Y/508/0487 - Practices or Role of Human Resource Management in Marks & Spencer (M&S)


  • Unit No : 3
  • Level : Undergraduate/College
  • Pages 16 / Words 3500
  • Paper Type : Assignment
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Human Resource Management (HRM) or HR is the practice of recruiting, hiring, deploying and managing employees of an organization in a structured manner. The main function or purpose of HRM is to maximize productivity of M&S through employee optimization (Anderson, 2013). The aim of this project is to understand different tools and techniques used in HRM to maximise employee contribution and usage of HR methods for gaini

In this report, the chosen organization is Marks & Spencer (M&S), which is a major multinational clothing retailer headquartered in UK. It also examines the importance of training and development provided by M&S to enhance skills of workforce that ensures productivity. The report also discusses the value of labour force, techniques of job design and several reward systems which M&S renders. HRM assignment also investigates the needs of good employee relations and methods used by employees to engage with staff or trade unions. This study also analyses the laws governing HRM processes and the best practices that enables an employer to become choice in their labour market.

LO 1

P1. Purpose and function of HRM in M&S

In M&S, HRM function is performed to facilitate the effective use of individuals for achieving personal and organizational goals. HR, materials and financial resources contribute to the production of goods and services in M&S (Armstrong and Taylor, 2014). The importance and role of HR in M&S is applicable to workforce planning and resourcing and are as follows:

Purpose of HRM

Effective use of staff- The main aim of HR in M&S is effective and efficient utilization of labour or workforce. It ensures the right use of employees in M&S by assigning duties and responsibilities.

Develop employees- HRM of M&S makes sure that the workforce is ready to be taken to the next level by monitoring and evaluating their performances. They ensure that the employees are developing potential and the deserving ones are taken to advanced phase or promoted.

Engage workforce- HRM assigns duties and responsibilities to each and every labour or staff of M&S for conducting operations and workings (Bailey, Mankin and Garavan, 2018). They ensure that employees are working at their best to benefit themselves and at the same time for betterment of M&S.

Promote M&S culture- HR also keeps employees motivated and inspired to make them work happily by promoting the culture of M&S. They ensure that staffs are happy in an organization and must make them stay at M&S.

Employee relationship- HRM of M&S maintains a good relation between employer and employee as it is a neutral branch which represents both individuals. They often act as an intermediary in issues resolving between manager and staff.

Functions of HRM

HRM of M&S is important and they manage multiple functions that are as follows:

Managerial functions:

Planning- The assessment of future workforce recruitment of M&S is carried out with the assistance of manpower inventory chart which is then followed by recruitment and selection process (Boxall and Purcell, 2011).

Organizing- Proper designing of organizational structure, interrelationships between jobs, smooth channels of communication, authority assignment, responsibility, accountability creation, establishing of line and staff relationship are major activities involved in M&S's HRM.

Directing- HR of M&S issues orders and instructions down the line and motivates employees to carry out these manuals. Providing good working environment, positive motivation through financial and non-financial incentives is the part of M&S's management.

Controlling- This ensures performance of M&S’s employees with the set plans or standards, checking actual executions and taking corrective actions if required.

Operative functions

Procurement- HRM of M&S procures the right kind of individuals in appropriate amount to be placed in their company (Buller and McEvoy, 2012). This includes certain activities like manpower planning, recruitment, selection, placement, induction or orientation for new employees.

Development- HRM conducts activities in M&S to improve knowledge, skills and values of staff for enabling them to perform their jobs in better manner for future. Training to employees, executive grooming to managers, organizational development to fit M&S's culture and employees.

Compensation- It is the determination of wages and salaries relating to employees contribution for goals of M&S. HRM ensures fair remuneration for staff of M&S which also consists of certain activities like job evaluation, salary administration, bonus, incentives etc.

Maintenance- HRM is also concerned with protection and promotion of employees of M&S at work. Several benefits are rendered to the workforce like housing, medical, transport facilities etc (Chelladurai and Kerwin, 2017). Many social securities are also provided to staff like provident fund, pension, insurance, gratuity etc.

P2. Strengths and weaknesses of different approaches

Recruitment is the process of locating and encouraging potential applicants to apply for the existing job openings. The HRM of M&S follows two types of recruitment processes:

Internal recruitment is the process of HR where an employment opportunity is filled from within M&S. They consider the deserving and qualified staffs that are presently the staff of M&S before preferring the candidates or applicants outside the business and organization. It offers the chance to change job positions which may increase the morale of staff and work efficiency.

External recruitment of HR is the process of hiring employees outside M&S. It brings innovativeness and fresh thoughts to M&S though it’s expensive and tough. However, this method has a great potential of leading the company towards achieving its goals (Chuang and Liao, 2010). The strengths and weaknesses of recruitment and selection through different methods are the following:

Internal recruitment

Recruiting former employees- This is a process of recruitment where the ex-employees are called back to the vacant position depending on the requirement of position. It saves time and money and following this process helps M&S recruit employees who are well versed with the job and its responsibilities where M&S needs to spend less on training and development.

Transfers- It is the process of reciprocating employee from one job role to another without changing rank and responsibilities (Evans, 2010). Transfer can also be done by shifting of staff's department or location depending on the position requirement.


  • Cost effective, simple and quick
  • There is no need of providing training and development to candidates as they are aware of their job and duties.
  • It is helpful in developing employee's loyalty to organization.


  • It hinders new hiring of potential candidates which can bring innovation, new ideas and fresh thoughts to M&S
  • It may cause de-motivation to employees who are not promoted and thus stay dissatisfied. It can also create conflicts among staff who were promoted and the ones neglected.
  • This method has very little scope as all vacant positions cannot be filled.

External recruitment

Advertisement- This is a commonly practised form of recruitment, which M&S also follows where the vacancy of job is announced through several electronic and print media (Guest, 2011). It is the best way of recruitment where large amount of hiring can be done in a short period of time although it is a costly method.

Direct recruiting- M&S uses this method of recruiting candidates externally where the qualified individuals are selected by placing a vacancy notification on the notice board. The technical workers and blue-collar professionals are hired through this method and also known as factory gate recruitment.


  • M&S encourages and renders new opportunities to job seekers through external recruitment
  • Because of the large number of candidates appearing for the hiring, there is more scope of selecting the right candidate.
  • It avoids partiality between employees and branding of M&S increases by using this method


  • It is time consuming and lengthy process
  • There is huge cost involved in external recruiting method.

LO 2

P3. Benefits of HRM practices for employer and employee of M&S

HRM practices of M&S are the part of implementing HR strategy through which human resource personnel can develop leadership of staff. It helps in achieving departmental objectives and enhances productivity. With these practices and organizational coordination, personnel managing becomes smooth which makes employees satisfied and makes them wanting to work for M&S.

The benefits of HRM practices for employee and employer are as follows:

Training and development- It is the function of HR management, which includes job skill training, new employee orientation, leadership training and professional development. This emphasizes on improving the performance of individuals and groups (Hollenbeck, Noe and Gerhart, 2018). The employees get benefit from learning new skills, self-fulfilment, change attitude and gain more knowledge that enhances their performance. Employers of M&S get benefits of good and skilled subordinates who can increase value and enhance productivity.

Building a flexible workplace and work life balance- Implementation of negotiable schedule of work, flexible design of work environments, composition of teams, locations, and several other methods affects the organizational culture of M&S. These functions create a result oriented environment of work which will enable efficiency thus benefits the employees by increased time for leisure and family (Huselid and Becker, 2011). The employer gets the benefit of conflict free, smooth controlling and operational effectiveness throughout M&S.

Performance and reward- Along with challenging work, a competitive pay and benefits must be provided to employees of M&S in exchange of work services rendered by them. HR of M&S focuses on rendering fair compensation, benefits and incentives to their employees to make them satisfied also ensures that there is no partiality shown. The employers are benefited by satisfied, happy and dedicated workforce who renders full potential to the betterment of M&S.

P4. Effectiveness of different HRM practices to raise profit and productivity

HRM practices of M&S are activities performed to enhance organization's performance and ability of employees for achieving goals of the company. The performance of M&S is depended on several factors and contribution of employees (Lengnick-Hall, Beck and Lengnick-Hall, 2011). These practices are effective only when all factors are considered including training, incentive system and flexible job assignment and performance management of employees. All these factors contribute in increasing employees and organization performance by raising productivity and profitability of M&S. For effectiveness of HRM practices, it is necessary to have consistency with other organizational factors like nature of market and changes in legislation. These systems or activities create conditions to attain goals of M&S by influencing employee classification.

Training and development provided to employees by HR of M&S incurs huge costs that may have a positive effect. The employees get a chance to learn new skills, develop existing abilities and acquire more knowledge which makes them aware of concepts that were unknown (Scullion and Collings, 2011). All these makes they develop their qualities which benefits M&S through their increased potential that can bring high productivity with rise in profits.

Rendering a good and calm working environment to employees generate a positive impact on the operations of M&S. A flexible work place and job makes the employees stay at the organization without thinking of leaving the firm and contribute highly to M&S. Safe, clam and supportive working atmosphere makes staff and HR of M&S conduct smooth operations as well as working of firm successfully. This creates an effective and efficient working of the staff where they follows all the rules and norms of M&S that makes HR's controlling functions more easy.

Compensation or remuneration provided to workforce without showing any partiality helps in building their trust and keep them motivated to work for M&S (Bailey, Mankin and Garavan, 2018). The employees must be rewarded with fair wages, incentives or bonuses depending on commitment and work done by them. This makes them motivated and stays at M&S by contributing their full potential for overall betterment . This commitment helps M&S raise its production levels and that eventually creates huge gaining of profits.

LO 3

P5. Importance of employee relations influencing HRM decision making

Maintaining a strong employer and employee relationship is the main factor behind the success of an organization. Powerful relations in the workplace makes staff more productive, efficient and loyal and it also avoids conflicts. Employee relations are M&S's effort to manage relationship between employees and employers to make the workforce committed to job with loyalty.

HR plays a main role in strengthening the bond among employees by bringing them together (Boxall and Purcell, 2011). They involve individuals in productive activities that give them an opportunity to know and understand each other through group working by bringing them on a common platform. Involving staff of M&S in its decision making process empowers their contribution to the success of organization at the same time saves money and time.

Some of the important factors of employee relations, which influence HR decision making are as follows:

Increased productivity- Positive relationships among employees and managers help in efficient working of M&S. It leads to higher productivity and performance that assists firm's growth. This relation creates a pleasant atmosphere within an organization, which rises employee motivation and morale that result in increased profits for M&S. This makes HR's function less as all employees are harmonised.

Reduced conflicts- A friendly and efficient working environment reduces the chances of conflicts arise that helps employees concentrate on tasks and be more productive (Anderson, 2013). The HR acts as a mediator in issues or problems as there are reduced conflicts or fights which will ease the operations of HRM.

Loyalty of employees- M&S creates a pleasant and productive working environment has a direct impact on the employee's loyalty. This loyal workforce improves retention of employee, which cut down recruitment, hiring and training costs.

Increased revenue- Strong relationship among employees have a positive impact on the growth and revenue of M&S. Staff feels more motivated and engaged at workplace which makes them perform the assigned roles efficiently. This dedicated work results in delivering better products to customers, high level of client satisfaction and increased sales.

Strategies for building and improving employee relations and engagement

M&S should build a strong relationship with their employees for creating a powerful organizational culture to improve performance (Buller and McEvoy, 2012). Promoting healthy employee relations at workplace can bring out potential lying in every individual. The steps for creating a good employee relations are as follows:

  • Encouraging staff to share work with each other- Working together and taking decisions on their own helps people interact with each other thereby increasing the level of comfort.
  • Involving everyone- Ensuring that all employees are made part of strategy development process by investing in employee skills developing. The staff should feel that they are important to M&S and individuals must be given the chance to express their innovative ideas or thoughts.
  • Promoting open communication- Employees must be provided a chance to communicate to the all openly without following any hierarchy (Evans, 2010). This will help them to communicate in emergency situations to exchange information to superiors to avoid further delays and risks.

P6. Elements of employment legislation and its impact on HRM decision making

Employment law is a set of laws that deals with legal rights of employees and duties or responsibilities of employers. It governs the employer-employee relationship and is made up of state and federal laws that include many subjects with a common goal of protecting worker's rights.

The consistent purpose of employment law is to protect employee's right. It also provides equal opportunity, pay, physical as well as mental wellbeing, safety along with diversity in work place and a working condition that prevents harassment. Employment standards are minimum regulations of employments for workplaces required by law. It covers many aspects like minimum wages, hours of work, leaves, etc.

Employment legislation affects decision making process in HRM in several ways. Areas which are affected include labour relations, retention, etc. Laws and regulations govern HRM, recruitment, development, placement and compensation. The key legal issues and constraints that are covered in employment laws are the following:

The Equality Act 2015: This act came into existence in July 2017, which provides guidelines for employers to avoid discrimination in recruiting process and at workplace (Hollenbeck, Noe and Gerhart, 2018). It aims to promote equality, ban victimisation, allows positive action to ensure everyone gets full equality, ban sexual and other harassments. The act covers employees in private as well as public sectors where employers must not discriminate employees on any basis.

Health and safety at work Act 1974 (HASAWA): It lays down wide range of duties on employers where they must protect health, safety and welfare at work of all employees. It sets principles, duties and rights in relation to workplace health and safety. This is a guiding law that workers and others must be given high level of protection from workplace health and safety risks.

Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA): This act controls how personal information of an employee is used by organizations, businesses or government. All who are using personal data must follow strict rules called data protection principles. This was developed to control how personal or customer information is used by firms or government bodies.

Employment contracts: It is type of contract used in employment law to attribute rights and responsibilities between employers and employees to bargain (Boxall and Purcell, 2011). This is a signed agreement that defines terms and conditions of employment which lists rights, expectations and obligations of company and individual.

Trade unions or labour unions are organizations formed by workers from the related field which works for the common interest of members. They assist workers with issues like fair pay, good environment of work, etc. they act as a link between the management and labours. The purpose of trade unions is to look into grievances of workers and present a collective demand to the management.

Main purpose is negotiating wages or work, regulation of relation between workers, take collective action, raise new demands etc. Collective agreement is a written contract made between employer and a union which regulates terms and conditions of employees in workplace, duties of employer and employee. Terms and conditions are reached through collective bargaining between union and employer where they negotiate the group agreement. It is usually for wages, benefits and working condition (Scullion and Collings, 2011). This is also called as Collective bargaining Agreement (CBA) or Collective Labour agreement (CLA).

LO 4

P7. Application of HRM practices in a work related context

Job specification is the statement of characteristics of employees and qualifications required for performance of defined tasks or duties that comprises a specific job. It is knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform a job in M&S. This covers education, work experience etc. that help in accomplishing goals related to the job.

The job specification in M&S is requiring a Sales Assistant for its Sales department in UK.


Sales Assistant Job Specification


  • Certificate in Retail Operations
  • Bachelor's degree in any stream (BA/ preferred)
  • Driver's license


  • Worked in retail industry preferably in mid-sized clothing store
  • Knowledge of clothing and apparel industry
  • Supervision of a small team


  • Sales experience
  • Product knowledge
  • Knowledge of stock ordering
  • Knowledge of basic principle of display and presentation
  • Knowledge of housekeeping duties


  • Prepared to learn banking
  • Prepared to learn store security procedures
  • Ability to work without supervision
  • Willing to travel
  • Punctual
  • Ability to pitch sales and negotiate
  • Little ability to train other staff


Technology use can make recruitment and selection process of HRM less time consuming and cost effective (Huselid and Becker, 2011). Internet has a transformational effects in the recruitment and section process of M&S as the brand is mainly online based. Recruiting employees by the use of corporate website has been widely followed by many companies including M&S. This method increases productivity which leads to greater economic growth. These days due to the rise in technological advancements and internet the process of HRM of M&S has become really easy and systematic.

Using online resources like job portals and websites made easy for the HR department to select or recruit the desired candidates. Also social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc. has a serious impact on job seekers and companies. Digital platforms have made it easier for companies to find the right candidate for the vacant position through assessing them on the profile they have made on the web.

Designing and placing job advertisements functions of HR in M&S includes several steps they are:

  • Create the title of job
  • Write summary of job
  • Checking type of employments
  • Identifying criteria for selection
  • Using job description

The advertisement for job considers many options like online, websites, social media channels, word of mouth, recruitment agencies, and headhunting and local newspaper job ads (Armstrong and Taylor, 2014). After advertising, M&S shortlists the deserving qualified candidates and processes applications. The next method by HR of M&S is scheduling interviews and choosing the best practice. Once the practice is chosen then the selecting best practice is followed.


From the report on Human resource Management, it can be concluded that HR department played an important role in M&S's business and operations. The report discussed functions and purposes of HRM. It also explained strengths and weaknesses of different approaches used by organizations. This assignment also examined the benefits of HRM practices to employers and employees of M&S and also studied the importance of employee relations.

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