Reference no: EM13710699
The primary purpose of this assessment is to assist students develop skills in the use of HRM strategies, theories and models in the analysis of a typical business situation that has human resource consequences (work life balance, flexible working arrangements). The assignment requires you to analyse the current situation, identify and specify the business issues, and suggest a practical and probable HR solution. The secondary purpose of this assignment is to give students the opportunity to enhance their research, analysis, critical thinking and written communication skills; particularly in the areas of argument development and essay writing.
Assessment task 1 requires the writing of an academic essay. This essay should be an ‘argumentative/ academic essay', and must therefore contain an argument that is used as the structuring element of the paper. The assignment is based on a case study that describes the impact of business scenario on managing human resources in organisational context. The purpose of the essay is to identify the roles of strategic HRM and other HRM challenges in managing human resources. Students are expected to engage in extensive research within the academic literature relating to strategic human resource management and other relevant areas (work life/ family balance, flexible work arrangements etc.).
Case Study: The Probuild Constructions Story
Prebuild Constructions was established in 1987. The company has been involved in such major projects as the new Grandstand at Flemington Racecourse, the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre and Toyota's corporate headquarters in Port Melbourne. In May 2005, Probuild successfully applied for a Victorian Government Better Work and Family Balance grant. The company wanted to investigate work-family balance at Probuild and develop a program that would work for the employees and the company. A working group made up of staff, union and management representatives was established to oversee a survey of all staff and the development of initiatives as part of a work-family balance program.
The survey, distributed to all 150 employees in Victoria, was designed to:
- Gather information about the work, family and life pressures currently impacting on them and their families.
- Assess initiatives already in place to assist staff to manage these pressures.
- Identify new initiatives that would have the greatest impact on staff satisfaction.
To gain a picture about the impact working at Probuild was having on families, a separate survey was also prepared and circulated to the partners/ wives/ husbands of all employees. The response to the surveys was very good, with a 57 per cent return rate from employees and 70 per cent return rate from their partners/ wives/ husbands. Overall, employees reported that they were happy working for Probuild but that the constant pressure and long hours made it very difficult to successfully combine work and family. Several responded that the long hours- particularly working Saturdays- were having an adverse impact on their personal relationships.
And the response from employees' partners/ wives/ husbands was even stronger. They reported that the long hours and workload meant that they had to take almost full responsibility for day-to-day household management and family care, even though many were engaged in paid work. Probuild decided that the response from partners required further discussion so invitations to take part in a focus group were sent home via payslips. Sixteen partners/ wives/ husbands took part in the focus group. This led to recognition that the company's work-family balance strategy needed to include:
- Flexibility for different employees and their families to make choices that suited them best, with acknowledgement of the differing needs of salary and hourly rate.
- Reassurance that taking up work-family balances options would not undermine anyone's employment or position with Probuild.
- A commitment to reducing the number of Saturdays employees are required to work. Working from all the information gathered by the survey and the focus groups, the working group met regularly to move the Probuild project to its next steps. A work-family policy was developed based on these five guiding principles:
- All initiatives must be of mutual benefit to the individual and company.
- Achieving better work and life balance is a team effort involving individuals and managers.
- There is not one solution that will meet everyone's needs.
Based on the above case study, write an essay that answers all the questions:
1. Why do employees value opportunities for workplace flexibility? Would this strategy work in all organisations and industries?
You should critically analyse your answer in terms of work-life balance theories and literature.
2. Is it possible for companies to be competitive and at the same time create a workplace that provides for flexibility and work-family balance?
You may relate your answer to the flexible work arrangement theories, business competitiveness theories.
3. What other flexibility and work-family balance strategies could Probuild have adopted? What do you believe the productivity outcomes and benefits of such a program would be to Probuild?
You may develop your arguments in terms of work life balance/ contextual, culture and job restructuring at the workplace, impact of work-life balance on employee wellbeing, performance, satisfaction, employee retention strategies etc.