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Human resource management has become the growing concern for today’s organizations regardless of their size and scope. Every business enterprise has now understood the significance of employees and their role in making the company perform effectively towards growth and success. This paper examines the role of human resource managers in performance management of Marks and Spencer. The company has been in retailing for past many years and till today it has expanded its network in many countries across the world. At present, it has around 600 retail stores worldwide. Hence, the people working for Marks & Spencer are from diverse nations, gender, age, locality etc. Presently, the company has more than 70,500 employees from all over the world. As the UK’s retail industry is highly dynamic and competitive which in-turn makes difficult for the companies to survive and sustain in such environment. Hence, it is required by Marks & Spencer to manage and develop its critical assets i.e. employees in such as way so as to attain the competitive advantage over rivals. For this reason, it has become extremely important for the firm to channelize its human resources and their efforts in right direction (Beardwall and Claydon, 2010). The high performance work environment will greatly contribute in realizing the desired goals and objectives of organization.
The company believes in providing equal opportunities to all employees without any discrimination on the basis of caste, nationality, color, marital status, age, gender and religious beliefs etc. It also provides a flexible working arrangement for human resource embracing leave for any treatment, paternity, child breaks, adoption as well as career breaks which inturn helps in encouraging the staff diversity (HRM in Marks & Spencer, 2009). Furthermore, the company conducts various programs such as BIGs (Business Involvement groups) in each of its store that motivates employees to share their views, opinions, suggestions and knowledge about business with others. In context with the compensation policy Mark & Spencer has reward packages that comprises of basic pay and a wide range of monetary and non-monetary benefits.
Regarding the training and development programmes, the company offers well designed training sessions in order to carve employee’s talent, skills making them perform efficiently. Moreover, the firm also claims to provide a healthy and safe working environment for employees along with occupational health services. Apart from this, it has also provided consolidated Code of Ethics that includes values and responsibilities that firm has towards their employees and other stakeholders (Mark and Spencer on the go, 2004).
There are various departments within the company that are driven to perform their specific function in contribution to the overall success. Human resource department is responsible for coordinating activities of every employee in various departments and channelize their contribution towards organizations goals. One of the prime requirement for the success of every business is the effective performance of its employees i.e. in the manner through which desired targets can be achieved as well as growth opportunities are seized (Francis, 2003). Due to this reason, performance management has become an important aspect of today’s organizations. It is not a one-time play, but involves various steps or acts which entails the assessment of individual employee’s strength and weakness with regard to assigned job. The prime objective of performance management is to identify how well an individual is performing and contributing to organization and how he can be developed in order to bring out his best (Edenborough, 2007). The other role of the performance management is to develop the environment where the employee feels the growth of their mental ad the psychological aspects. It can have the impact on the job satisfaction and employee loyalty by the following practices.
A well structured performance management system is important for managing the talent for high performing organizations. It aims at creating the high-performance work culture which further makes the organization capable to sustain competitively (What is performance management, 2012). It renders the organization with various techniques that help in aligning the individual employee behavior with that of the organizational needs as well as value-driven culture. Moreover, this discipline outlines performance evaluation mechanisms, employee performance review tools, balanced scorecard which facilitate in taking corrective actions as required in enhancing employees existing performance. In sum, performance management can be defined as a practice for managing the functions and performance of all employees with the view to ensure consistent growth of organization. It incorporates expectation from individual employee, work schedule, regular monitoring of performance, taking initiatives to enhance performance and also appraising the employee displaying remarkable performance (Laroche and Rutherford, 2007.). In addition to this, it also facilitates change management in organization which is the most important aspect of today’s organizations in order to sustain in competitive market situation. Human resource department has the major role to play in fostering the performance management in an organization as this is only the department which links employees with company’s values and principles. The major role of human resource managers in context with the performance management in organization are as follows:
Setting the standards: For evaluating the performance of each and every employee, it is required to first formulate the standard or the goals on the basis of which individual employee performance can be measured. It is also needed by Human resource managers to clearly communicate set goals to employees of various departments and should also be informed about the expected performance from them.
Motivation: Setting the standards is not enough, but is also essential to ensure that employees are working in accordance with desired performance. For making the employees work effectively, it is required to motivate them intrinsically as well as extrinsically, so that they work willingly. Various researchers have suggested different motivating methods such as monetary and non-monetary incentives through which employees can perform better (Marchington and Wilkinson, 2008.).
Monitoring performance: Employees performance should also be frequently monitored in order to trace out the efficacy or deviation in the task assigned to them. By monitoring the performance, corrective action can be taken with regard to improving organization’s functioning and also each employees work can be measured. Effective monitoring can be done by observation, conversation with employees and also with certain performance evaluation tools and techniques including assessment formats, performance review etc.
Taking corrective action: Once the individual employee performance is reviewed, it becomes easy to identify the areas of improvements. This in-turn will facilitate required changes where needed and will also help in developing employees who require more attention (Performance management in action: current trends and practice, 2013.).
Besides the above mentioned functions there are certain activities that human resource manager undertakes in context with the performance management which is substantially beneficial for the organization. It is the role of the human resource manager to ensure the process of performance appraisal is carried on in a fair manner without any kind of discrimination with the employees. It is the human resource manager who looks into the matters in order to ensure that everyone is regarded equal while conducting the performance appraisal. In this, the HR can check whether the appraisal done by the managers of all departments is done fairly or not (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2006). While sometimes, performance appraisal can lead to intense relationships between employee and the manager because of reviews on poor performances. In order to resolve such a kind of situation, the role of human resource manager is quite important as he is the mediator between the manager and employee. He looks into the troubled relationships and tries to resolve them by setting up of regular meetings where they can discuss and resolve their issues. For performing a performance appraisal, it is necessary that the managers of respective departments have the correct guidance on how to perform the tasks. For this, the human resource managers have to provide proper training to the managers and guide them to complete the process properly. Through training, it can be made sure that the process will be carried on fairly in an appropriate manner (Pulakos, 2009). Lastly, it is also important to keep a record of all the reviews conducted in a proper and safe manner in which the HR manager plays a significant role. The manager keeps a track of all the records.
Performance management system of the organizations works on various guidelines or principles that are formulated by considering the interest of various stakeholders (Taylor, 2010). There are principles on which entire performance management system of Marks & Spencer works, these principles are as mentioned below:.
Service excellence: It is considered as one of the main principle in performance management which encourages employees to support a culture of quality service within organization that further improves the satisfaction of both internal and external stakeholders. It is required by HR manager to promote such environment that helps in mitigating certain problem and challenges encountered by organization (Rights at work, n.d). As the Marks & Spencer is working in highly intensified environment which further makes its essential for the firm to maintain the highest performance of its employees while delivering services to the customers. Thus, the HR professionals are regularly conducting various activities in this regard, so to enhance the performance of all people in organization.
Good Practice: Various employment laws govern the relationship that prevails between subordinates and an employee. It also outlines the duties and rights of employees at workplace. Further the employment legislation ensures that the equal treatment of all employees in term of advancement opportunities, work culture etc (Henderson, 2011). HRM is responsible to foster value-driven work culture in organization that brings sense of belongingness, safety and security among each and every employee.
Human resource and their development: It is required by each and every employee to abide with the policies, procedures, processes and system of organization. Likewise, the company is also responsible for fostering such culture where employees are free to share their ideas and also get required support as well as assistance from the management. It thus enhances the overall development of employees (Beardwell and Gold, 2009) and make them progress in their career.
Performance management includes performance appraisal also which helps employees to get self-motivated and thus foster their improvement and overall development. Performance evaluation or appraisal is an important activity in any organization which is necessary to be implemented (Dowling and et. al., 2007). It is important as it helps the managers to know about the performance of their employees and also their requirements. Further, it also aids managers to make decisions regarding recruitment, placement, recognition, promotion, training and development etc. and thus help in achieving both individual as well as organizational goals. It is required by human resource manager to conduct this activity frequently and should make every employee to follow it. Performance management also reinforces systematic, equal and impartial treatment of every employee by providing equal advancement opportunities to them (Cook, 2009).
In sum, it can be concluded that performance management is significant aspect of HRM which will provide desired advantages only when implemented effectively. Performance management necessitates managers to care for and develop the employees whilst making sure that both the organizational and departmental goals are accomplished. Managing performance properly needs striking a balance between accountability and compassion. Performance management is all about the employees and not about processes or systems or rules. Normally, the facets of performance which create a pressure on the managers relate to the failure of not being able to perform as per the targets or standards. Therefore, it is sensible to first look at management of performance at the most basic level of responsibilities as well as standards. From the operations of Marks & Spencer, it can be inferred that the employees of company are loyal and committed toward organization and are willingly working to realize the mission which further means that company is properly carrying its performance management and thus is able to achieve the desired success. The important aspects of HRM discipline covers effective communication of what is expected and designing of user-friendly tools which can enhance performance of employees along with time management (Atkinson and et. al., 2009).
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