Human Resources in Business
This assignment is based on an organisational scenario. There are various components to the scenario, and the tasks described below address these components. Your role and background is that of an HRM consultant who has been called in to provide observations and suggestions to the current situation. Therefore, this assignment requires knowledge of:
? Human resource management as a discipline
? Organisational development as a process
New Frontiers (NF) is a real estate company located in Clearwater, Florida USA. It has five branch offices located throughout the larger Tampa Bay area. The real estate market has of course suffered a down turn and a large amount of upheaval since the mortgage crisis began and inflated prices fell, resulting in a large amount of foreclosures and short sales (where the lender receives less for a ‘distressed’ property sale than they have loaned out to the buyer).
However, there are signs that the market is beginning to pick up, one especially encouraging sign is that the supply of houses is less than market demand, resulting in higher prices. However, some of the demand is coming from investors rather than home owners, and banks are still not willing to lend money to many people – even those with good credit scores and employment. Florida has long been a state that is known for somewhat questionable real estate practices.
However, New Frontiers is a brokerage firm that has gone a long way to establish itself as a credible and reliable real estate company. Contained within its five branch offices are 110 real estate sales associates who are those employees primarily responsible for obtaining new property listings as well as sales. The philosophy of the owner and manager of New Frontiers, Rachel Swamp has been to recruit primarily experienced sales associates with a small proportion of recruits who are new to the business and without experience. Her belief is that the more experienced sales associates will train and mentor the newer ones. However, this has not worked out for a number of reasons. The primary issue is that more experienced salespeople are spending the majority of their time trying to obtain new property listings and to show existing properties to clients, and consequently do not see it as their job to train those new to the business.
Historically, there is a high turnover for new real estate sales associates, and this has also been the case for New Frontiers, with a turnover of 22% (6% higher than industry average). Recently, five of its most productive sales people have left to join another real estate company. Sales associates typically work long hours. In addition, as real estate is characterised by a high level of legal action, it is important that both experienced and new sales associates comply with a complexity of real estate law and procedures. This has not been the case recently for many employees of New Frontier, as both experienced and new salespeople are being sued by their clients. Many employees have recently claimed that the company is too interested in profits and is not willing to pay for relevant employee training to keep current with new real estate laws and practices. This set of circumstances has led to a high level of dissatisfaction and decrease in motivation among the majority of NF employees, which as a consequence has resulted in higher levels of stress for everyone. As a result, four employees representing the sales associates met with the broker-owner of New Frontiers yesterday to express and discuss their unhappiness.
However, the broker-owner is concerned about increasing expenses due to the competitive nature of the market and does not see it as the firm’s job to provide training and development, as she believes it would
Human Resources in Business September 2013 Final ? NCC Education 2013
be too costly. While Rachel recognises there is a problem, she is unaware of the degree of dissatisfaction and the overall impact it is having on the motivation and stress of the employees.
As there is no current HRM policy or training provision, Rachel has approached you for advice as how to improve on some of the current HRM problems in NF. She looks forward to meeting you and discussing how to implement a more effective HRM approach within her company.
You are an HRM consultant who has been asked to meet with Rachel of NF. She wants to examine some of the HRM options that could be considered, and is looking forward to meeting with you.
Task 1 –
One approach to HRM is known as the Universalist approach; this views HRM as ‘best practice’. What are the key assumptions of this model, the four policy goals, and do you think that this approach is appropriate or not appropriate to NF at this time (provide supporting rationale)?
Task 2 –
Turnover has become a critical concern to NF, especially as it is above the industry average. Critically evaluate the three most common reasons for turnover and determine to what degree these are present or not within NF.
Task 3 –
The real estate profession in Florida is not characterised by any significant presence of unions. However, owners and managers still need to acknowledge problems associated with the employee relationship. Previously, Pigors and Myers (1977) provided a useful approach to grievance by outlining a distinction between dissatisfaction, complaint, and grievance. Evaluate the three approaches to grievance outlined by Pigors and Myers, and contrast them with the present scenario at NF in order to determine which of the three approaches to grievance are present from the perspective of the NF employee representatives?
Task 4 –
The HR activity within NF which needs immediate improvement is that of developing the knowledge and skills of the employees. In relation to learning and training, what would be the four key components of learning and training that could be applied to either experienced, or new employees? In your answer, relate each of these components to the NF context.
Task 5 –
There is an understanding that pay is a key motivator for real estate agents. Outline five key objectives for pay for employees, and five key objectives for pay for employers, such as NF. In addition, real estate sales associates are typically paid through payment by results schemes, specifically that of commission. Evaluate five disadvantages of payment by results schemes, such as commission.
Human Resources in Business September 2013 Final ? NCC Education 2013
Task 6 –
One of the underlying problems with NF is that new employees are not provided the appropriate training to perform effectively. Additionally, both new and experienced employees are not up to date with current real estate law, resulting in a number of law suits initiated by clients. The outcome is a lowered ability on the part of employees to perform effectively. Therefore, NF would need to consider how to implement a performance initiative that would result in effective performance for the organisation. Outline four suggestions for implementing a successful performance initiative for NF.
Task 7 –
Combine your findings into a single, written report to the Management Board that is properly structured and contains:
? Title page
? Table of contents
? Main body of the report
? References and bibliography
? Appendices (if necessary)
Consult with your tutor if you are uncertain about any aspect of the assignment.
You should ensure that you refer to the relevant module concepts and theories to demonstrate your understanding of the relationship between theory and practice.
You must submit one word-processed report from you to the Board as indicated above in Task 7.
Your report should answer Tasks 1 to 6 and should be no more than 5000 words. The assignment needs to be signed and dated by your tutor.
Warning: All media must be virus free!
Media containing viruses, or media which cannot be run directly, will result in a FAIL grade being awarded for this module.
You must read and understand NCC Education’s policy on ‘Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism’.
You must complete the ‘Statement and Confirmation of Own Work’ form and attach the completed form to your assignment.
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