Strategic Human resource management is considered as one of the most crucial factor of business which either make or break brand name of company at marketplace. In this regard, HR managers perform various responsibilities such as introducing eligible candidates within business, provide appropriate organisational culture, framing policies and strategies, etc. This would aid to enterprise to gain high retention of workers and their contribution in getting success of business (Luthans and Doh, 2018). This assignment is based on a case study of Universities of UK where educational institutions have faced various problems related to decrease rate of domestic and abroad students. Therefore, discussion is made on significant issues with some HR policies to overcome from the same. Furthermore, barriers are also highlighted which may come during implementation of such
Significance of current key issues
In today's modern world, it has been analysed that every organisation whether dealing in service, retail, manufacturing or even educational industry, looks forward to introduce effective human resource management. This would help in running business more successfully as well as aid to hit targets in efficient manner (Lecuona and Reitzig, 2014). Generally companies dealing international level needs to have effective HR managers who builds appropriate policies for high profitability and gain competitive advantages as well. But in context with educational sector, universities looks forwards to enhance student base by seeking admission of domestic and abroad scholars. As per current scenario, in UK, educational institutions and universities are facing lots of issues related to potential loss of student numbers. According to Banfield, Kay and Royles (2018), it has evaluated that this country pays highest level of tuition in the industrialised world. But due to plethora of governmental reports, news headlines and concern of employer about quality of graduate students, confidence in education standard and morale of educators has fallen. Along with this, students and their parents also think twice about spending money for admission in universities because educational providers fails to give guarantee about promising career. The two main reasons related to this issue are- hike in educational fees and not getting desired employment after graduation.
As per UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admission Service) admission figures, due to rise in students fees which is near about hike to 8% in 2013 as compared to last year, approximate 13,000 applications are decreased from both UK and abroad universities. Due to continuously risen in fees, it has also identified that in 2016, the number of student who have applied for admission in universities are fallen by 4% i.e. more than 25,000. Along with this, the number of EU students who plan to study in UK have also reduced to 5%. The another reason behind the same is clamping down the educational visa by UK Boarder Agency (UKBA). This kind of visa is provided to students for go for study in another country in legal manner. But in 2012 it has identified that London Metropolitan University has lost its license to give admission to overseas students. This has caused a sharp fall in number of foreign students. The reason behind cancellation of license of this university was checking process of overseas students which is not done in appropriate manner.
Similarly, there are many factors highlighted in case study which shows various reasons behind decreasing rate of applicants in universities. One of them is low standards of educational institutions where students are treated as consumers for earning profitability (Bal and De Lange, 2015). Universities ad colleges are compete with each each other to enhance their student numbers. Educational providers are concerned on assessment more instead of education. As assessment and education both are important for shaping future of students but in terms of qualifications, products is considered the level of knowledge, journey doesn't matter. In context with students, they also get obsessed when not getting fair result after a hard work. Along with this, rules and regulations of universities that concerns on marking assessment rather than on hard work of students also pressurise students. They are force to rote-learn the entire contents for final exams of a three-year degree course without understanding it. Therefore, educational providers also not much concern on giving lectures appropriately. In this regard, students tends towards websites to gain knowledge about subjects where all kinds of sources available on related topic. But another problem they have faced it to detect relevant and reliable information from thousands of pages on internet sources. This would also seems a battle for students which puts extra pressure on them to make notes. As coursework is considered as invaluable part of knowledge. Therefore, not getting proper notes impact on learning process of academics which would lead to arise stressful conditions of students.
According to BBC report on Teaching Excellent Framework (TEF), it has evaluated that leading universities of UK have failed to gain position of high degree teaching standards. This TEF program is focused on teaching pattern of tutors and outcomes for students (Al Ariss, Cascio and Paauwe, 2014). Therefore, as per this report, universities of UK need to make much improvement in its educational system.
It is clear from discussion that there is a ‘realistic’ look at above mentioned issues. In order to overcome from these issues, universities are required to implement some new policies. As per this case study, it has summarised that focus of education provision at The University of Education Excellence has been one of expansion, providing a range of new academic courses. According to Collings (2014), it has believed that University has always concern on enhancing number of domestic and abroad academics. To gain attention of scholars, emphasised on providing a broad range of suitable academic courses. They also give an ‘open-door’ policy for encouraging transparent communications that are linked with the drive for raising standards in learning and development. Although with ever-increasing pressure on class sizes, three-fold rise in course fees, availability of resources such as latest technology, sizeable classrooms etc. educational providers also essential qualities have been put on hold.
HR policies to overcome from issues
According to view points of Hill, Jones and Schilling, (2014), the concept of strategic HRM can be defined as a crucial element for resolving issues within business and achievement of goals for organisational success. It refers to best source for getting a competitive advantage. In context with UK universities, it is considered as one of the top destinations for EU, home and international students (Meyers and van Woerkom, 2014). But due to some issues like strict migration policy of UKBC, increasing global competition, quality of teaching, fail to give promise for better job employment etc. number of both EU and non-EU students are dropped continuously year by year. As per above case study, the major key issues behind potential loss of students are happened due to following:
- Ineffective management at universities
- Inappropriate teaching practices and support from staff in dealing with students’ problems, queries and complaints
- Unacceptable delays in enrolment and general admission onto programs of domestic and EU students
- Improper culture of universities
- Poor check-in process of overseas students
- Accusation of students from being let down by assessments and modules of universities.
Therefore, in order to overcome from such issues, management of universities are needed to implement some HR strategies and policies (Popaitoon and Siengthai, 2014). These policies help management in providing consistency, fairness, control and effective structure within organisation. It also aid authorities in ensuring compliance with employment legislations and giving information to staff members about expectation. HR strategies are also important for management in its on-boarding process where information to teachers and other authorities are given about how to deal with students' complaints. The main aim behind implementation of strategies is to drive required change in educational system, talent management, personal management and creation of international pedagogies and curriculum. This would help in creating culture as per national and overseas academics. With this assistance, management of educational institutions are required to develop policies for staff retention, employee resourcing and create effective system. In addition to this, HR professionals under universities should concern on how such policies can link into the corporate strategy that resolve mentioned issues. In this regard, management of human resources aim to support the achievement of mission and vision of the University and other educational institutions of UK mission by concerning on below mentioned work themes:
- Helping to create a flexible organisation– On concerning with issues, management will develop contractual arrangements for supporting flexible working and teaching patterns. In addition to this, university will also concern on overseas and remote working, secondments and matrix reporting structures, joint appointments with external partners etc.
- Supporting the evolution of workforce– Develop and deliver global as well as domestic focused attraction and recruitment strategies, including change management, technical and personal skills development like effective leadership and pedagogy style, succession planning and talent management (Schuler and Jackson, 2014). For staff engagement and their retention, management will support employee engagement, reward and recognition, career development, promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, etc.
The process of management work
The HR department will work with other divisions of universities where deputy director, human resource director and other executives will monitor HR strategies. By working as a single and integrated team, they will follow three main principles that are- Simplification, Facilitation and Anticipation. Here simplification refers to ensure that human resource polices and strategies are easy to access, use and understood. Facilitation concern issues related to both students and employee concerns as well as provide practical solutions also. Other than this, Anticipation refers to adopt planned approaches for executing HR policies, anticipating and responding require needs of students and staff along with provide solutions which will fit for future concern. University of UK will also concern on running HR transformation program. This will aid to deliver an improved an amazing and improved experience of students, increase efficiencies and effectiveness of HR strategies and policies, resource to give more support to administration for executing policies and more (Tyson, 2014).
As per current case study, both overseas and domestic students are concerned to get better education for career development and employee face issues related to ineffective management. Therefore, the main strategies for resolving such problems are given as below:-
Deliver a clear and sustainable recruitment strategy: In order to give best education to students who are seeking to take admission in university, the management will promote high talent management. To encourage and enable the development of internal talent as well as identify the external talent, effective recruitment methods will take. University will give employment to extremely professionals who are expert in their subject and have command on each and every topic. Teachers must be able to change their teaching styles as per culture of overseas, EU and domestic students. By developing clear approaches for the development of high-performing talent, managers will identify future workforce and talent requirement more easily. Through this process, university can give assurance to parents and students about succession planning, mobility opportunities like international assignments and internal secondments etc.
Define and develop a vision of leadership, values and norms: By defining leadership vision, values and norms, new recruiters can be encouraged to give support to university in giving satisfaction to students. For this process, management of university will support the growth of transformational leadership and management. Along with this, university will sustain cultural transformation activity also so that overseas students can adjust themselves with domestic environment of UK. This would aid to attract other students also to take admission in such campus area where priority is given to each student.
Develop a total reward strategy for retention of staff: As major issue faced by universities of UK is staff turnover, therefore, to overcome from this issue, university will concern on introducing total reward strategy. In this regard, management will recognise those employees who have given their best for enhancing career of students. Teachers who give priority to listen problems and complaints of scholars as well as give time to solve their queries, will be rewarded. This would help in encouraging and motivating other staff members to give their best for meeting the requirement of students. Along with this, university will also concern to give flexible environment to staff members and run programs for employee engagement also. For this purpose, administration will focus on fostering a value-based culture by concerning on diversity, well-being, inclusivity and engagement. It will help in developing as well as maintaining the positive working environment where teachers can give their best and promote learning among students.
Define a proper assessment plan where main focus is to give proper teaching class: Since students are facing main problems about completing assessment without understanding the subject knowledge. Therefore, university will create some changes in education system and support teachers in increasing efficiencies of their teaching pattern. By defining a proper assessment plan where students have to carry out research on both national and international assignment helps in developing their knowledge level. But as it has evaluated that students are facing problems to discover reliable and relevant information about a topic. Therefore, educational providers will also help them in conducting their research and in managing national or international project properly.
Ensure to give campus placement after completion of three-year graduation: As per current study, it has also revealed that main issue behind potential loss of students is job placement. From previous years, it has evaluated that UK Universities are continuously failed to give appropriate job placement as per student choice and demand. Therefore, introducing high campus placement both in domestic and overseas area, help in attracting parents and applicants to take admission in universities.
Thus, all these HR strategies help universities and other educational institutions of UK to improve its educational system. For better success and achievement of objectives, management will also monitor and review HR plan and policies on regular manner. Apart from this, administration will also concern on check-in process of overseas recruitment in appropriate manner. By proper management plan and support of regulatory bodies, authorities of university can help government in reducing the entrance of foreigners who come for illegal activities. This would also help in getting license to give admission to EU and international students for longer period of time. Along with this, it is also necessary for universities to make policies regarding counselling session also. Here authorities will conduct meeting and seminars with students and their parents about career plan. Through this process, universities can provide information about importance of different-different academic courses. With this assistance, students can choose career options as per their interest. Furthermore, by giving job opportunities in overseas countries to students can encourage other people to take admissions in such universities also. Apart from this, since UK Universities are also face problems related to decrease number of students due to hike in fees. Therefore, management and other authorities are also required to make effective policies related to formulate effective fee structure as per economical conditions.
Barriers in implementation of HR policies
Since there are two HR policies have been made where one is for employees and one if for students so that it could help University in overcoming from different issues concerning major problems like high turnover or employees and less satisfaction to students on their expectation. This could lead university to cancel its licence as well of an affiliation of it (Wilton, 2016). While implementing the HR policies related to both students and employees, it is being found that HR manager could face ample number of various while implementing it and these are given below:
Apart from this, it has also been found that HR manager of the university were facing other barriers as well; shortage of knowledge of HR department about HRIS (Human Resource Information System) and less focus on HR department were the two major barriers that was being faced by HR manager while implementing the new and updated HR policies for both employees and students. Away with this, one of the basic barriers that are being faced by human resource manager of the University is that, he/she was not familiar with number of internal promotions from underrepresented groups and groups with protected characteristics. In this context, some of problems such as lack of expertise, technical problems, lack of funds, and time consumption by the untrained staff can also be considered as basic issues which created issues while implementing the policies (Ellinger and Ellinger, 2014).
If proper monitoring and evaluation would take place at the time of implementing new innovative policies related to employees and students, this could lead them to reduce other barriers as well. Here, it was found that, remedial actions not taken by HR manager related to high turnover rate of employees this would be considered as an issue or could be considered as a barrier while implementing the policy. These barriers could also create heavy time, manpower and finance related problems for the HR manager of the university and this could impact upon performance level at the same time.
Human resource management strategies are prepared by HR manager for improving the existing ones. They implement these strategies in best possible manner so that they can have best desired outcomes. Implementation of strategies is not always an east task as it appears (Wright, Coff and Moliterno, 2014). There are some factors which acts as roadblock at time of execution of Human resource management strategies or plans.HR managers should analyse and consider all resistance because all these have a large impact on execution of prepared plans. The following are some barriers in implementation of strategies:
- Insufficient analysis of factors which are related to environment and culture of the area or location where universities are providing their education services. This act as roadblock if all the norms and conditions are not as per cultural and environmental aspects of society.
- Improper understanding of needs and demands of students or community who have interest in university, may act like a barrier at the time if implementation of human resource management strategies (Debroux, 2017). This is happens because these strategies or plans are prepared for interested parties and if these policies are not able to meet demand then it will act as major barriers.
- Inability of HR personnel to convince top level management for execution of desired plans and strategies. Implementation of strategies is in hand of upper level management. So if they are not activity supporting initiative taken by the HRM, then it is not possible to execute the strategy.
- Inadequate resources for funding and implementation of strategies on real platform can create problems. It could be deficiency of required budget, support from employees, improper or unavailability of training and development activities etc. As these are the major requirements while implementing any plan into action.
- Resistance of employees or students for accepting the strategies an lack of HR manager in understanding the reason behind this resistance is the biggest barrier. As these are the person who will implement and get affected the most from the execution of these strategies.
- Failure in analysing, evaluating and in monitoring the implementation of plans or strategies act as barrier in achieving the best desired result. Inadequate backup plan for taking remedial actions when things are going in wrong way also leads to obstacles in implementation of any strategy (Cooke, Saini and Wang, 2014).
- Insufficiency in understanding or identifying the required skills and knowledge level of employees or individuals who will play major role in implementation of strategies. If implementers lack sufficient skills then it will be a barrier in execution.
- More focus on achieving the short term or near future goals rather focusing on accomplishment of long term growth goals and objectives. This is a barrier because these kind if strategies does not last long.
- Lack of appreciation or less recognition from top level management also act as barrier in way of implementation of a successful strategy. This so because less amount of appreciation from high level managers leads to demotivation among middle level HR managers or personnel and resist them from implementing human resource management strategies.
It has been concluded from this mentioned report that strategic human resource management is the most important function of a company. It helps in improving performance and developing productivity of business which would further raise growth rate as well. In every kind of organisations such as educational sector, HR policies and strategies helps in overcoming from those issues which impact on business negatively. As in this report some issues regarding with educational sectors of UK has revealed where problems faced by students and management are revealed. Therefore, it has evaluated that universities are needed to concern on teaching practices and regulations of testing the knowledge level of students. By implementing effective human resources practices or strategies, they can increase number of national and overseas students. For this process, management of universities of UK and other overseas educational providers are required to concern on check in process of overseas students also. This would help in getting licence of recruiting foreign students for longer period of time.
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