HR Strategy Planning and Selection
Strategy, Planning, and Selection
Assume for this assignment that you are being highly considered for a director-level HR management position for a best-in-class national retailer. You are in the final phase of the interview process and must respond to the interview panel regarding specific questions and scenarios that will help them determine if you are a good fit for the new role. The company’s culture is centered on the effective development of strategy, plans, and selection criteria aimed at building and sustaining a competitive and profitable organization. It will be extremely important that you respond with a strategic mindset in order to convince the organization you are able to help them ensure the execution of the business strategy.
Write a six- to seven-page paper in which you do the following:
Analyze different types of strategies (cost leadership, differentiation, and focus or niche) and select which one you would deem more appropriate for an “efficiency-minded” retail organization and explain your rationale. How would the selected strategy ultimately affect how HR does its job?
Examine the four approaches to job design or redesign and provide an example (not a definition) of each. Then, make a case to the interviewing panel on the importance of effective job design applications in supporting the overall strategic goals of the organization.
Consider challenges and constraints associated with recruiting workers and identify and discuss at least two issues. What advice would you give to ease your selected issues? Be specific.
List and describe 2–3 candidate selection process ideas that might add value and overall effectiveness to the process.
What problems should HR and management teams avoid during the selection process?
Strategy, Planning, and Selection
A strategy is an essential component of organizations operating in the highly competitive and dynamic retail industry. One of the critical elements of the strategy is the incorporation into the vision, mission statement, and organizational policy. First, the execution of strategy is crucial as it allows one to understand the company, its history, and the overall industry. The second role is understanding the competitive advantage of the organization. Furthermore, the strategy also allows the leaders and management to gain an in-depth understanding of the company’s strengths and weaknesses that support or hinder growth in an organization. Finally, the strategy helps in focusing on whether or not the organization is investing resources and efforts on areas that can drive higher staff productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Thus, successful retail companies have a well-aligned culture to the effective development of feasible strategies, plans, as well as criteria of selection, which in turn fosters the creation of a sustainable competitive advantage and ultimately profitable organizations. This paper determines the ideal strategies for the provision of effective human resource management in retail organizations, focusing on supporting competitive advantage, job design and redesign approaches, and recruitment and selection.
Analysis of Porter’s Generic Strategies
The core strategic challenge for retail organizations is finding a means of attaining sustainable competitive advantages over other rival firms and products in a dynamic marketplace. Porter’s core generic strategies are a valuable model used by organizations in identifying a possible niche that can be used in gaining a sustainable competitive advantage in any industry (Planellas & Muni, 2019). Competitive advantage is defined as the advantage over the competition gained by the provision of better value to the consumers, either by lower prices or higher gains that can justify the greater prices. The four main generic strategies apply to different products, organizations of varied sizes, and across all entities and industries. The strategies are cost leadership, differentiation, differentiation focus, and cost focus, as illustrated in the chart below (Kluyver & Pearce, 2009). These strategies are linked to the degree to which the scope of company activities are broad versus narrow and level to which a company strives for differentiation of its core products.
- Cost Leadership
Under the cost leadership strategy, the main objective is becoming the producer with the least cost in the industry, which could be attained through large scale production that allows a business to capitalize on the economies of scale. The cost leadership strategy is possibly important since most market segments within the industry often focus on minimization of costs. If the realized selling price could equal or near market averages, then the lowermost cost producer enjoys the highest profits. Thus, a competitive advantage is achieved by increasing profits through the reduction of costs based on setting industry-average prices or growing market share using lower prices, while achieving reasonable profits on every sale due to low costs (Planellas & Muni, 2019). Walmart Inc. applies a low-cost generic strategy to attain competitive advantage by charging low selling prices of products offered to consumers.
- Differentiation Strategy
The differentiation strategy involves making the firm’s products different and highly attractive relative to the competitors based on the functionality, support, features, durability, and brand image valued by customers. Organizations that successfully execute the differentiation strategy make a hefty investment in research, development, product innovation, deliver superior quality products, effective sales and marketing, and distribution in main channels (Kluyver & Pearce, 2009). Also, the strategy is usually associated with premium prices to replicate the possibly higher manufacturing costs for developing extra features, unique and superior quality products. Since the upper prices are used to offset the manufacturing costs, the differentiation of products must be appealing to justify the prices. An example of a company that pursues the differentiation strategy is Nike that offers unique features and functionality to earn brand loyalty from customers who pay a premium for its footwear products.
- Cost Focus Strategy
The cost-focus is applied by entities that strive to use the lower-costs advantage in a small-sized segment in the markets. The firm’s products are essential and vaguely the same as the average leadership products in the markets. They are acceptable to an adequate volume of customers to make profits. Thus, competitive is achieved by targeting niche markets with minimal competition and focused market and then offering the lowermost possible pricing (Planellas & Muni, 2019). Under the cost-focus strategy, the targeting of a clear niche market is achieved through understanding the market dynamics and consumer needs, to guarantee that costs will remain low. An example of a firm pursuing the cost-focus strategy includes low-cost airlines such as JetBlue and Southwest Airlines that focus on specific destinations and routes.
- Differentiation Focus
Under the strategy, the company achieves competitive advantage through product differentiation, but within a small number of segments in markets. The organization identifies a small consumer group to more specifically appeal to their wants and needs. For the successful execution of the strategy, an organization first acknowledges that a given consumer group has a diverse set of consumer needs than the broader populations, which as the base for differentiation. As well, the organization ensures that there are no rivals who are appealing to the identified specific and distinctive consumer needs. Businesses can apply the approach to force themselves into a niche market and then to develop distinctive products sold at a higher price than the same undifferentiated products. This could be attributed to specialist knowledge and innovations. An example is the craft beer corporations that charge higher prices compared with major breweries owing to unique taste and flavors.
Cost Leadership Strategy in Retail Organizations
The cost leadership generic strategy is deemed most appropriate for retail organizations seeking greater efficiency, higher productivity, and profitability. The execution of the generic strategy is founded on the low-cost base in terms of labor, inventory, and storage facilities, as well as a means of sustainably decreasing costs below the competition and adjusting the selling prices accordingly. The retail organization can also achieve a low-cost base due to the access to retail e-commerce technology, large capital base, supply chain optimization, effective distribution channels, and high bargaining power for negotiating low prices for bulk inventory (Bordean et al. 2010). The strategy is connected to large-scale retail firms that offer standard products with minimal differentiation and are readily acceptable to a large number of customers. The low-cost leader discounts its products to maximize the sales and increase market share, mostly if a substantial cost advantage has been achieved over the competition. In summary, the retailers using the cost-leadership strategy have high productivity, capacity utilization, efficiency, and profitability.
Cost-Leadership Strategy and HR
Different strategies necessitate different kinds of employees. By pursuing the cost strategy, the retail firm can seek efficiency through the prudent definition of the skillset needed in the workforce and utilization of employee participation to achieve cost-saving concepts and innovations. The cost leadership strategy will ultimately impact how HR does its job is the firm’s focus, reviewing the role of employees, staffing, training, performance management, and compensation. The human resources should also focus on creating an organizational culture that views the HR department as a productivity center, which improves the productivity of the organizational workforce, and ultimately the firm’s profitability. The corporate culture should abhor waste and reward efficiency. Other features of productivity are the ability to effectively getting the job done and efficiently using corporate resources. The HR department should also observe and examine the productivity levels of different staff involved in various functions and processes. The number of staff required for the particular scope of work should be assessed using measures such as revenues per employee, costs per employee, and earnings per employee. Finally, the HR teams can help the organization recruit, select, and train the workforce to be highly productive, effective, and efficient. Therefore, human capital acts as a source of gaining a competitive advantage in the global retail industry.
Job Design/Redesign Approaches
Job design is a procedure of deciding on the job contents in terms of the duties, responsibilities, methods used in the performance of the job, systems, processes, techniques, as well as the existing relationships between a job holder with colleagues and superiors. The primary objective of job design is to integrate the employee’s needs with the organizational requirements (Bohlander & Snell, 2013). There are four popular approaches used in job design, namely, job rotation, job enlargement, job engineering, and job enrichment. These approaches have two main dimensions: complexity and impact. First, the complexity dimension positioned on the horizontal axis refers to the extent to which the approach necessitates the involvement of persons with varied competencies across different levels in the organization and high decision-making competencies for successful execution. Secondly, the impact dimension is positioned on the vertical axis. It refers to the degree to which the approach is connected to the factors past the immediate job, like reward systems, leadership, needs of consumers, organizational design, performance appraisal techniques, working conditions, and the composition and norms of the teams.
First, job enrichment is an approach is based on the underlying assumption that to motivate employees, the job should provide opportunities for growth, achievement, advancement, recognition, and responsibility. For instance, in the retail industry, the job can be enriched when the job is made exciting, creative, challenging by giving the customer service staff more planning decision-making, and controlling power. The approach offers the retail employees added opportunities for feedback and autonomy and more responsibilities, which necessitate decision making, such as scheduling of work and determining quality. The enriched job features in retail firms include direct feedback, client relationships, new learning, personal accountability, work scheduling, unique experiences, authority over direct communication, and control over resources.
The second approach, job enlargement, involves either adding more tasks to jobs or assignments of varied duties or tasks for jobs within a similar level. For instance, the job enlargement approach applies in the retail industry when a cashier switches from only collecting cash to both receipts of money and collection of customer feedback. Job enlargement tries to add somewhat similar tasks to the existing jobs. The expansion of the job’s scope is beneficial to employees as it increases job satisfaction, staff motivation, reduces boredom, and monotony. Lastly, job enlargement motivates an individual due to a variety of tasks, meaningful work modules, ability utilization, worker-paced control, and performance feedback.
Under the work simplification approach, the whole job is streamlined through subdivision into smaller sub-parts, and each part is then assigned to the employee who does the task repeatedly. For instance, the inventory management process is monotonous. Thus, it can be subdivided into maintaining accurate product data, tracking display and store stock, data-backed purchasing decisions, recording stock receipts correctly, and handling defects and supplier returns. The goal is to ensure that the employees in the warehouses gain greater proficiency by executing repetitive tasks that need less training, which lowers training costs and increases staff productivity and profitability. However, work simplification enhances the boredom and absenteeism owing to repetitiveness.
The job rotation method refers to moving workers from a job to another in a working group such that there is increased variety and break from the boredom of performing monotonous duties. Thus, the approach is the lateral or horizontal transfer, whereby, where the employees are moved to another activity to fulfill the requirements of work scheduling and increase the skillset and knowledge of employees. For instance, in a retail firm, the cashiers can be assigned other roles, such as stock-taking at the back office or customer service. When the cash receipt tasks are no longer challenging, the cashier is moved to another job within the same level and skill requirements to reduce disinterest through diversification of the activities. The approach enhances the personal worth and self-image of employees, and the management has more flexibility in filling vacancies and adapting to changes. The main drawbacks of job rotation include an increase in training costs, disruption of work as rotated employees to adjust to the new setting, and demotivation of ambitious and intelligent trainees seeking specific responsibilities in a particular specialty.
Effective Job Design and Strategic Organizational Goals
The use of an effective job design approach is important in realizing the overall strategic organizational goals. This is achieved through higher job satisfaction, and staff engagement since employees gain exposure to different fields, activities, and functions, which increases motivation and productivity in the workplace (Soane et al. 2014). Besides, the application of effective job design enhances learning by increasing knowledge and improving skills used in the implementation of strategy and achievement organizational objectives and goals. Also, job design allows an organization to capitalize on the creativity, innovations, and strengths of their workers, which fast tracks the achievement of goals. Moreover, job design minimizes boredom and burnout, leading to low cases of absenteeism and turnovers. Hence, the organization retains the best talent, which is critical in meeting the company’s goals and objectives. The employees appreciate their work and act as viable organizational assets that provide meaningful and proficient work. Accordingly, the human resource team should focus on conducting job analysis and creating job descriptions as the bases for the job redesign. Besides, additional tasks comprise the creation of cross-training and staff development opportunities to develop an influential growth culture in teams and leaner workforce owing to shared knowledge. Consequently, job design/redesign creates a highly efficient workforce due to the creation of more productive and meaningful job assignments.
Challenges and Constraints in Recruitment
There are numerous constraints and challenges associated with the recruitment of workers in the contemporary business environment. One of the significant issues is the attraction of the right candidates to fill the vacant positions since most applicants lack the right skills, experience, and knowledge needed in the proper execution of the job. A large number of recruiters are increasingly experiencing challenges in discovering the right candidates in a pool full of unqualified talent (Bohlander & Snell, 2013). Due to limited options and talent shortage, recruiters choose the best candidate they can find at a given time rather than the perfect fit for the vacant position. Despite the large number of candidates who apply for the job, the issue arises in hiring the right individuals from the small pipeline of highly qualified talent. Thus, human resource teams waste precious time reviewing tons of job applications from candidates who are not the best fit for existing vacant positions. The problem can be mitigated by refining the hiring process to attract and retain the right kind of candidates from the onset while at the same time discouraging all the rest from submitting the applications. This can be achieved by ensuring that the job requirements are stated clearly and precisely in the job advertisements and descriptions. Finally, qualifying questions can be added in the application form as a simple and effective means of weeding out candidates that are not the ideal fit for the opening.
The second issue arises in building a strong employer brand that is needed to attract and retain high-quality talent. The image of the organization in the community has a significant influence on the recruitment process. A vast majority of job seekers consider the brand of a potential employer before a job application and in their decision to accept or reject job offers. A suitable candidate might not be interested in applying for a job in firms with a negative brand image. They would not accept a job with a firm with a poor reputation – even when unemployed. This hinders the recruitment process since the firm will not target a large number of candidates even after offering higher wages compared to the competition. The issue can be mitigated by defining and implementing an effective employer branding strategy, sharing a captivating story about the company, and showcasing company culture to get a large number of candidates. Finally, the HR team can build a branded and responsive and career website that presents the brand and demonstrates to candidates that the company is an ideal place to work. This is achieved by displaying photos of employees, sharing testimonials, fascinating projects, and innovative technologies.
Candidate Selection Process
Some numerous tools and ideas can be incorporated into the candidate selection process to generate more value and enhance the overall effectiveness of the whole selection process. The goal is to match the correct candidates with the right job that should be filled and provide objective guidelines for making the right match. First, a wide range of HR tools can be used in a series of steps in the recruitment process, from screening applications to vetting job candidates through background checks and testing (Valentine et al. 2020). Various tools can support the measurement of the abilities, skills, and traits of the candidates. A skills assessment can also be conducted for jobs that need technical skills, knowledge, and expertise in some fields. The testing can scope from computer proficiency in a specific area to measurement of the whole administrative skills. Executive and management employees can be subjected to tests to evaluate their personality and judgment. However, the selection tools that are used should be job relevant and associated with the successful performance and execution of the job. Secondly, the HR team involved in the selection process, such as the interviewers, administrators, and test proctors should be well trained and knowledgeable. In addition to training, the recruitment teams should also be experienced in evaluating candidates based on qualifications versus assessment tools. The training is vital since most of the selection systems need consistency and validity in monitoring interviewing techniques and legal defensibility. Lastly, HR recruitment professionals should conduct research to identify key trends and new methods that are more efficient and accurate in selecting the best candidates.
Issues in the Selection Process
There are vital problems should that human resource recruitment and management teams should avoid during the candidate selection process. First, biasness in terms of religion, ethnic background, gender, race, disability, and country of origin should be avoided in accepting or rejecting a candidate. The issue should be mitigated by developing a pre-defined benchmark of the potential candidate’s skills, academic qualifications, competencies, and past working experience that is used in assessing eligibility. Also, the HR teams should apply the organizational HR policy as the guidance for avoidance of discrimination at the workplace in the selection process. Besides, the HR teams should also avoid being overly focused on choosing the perfect candidate as it limits their overall selection pool. Instead, the best candidates who match the organizational requirements can be shaped into viable personnel in the long run through training, coaching, and mentoring.
The paper analyzed Porter’s generic strategies cost leadership, differentiation, cost focus, and differentiation focus, including examples and essential characteristics associated with pursuing each of the strategies. The analysis revealed that cost leadership is most appropriate for retail organizations, focusing on greater efficiency. By pursuing the cost strategy, the retail firm can seek efficiency through the prudent definition of the skillset needed in the workforce and utilization of employee participation to achieve cost-saving concepts and innovations. Effective job design is essential as it supports the overall strategic goals as it integrates the employee’s needs with organizational requirements. Besides, the paper discussed the four main approaches to job design/redesign: job enrichment, job rotation, job simplification, and job enlargement. The constraints associated with the recruitment of workers were identified along with a possible solution for mitigation of the issues to attract a large pool of best talent. Finally, the paper presented ideas that can be incorporated into the candidate selection process to generate more value and enhance the overall effectiveness of the whole process.
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