A public university located in Surrey

Roehampton is a public university located in Surrey, London and was established in 1975 that employ approximately 936 full-time, 200 temporary staff including visiting lectures. As part of this research Roehampton University (RU) will be investigated to see whether they comply with the HRM `best practice’ theory. RU was contacted with request to conduct a research with RU. Subsequently a quantitative approach was used whereby a questionnaire was designed relating to the `best practice’ method as mentioned above and was distributed to approximately 40 employees of RU the Business and Social Science site.

The questionnaires were distributed via email on 4th May 2005 with the collection deadline set for 9th May 2005. It can be seen further into the report that RU complies with 5 of the` best practice’ methods and requires improvement in the other 2 criteria’s. As a result of the analysis I would recommend HRM to update their policy procedures not to be misleading and to meet with the practice which actually take place within RU. It can also be suggested for HRM within RU to conduct a quantitative or qualitative research with all employees to pin point areas that need improving.

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`The more satisfied workers are with their jobs, the better the company is likely to perform in terms of subsequent profitability’1 it would be agreeable to say that happy and motivated employees are more productive. In this report Roehampton University (RU) will be used to conduct a research reference to the `best practice’ within the human resource management (HRM) area. Roehampton was established in 1872 as a training collage for women teachers and developed it self since. It was in 1975 when it formed as Roehampton institute and on 1st August 2004 was granted full independence as Roehampton University.

As a large organisation RU aim is `to be a University with an international reputation for teaching and research, a secure national presence and a distinctive local identity’ whereas their mission is to `the pursuit of pure and applied academic enquiry and providing its stakeholders with an academic service of the highest quality’2 (see appendix 1). In order to conduct this research RU was approached requesting permission to obtain information with reference to the `best practice’ method.

Prior to that a questionnaire wad designed to be distributed only to the School of Business site of RU. The questionnaire consist of 32 multiple questions and the RU website was used to access employee directories for email addresses. The questionnaire was accompanied with a covering letter explaining the reasoning for the research and details on the areas to be analysed. All employees were offered strict confidentiality assuring that information obtained was for research purpose only. A total of 40 emails were sent to be returned by 9th May 2005.

After having sent the questionnaire via emails the responses will be collected and logged to help analyse each area in detail. The results of the questionnaire will be discussed in detail further on into the report; however a percentage breakdown of the questionnaire can be viewed in appendix 2. Additional details of the HRM practice that is mentioned in the staff handouts and procedure manuals will be analysed in comparison with reality and what employees perceive it to be along with the `best practice’ adopted within RU.

As a result of the analysis some suggestions would be made if necessary and finally a summery of the results will be included The origins of HRM may be traced back to the 1950s in the United States. Along with the Thatcherism era and an emphasis away from collective bargaining, reduction in bureaucracy and a move from the collective to the individual, a new void in the personnel function required to be filled, when personnel specialists found themselves having to adjust to the enterprise culture and the market economy.

Thus, HRM emerged as a practiced personnel function, promising flexibility, responsiveness and a marked increase in the value of the employee. `Human resource management (HRM) is the set of organisational activities directed at attracting, developing and maintaining an effective workforce’3. `HRM is now more important than ever. Organisations increasingly complete with each other on the basis of effective people management and development by tapping into ideas of workers and organising their work in more efficient ways’.

4 HRM is aimed at recruiting capable, flexible and committed people, managing and rewarding their performance and developing key competencies. `Recent research has shown that the management of people makes a difference to company performance. ‘5 Ever since the term HRM came into currency it has come in for much criticism. Many people considered HRM as a revolution of personnel practice. `Whatever the choice of terminology or decisions of the personnel function, effective HRM and successful implementation of personnel activities are essential ingredients for improved organisational performance.

‘6 Hannagan states that `human resource management concerns the human side of enterprise and factors that determine workers’ relationship with their employing organisations’7 and consists of 6 key elements whereas Torrington claims that HRM consists of 5 functions (see appendix 3). `Many managers and academics now stress the advantages of adopting what has been variously labelled a `high commitment’, `best practice’ or `mutual gains’ human resource management model’.

8 `Best practice’s HR policies include flexibility of organisational structure, employees’ commitments to organisation, flexible employees’ performances to achieve high quality, integrating HRM into strategic planning and employees’ working life quality. This is the critical function of effective HRM. It is rarely possible to match perfectly the requirements of an individual job with the skills and abilities of the people available. Square pegs in round holes are not only bad for the organization. Wrongly placed workers are also often unhappy and bored, or anxious about being out of their depth.

`appointing the wrong person can be potentially devastating for the organisation and the right person can make a strong positive effect on the organisation’11. Therefore, HRM and other management literature put great emphasis on the process of selecting and socializing new recruits. `Several reasons were suggested for selective hiring and promotion practices. First, it was suggested that management generally surrounded themselves, albeit unconsciously, with people like themselves (i. e. , ‘the comfort zone’)’12`There are a variety of other methods which can be used in staff selection.

These include: peer rating; in-tray exercises; selection tests and personality questionnaires; group exercises; assessment centres; and individual (one to one) or panel board interviews. ’13 (see appendix 5) Training and Development – `these two activities are quite different in nature but share the same essential objective, i. e. to improve an employee’s performance at work’14 The most valuable resource is the employee, therefore the greater the ability and application of the team members, the more successful the business will be.

In order to fit with the constantly changing environment and variable job requirements, the training provided should be continuous; less structured and should focus on individualised knowledge requirements. This should enable employees to adapt to these changing conditions, to respond in unique ways to new challenges, and to become more comfortable with ambiguity. The ability to recruit, develop and keep employees gives a significant, sustainable competitive advantage. Training can also increase the range of skills available, which can be used in other parts of the organisation. Methods and effects of training can be seen in appendix .

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