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Human Resourse Essay

1709 words - 7 pages

Case Study Three: Approaches to HRM in the hotel Sector

As outlined in Box 3.1, HRM in the hotel sector is strongly influenced by the variability of demand, particularly in those establishments serving the seasonal tourism industry. The hotel sector is also heavily dependant on the external labour market as staff turnover is typically high and, therefore, a ready supply of both skilled and unskilled labour is often required to meet customer demand. This high turnover often results in problems of skills shortages in key operational areas, such as waiting or kitchen staff. However, while the hotel industry context often acts to constrain managers’ choice in HRM strategy, policies and ...view middle of the document...

Further shortfalls in labour are met either by other casual labour (e.g. recruited via temping agencies) or by increasing permanent staff hours at short notice. Contracted casual employees are ‘on-call’ so that managers can demand that employees work ‘as and when required’, principally being used for functions such as wedding receptions. Management seeks to minimise the potentially damaging effects on service quality by minimising the use of ‘temp’ casuals and ensuring that, whilst providing a degree of flexibility, most employees are a ‘known quantity’ and have received at least some training by the hotel. Moreover, rather than relying solely on numerical forms of flexibility (altering staffing levels in line with demand), The Mercury attempts to meet the challenge of variable demand by training members of staff across a range of different areas; a rudimentary form of skills flexibility. The approach to staffing adopted at The Mercury appears to reflect a compromise between the need for labour flexibility and employee stability with management attempting not to overly manipulate employee hours simply to meet the direct needs of the organisation.

In terms of employee involvement and communication, formal departmental meetings are held weekly for staff to discuss operational aspects of the hotel. Open staff meetings are held monthly, for both permanent and casual employees, the purpose of which is twofold. Firstly, to pass on information on the performance of the hotel and secondly, to act as a forum in which staff can ask questions directly of the general manager. Most importantly, a consultative committee, known as the ‘Employee Forum’ meets monthly and is chaired by the hotel general manager or the personnel manager. This forum is comprised of elected staff representatives from each department and allows staff to raise issues related to their working environment. It is also where recognition is passed on to staff for good service and employee representatives vote for an ‘employee of the month’.

Staff turnover is not considered a significant problem at The Mercury albeit within the context of the industry. Management reported annual turnover rate of approximately 35% (the company target is 25%and turnover in many hotels can be considerably higher). However, the HR manager claimed to do a significant amount of work to reduce this figure, particularly in the recruitment process. For example, department managers received training in interviewing techniques and ensured that candidates are made aware of the idiosyncrasies and demands of the industry. In addition, staff retention is targeted by ensuring staff development is offered to ‘capable’ employees and good performance is rewarded and recognised. Turnover is mainly attributed to mistakes made in recruitment and candidates’ misconceptions about the industry generally, specifically pay levels and working hours. This is reflected in the fact that departing staff rarely left to work in...

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