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Strategic Human Resource Management assignment on Sainsbury's Plc HPM policies


Task: Write a reflective journal on computer architecture assignment analysing the theoretical concepts captured from the weekly material.


The Strategic Human Resource Management assignment will provide an overview about the British Supermarket company, Sainsbury’s. It will provide an overview regarding relevant theories related to HRM. The traditional as well as strategic HRM practices that are used by Sainsbury’s will also be reflected in the report. SHRM competency model has also been discussed in the report. It shows Sainsbury's has a precise Human Resource principle that promotes the evolution and development of their employees. The report also provides recommendation as well as justification regarding how to improve SHRM strategies for the company.

1. Overview of the organization
The Strategic Human Resource Management assignment reveals that Sainsbury’s is a British Supermarket company that deals with a wide range of segments of its products. Some of the significant segments of Sainsbury's products include groceries, lifestyle products, homewares, clothes and more. Following the discussion of Harmer et al.(2021, p. 172), the company has been operating in the British market since 1869 and currently holds almost 15% of the supermarket share in the United Kingdom. In comparison to other competitors in the market, Sainsbury's growth has been sustained and effective manner. As discussed by Robinson et al. (2019, p. 1010), organisational sustainability is determined by the efficiency and sustainability of its Human Resource or workforce. On the other hand, referring to figure 1.1, it can be said that the growth of the company over the last decade has been quite sustained. Therefore, the sustained nature of Sainsbury's growth over the decades can be regarded to be a result of its sustained Human resource management practice.


Figure 1.1: Growth of Sainsbury's
(Source: Statista, 2022)

human resource of Sainsbury, Tamzid and Parves (2017, p. 2) accessed during this Strategic Human Resource Managementassignment research indicate that the company operates with a large workforce and follows up a strong and sustained policy for the management of their HR. To be exact, the number of employees currently working with the company is about 189000, which is considered the most crucial part of the company to lead it towards success (Sainsbury's, 2022). On the other hand, the company is focusing on diversity as well as the relationship between employees and management, which helps them in keeping their customers satisfied with the service they receive (Alsahimi and Ibrahim, 2021, p. 441). Therefore, it can be said that the breadth of the company in terms of the size of the workforce it works with indicates the need for a strong HRM system to manage this workforce, which is addressed by the leaders of Sainsbury's quite effectively.

2. Understanding of the relevant HRM theories and concepts
As discussed by Kramar (2022, p. 146), strategic human resource management of SHRM is an evolved form of conventional human resource management, which has evolved to become more systematic. As defined on this Strategic Human Resource Management assignment, strategic HRM is a crucial element for developing a sustained human resource that can be helpful for organisations in achieving their strategic goals. For instance, referring to the case of Sainsbury, the strategic business goal of the company is to make the lives of its consumers easier with optimised quality of products and service at fair pricing (Sainsbury's, 2022). In terms of strategy and sustainable human resource management practices in the idea of Kramar (2022, p. 145), it can be said that the management of employees systematically and strategically can be helpful for the leaders of the company to achieve this goal to ensure the satisfaction of the customers with their services. This section evaluates different theories and concepts about Human Resource Management that hold applicability for a firm like Sainsbury’s that deals with a wide and diverse workforce.

Traditional vs strategic HRM
In terms of the traditional vs strategic HRM in global human resource management, the traditional approach refers to a less strategic and less sustained approach for managing the HRM while the strategic is a key to sustained HR management (Kramar, 2022, p. 145). For instance, in traditional HRM the organisational leaders hold the value to meet employee needs and resolving their issues after they occur while in the case of SHRM, the approach used by HR leaders is to assess the potential issues and needs to address them before they occur, which makes it quite a sustainable principle for organisations (Refer to course materials). About the case of Sainsbury's, as addressed in the article of Baeten and Van Hove (2021, p. 39), the company has focused on the principle of managing its HR operations in a strategic and sustained manner, through strong policy development, meeting employee needs, resolving their issues and more to make a sustained utilisation of their human capital. However, as identified in the report of Sainsbury’s (2022), there are certain significant gaps in the area of management of HR in a strategic manner, which is reflected in the gap between the aim of the SHRM to resolve issues and the outcome in terms of Sainsbury regarding the gap in meeting the aim.

Strategic Human Resource Management assignment Concepts - hard and soft HRM
As evaluated in the Strategic Human Resource Management assignment article of Kumar et al. (2019, p. 699), it can be said that human resource management tactics can be multidimensional in terms of both hard and soft. Escrig-Tena et al. (2018, p. 2) have identified soft approaches for the management of the organisational human resource management can be referred to as the focus of the human resource managers to treat the employees as a crucial resource of the company rather than just a commodity, while in the case of hard approach for human resource management the managers perceive the employees to be a commodity in need to be controlled firmly. The difference in approach in terms of hard and soft human resource management, in the opinion of Ozkeser (2019), is likely to be influential on the efficiency of the HR leaders of a company to develop plans and implement them for the regulation of the HRM activities.

For instance, the Strategic Human Resource Management assignment concepts of Taylor's scientific management theory in the idea of Braverman (2020, p. 112) indicate the ways of managing human resources in a scientific and specific manner. It mainly aims at providing a logical and one-way solution for the organisational human resource managers to deal with employee needs and issues. On the other hand, it has been found that the concepts of Fredrick Taylor about the management of human resources with a scientific understanding of the area, where the main focus of the authors is mainly focused on controlling the employees in a scientific manner, which aligns to the hard approach for HRM. Additionally, concerning the differences between hard and soft human resource management, the concepts of Herzberg's Theory X and Y translate the hard and soft approaches that are to be used by the Human resource leaders of a company.

Specifically, Senarathne et al. (2020) have indicated that the application of hard HR principles is unlikely to help retain employees within an organisation even though this can help strategically control employees. About the case of Sainsbury, the company is using an employee-centric approach and regards the employees to be a crucial part of the organisation (Sainsbury's, 2022). This principle highly influences HR values as well as their focus on the development of effective HR activities. However, al Habibi (2019) has identified that despite the effective focus of the company with a soft approach to HRM, the human resource management of the company is yet to achieve success in eradicating sexism or discrimination as well as designing the HR activities and policies properly to ensure the protection of employee rights and strengthen organisational performance.

SHRM competency model
The Strategic Human Resource Management assignment competency model is a tool for evaluation of the HR leaders’ competency and evolution to manage the HR activities strategically through the progression throughout their career. This model refers to certain crucial elements for ensuring the management of the human resources of an organisation in a strategic manner (SHRM, 2022). As discussed by Chams and García-Blandón (2019, p. 110) SHRM is an approach that helps managers in making use of the human capital of an organisation positively in a sustained manner without exploiting them. Some of the elements include communication, relationship management, navigation of the employees through their careers and more (as illustrated in Figure 2.2). As per the conceptualisation and understanding of Beaven (2019), Sainsbury's has a specific Human Resource principle, which promotes the growth and development of their employees and working with that particular principle can be beneficial for the organisational HR professionals to grow their competency for strategically managing the human resource.


Figure 2.1: Strategic Human Resource Management assignmentcompetency model
(Source: Self-developed)

Concerning the previous discussion, it can be said that the organisation being studied, Sainsbury's, has a certain amount of focus on the sustained nature of managing human resources in an organisation. Moreover, the report of Sainsbury's (2022) has indicated that the company has been effectively focused on the development of the people that work with it. This being a crucial aspect of the strategic human resource management practice, depending on the discussion of Hamadamin and Atan (2019), it can be said that the HR activities of the company are quite strategic and in alignment with the SHRM competency model. However, considering Sainsbury's (2022), the core value of the HR leaders in terms of the lack of consideration towards personal and professional needs of the employees has been found. This indicates the issue of the organisation in terms of the gap in their approach for the Strategic Human Resource Management assignmentcompetency.

3. Analysis and Evaluation
The strategic human resource management (SHRM) of Sainsbury’s has to be developed keeping the current market conditions and requirements in mind. A very important aspect of SHRM is related to the development and implementation of the human resource management activities. For managing the human resources effectively and getting the desired returns, the organisational plan has to be aligned and integrated with the Human Resource requirements of Sainsbury’s. The HR activities like training of the staff, their development, rewards and compensation, must be planned by Sainsbury’s HR department so that the employees remain motivated and productive. According to (Abbasiet al, 2022, p. 2438), recruitment and monitoring the performance of the employees is an integral part of the HR activities. Sainsbury’s has to convey their business goals to their employees so that the organisation’s expectations are met. The Strategic Human Resource Management assignment goals have to be integrated in the HR activities so that the employees can fulfil the business goals. The rewards will encourage the employees to give more effort and be more productive. The rewards, appraisals and recognitions are important for boosting the morale of the employees, providing them the encouragement and motivation for putting in greater efforts at work. Sainsbury’s should also focus on evaluating and providing feedback on employees’ performance at frequent intervals. This helps in enhancing the performance and also making the employees more productive (Sanyaland Hisam, 2018, p. 20).

The company, Sainsbury’s has to incorporate sustainability into its HR activities. Sainsbury’s is trying to shape their HR functions in a way which will address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The company continues to support the SDGs and contribute towards them. They are trying to invest in the local communities to enhance their quality of life, minimise the emissions for reducing climatic changes, etc. They are further aiming at promoting the sustainable practices of agriculture and integrating sustainability in the supply chain (Moraisand Silvestre, 2018, p. 230). The company further promotes inclusion and diversity within the company’s workforce. They are trying to head towards a sustainable future. Sustainability is the recipe to success in the present world. For a very long span people have only focused on development, urbanisation and modernisation. However, off late in the past few decades the people across the globe have started realising the ill effects of human created activities. Thus, the world is now looking for eco-friendly products, trying to minimise the harmful impact of business on the environment and consuming organic commodities. The world is now demanding sustainable products so that their future generations are secured. As per the Strategic Human Resource Management assignment research the sustainability has to be imbibed in the organisational culture by the HR department (Ros-Tonen et al, 2019, p. 15). This will make the strategies long lasting.

Capability development is a crucial HR function. The HR of Sainsbury’s should focus on capability development. This refers to the creation of new capability of the workforce of the company. This could be done through new recruitment or training and development of the existing employees for enhancing the existing workforce. As per Dang et al (2019), the capability development comprises growth, evolution, maturation and expansion of capability of the organisation’s human resource. Sainsbury’s should either recruit new staff keeping the business objectives in mind or they should upgrade their current workforce standard. The capability development as opined by Botelho et al (2020, p. 1375) is a very significant aspect of Sainsbury’s business operations. The Strategic Human Resource Managementassignment findings show this will foster better learning and development, acquisition of talent, promote succession activities, facilitate effective evaluation of performance, etc. Capability development by Sainsbury’s will help in continuous improvement in the overall organisational performance.

4. Recommendations and justification
The strategic human resource management (SHRM) practices can be improved by taking it a step forward beyond personnel management. Sainsbury’s needs to change their human management approach to a more strategic and proactive one. They need to make their SHRM flexible, integrating it with the line management. This would facilitate optimum utilisation of the human assets. The problems that might arise amongst the workforce of Sainsbury’s would be accommodated and eliminated before they can create disruptions. The problems are pre-empted following SHRM. Sainsbury’s can strategically recruit employees keeping the overall business strategy in mind. This will facilitate planning for long term contingencies. The proactive recruitment process will help the organisation to have productive employees who can fill up job positions when others leave the company. The strategic human resource management should be related to the business goals. If the organisation aims at reducing their cost of production, they need to take the advantage of low cost inputs. For instance, Sainsbury’s can shift their production operations to developing countries so that they can access their cheap labour. This will reduce their overall cost of production. The Strategic Human Resource Managementassignment recommends the SHRM should be accommodative, which implies that the company has to accommodate the requirement of staffing. The SRHM approach should be interactive so that the HR functions could be related to the other functions of the company. The SHRM should be integrated for aligning the business strategies to the business objectives. The HR manager of Sainsbury’s should report directly to the senior management. The human crisis created by the pandemic has led the organisations to plan in advance about their workforce management and structuring. Today considering the present situation, Sainsbury’s needs to have a hybrid workforce, where few employees will work from home while others can come to office. To cope with the losses incurred during the pandemic, the company has to decide how many and which employees will be under direct payroll of the company and who will be furloughed.It is also recommended to utilise the latest technological trend in the infrastructural area.

It has also been recommended for Sainsbury’s to utilise public cloud technology in order to improve SHRM recruitment system. In other words, the company uses manual procedure in the form of Excel Spreadsheets to share employee data while recruiting. As a result, the task turned out to be time consuming and it often used to get duplicated. In other words, the Human Resource department was completely reliant on traditional as well as expensive database that has been customised beyond acknowledgement. In order to improve SHRM, the access towards database requires to be time consuming. On the other hand, utilising public cloud technology indicated continuous development along with best business applications. This also did not involve the requirement of continuous customisation. As a result, the recruitment system is now going to be carried out rapidly thus improving the overall SHRM.

Sainsbury’s as a company has to adopt various strategic SHRM approaches or measures for handling their human resource effectively. They need to develop a strategy for making their workforce understand the company’s objectives. The personal goals of the employees must be aligned to the organisational goals of Sainsbury’s. This will be facilitated by the HR managers. The current capacity and capability of the HR should be analysed before initiating any new projects. The projects should be accommodating the available workforce, to prevent underutilisation or overutilization. As and when required the company should recruit new employees to meet the operational goals. The future HR requirements of the company must be estimated in such cases before staffing. Another important point identified during the Strategic Human Resource Managementassignment research is that the employees should be guided by the HR to complete their give tasks by providing them the required tools.

5. Conclusion
It can be concluded that the organisation, Sainsbury’s has to enhance their human resource management by proactively shifting from personnel management to strategic human resource management. The strategic human resource management would include strategic management, people’s management and strategy and HRM link establishment. They need to manage the workforce keeping the needs of the organisation in mind. The strategic approach towards HR management would improve the overall performance of the company. Sainsbury’s has to emphasize on development and implementation of the human resource management activities, incorporate sustainability into its HR activities and focus on capability development. The company continues to support the SDGs and contribute towards them.It can also be concluded on this Strategic Human Resource Management assignment that the capability development comprises growth, evolution, maturation and expansion of capability of the organisation’s human resource.

Reference list
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al Habibi, B., (2019). HR practices of Marks & Spencer, Selfridges, Primark, and Sainsbury’s (Doctoral dissertation, University of Science & Technology).

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Beaven, K., (2019). Strategic Human Resource Management: An HR Professional's Toolkit. Kogan Page Publishers.Strategic Human Resource Management assignment
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