Human Resource Management: Snow Mountain Hotel

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This report serves as an advice to the HR team in SNOW Mountain Hotel (SMH) on HR related issues that have surfaced from the new strategic direction endorsed by its parent organisation, the SNOW Hotel Group. The Corporate HR aims to integrate its present management to a strategic focused HR BPM. Such integration shall produce the desired strategic outcome by binding each departmental objectives to the business requirements of the entire company . As a subsidiary, the SMH shall align itself to its corporate HR policy. ‘Business Partner Model’, ‘Centralised Shared Services’ and the ‘Delegation of HR Responsibilities to Line Managers’ shall be analysed and discussed.

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The concept of BPM leverages on the ‘customers-suppliers’ relationship to sustain competitive edge. Such partnership accomplishes business goals with improved effectiveness and efficiency through the support of HR expertises and competencies . The support comes in a form of service which is dispensed solely to internal customers who are the employees mentioned that HR professionals shall develop systems and practices to ensure employees have the required job proficiency had also concluded the following 4 models that value adds businesses; ‘Strategic Partners’, ‘Administrative Expert’, ‘Employee Champion’ and ‘Change Agent’.

The partnership can be implemented by instating the ‘Ulrich 1995, 3 Legged Stool Model’ that consist of; ‘shared services’ that deals with routine transaction, ‘centres of excellence’ which handles tasks that required specialise skill / knowledge and ‘strategic business partners’ who work closely with business leaders on strategy implementation HR BPM enables HR professionals to delegate their administrative duties to the Line Managers and to engage in strategic function.

The term ‘change drivers’ refers to forces that can transform the structures, strategies, plans or operations of a company . External drivers can be foreseen in PESTEL Analysis. Globalisation, technological advancement and trade-war impact businesses, hence a greater need in acquiring core competency and efficiency for HR functions is required. The change in national policy triggered by the trade-war affects travel patterns  and the transformation of job roles as technologies evolve  will definitely affect SMH in term of profit margin and costing.

The internal drivers are Financial, Strategic, Capabilities and Mission & Vision. Financial factor as indicated, is critical for performance measurement as businesses not just deal with the competitive environment but also vulnerable to global financial crisis. Such driver pushes cost control and reduction, work quality and cost efficiency. Strategic factor which was highlighted by is a force that pushes the needs for strengthening of the organisational HRM practices, alignment of HRM to business objectives and aid Line Managers in adapting and performing to the new business concept in order to gain competitive advantages. Third would be the capabilities, mentioned that there’s a need to push for competency such as making sure every staff have the required skills, knowledge and technology to contribute to the company-wide BPM implementation. Lastly, Mission & Vision, as in what SMH had campaigned; ‘we hire for attitude and train for skill’. This encourages employee morale, commitment and most importantly reflects the principle of the recruitment strategy.

Summarised that the investment in HR practices contributes positive outcomes to companies’ financial results and market value. By exercising the instrumental approach of measuring employees via ‘scorecard’ allows SMH HR to analyse the employees’ strength and weakness. Depending on SMH HR disposition, further training or disciplinary action can be discharged to enhance workforce productivity.

The employment security policies can also be implemented to achieve leaner hiring which avoids additional overheads and costing in staff turnover. As mentioned by  leaner staffing creates a more productive environment at a lower cost while building trust between the company and its employees. Ultimately, SMH will gain cost effectiveness and efficiency.

Urged that there are four types of strategic orientation; Defenders, Prospectors, Analysers and Reactors. For SMH, the direction it’s heading lean towards ‘Analyzer’. The SNOW Mountain Hotel holds the priority to its desired strategy such as implementation of BPM while at the same time seeking a balance between the stable and integration areas . The management has also been eager to achieve business efficiency, maintaining low operation cost and driving HR collaboration among different departments . This behaviour strikes between the scale of defenders and prospectors.

According to (Storey, 1992), HRM model is spited into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ aspects and are based on Theory X Model (Michigan/Hard HRM) and Theory Y Model (Harvard/Soft HRM). Hard HRM focuses on HR policies and practices (Instrumental Approach) which are packed closely to the company’s strategic goals. This implies that the model will deal mainly on staff management system that view employees as a resource which requires control in order to gain ultimate operational efficiency . SMH had demonstrated this by manipulating resources throughout the seasonal peak and off-peak business periods. The ‘soft’ aspects view the development of employees as valuable assets that contribute growth, profit and success to the company (Guest, Human resource management and performance: a review and research agenda. And every employees are treated individually with their needs allocated independently. SNOW Mountain Hotel has applied this by focusing on employees’ morale, commitment, retention and teamwork.

Integrated both hard and soft HRM into a blended concept which he outlines the objectives of strategic integration (hard concept) and employee commitment (soft concept).

Concluded that organisation which had adopted the HRM practices had lower costs and greater productivity as compared also confirmed that such practices reduce job absenteeism, improve work quality and productivity. Lastly, the analysis carried out by  justified training and objectives setting of HRM had remarkable positive outcomes on productivity.

Korn Ferry (Hay Group) had conducted a research on tangible link between business performance and employee engagement announced that by retaining employees, it improves the company’s bottom line and better prepares the company for future challenges.

Single point of contact for all HR related queries would be made possible, eliminating the needs to engage different HR personnel on specific HR task . Also the application of ‘integrative negotiation approach’ solves differences, minimises conflicts and achieves understanding between departments. Even when such negotiation is not applicable, SMH HR specialists could still represent the interests of their internal client through the in-depth understanding they have obtained during decision making . And because of involvement between different departments, the establishment of a cross functional HR team is possible. Lastly, BMP reduces HR overheads and improves overall business efficiency.

The disadvantage set in when SMH cannot provide the required support for administrative automation or 3rd party in-source/outsource which eventually causes the HR specialist to be tied down with massive administrative work. Also, the occurrences of misunderstanding between Line Managers in taking up the new HR role and additional workload as demonstrated in SMH can result poor work quality, low productivity and grievances. Lastly, the confusion of roles between Line Manager and HR when the duties and responsibilities are not clearly spelled out.

According to  SSC refers to a department, whose sole responsibility is to execute common tasks which is previously carried out by all different departments within the organisation. CIPD refers this as a concentrated administrative operation that is commonly shared among other departments within the entire organisation. Example of common administration includes Payroll, IT Administration, Purchasing and Accounting SSC can either be ‘in-sourced’ or ‘out-sourced’, ‘localise’ or ‘regional’ support and the spectrum of service coverage, ‘multiple BU’ or ‘multinational organisation’. It’s reported that SSC structure is categorised into ‘Tiers’ for points of escalation.

SSC implementation aims to optimise departmental / divisional output despite limited resources. However, the success of implementation will be held at the expense of technologies and SLA governance.

Globalisation and business competition are the main external driving forces for SSC implementation had stressed that, the survival of a company in the highly competitive business environment would have to lessen costs and spending through scale benefits and wage/location arbitrage in order to contain sustainable competitive advantage. This is true for SMH as it not just have to face its business competitors but also the challenges from the recurring off-perk business cycle.

As for internal drivers, it’s the concern of operational cost-effectiveness. According to research statistics by operational cost covered by SSC can be reduced by 50% in the US within the second year of implementation. The strive for synergies and ambition of the HR director from SNOW Hotel Group as explained by can also be considered as another form of internal driver.

Mentioned that the reduction in costs and the avoidance of duplicated effort can be attained by achieving the economies of scales and streamlining of staff. The concentration of staffs in a single functional unit will also produce quality work as consistency and accuracy are built through the sharing of a common base knowledge within the SSC  had also stressed that SSC encourages organisational flexibility and focuses on strategic function which in turn support management changes effectively. Lastly, SSC will have the advantage of having a pool of expertises who have the in-depth working knowledge across the entire organisation .

According to capital investment in technological infrastructure is high. And with the implementation of E-HR, ‘face-to-face’ contact would be omitted, making the service depersonalised. Such phenomenon would further complicate communication if the nature of the query is sensitive or discrete . Had warned that lack of local knowledge can happen in the cause of centralisation as the HR specialist only focus on strategic function. And according to the restructuring of HR Department may cause confusion in the ownership responsibilities.

The effectiveness and efficiency of the HR department need to be increased In order to secure the required competitive advantages. HR managers must solicit new means of strategic alteration such as transferring of HR duties to Line Managers that will lessen or relief HR operational cost while not inflicting major complication to the organisation (Kulik & Perry, 2008). (MacNeil, 2003) had also emphasised that the Line Managers are the ones whose actually dealing with the staff on a daily basis.

In their research, concluded that such devolution to the line actually helps companies to increase productivity. Lastly, HR specialist would be released from administrative duties to handle strategic functions.

The overall HR related queries can be responded much promptly under the prevail of the Line Managers. Mentioned that people management skills of the Line Managers will be improved and teamwork will be better managed. Moreover, learning and development led by Line Managers within their line will be more effective as they’re in a better position to assess who need to be trained and what sort of training is required . Besides dealing with training and development, Line Managers can leverage on their ability to communicate with their subordinate to solve issues pertaining to organisational change effectively . Line Managers can also play a major role in employees’ motivation . Ultimately, highlighted that CIPD report concluded the involvement of Line Managers had positively influenced the overall business performance across companies.

However, Line Managers may not be keen on taking on the new role or simply not having the well suited personality . There’re also problems between Line Managers and HR in transferring of the corporate HR visions and objectives to employee relations and to what extent the Line Managers could influence the development of HR strategy . The findings from also indicate that HR might provide ill leadership and inferior advices to Line Managers and neglecting training and development  had identified the heavy workloads bind Line Managers into spending too much time managing HR related issues rather than focusing on running the department’s operations.

It’s recommended that ‘Communication and Involvement Program’ and appropriate HR Training to be carried out for all line staffs before the implementation . Basic knowledge of HR practises and labour laws must be imparted to the Line Managers to minimise conflicts, inefficiency and undesired incidents. Effective communication must be laid between the Line Managers and HR whereby responsibilities of devolution must be clearly defined to avoid confusion. Lastly, to design a set of KPI (Key Performance Indicators) or evaluation program that rate, review and monitor both the HR and Line Managers. This measures the efficiency and also serve as a tool to fine tune and improve the effectiveness of devolution in SMH.

The SMH should implement all of the above proposed.Implementation of BMP would provide SNOW Mountain Hotel a complete business solution that will benefit organisational growth, talent development, employee engagement and more. The implementation of SSC will further reduce overhead cost as HR department will be streamlined. Lastly, devolution of HR duties to Line Managers would allow the HR specialist to create strategic frameworks for the Line Managers that will enhance operational efficiency. 

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