employees working in the company have complained of working overtime for long hours without sufficient breaks, also the company efficient policies for monitoring the workforce performance that results in increased work stress of employees. Apart from the work stress, employees of Woolworths are also exposed to personal stress that relates to finances, child and family care (Shukla&Srivastava2016, p. 2)
Ethical policies of Business corporations are important for all big and small firms. The code of ethics and conduct should be maintained by the senior management as the same is followed by the lower-level managers and employees. The ethical principles of the firms helping to build the brand image while redirecting the operations in the right path (Liu et al2012, p. 642). The central idea of establishing and implementing business ethics is to ensure the quality of products, services, and integrity in operations and others. In this view, organizations are always concerned about retaining and hiring the best workers. Employees are majorly attracted and dedicated to the organization’s that exhibit ethical conduct.
In many commercial organizations, the employees face several issues like discriminations, harassments, workplace bullying, and others, lack of appropriate committees to address these issues, the workforce is not able to underline and highlight the inconveniences to senior managers and HR. The purpose-driven firms possess a high degree of employee engagement and satisfaction (Akhtar et al 2008, p. 20). Lack of employeevoice in decision making or reporting inconveniences and unethical practices often frustrates the employee thus impacting the work performance. Also, when employees are not able to vent out their feelings and frustrations through internal modes, they adopt external mediums like social media and print media that impact the brand image and employee morale of another workforce (Miles&Muuka2011, p. 92). Strong employee voicing mechanisms include a trusting line manager that helps HR in gaining insights about the inconveniences and feelings of employees.
Managing Mental Stress and Wellbeing
The emotions of the labour and exhaustion constitute various personal and professional issues that impact the wellbeing of the workforces which further affects the performance of the firm. Emotional exhaustion is related to the personal issues ofemployees while emotional distress is directly linked with job satisfaction. It is very essential for HR catering to the emotional needs of the employees for managing turnover rates and minimizing costs. HRM should monitor the impacts of emotions for improving employee dedication that will also drive sales. The service sectors conduct precarious scheduling practices that impact the worker's health and well being. Working in the services sectors exposes the workforce to precarious work schedules for meeting the objectives of the firms.
Paruk & Singh (2012, p. 5369) depicted that the instability of working schedules is directly associated with psychological distress that impacts the sleeping patterns and happiness of the individuals. However, working patterns, emotional abuse, and other issues faced by employees have larges impacts than low wages provided by the firm. The employee tries to manage unstable working schedules and other issues due to households’ economic insecurities that furtherincrease the conflicts to Work-Life balance. Work stressors in the workplace trigger stress process that can result in straining the employees (Russell 2008, p. 118). Ensuing costs for employees for compensating health care needs might cost around $300 billion in the USA, Australia, and others, designing the work culture to catering the emotional need of the employees is necessary for ensuring the health and well being of the workforce while also reducing compensation costs (Cocker et al 2013, p. 5062).
Evaluation of Policies
Business Ethics and Employees Voicing
Many of the new graduates reviewed that they do not work to work in the organizations that have been engaged in scams, insiders training, environmental accidents, and pay theft. In regards to HRM policies of companies like Woolworths, ethical principles like correct wage calculation, maintaining timesheets, recruiting and hiring, and other benefits provided to the employee base (Curcuruto et al 2020, p. 319). It said that Woolworths do not pay the employees as per the Retail Industry Standards (Wilkinson et al 2019, p. 2). Companies need to establish ethics and conducts as organizational objectives while also complying with regional laws and ethics.
Companies like Woolworths should have open and private discussion forums through employees that can vent out suggestions, disparities, and other employment related issues. For instance, in the manufacturing units of Woolworths, inconvenience is intentionally created for the women employees as they are assigned 38 hours of work per week due to which it becomes difficult for the women employees to balance work and personal life. Thus, the managers exhibit discriminating behavior amongst the male and female workers due to which female workforce are forced to resign their jobs that further impacts the productivity of manufacturing units owned by Woolworths.
It can be said that open forums, weekly meetings should be organized for employee voicing. It is observed that employees who voice their opinions often experience exploitation and discrimination from the management team thus, forums should allow the workforce to participate anonymously(Mowbray et al 2015, p. 382). Strong Whistleblowing groups and counsels should be formed through which the employees are ensured that information will only be shared with responsible individuals. The employment voicing programs in the organizations (Woolworths Limited) will help the HR managers in succession planning, developing appropriate leadership programs, workplace recognitions, and others that will further lead to high employee satisfaction and performance (Maynes&Podsakoff 2014, p. 87).
Also, monthly and annual earnings should be understood to each employee. This is to say that all workforce should be given their salary slips monthly in which earnings, industry wage rate, and facilities &allowances are mentioned. The employee should be encouraged todraft queries and other issues related to income structure. HR should conduct monthly meetings for raising awareness about industrywage rates and other rights of employees to improve engagement and retention (Donovan et al 2016, p. 3).
Managing Mental Stress and Wellbeing
Many employees of Woolworth have complained of several issues that sacrifice dignity, increases work pressure, and impacts the mental well being. The working schedules are improper while the customer burnout their frustration son the workers in the stores. The company should employ acounsellor for debriefing the employees about the experiences during the working hours. The information shared during the counselling sessions should be confidential and help employees in managing their emotions.
The working hours of the employees should contain appropriate leisure time and should be recorded by the security personnel which will help the HR in assuring that workforce has received proper lunch and break hours regardless of the work pressure. The open forum should always available through intranet so that employees can reach the HR and senior managers. Also, the line managers should be present in aisle areas for monitoring customer behaviors so that workers can work with dignity and pride. Strict regulation for the customers should be laid against the use of physical and mental abuse in the workforces. It is high time that Woolworths should recognize employees as human beings and cater to emotional and security needs.
The forums organized by mental health experts will help the workforce on realizing the importance of mental well being. It will also help them deal with day-to-day issues thereby resulting in a stable state of mind which will eventually improve the work performance and reduce the costs of firms. The counsellors and experts will also help the workforce in maintaining work-life balance which also contributes to the health and well-being of the employees.
Woolworths is a big retail organization with diverse operations thus implementing the policies will be challenging. The employees will confusions regarding what report as an issue while voicing their problems to the HR. The line managers might be biased in hearing and solving their problems which might reduce confidence in the structured policy. In big retail organizations, the employees are basic lit rate and do not underhand various procedures and policies. Hence, the policy components of business ethics (or employment ethics) and voicing might be successfully understood and implemented by the employees. Since the employees have been adjusted to corporate culture, some of them might not co-operate with new policies and procedures. Also, many of the employees might refrain from voicing their opinions due to fear of consequences for managers and colleagues.
Implementing Mental Health policies might be one of the most challenging's tasks for the managers and HR. As mental health counselling and therapies are misunderstood by the majority of a less-educated workforce. It is not considered as important as physical health. Hence, it might be difficult for mental health experts to guide the workforce in several issues faced by them. Inadequate knowledge of HR and senior management team might result in drafting a weak mechanism for promoting mental health at the workplace. The senior managers might not identify early intervention and treatments of mental health policy might impact become an increasing concern for the employee base. The employee might also ignore the need of addressing their mental issues at an early stage due to which they might ignore symptoms of `health and well-being issues.
Woolworth Limited is suggested to implement the Business ethics and Employee voicing policies for improving employee retention as well as sustainable practices within the organization. The unethical practices of wage theft and disparity amongst the employees might impact its existence in the long run.
The company is also suggested to aware of its workforce about the mental health practices for the successful implementation of Mental Health and Well-Being Policy. This will help the workers in maintaining work-life balance while handling several days- to days, thereby reducing health and compensation costs for Woolworths.
SHRM focuses on employees for achieving long- term growth of the firm, unlike the traditional HRM practices that did not align people-centered values and business values in the corporate strategy. Employers need to maintain ethics in the day- to day- operations. Many companies are found to conduct practices that are unethical and directly imply employee morale and satisfaction. Woolworths need to implement policies and programs to manage stress and cater to the well being of the employees. It can be concluded that the implementation of the aforementioned policies will help Woolworths in reducing its overall costs while also improving employee morale and retention that further boosts the performance.
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