HRM Essay

Order Description

Tasks 2
1. You are required to discuss the following aspects in the main body of the report:
 A critical evaluation the recruitment, retention, training and learning and development strategies within the organisation.·
 The strategies implemented for positive employee relations.·
 Performance management and rewards.·
 HR performance monitoring techniques used.·
 Recommendations for the organisation to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the above operations.·

Introduction
This assessment accounts for 50% of your overall module grade. It is an individually written assignment of about 3,000 words (10% -/+) excluding appendices, to be submitted to LSM on the deadline shown in the student portal with the appropriate cover note according to the guidelines given in the student handbook.
Your work is expected to be analytical and evaluative, consolidate on relevant theory and indicate a good level of application abilities. In order to complete this assignment you are required to select an organisation of your choice, and using HR planning and/or development models, critically evaluate the recruitment, retention, training and learning & development strategies within the organisation. Evaluate the strategies implemented for positive employee relations, performance management and reward and the H.R performance monitoring techniques used with recommendations for the organisation to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of these operations.
Any material that you will decide to use as a result of your research would need to be submitted at the back of your assignment in the form of an appendix to ensure that the tutor is also briefed to the same level as you, when assessing your work.
Take great care and follow the wording below carefully, to ensure that you have covered all the requirements sufficiently, according to the given tasks below.

Answer

Title: Strategic Resource Management in Organizations

Introduction. 2

A Critical Evaluation the Recruitment, Retention, Training and Learning and Development Strategies within Walmart 2

Strategies Implemented For Positive Employee Relations at Walmart 5

Walmart’s Performance Management and Rewards. 9

Walmart’s HR Performance Monitoring Techniques. 10

Recommendations for Walmart to Enhance the Efficiency and Effectiveness of its HR Operations. 11

Conclusion. 12

References. 14

Introduction

Strategic human resource management (SHRM) plays a pivotal role in the formation of competitive advantages in a company. Failure by a company to adopt the right recruitment, retention, training, learning, and development strategies may jeopardize its efforts to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its overall business operations. To stay on the path of success, business organizations must continuously implement strategies aimed at establishing employee relations. They should also embrace aspects of HR performance management and monitoring techniques with a view to ensure that rewards are allocated based on merit.

            The aim of this paper is to evaluate the recruitment, retention, training, and learning and development strategies within Walmart. Walmart is the world’s largest discount retailer. The company has employed more than two million people, meaning that it faces numerous HR challenges in its quest to recruit, retain, train, develop, and reward its most talented workforce. The paper identifies the different strategies that Walmart has implemented to promote positive employee relations. It also investigates the company’s performance management and reward schemes as well as its core HR performance monitoring techniques. Finally, it provides recommendations on how the company can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its SHRM operations.

A Critical Evaluation the Recruitment, Retention, Training and Learning and Development Strategies within Walmart

A major factor that has greatly contributed to Walmart’s success as a successful discount retailer is the effectiveness of its HR policy. This policy provides guidelines on how employees are recruited, retained, and trained. In terms of employee selection, Walmart’s managers stress the importance of diversity. Diversity is a crucial consideration for its company primarily because of its orientation as a global enterprise. Over the years, this approach to recruitment has led to the emergence of a situation in which the company’s workforce is a reflection of the diversity of the communities where it conducts business.

            Other than regional diversity, Walmart endeavors to employ more young people, women, and individuals from minority groups. To succeed in youth employment, the company mainly targets new college graduates through internship programs and college-based recruitment exercises. Such activities increase Walmart’s candidate pool, leading to a constant streaming-in of young talent. External recruitment efforts are also becoming increasingly common at Walmart as part of the company’s efforts to target qualified candidates with immense interest in the business field.

            Retention is a very critical factor in strategic human resource management. According to Hausknecht, Rodda & Howard (2008), employees choose to stay in an organization because of job satisfaction, constituent attachments, organizational prestige, organizational commitment, and extrinsic rewards. The reasons for staying may differ depending on whether an employee is working on a permanent, temporary, or hourly basis. Similarly, differences in reasons for staying may vary depending on whether an employee is a high-performer or a low-performer. For example, non-hourly workers and high –performers may be highly interested in opportunities for advancement.

            At Walmart, retaining talent is a major concern because of the ever-present threat posed by highly-skilled workers who quit in search for better employment opportunities in other companies. Failure by the company to retain its most skilled workforce is likely to lead to understaffing and a less qualified workforce. Such a situation may hinder the company from maintaining competitiveness in the market. To avoid such an eventuality, Walmart provides various benefits packages to its employees. These packages vary depending on duration of employment. For example, the company offers an education perk to employees who have been working there for at least one year. This strategy provides an ideal way of not only enhancing the quality of workforce but also retaining it.

            Employee training and development is a costly process for a business. To remain competitive, Walmart continues to spend heavily on various training programs. The cost implications of this process are huge because the company pays both the employees who go through the training programs as well as the specialists who offer this training. To ensure that efficiency is enhanced, the company keeps reorienting its employee training and development program on a continuous basis. In this approach, the objective is to replicate the method that Walmart used to achieve corporate success. In this method, the company’s founder first and foremost focused on success at the store level before embarking on an ambitious process of geographical expansion.

            Today, Walmart’s approach to training and development provides a model for the retail industry because of its high degree of success. In this approach, both outside systems and vendors are increasingly being relied on to overhaul the company’s training and development initiatives. Employees are subjected to training whenever new products are launched each season with a view to acquaint them with basic knowledge regarding their use. Every time new products are introduced, the training process is updated. At the end of the training program, employees are requested to provide feedback, which is conveyed to managers for use in future adjustments in the training process.

            Advancements in internet and information technology have also inspired change in Walmart’s overall employee training and development strategy. As a result, the idea of e-training is being embraced at Walmart. E-learning provides new prospects because of its efficiency. For instance, it allows for a flexible approach, whereby employees can learn while working. In the current situation where the discount retailer’s operations have gone global, e-training creates an opportunity for the overall training and development strategy to be coordinated from the company’s headquarters. By staying in touch with the latest changes in technology and knowledge, Walmart has embraced an employee development strategy that is enhances its status as a knowledge organization. In a knowledge organization, the primacy of knowledge, skills, and competencies is always emphasized in all employee training and development activities.

Strategies Implemented For Positive Employee Relations at Walmart

            When Sam Walton founded Walmart, he quickly realized that his company’s employees were his most valued asset. Consequently, he has consistently attributed the success of his business enterprise to the hard work, dedication, and commitment of his employees. To demonstrate his commitment to his employees, Walton renamed Walmart’s HR Department to “The People Department”. Walton believed that every manager at the company was responsible for carrying out HR activities. In essence, he was opposed to the idea that HR activities should only be undertaken by those who have officially been assigned to work in the HR department.

            Walton’s ideas about the importance of human resources are useful in this context because they form the foundation of Walmart’s organizational culture as far as positive employee relations are concerned. Despite the founder’s commitment to employee welfare, Walmart continued to face numerous “people” challenges that led to an increase in business risk. The sheer scale of the company’s operations makes it extremely difficult to ensure that every manager and employee understands and contributes effectively to the execution of the company’s business strategy. This indicates that there is a direct association between the level of business risk and HR strategy at Walmart. To address these challenges, Walmart faces the need to implement strategies that improve positive employee relations.

            To address various “people” challenges, Walmart has been implementing a HR policy that entails aligning all its business strategies with its existing HR practices. This policy not only enhances positive employee relations but also leads to a significant reduction in business risk. Employees are viewed as the organizational bridge without which the company’s strategies cannot be implemented. This policy entails the recognition of the People Division as the ultimate cultural force that binds together strategies and tactics in the quest for the achievement of Walmart’s aggressive goals.

            Today, leaders at Walmart continue to implement strategies that promote positive employee relations partly out of respect for the company’s founder and partly out of necessity. They continue to acknowledge that employees should be viewed as business partners in the work of ensuring that risks are reduced and business performance is enhanced. Because of the people-intensive nature of the retailing business, Walmart’s leaders have set out to align the company’s overall corporate strategy with their “people” practices. This overall strategy is based on seven core elements: culture, products, service, price, expenses, operations, and talent.

            To promote a culture that is conducive for business success, Walmart’s People Department subjects new managers to cultural orientation immediately they are hired. In this orientation, the managers are taken to a Walmart store to serve customers. At the University of Arkansas, the company has even set up the Walton Institute, where all managers must go for cultural training. The objective of doing this is to acquaint them with the “Walmart Way”.

            Walton’s People Department also seeks to ensure that all its employees are hooked to the routine of focusing on products. This routing was introduced by the company’s founder, who would hold a meeting with his employees every Saturday morning. During these meetings, employees from different departments would be encouraged to focus on strategies and tactics. This was an excellent strategy of connecting headquarters staff to operational aspects of Walmart stores. The secret behind this strategy was to ensure that every employee was taught to have the mindset of a merchant.

            Positive employee relations at Walmart are also being promoted by ensuring that all functional areas are aligned with service. Sam Walton was famous for referring to the customer as “The Boss” and explaining this by asserting that the customer could fire everyone at the company by simply choosing to shop elsewhere. By enlightening everyone about the importance of tailoring all strategies and tasks around the needs of customers, Walmart’s People Department hopes to achieve success in establishing positive relations with all employees.

            Aspects of price and expenses are also at the heart of Walmart’s efforts to promote positive employee relations with employees. The issue of price is important because Sam Walton promoted a culture in which the term “associate” was used in the place of “employee”. This means that each Walmart’s employee is an associate or business partner. Profit-sharing encourages employees to take ownership of the company’s operations, thereby bringing about positive employer-employee relations. After all, the commitment of employees is desperately needed in Walmart’s pursuit of a low-cost strategy. Similarly, the ongoing move to encourage employees to participate in efforts to cut expenses is aimed at nurturing positive relations with them based on the idea that expense control efforts are mutually beneficial.

            Walmart also seeks to promote positive employee relations through superior operational execution. The sheer enormity of the geographical coverage in terms of store presence makes the company a supply-chain driven business entity that also operates retail stores. The company’s store operations are so efficient that they are normally used as a benchmark not just in the US but in other parts of the world. This operational excellence provides the People Department with a competitive edge in its quest to induct new employees into its store operations. This essentially means that the company’s positive image in terms of operations places it in a position where it can influence employees to strive for excellence in supply chain operations. The need to maintain these high standards gives HR managers a rationale for introducing strict performance scorecards and standards without jeopardizing relations with employees.

            In terms of the talent strategy, the objective is to motivate employees to live up to the company’s high expectations in terms of performance. Unfortunately, this strategy carries a lot of risk because not every seemingly talented employee will live up to the expectations of the company’s performance standards. To reduce this risk, this company strives to recruit people with the right attitude and then training them on retail operations. In other words people are hired for their attitudes and not skills, which they can easily acquire on-the-job. The same tactic is being used when filling internal positions in the headquarters and stores, where 75 percent of the positions are normally filled through promotions.

Walmart’s Performance Management and Rewards

            Walmart is renowned for its commitment to employee-friendly performance management schemes and rewards. In 2007, the company rewarded 813,759 hourly associates (employees) with $529.8 million in bonuses (Walmart.com, 2007). The discount retailer also introduced the Servant Leadership bonus with a view to recognize the efforts of associates who have worked for the company for at least 20 years (Walmart.com, 2007). Walmart also gives the Customer Champion Award to associates who demonstrate outstanding customer service. These awards demonstrate the Walmart’s willingness to sustain its existing performance management programs to ensure that all rewards are given on merit.

            In performance management, a results-based approach provides an ideal framework for evaluating employees’ contribution to the mission of the company (Shields, 2007). In most cases, this approach incorporates aspects of key performance indicators, key result areas, and goals (Shields, 2007). For the results-based approach to be valid and reliable, efforts should be made to ensure that results across different areas of a company’s operations are integrated and strategically aligned. In this case, the different areas include customers, learning and development, financial performance, and internal business processes.

            The results-based approach tends to be most useful in situations where it is possible to specify, quantify, and measure individual, group, and organizational outcomes (Shields, 2007). At Walmart, it is somewhat difficult to quantify and measure individual outcomes owing to the complex nature of retail operations. In such situations, companies prefer to evaluate work performance using horizontal dimensions such as competencies and behavior. When Walmart introduced the Servant Leadership Award for employees who have worked there for the last 20 years, it essentially used the horizontal dimension of work evaluation and performance management. When it rewarded associates for their demonstration of outstanding customer service, Walmart used the horizontal dimension that involves an evaluation of associates’ competencies. Walmart seems to be experiencing numerous challenges in establishing a framework for allocating rewards meritoriously for quantifiable performance indicators such as profitability. Whereas it is possible to quantify the profitability of the discount retailer within a financial year, it is impossible to measure the specific contributions that each associate made to this profitability.

            Moreover, despite putting in place a compensation philosophy, Walmart encounters challenges in its efforts to coordinate all compensation plans for its more than one million associates. These associates work in different parts of the world and in different levels of seniority. This calls for a multi-layered, multi-cultural approach to performance management and compensation while at the same time the need to retain the image of a cohesive business entity with a centralized operational structure. For this reason, Walmart must always review and reorient its compensation structure. The objective of this approach is to ensure that all associates are compensated in accordance to their contributions to the company as well as the company’s compensation policies, objectives, and philosophy. The core objectives of compensating associates include creating competitiveness, attracting talent, promoting long-term commitment, and to instill a sense of ownership of the company.

Walmart’s HR Performance Monitoring Techniques

            Monitoring performance is a challenging task in the discount retail business. The task becomes even more challenging when the business operates thousands of retail stores and has hired millions of employees to roll out operations in numerous countries. This scenario perfectly describes the challenging situation in which Walmart operates in its quest to monitor the performance of its associates in its various stores across the US and abroad regularly.

             The most common HR performance monitoring technique entails maintaining surveillance of Walmart’s guiding HR philosophy and comparing it with various strategic changes. Whenever need arises, the company updates its HR processes to ensure that all employee relations programs are being administered in a consistent manner and with the correct design intent. In many cases, the main problem with HR performance standards has a lot to do with administration and operation as opposed to design. In this regard, Walmart’s HR managers endeavor to ensure that every employee plays his role in the company as intended.

            To enhance the laid-down goals in terms of monitoring, Walmart relies heavily on internal auditors. These auditors monitor all HR processes, policies, and programs to ensure that they are in line with the underlying objective of reducing expenses and increasing productivity. Today, these monitoring activities are being extended to executive compensation programs as well as all expenditures authorized by the company’s boards of directors.

Recommendations for Walmart to Enhance the Efficiency and Effectiveness of its HR Operations

The following are the measures that Walmart should undertake to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its HR operations:

  1. Regarding recruitment, retention, training, and employee development, Walmart should adopt strategies that promote the concept of knowledge organization. In order to maintain its status as a knowledge organization, Walmart should hire people not just based on their attitude but also their skills and knowledge.
  2. In terms of strategies for positive employee relations, Walmart should develop innovative ways of aligning its business strategies with the existing HR practices primarily to cultivate positive employee relations. Pressure from stockholders should not be allowed to drive the People Department into focusing too much on the reduction of business risk, thereby neglecting aspects of positive employee relations.
  3. The best way for Walmart to manage performance and rewards is to use the results-based approach. Too much reliance on other non-quantifiable, non-measureable metrics such as competencies and behavior may lead to a non-meritorious approach to compensation, which can easily kill competitiveness among the company’s associates.
  4. In terms of HR monitoring Walmart should rely more on data obtained from internal auditors to improve HR performance, mitigate business risk, promote positive employee relations, and design new employee learning, training, and development strategies.

Conclusion

            Walmart faces a challenging task of maintaining the level of HR effectiveness that led to its rise as the world’s largest discount retailer as well as the leading employer. Strategic human resource management (SHRM) concepts provide numerous insights into ways of bringing about improvements in different HR activities, including employee recruitment, retention, training and development. Fortunately, the company’s strong organizational culture and positive corporate image places it in a position where it can attract new talent as well as retain existing workforce. The uniqueness of Walmart’s culture is demonstrated by its founder’s choice of the term “associates” to refer to employees.

            Today, Walmart has grown to become a multinational discount retailer employing millions of associates. This development has brought about new challenges in terms of HR performance management, HR performance monitoring techniques. These challenges arise primarily from the complex nature of the retail business. To succeed in the realm of HR performance management and allocation of rewards, Walmart should focus on a results-based approach that provides a framework for evaluating and rewarding employees based on the contribution to the company’s mission. In this regard, the evaluation process should focus on aspects of key performance indicators, key result areas, and organizational goals. In terms of HR performance monitoring, Walmart needs to focus a lot on objective data obtained from different sources such as internal auditors. This data should form the basis of evaluating the level of merit in existing compensation plans vis-à-vis the contributions to the overall efficiency of overall business operations by individual employees, workgroups, and departments.

References

Hausknecht, J., Rodda, J. &  Howard, M. (2008). Targeted Employee Retention: Performance-Based and Job-Related Differences in Reported Reasons for Staying. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Shields, J. (2007). Managing Employee Performance and Reward: Concepts, Practices, Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Walmart.com (2007). Wal-Mart Celebrates Associate Contributions with Bonuses and New Initiatives to Reward Performance and Service. March 22, 2007. Retrieved from http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2007/03/22/wal-mart-celebrates-associate-contributions-with-bonuses-new-initiatives-to-reward-performance-service  on July 21, 2014.

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