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Business Issues And The Context Of Human Resources Commerce Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Commerce
Wordcount: 4566 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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XX is a leading International Healthcare Group with the purpose to help people lead longer, healthier and happier lives. The organisation does that by providing a broad range of healthcare services, support and advice to people throughout their lives. With no shareholders and its global presence in 190 countires, the organisation is said to be a industry leader. XXX is a 60 years old organisation providing services like Health insurance and Wellbeing, Healthcare provision, Healthcare Analytics and Care Services.

The organisation’s vision to be world leader in the health care sector has been supported by the following objectives:

Listen to its customers, act quickly and professionally.

Living and Breathing organisation’s values monitored by HR on regular basis.

Make a difference in people’s lives by offering all high quality and value added healthcare

Creating diverse and mix work force of highly skilled and knowledgeable employees and invest in their development within the company via organised HR function.

This report has been commissioned by the CEO of XXX.


3.1 Forces shaping the HR agenda

“Our purpose is to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives and the 52,000 people we employ are at the heart of making this a reality”.

– John Handley, HR Director, XXX International

It is essential for XXX to have a strong and distinctive identity that clearly seperates the organisation from others in the field. Everyone in XXX has a part to play in this and hence that’s where the HR plays a vital role. Examples of External Forces that have shaped the HR agenda are Competition, Markets, Economic trends and the changing face of the Health Industry.

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Increasing expectations of the customers from the oraganisation and more competitors offering similar policies and products at lower rates, made XXX to look more further into the product designs and customer service management, which resulted in hiring more talented and knowledgeable people skilled in their sector to provide the best customer service to the customers and partners. To make sure that the right number of people are available to service the customers and are able to effectively deliver the right results to the costumers, HR department works in partnership with the management.

They decided to provide the right environment for the people to learn, grow and develop them through Innovative Learning Approach and by recognising people for their contribution to the organisation’s success. By investing into the right people, XXX’s objective was to provide the best customer service through all channels to its members. HR proposed to offer its employees both an open environment and an informal culture, encouraging fresh ideas and helping employees realise their true potential.

To reflect their different business needs, all the business units have a tailored HR department i.e.operational HR, organisational development, reward, HR systems, employee recognition, and HR support. These units works exclusively to provide a direct, informed and tailored service to meet its unique needs.

3.2 HR’s contribution to Organisational Effectiveness

‘Creating competitive advantage through people.’

Group HR Management works in partnership with the Management. All business units individual HR heads who reports to the HR Director. This is to make sure that all the departments on its own are delivering higher levels of performance to the benefit of our customers and the bottom line. Individual HR in all these units perform common bundle of processes which impacts on organisational performance.

Recruitment of talent that matches XXX’s values.

Leadership and management practices/ competencies

Performance management

Succession planning


Organisational climate and workplace environment

Facilitating effective change management

Management development and training

Career development

360 feedback tools

All business units have their own Administration and Training departments. The Administration department looks after Payroll, HR Systems and Database Management to make sure that

all the employee details are correct, secure and as a result in them being treated fairly.

All the employees are paid correctly

It has its own Change Management team who deals with changes in processes and work culture.

The Training department works in partnership with the business in all individual units to create appropriate, skilled and tailored training solutions to keep up with the changing business needs.

3.3 HR’s roles and functions in management structures


Administration & Training Departments are in each business units and have individual Change Management Teams


Organisational Development

HR Director

HR UK Membership

International HR

Group HR

Management Development

Care Services

Information Systems HR

Training & Development

Group HR Functions

Reward & Recognition

Business Technology Training

IS Resource Management

Group Resource Management

Pensions & Benefits

HR Systems

XXX One Life

HR within XXX works as a strategic partner, hence plays a very important role in finance, operations and other business departments within the organisation. The main objective is to provide high returns on the business’s investment in its people. XXX does not follow any set models of HR but do relates with the Harvard model in some manner. It sees employees as resources. It emphasises on issues like involving people in decision making and developing an organisational culture based on trust and teamwork. It has shared goals for coordination and control and a flat structure to minimise status culture. It employs the multiple stakeholder model in which employees are seen as having interests along with other stakeholders, management, unions and government.

The HR outlines four main policy areas which are

Human resource flows : HR manages the flow of people within XXX’s individual business units through recruitment and selection, through the organisation by placement, appraisal and promotion and lastly through out of the organisation by termination. It also makes sure at right number of people are available at all the times according to the business needs.

Reward Systems : Even though each business unit has separate Reward System in place, it serves a common purpose to attract, motivate and keep employees happy within the organisation.

Employee Influence : People being the heart of the organisation, their views and concerns are given equal importance as of stakeholders and customers.

Work Systems : With the ever changing business needs and the medical climate, XXX makes sure that the information and technology used within the organisation provides the best outcomes.

The HR function in all the business units currently concentrates on achieving the ‘four C’s’ of the model.

Commitment, Congruence, Competence, Cost Effectiveness.

The XXX’s hr structure also somehow resembles the Ulrich’s hr model as all the business units do individually have their own separate departments to deal with change, strategies and administration.

3.4 Business Ethics and Accountability

XXX follows a code of professional ethics which are based on the principles that determine the way employees behave and Brand personality that describes the way employees are suppose to perceive.

Brand Values :

Caring – we genuinely care about people’s health and wellbeing. We exist for no other reason.

Respectful : We respect people’s individuality, privacy and dignity and try to respond to their individual needs.

Ethical : We are committed to acting responsibly and in the best interests of people and the environments.

Enabling : We empower people with our knowledge and experience to help them choose the most appropriate solutions.

Dedicated : We are dedicated to providing a professional, reassuring service and seek oppurtunities to go the extra mile to exceed people’s expectations.

Accountable : We are accountable for the quality, efficiency and value of our services, and act in the best interests of our customers.

Brand Personality :






Health & Care Expert

Global Outlook

BUPA Employee

Individual Business units do have their own code of conducts in line with the group values. For example, the training and development department in all units have professional code of conduct from the Institute of Management Consultants which covers ethics as Integrity, Independence, Objectivity and Responsbility to the profession. All the core values and ethics are explained on the XXX’s intranet which is available for all the employees across the organisation. It clearly mentions how employees are expected to act in relation to the various policies like Treating Customers Fairly, Health and Safety at work, Data Matters, Security Matters Policy and Data Protection Policy

“As a global healthcare company, XXX deals with the personal details, medical data and financial records of millions of people around the world. Protecting that information is essential & is a key responsibility for all of us. “

– XXX Chief Executive

XXX as a major healthcare services provider, plays a very important role in designing and delivering medical procedures and policies. It works closely with NHS and makes sure that all the treatments offered to the members in their centres are within the medical guidelines applied by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence). XXX has it’s media policy, Risk Management and Fraud Protection policies.

XXX has its own Corporate Responsbility and Sustainability Policy under which it is made sure that healthcare expertise is used in the way that is good for business and communities. It covers many areas including employee giving support and volunteering, community health and wellness partnerships, addressing and minimising our impact on environment and affiliations with like-minded businesses and organisations (e.g Nuffield Health Centres, Physio Centres, Conservative treatment centres, etc.) XXX is an active partner with Life Education which supports youth health and drug education programs and with Can Too to raise funds for Cure Cancer. The Group HR provides support, encouragement and motivation to its employees to participate in various activities conducted to fulfil its corporate responsibility. Employees are expected to actively promote these services while having interactions with the customers at all the times.

4.1 HR’s role in strategy formulation and interpretation

All organisations will at some point need to focus on the activities and actions that it will undertake to meet its long term aims and objectives. XXX’s vision ‘taking care of the lives in our hands’ is at the heart of all strategies that are planned and practiced within the organisation. The two main objectives helping HR to form strategies within the organisation are

Management capability : Through validated processes and development, this objective is met by XXX recruiting, retaining and developing managers the meet the business challenges of today and future. It involves different strategies designed around Recruitment, Core competencies, Performance Management, Succession Planning, XXX One Life, Climate Surveys, Change Management, Management Development, Career Development, 360 feedback tools and Customisable Questionnaire.

Enabling systems and processes : This objective is met by developing and maintaining a performance-oriented culture. It includes Induction and Measures of Success.

Business priorities are cascaded through the different levels of the organisation through a process whereby they become increasingly more detailed and focused. They trigger departmental objectives which are translated into team objectives and in turn provide the foundation for personal objectives which are based on SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound) targets that are to be met on consistent basis. These objectives are discussed, set and measured as part of the performance management plan of all employees depending on their roles and business units.

XXX does not fit into any particular model of relationship between the HRM and the Business Strategies but it does work on the theories based within these models.

In the best fit model (Schuler and Jackson example), employees are seen as key in the implementation of the declared organisational strategy and the HR strategy is designed to fit with this. XXX’s individual departments propose strategies to be implemented via management surrounding functions, systems and processes within the department which enable the functional strategy to be achieved. This is then responded by the HR by defining the strategy to meet organisational needs.

In the Resource based approach, the focus is to sustain competitive advantage through development of human capital rather than aligning human resources to current strategic goals. XXX invests in regular development of its employees within the organisation to make sure that they are updated with all the knowledge required to perform their job well and so to add value to the company.

4.2 Business and HR Strategies

Each business within XXX evaluates its current position, its market and competitor environement and identifies its key strategies and plans in its annual 3 Strategic Year Plan (explained in 5.3). They work together in order to achieve common objectives of the organisation. Two of these most important objectives to be achieved in XXX are

Cost – Control :

To utilise the resources in the most productive and effective way.

To recruit and retain effective and skilled staff

More training and development options to the existing employees to perform various roles

Flexible working patterns according to the business needs

Authorising treatments that are medically appropriate and within clinical guidelines only, leaving a small room for exceptional cases

Covering as many as health-care workers to work within XXX limits to make sure that the customers are happy with the policies

Competion :

to regularly update the products and services offered within the health and care sector.

To provide best customer service on levels of the business

To design and offer most flexible and tailored policies to the members.

To retain customers by offering alternative treatment options and longer support services.

HR’s role in meeting this objectives has been analyised through SWOT/STEEPLE which looks at the internal strengths and weaknesses and the external oppurtunities and threats. Below is the combined SWOT Analysis for XXX

Strenghts :

No Shareholders : this enables all the profits to be utilised to provide better customer service and products to the members.

People : highly skilled and mix work force which knowledge of various sectors and products. Team of qualified health care consultants and providers. Customer-focus work culture

Technology : Most advanced technology in the health care sector relating to the processes and procedures for medical treatments. Guidance on health issues online and on the phone.

Operations : Working with various organisations and health groups to provide the best health care to everyone.

Weeknesses :

No Shareholders : If profits margins not gained, not enough money to invest back into the business

People : mix work force and long-serving staff who are resistant to change. People lacking knowledge of all the departments as specialising in one specific area.

Operations : because of the high turn-over of the staff, no standard operating procedures. Regular changes to keep up with the changing demands of the business.

Cost-control : Staff redundancies in many business units resulting in low moral within the organisation and heavy work load on the rest of the workforce.

Oppurtunities :

Partnership with various organisations within the healthcare sector.

As a lead health care service provider, had access to higher numbers of consultants and medically trained people

Works closely with NHS, hence very influential when it comes to decisions relating medical treatments and funding for certain experimental treatments

International presence to make sure private healthcare is available and provided to people around the world.

Threats :

Competition from other insurance providers who offer private health insurances on lower rates.

Outsourcing of many business units which lacks communication and information transformation in a quick and appropriate manner.

Higher medical costs which makes the premiums of the policies go higher every year.

Increased customer demands to cover more experimental treatments and drugs because of globalisation.

4.3 Vertical and Horizontal Integration

XXX works with NHS and other health-care providers to provide better health care services. The Vertical Integration is practiced within XXX as many of the services are offered via other providers who specialises in Travel, Home Care and Conservative treatment. This does serves the purpose to achieve the organisation to provide more treatment options to its customers which results in more appropriate and affordable policies been given to its customers. The option of been treated via NHS or Privately is always available for the customers leaving room for them to choose the most appropriate and time-saving option.

The horizontal integration is defined within XXX as all the HR functions are inter-related and inter-connected to each-other. This is achieved by a business units specially looking for skilled employees in customer service, information technology, nursing and administration sector which leads to internal recruitment or resourcing, further leading to development, performance management, rewards and recognition and employee relations.

5.1 HR’s role in Business Planning

The Global expansion of XXX in the current times have resulted in fine-tuning of the policies and functions throughout the organisation to ensure that required support is provided to drive XXX forward. This has created a demanding and fast changing environment to work in. XXX expect high standards from every one of its team members and in return offer the opportunity to enhance their career with one of the most biggest and most successful brands in private healthcare.

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HR being the part of the Organisation Development team within the Group functions, has a very wide role to play to achieve the organisation’s one common goal. It works to make sure that all business units within XXX had right level of people with right level of skills are available to effectively deliver results to its customers at all times. Introduction to flexible working hours, change in employment contracts, inter-departmental transfers to suit the business needs, more systems and procedures to work with resulted in introduction to the change management team within HR of all business units. The things that caused XXX to go through change are

Challenges of growth within global market i.e increasing cost of medical treatments and more experimental treatments introduced within UK market

Technological changes i.e different technologies to work with to make sure that all processes and procedures are up to date according to the changing demands of the business

Customer Pressure i.e. customers looking for more options and better services at lower costs

The HR’s involvement in various aspects of change was identified as

Restructuring the recruitment and resourcing policies

Advising team managers in skills available within the organisation, career development and transfer oppurtunities.

Assessing the impact of change in one department on another part of the organisation.

Making sure that the communication is clear and consistent within all departments of all business units within the organisations.

Helping its to cope with change , performance management and motivation.

5.2 Environmental Planning

It is very important for XXX to scan through the environment and consider all the present and future forces affecting the direction and goals of the organisation. Environment Planning involves external factors like trends and markets and internal factors like infrastructure and personnel. The STEEPLE analysis for XXX shows all the forces affecting organisational change








Lifestyle changes of the customers involved with the company

Energy costs and usage

Inflation rates

Natural resrouces

Regulations related to private healthcare

Employment Laws


Living conditions of its employees and customers related to the business

Changes in IT – new systems and processes

Consumer confidence within the company’s products and services

Strong Environmental policy

Safety regulations

Consumer Protection

Business Ethics

Income distribution within the community

New inventions and software developments

Medical costs


Trade policies/ globalisation

Trade Unions

Client Confidentiality

5.3 Measures of Effectiveness

” What gets measured, gets attention and gets done.” – Tom Peters

XXX has its own business priorities. To keep them accountable and focused on their key objectives, all businesses in XXX go through an annual process of setting their major priorities for the coming year. These are agreed in annual meetings, together with the key financial targets and from the basis of what the business will be measured on the following year. This is a similar process as Performance Management in employees.

The organisation has ‘The 3 year Strategic Plan (3YP)’ which describes the direction the Group as a whole and the individual business units will take over the next 3 years. This plan is completed every year and is an important part of XXX’s strategy and planning processes. Group HR delivers this plan to different business units which is then cascaded to its employees. The context of each business is then evaluated on the basis of three important management tools.

The Annual Operating Plan : It sets the detailed financial targets for the year for each individual department including HR. (sets targets for sales, costs, profits, etc)

The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each individual in each business units. Thess are set of key operational, customer, strategic and people performance metrics.

The Business priorties : The change acceptance rate of all individuals within the organisation.

All these tools are available on organisation’s intranet for the convenience of all its employees. Performances of the employees are measured with the Brand values and behaviours been achieved, delivered and maintained. These are maintanined within the organisaiton as Performance Review and once completed along with the Development Plans are then sent to their respective HR’s administration department who works closely with the training and development team to provide immediate attention to key issues. This process of measuring the human capital and oraganisation’s data provides a clearer picture within the working culture of the organisation. So, in this way, management, training and development team and HR administration works together to manage people and policies to achieve set business objectives.


XXX’s vision to provide the best healthcare options in the world to every individual possible is a long term goal to be achieved along with the changing face of the medical sector and economic trends. It provides value-added products and services to its customers on the possible grounds making sure that the increasing private health insurance cost does not put the customer off from using the private healthcare. It needs policies and procedures to be updated all the time to match the technology offered within the market. XXX’s diverse network of organisational structure which is divided in separate business units gives an opportunity to the organisation to look into greater details and specialise in its area of expertise. HR within XXX perform within its own business units providing tailored services to its people which makes its more approachable and easier for it to stay in touch with the business requirements. International HR looking after all the aspects of border control, trade rules and regulations, etc contributes highly to the organisation to go through globalisation. The Group HR looks after all the functions of the organisational development and Rewards & recognition which is kept separate from the administration department to give it more time and resources to look into organisational strategies and planning and run smoothly. Though it looks like a complex structure, it does allow the organisation to perform and deliver its objectives on consistent basis. People being the heart of the business, the organisation’s investment in its resources is incredibly valued.


Leadership Development : Employees within the organisation to go through planned management traingin to deliver consistent business results. HR to be more influential in individual’s growth through a leadership development programme. This should discussed and put in place in the next 3YP meeting.

More uniformed structure of Training and Development : Stuctured and uniform induction program for all employees delivered by HR. Learning and Development team then to look into more specialised training of its employees. This should be auctioned immediately with ongoing continuous improvement plan.

Adaption of Competency Framework : Even though employees are evaluated on the brand values and behaviours, a competency based mapping should be followed in the performance development plans. This will help to achieve higher levels of organisational and employee effectiveness.


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