• LO1: To understand the role of human resources within the organization.
• LO2: To differentiate between the major functions of Human Resources and their interdependency.
Read the case given below and answer the questions:
Meltos Co.is one of the world’s largest bakery businesses with a significant market share in many of the world’s biggest bakery markets, including many emerging markets. It has a long and proud tradition, stretching back more than 150 years, including a long history of developing its employees, which has remained part of its ethos during its progress to becoming a global company.
Despite very positive sales figures over the last 12months, Meltos Co. has prioritized streamlining the business to make it more competitive and has placed a strong emphasis on reducing costs over the next 18 months. Despite being keen to preserve its longstanding reputation as a firm that is committed to developing all its employees, in respect of learning and development, this ‘streamlining’ activity has focused on:
• ensuring a clear return on investment in training activities
• changing the way that learning programs are delivered and being more creative in developing approaches to learning.
• connecting training activities to the strategic needs of the firm.
The most important driver of the assessment of its training provision at Meltos Co.is change. Whilst performing well in the marketplace, senior management continue to express discontent with levels of productivity and employee performance. Moreover, senior management has determined that the company needs to become more flexible and adaptable to respond to change in its market context, for example by an ability to adapt organizational structures to meet new business needs or through the introduction of technological innovation. Therefore, Meltos Co. wants to move towards a system of continuous improvement by creating a culture whereby workers are empowered to implement small incremental changes, rather than have substantial change imposed on them from time to time.
Traditionally, training needs analysis at Meltos Co. has been ‘gap-led’. In other words, training tends to be focused where Meltos Co. identifies a gap in capability – for example, where the introduction of new technology requires worker skill to be updated, company policy is changed or a key worker leaves the firm, requiring training to be provided to their replacement. Typically, this gap-led identification of need is conducted at a local level, with little reference made to the wider national or international workforce.
Currently, the company runs several large training events each year designed to update manufacturing staff on everything from health and safety changes, business strategy and company performance to the adoption of new production technology. This is sometimes coupled with skills training for these workers as and when appropriate.
The head of learning and development, (L&D)responding to a call to cut costs from the HR director, is now of the opinion, however, that such long training programs, often of up to three or four days, are no longer the most cost-effective and efficient means by which to develop the staff. Such training has the dual problem of requiring regular investment and repeat sessions to cover workers on different shifts or at different plants, as well as leading to undesirable downtime of certain aspects of production. In particular, the head of T&D is keen to reduce the reliance onexternal training providers to design and deliver interventions to different workforce groups, from senior management to shop-floor workers.
Nabeel , the head of learning and development at Meltos Co. recently attended a seminar at a local university on ‘the changing nature of workplace HRM’. He was slightly alarmed to find out that much of the company’s practice was seen as outdated. In particular, he was interested in examining how some more contemporary approaches and techniques in HRM could help the company both reduce costs and better performance through continuous improvement.
1. What changes would you recommend that Meltos Co. make to their current learning and development provision to reduce costs and improve performance?(4 Marks)
2. Discuss how e-learning, competency frameworks and improved knowledge-sharing at Meltos Co. might help to cut costs and make the HRM at Meltos Co. more strategic.(4 Marks)
3. How might the firm seek to ensure a return on investment for its learning and development activity?(4Marks)
4. How effective is training in the organization you work for and mention a few methods being used for effective development?(3 Marks)
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