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Question One Competitive advantage refers to the ability of an organisation to formulate strategies to exploit rewarding opportunities thereby maximising

its return on investment. Competitive advantage occurs if customers perceive that they receive value from their transactions with an organisation. This requires single-minded focus on customer needs and expectations. To achieve this, the organisation needs to adjust its policies in line with changing customers requirements.

Secondly competitive advantage derives from offering a product or service that your competitor cannot easily imitate or copy. An organisation should always try to be unique in its industry along dimensions that are widely valued by customers. For example: apple stresses its computer usability, Mercedes Benz stresses reliability and quality.

In order to enjoy competitive advantage, the firm should be a cost leader, delivering value for money. It must have a committed and competent work force. Workers are most productive if they are loyal to the company, informed about its mission, strategic and current levels of success involved in teams which collectively decide how things are to be done and are trusted to take the right decisions rather than be controlled at every stage by managers above them. A good team of competent and committed employees will deliver the goals if they are involved in all important activities and are encouraged to develop goals that they are supposed to achieve.1 Human resource management gives a sustainable competitive advantage because Labour costs account for a significant percentage of a retailers total expenses The customers experiences are determined by the activities of employees(selecting merchandise, providing information and assistance) These potential advantages are difficult for competitors to duplicate2

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Jain,A. 2005, Human Resource Management:2 Edition, for Excel Books: New Delhi ,Chapter9-Gaining Competitive Advantage through Human Resource Management


HRM practices enable companies to gain competitive advantage in two major ways: one is by helping themselves and the other is by helping others. There is a significant benefit from having HRM considerations represented in the strategy formulation stage rather than only in the implementation stage. Once the strategy is formulated and the appropriate HRM thrust identified, specific HRM practices need to be developed. These practices such as staffing and compensation are the ones that actually create the competitive advantage for the company. The selection of the most appropriate practices should be appropriate to the strategy for example; if co-operative behaviours are needed among employees then group or organizational level compensation incentives should be provided rather than an individual-level incentive system. If product quality is critical, quality circles and union-management cooperation should be developed. Once the strategy is formulated, the determination of the neede behaviours comes from job analysis. The HRM practices that stimulate yhose behaviours must be identified. They must be implemented so as to ensure consistency across HRM practices. It is this hard-won consistency which will help ensure that a competitive advantage through HRM practices is gained and sustained. Using HRM practices on themselves companies can also gain a competitive advantage through using their HRM practices on others. Companies can gain a competitive advantage by helping their supplies, customers or services/ distributors with their practices. For example: how American Airlines and Honda assist their suppliers to ensure lower wages and better quality and how Mercedes trains servicers to enable Mercedes to sell its products with the guarantee of 24-hour service.3

Question Two Recruitment: the process of finding and attracting capable applicants for employment. Recruitment is the process of locating and encouraging potential applicants to apply for existing or anticipated job openings.4 It aims at attracting a large number of qualified applicants who are ready to take up the job if its offered and offering enough information for unqualified persons to selfselect themselves out.

Randall S.S. and Mac Millan C.I., Gaining Competitive Advantage Through Human Resource Management Practices New York 1984 4 Barver A., Recruiting Employees, Thousands Oaks , 1998

The recruitment process is the value added HR process. It is about attracting, interviewing and hiring new employees. The perfect recruitment includes the adaption of the new hire. It is about the definition of the job vacancy, designing the appealing recruitment text and offering the competitive package to the winning candidate. The recruitment process is managed by the recruitment strategy. The recruitment strategy is a key success factor for the process. It defines the competitive advantage of the organization on the job market. The company has to choose the right mix of the recruitment sources, recruitment agencies and recruitment messages. The company has to choose the target groups, and the underlying analysis has to identify the right ways to reach them.5 There are three main stages in recruitment: 1. Identify and define the requirements- this involves the preparation of job descriptions, job specifications and person specifications. 2. Attract potential employees 3. Select and employ the appropriate people from the job applicants

Methods of Recruitment Internal Recruitment-This refers to the filling of job vacancies from within the business, where existing employees are selected rather than employing someone from outside. Internal vacancies are usually advertised within the business via a variety of media: staff notice boards intranets, in-house magazines/news letters or staff meetings. Advantages -gives existing employees greater opportunity to advance their careers in the business -may help to retain staff who might otherwise leave -requires a short induction training period -usually quicker an less expensive than recruiting from outside Disadvantages

-limits the number of potential applicants for a job -external candidates might be better suited/qualified for the job -existing staff may feel they have the automatic right to be promoted, whether or not they are competent External Recruitment This refers to the filling of job vacancies from outside the business(contrast with internal recruitment). Most business engage in external recruitment fairly frequently, particularly those that are growing strongly or that operate in industries wit high staff turnover. There are several ways of looking for staff outside the business: Employment/Recruitment Agencies- these businesses specialise in recruitment and selection. They often specialise in recruitment for specific sectors e.g finance, travel, secretarial. Head-hunters/ Recruitment Consultancies- upmarket recruitment agents who provide a more specialised approach to the recruitment of key employees or senior management. They tend to approach individuals with a good reputation rather than rely on long lists of registered applicants- often using privileged industry contacts to draw up a short list. The cost of using a head-hunter or recruitment consultant is high. Job centres- government run agency, good for identifying local candidates for relatively straight forward jobs. It is free to employers and is most useful for advertising semi-skilled, clerical and manual jobs. Government Funded Training Schemes- New Deal and Modern Apprenticeships the advantage of these schemes is that government funding lowers the cost of employment and the business can get to know the employee before committing for the long-term. Advertising- it allows the employer to reach a wider audience.

Interested candidates will then make formal contact with the firm or the recruitment consultant in a number of ways: 1) An application form; all applicants fill in the same form, thus making comparisons much easier and quicker.

2) Letter of application; this allows candidates to write about themselves at some length. Some posts require people to be able to communicate through writing well, thus this is a good test of that skill. 3) Curriculum vitae (CV); a brief summary of the candidates life. It usually includes personal details, education/ qualifications, work history, hobbies and references. It allows recruiters to see if you have the basic skills and qualifications and experience needed for the job and saves the candidate the hassle of filling out a separate application form for each job they are applying for.6

Question Three Induction- is the task if introducing the new employees to the organisation and its policies, procedures and rules. The aim of induction is o introduce the new recruit to the organisation. It should make the new recruit aware of all aspects of the organisation so that they can represent the organisation appropriately. The induction will significantly affect how much the individual feels valued by the organisation. It is recommended that people attend induction within one or two months of the start of their employment. Objectives Removes Fears: a new comer steps into an organisation as a stranger. He /she is new to the people, workplace and work environment. Induction will assist him/she in knowing more about the job, its content, policies, rules and regulations, the people with whom he is supposed to interact the terms and conditions of employment. Creates a good impression: induction makes a newcomer feel at home and develop a sense of pride in the organisation. Helps them: adjust and adapt to new demands of the job, get along with people, get off to a good start. Through induction a new recruit is able to see more clearly as to what he is supposed to do how good the colleagues are how important is the job. Induction is a positive step because it leaves a good impression about the company and the people working

IB Business & Management Recruitment

there in the minds of new recruits. They will take pride in their work and are committed to their jobs. Acts as a valuable source of information, it classifies many things through employee manuals or handbooks. The content of induction People: an opportunity for new members of staff to meet individuals from different parts of the organisation including leaders such as directors and board members. Projects: an opportunity to visit a community which benefits from the organisations work. The organisations history: key information about the organisation, including how it was founded, key events in the organisations history, how many people it employs its annual income and how its governed. The organisations work: the organisations vision, values, purposes and the kind of projects it carries out. The organisations key Human Resource Themes: should be communicated during induction because they affect all staff members. This includes: Child protection: all organisations should have a child protection policy in order to protect children from abuse by staff and help protect staff from false accusations. Benefits: wile salaries will differ according to the role, benefits should be the same for all staff members on an employment contract. These benefits might include paid annual leave and medical schemes. Grievance and disciplinary procedures: ensures that members of the staff have a formal way of making a complaint, such as about the way they are treated by another member of staff. A disciplinary procedure enables the organisation to take action when someones conduct or performance or behaviour is viewed as unacceptable. Health and safety: staff members should be made aware of safety procedures for example: they should know what to do incase of fire or other emergency, which staff member can provide first aid. The organisation should seek to protect staff from harm as they carry out their roles, such as giving advice about carrying heavy items, using a computer or driving the companys vehicle.

Organisational policies: such as an HIV and AIDS workplace policy a gender policy or environmental policy.7 Question Four Training methods are usually classified by the location of instruction. On the job training is provided when the workers are taught relevant knowledge, skills and abilities t the actual workplace; of the job training on the other hand requires that trainees learn at a location other than the real work. These are some of the frequently used training methods; Job Instruction Training (JIT): is a four step instructional process involving preparation, presentation, and performance. Used mainly to teach workers how to do their current jobs. The four steps in JIT are as follow I. The trainee receives an overview of the job, its purpose and its desired outcomes, with a clear focus on the relevance of training. II. The trainer demonstrates the job in order to give the employee a model to copy. The trainer shows a right way to handle the job. III. Next the employee is permitted to copy the trainers way. Demonstrations by the trainer and practice by the trainee are repeated until the trainee masters the right way to handle the job. IV. Finally the employee does the job independently without supervision.

Coaching: is a kind of daily training and feedback given to employees by immediate supervisors. It may be defined as an informal, unplanned training and development activity provided by supervisors and peers. In coaching the supervisors explains things and answers questions, he throws light on why things are done the way they are, he offers a model for trainees to copy, conducts lot of decision making meetings with trainees, procedures are agreed upon and the trainee is given enough authority to make divisions and even commit mistakes.

Mentoring: is a relationship in which a senior manager in an organisation assumes the responsibility for grooming a junior person. Technical, interpersonal and political skills are generally conveyed in such a relationship from the more experienced person. A mentor is a supporter and facilitator in the realisation of the vision the

young person (protg) has about the kind of life he wants as an adult. The main objective of mentoring is to help an employee attain psychological maturity and effectiveness and get integrated with the organisation. Job Rotation: this involves moving the trainee from one job to another thus to help him/she to have a general understanding of how the organisation functions. The purpose of job rotation is to provide trainees with a larger organisational perspective and a greater understanding of different functional areas as well as a better sense of their own career objectives and interests. Job rotation may pose several problems especially when the trainees are rolled on various jobs at frequent intervals. In thi case trainees do not usually stay long enough in any single phase of the operation to develop a high degree of expertise. A substantial amount of managerial time is lost when trainees change positions, because they must be acquainted with different people and techniques in each department. Development costs can go up and productivity is reduced by moving a trainee into a new position when his efficiency levels begin to improve at the prior job. Inexperienced trainees may fail to handle new tasks in an efficient way. To get best results out of this system it should be tailored to the needs, interests and capabilities of the individual trainee and not be standard sequence that all trainees undergo. Apprenticeship Training: trainees who spend a prescribed amount of time working with n experienced guide, coach or trainer. Most craft workers such as plumbers and carpenters are trained through formal apprenticeship programmes. Evaluation of a Training Programme Evaluation of training can be defined as any attempt to obtain information on the effects of training performance and to assess the value of training in the light of that information. Evaluation helps in controlling the training programme. There are five suggested levels of evaluation training namely: 1) Reactions: trainees reaction to the overall usefulness of the training including the coverage of the topics, the methods of presentation, the techniques used to clarify things. 2) Learning: training programme, trainers ability and trainees ability are evaluated on the basis of quantity of content learned and time in which it is learned and learners ability to use or apply the content learned.

3) Job Behaviour: this evaluation includes the manner and extent to which the trainee has applied his learning to his job. 4) Organisation: it measures the use of training, learning and change in the job behaviour of the department/organisation in the form of increased productivity, quality, morale and sales turnover. 5) Ultimate: the measure of the ultimate result of the contributions of the training programme to the company goals like survival, growth, profitability and to the individual goals like development of personality and social goals like maximising social benefit.8

A. Jain 2005, Human Resource Management:2nd Edition, for Excel Books: New Delhi

Bibliography 1) A. Jain 2005, Human Resource Management:2nd Edition, for Excel Books: New Delhi 2) ,Chapter9-Gaining Competitive Advantage through Human Resource
Management 3) Randall S.S. and Mac Millan C.I., Gaining Competitive Advantage Through Human Resource Management Practices New York 1984 4) A. Barver, Recruiting Employees, Thousands Oaks , 1998

5) 6) IB Business & Management Recruitment 7) K. Oldfield, Survival of the Newest, Personnel Journal, March 1989 8) T.K. Meier, S. Hough, Beyond Orientation, Assimilating New Employees, Human Resource
Management, Spring 1982

9) S.Hick, Successful Orientation Programmes, Training and Development, April 2000 10)