HRM 11101: Contemporary Human Resource Management

Component 2 - Report

This report is due to be submitted by 11th December 2020 at 17.00. It should be submitted via turnitin and will account for 70% of the module grade. It will be marked online and the marks will be released within 3 weeks of the submission date (NB. All marks are subject to confirmation at the appropriate board). The report should be approximately 3,500 words +/- 10%. Please note that appendices will not be included in the word count nor illustrative material used within the main body of the report. As this is a report please note that it should have a clear introduction, main body and conclusion and sub-headings are expected. Please ensure you answer all the questions.

Changing recruitment at Meriva Supermarkets

Meriva’s HR strategy is: ‘to provide improved capability to become the best retail HR function and make Meriva’s a great place to work’. New HR processes were introduced in 2008, which meant that many of the functions involved in recruitment and selection were centralised in the ‘HR Shared Service Centre’. This was rolled out in Scotland but is not yet operationalised throughout the whole of the UK.

Previously there were issues with in-store recruitment processes because staff were dealing with a large number of CVs and application forms and this was time-consuming and expensive. The number of applications at peak recruitment times, for example before Christmas, could be overwhelming, and this made them difficult to track on the old system. It was also recognised that the application screening process was not always robust, as department managers sometimes had to interview candidates who were not really suitable and this was not the best use of their time. Problems also existed in keeping up with the applicants’ references. Eddie Pitt, the grocery manager in the Fenwick store, raised the subject regularly in the weekly meeting of the departmental managers.

‘I am wasting so much of my time seeing people who just don’t have what it takes to work here. I am not an HR manager and I’ve got bigger priorities than looking at application forms and preparing for interviews that turn out to be a waste of my time and theirs. Some of them have no common sense and no interest in working for the company. We need to get more colleagues who have a real desire to work with us and who are going to help our customers’

Now applications are made online only and not on paper. This means that stores no longer accept or receive paper application forms and do not write advertisements to display in the store. Application forms are no longer scored manually. Offer letters and contracts are produced centrally.

For the company, this is an attempt to have a consistent recruitment brand and experience for applicants. It is hoped that ‘prospect pools’ for specialist and hard-to-recruit roles can be developed and thereby assist HR planning and induction training. The centralised system will also facilitate the production of management information, for example recruitment reports and statistics.

The process begins with the store identifying the need to recruit; then it seeks authority to do this. The store then loads vacancy details onto the system, including interview slots and pay. Applicants browse the corporate website then apply for a specific vacancy and do a test. The vacancy automatically closes when a predetermined number of applicants have been successfully screened. The system then forwards the applicants to HR Shared Services, who arrange interviews directly with the applicants and then confirm the details. Eddie Pitt likes the new system so far, but it has taken a bit of time for him to learn how to put his vacancies on the website. ‘I am more confident now that I have put three vacancies on. I had help and coaching from the store HR manager at first, but I did the last one myself’.

From the store’s perspective, it holds interviews at agreed times and returns notes to Shared Services, though the store ranks applicants and makes the decision. Eddie’s colleague, the bakery manager, Jenny Jackson, was a bit unsure about setting aside interview times on a computer system. Her experience of her first interview arrangements has been positive:

‘I was a bit cynical about how it would work when you are dealing with people a couple of hundred miles away. I thought I would prefer to keep the old system. The applicants turned up for my interviews and seemed to know a bit about the job and the company. I had to plan my time to fit in the interview but it was worth it. It is hard to find qualified bakers, so if this is going to help me get people more quickly, then it will be a good thing’

HR Services makes a verbal offer, then sends out a contract and invitation to induction. It also sends for references when necessary. It means that department managers have to ensure that their department has the right skills and should plan ahead with vacancy requirements. They are also responsible for making sure that interviews take place at the planned time. An additional function of stores is that they can contact a ‘prospect pool’, or those applicants who have expressed a desire to work in specific skilled roles, like the bakery, then advise them to apply online. They can also identify applicants with ‘on hold’ status who were successful but who weren’t offered a role. Stores can contact them and arrange a meeting to discuss a new vacancy. Jenny Jackson offered a job to a baker who was ‘on hold’ because he was the second choice at the Paisley store.

‘This saved me so much time. I was able to get an offer made and start the new baker within a week. Peter was well impressed how quickly we got him started – he decided to come to us and turn down another job that he has been waiting to hear from for three weeks’

A key objective is to improve the applicant’s experience. The applicant browses the site for suitable opportunities. Those wishing to apply then create a user account. If there are no suitable vacancies, they can register interest in certain roles. In order to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act, applicants with special needs are referred directly to Shared Services for assistance with their application.

Applicants normally apply online for vacancies and enter their details. They then complete a job-specific screening test online. If successful, they are contacted by Shared Services to arrange an interview and then attend interview.

The challenges of implementing this change to existing practice from the store’s perspective have been about communicating the change to all relevant staff (including customer service

staff, who can provide some information to applicants in store), training people who are directly involved in the process on the new system, and providing ongoing coaching support. Jean is a customer service adviser. In the past, she kept a supply of application forms at the desk, but now she has to refer all those who enquire to the company website.

‘At first, I felt that I could not really help people asking about jobs, but the briefing I was at in the store explained the new system to me. I now understand what they have to do and I know where to get more help for them if they need it’

This e-recruitment strategy is being monitored closely to determine its effectiveness from the point of view of the organisation. Measures are being taken of, for instance, the number of candidates registered, calls received, and average call handling time at the Shared Service Centre, offers made, percentage of references processed, and average time taken to fill a vacancy from advert to verbal offer.

While the experiences in one branch have been positive, the pilot study in another small store has highlighted some issues. There are only five user names and passwords allocated to staff and this means that not all managers can be authorised to use the system. Inevitably, there are problems of uploading vacancies, arranging interviews and making appointments.

It is too early to assess the impact on candidates, but there have been some success stories like Peter. Managers are still adapting to the new approach. Eddie Pitt is keeping an open mind, but his experience so far is that the system is, ‘letting me concentrate on managing the people I have already – and spending less time on interviewing people who don’t want to be part of Meriva’.


1   What do you think were the main drivers for the company to develop its e-recruitment strategy?

2   Is e-recruitment appropriate for all types of vacancies in a retail store?

3   What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?

4   Which other methods would you suggest?

5   How would you design a research project to evaluate one aspect of the effectiveness of this example of e-recruitment from the point of view of the applicant?

6   To what extent has this new strategy ‘improved capability to become the best retail HR function and make Meriva a great place to work’?

7   The head of HR Shared Services has also suggested screening applicants through looking at their pages in social networking sites (where applicants have these).  If you were a manager in Meriva would you recommend taking up this suggestion? What are the reasons for your decision?

In the report it is important that you use relevant literature to provide evidence to support your arguments. This must be referenced correctly, using a standard format consistently throughout (APA), and a bibliography provided. The assignment should be presented in basic report style. This means in appropriate academic writing style, with contents page, sections and subsections, a clear introduction and conclusion and a bibliography. Please note that at

postgraduate level the expectation is that you will cite and read at least 10 good quality references.

    DISTINCTION   PASS   FAIL Extent and focus of the research 10% A comprehensive and well-focussed process of desk based research has been undertaken, which draws on material from a wide range of appropriate and up to date sources including current academic research or practitioner literature. A good range of relevant material has been gathered but this could have been from a wider range of appropriate sources, or is patchy or incomplete. The material has primarily been gathered from the most obvious of sources – primarily general textbooks rather than drawing on current in depth material. Critical Analysis of the literature 20% Demonstrates the ability to critique the material, identifying areas of commonality and contradiction. Shows appreciation of the importance of appropriate methodologies which are necessary to provide valid underpinning ,and is able to synthesise material and offer new interpretations and insights Is able to summarise and synthesise material and there is some evidence of critique. However there is little consideration given to the relative merits of the literature and more could be done to evaluate this. Literature is described rather than integrated into a coherent and balanced account of the subject Appreciation of the specific needs and constraints of the organisation 10% The nature of the organisation and its environment and the consequent implications of this for interpreting and applying the lessons from the literature are clearly understood and explained. Some consideration is given to how the nature of the organisation and its environment might require different approaches to HRM. However this could be developed in more detail. Takes a “one size fits all” approach which shows no appreciation of how the nature of the organisation and its environment will influence HRM Recommendations for improvement which are relevant to the issue, and appropriate to the organisation 20% Highly developed integration of theory with in-depth understanding of issues related to organisational practice. Reaches conclusions which show insight into dynamics of management practice. Recommendations are designed to meet specific organisational needs and to be feasible with identified constraints. Some evidence of integration of theory with understanding of issues related to organisational practice. Conclusions show general appreciation of dynamics of management practice. Recommendations may not fully take into account the needs and constraints of the organisation. Limited evidence of integration of theory with little understanding of issues related to organisational practice Recommendations show little understanding of realities of management practice and are generalised and/or superficial.    

Component 2 Marking Criteria

Knowledge & understanding demonstrated in analysis 30%Demonstrates a complete knowledge and understanding of Human Resource Management with an appreciation of leading edge developments Links concepts from a range of topic areas to gain a holistic and critical understanding of HRM. Demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of relevant theories, concepts and techniques and the ability to evaluate critically and synthesise them into a coherent structure, which may and go beyond these to new knowledge and understandingA good grasp of the main subject areas with some evidence of knowledge in leading edge developments. Evidence of an ability to link together knowledge from a range of subject areas Awareness of key literature and their application to the subject and some evidence of critical ability in relation to current knowledge and understanding which could be developed further.Some significant gaps in knowledge and understanding of key areas; evidence that knowledge is incomplete or superficial Lack of ability to link and integrate knowledge from a range of areas into a holistic view of HRM; inability to see relationships Poorly developed critical ability resulting in descriptive accounts of the literature
Structure and presentation 10%Material is presented coherently and is easy to understand. Arguments are supported by explanation and evidence through consistent and accurate referencing, which is well integrated into the text. All citations acknowledged; recognised citation method used consistentlyMeaning is generally clear although written expression might be improved. Overall the key points of argument are conveyed clearly although could be supported better. Most sources acknowledged; recognised citation method used consistently.It is not possible to follow arguments due to inappropriate structure, vocabulary or writing style. Generalisations and assertions are not supported by referencing to evidence or academic sources. Literature either not consulted or is not relevant to the discussion; citation method very poorly and/or not used.

NB: the percentages above are shown as indications of the relative importance of each section and should not be taken as a precise indication of the marking scheme