Critically evaluate an in-depth aspect of HRM practice, aligned to a specific problem-based scenario.

Learning outcomes assessed within this piece of work as agreed at the programme level meeting

Knowledge: Critically evaluate an in-depth aspect of HRM practice, aligned to a specific problem-based scenario.

Intellectual/transferrable: Application of different types of resources (e.g. scholarly articles and case examples) to support recommendations aimed at resolving human resource management problems within an organisational context.

Type of assessment:

Individual report

Assessment deadline:

26/3/2017 (TBC)

Instructions for assessment
You are required to produce an individual report (3,000 words) based on a given HRM case scenario exploring and proposing recommendations to resolve the key HRM issues highlighted in the case scenario, together with an outline implementation on plan to support your recommendations.

You are able to choose from one of three case scenarios as the basis for your report. You will find the case scenarios at the end of this assessment brief, together with the marking rubric. This information is also available on Moodle, together with some examples of previous assessment, so you get a better understanding of the expectations.The word limit for this assessment is 3,000 words, excluding references

How will we support you with your assessment?
• Seminars designed to help you practise the skills you will need to be successful in the assessment
• Formative feedback on a draft of your report outline (provided by your Seminar Tutor after reading week)
• Links to the assessment throughout your seminars
• Examples of previous coursework discussed in seminars, as well as extracts of coursework on Moodle from different grade boundaries where available
How will your work be assessed?
Your work will be assessed by a subject expert who will use the marking rubric provided on Moodle.  When you access your marked work it is important that you reflect on the feedback so that you can use it to improve future assignments.
Referencing
You MUST use the Harvard System.

Case scenarios
N.B. Please refer to the guidance notes on Moodle when choosing a case scenario for your assignment. You only need to choose one of the case scenarios below for your individual report.
Case scenario 1 – Age Diversity in a High Performance Car Design and Manufacturing Company
WWBM Luxury Cars is a multi-national car design and manufacturing company. It currently employs 80,000 employees worldwide and operates in 80 different countries.  Although the organization has placed increasing emphasis on diversity in recent years, it recognizes that that there is still more that can be done to be recognised as an exemplar organization. .
WWBM Luxury Cars is becoming more aware of the issues relating to age diversity, given the changing demographics amongst the global workforce. The average age of its current employees is relatively high, 48 years. However the average age of employees in some of the more specialist technical roles is much higher. The organization is concerned that it is not attracting sufficient new talent to fill the gaps as its current highly skilled staff choose to retire.  .
The organization is aware that this challenge will become more difficult in the future for several reasons: increasing global competition for talent, particularly in certain geographic regions; dwindling supply of graduates who see engineering as an attractive career prospect; new and emerging automotive technologies that require new skills.
Although employees in many of the countries that the organization operates in are no longer expected to retire at a specific age, the company has recognised some of the challenges associated with changing age demographics. The engineering sector more broadly is expected to lose valuable skills and experience over the next ten years, as older workers approach potential retirement age. This demographic change will leave a potential skills void for organizations like WWBM Luxury Cars.
Although  many of the technical roles in the organization are not as physically demanding as those in the manufacturing area, the senior managers have started to raise concerns about the reluctance of technical staff, both older and younger, to work on International projects. Staff too have expressed concerns about the personal tensions associated with extensive travel, including spending long periods of time working away from home.  To-date the organization has relied on its older and more experienced engineers in Europe to work on International projects to support business growth.
As the newly appointed Talent, Diversity and Inclusion specialist within the corporate  HR team in WWBM Luxury Cars, you have been asked to review the organization’s talent management policies and procedures and make recommendations on how these could be changed to ensure that the organizations attracts and develops an age-diverse workforce.

Case scenario 2 – International expansion in a gaming software development company VirtualGaming Ltd. is a growing UK-based gaming software company. The company was founded in the early 1990s by the current Managing Director. The company’s Head Office is currently located in the South West of England.

The company has grown rapidly since opening in the 1990s and now employs 200 employees. As with many organizations in the gaming industry, most of its employees are male even though some of its products are aimed at women. Over the next three to five years the company plans to expand the business, initially into Eastern Europe, then internationally, especially North Africa.

The company realises that to achieve its growth plans it will need to develop and retain its current employee base, whilst at the same time attracting new talent. The senior management team are concerned that as the company grows it will be difficult to deliver the same quality products unless they are able to attract and retain the best employees. Only a few of the current employees have any experience of working Internationally.

Whilst the Directors are open to new ideas and implementing leading-edge HR practices they are very nervous about expanding into new geographical locations. Above all the company is keen to retain its reputation of being innovative as it expands the business.

Some existing members of staff have expressed an interest in working overseas. They are attracted by the opportunity to travel and live overseas and thus enhance their careers. However, some employees have expressed concern about the implications for their work-life-balance should they be asked to work overseas.

One of the current Directors has recently been reading an article that refers to the high rates of expatriate failure, so he is keen to find a way for the company to avoid similar issues.

You have just been recruited as an HR specialist to help the company develop an HR resourcing strategy to support the company’s International growth plans. When producing your strategy you will need to ensure that existing talent is fully utilised, whist at the same time looking for new sources of talent.
Case scenario 3 – Work-life-balance and well-being in a professional services firm
CWP Services is a professional services firm that provides change management and HR consulting services to organizations, across a range of business sectors. CWP Services currently employs 13,500 staff, across Europe; 65% of the workforce is male and 35% female.
One of the firm’s diversity management goals is to increase the percentage of female employees, especially those working in senior roles. However as with other professional service firms the nature of the work – client-focused, long hours working, often working away from home – is making it difficult for the organization to achieve this particular diversity goal.
Whilst in the past the firm has not found it difficult to attract and retain key talent, the organization has started to notice that the number of both young male and female applicants has started to decline. In addition, the number of staff leaving after 3 – 5 years with the firm has started to increase, particularly amongst those aged 35-45.
Results from the latest employee survey indicate that:
▪ Only 40% of staff is satisfied with their work-life balance. The survey results indicate that female employees and those working with International clients are the most dis-satisfied.
▪ Only 50% of staff feel that their manager is supportive when they raise personal issues relating to work-life-balance.
▪ Only 40% of staff feels that the range of flexible work options is sufficient to meet their changing needs.
▪ Staff that have opted for flexible working feel that their career has plateaued.
The senior partners of the firm have expressed concern about the latest employee survey results, as well as other key HR metrics. As the Director of HR for UK, Europe and the Middle East, you have been tasked with identifying what changes the firm could make to its flexible working and work-life-balance policies and procedures to address the concerns of staff, whilst at the same time providing a high level of service to clients.
Contemporary Case Studies in HRM – Individual Report Marking Rubric (Spring 2017)
Mark range
100
Exemplary
85
Excellent
75
Very Good
65
Good
55
Competent
45
Weak
35
Marginal Fail
20
Fail
Introduction: summary of key issues raised in case scenario, with commentary on broader contextual factors that may be contributing to the issues in the case scenario. (20%)
Extremely clear understanding of task demonstrated. Key themes in case scenario drawn out, supported with insightful wider contextual commentary, supported with relevant academic and/or practitioners sources.
Excellent understanding of task.  Key themes summarised from case. Clear attempt to link themes in case with wider contextual factors (e.g. economic, social, political)
Very clear understanding of task.  Essential themes from case summarised. Some wider contextual factors discussed, with some supporting evidence.
Clear understanding of task.  Most of key themes from case summarised.
Some wider contextual factors discussed, but limited supporting evidence.
Reasonable understanding of the task. Key themes from case summarized, but quite limited contextual factors discussed.
Poor understanding of the task. Rather incoherent themes from case presented.
No contextual factors covered.
Poor understanding of the task. Incoherent introduction – unnclear  what the aim of your  report is.
Very poor understanding of the task. Incoherent introduction.
Proposed solutions to address key issues in organizational case: two/three clear recommendations, with relevant supporting evidence to justify these (40%)
Extremely clear and relevant recommendations, supported with a wide range of academic/practitioner sources, or comparable case example. Extremely clear evidence of wider research.

Very clear and relevant recommendations, supported with a good range of academic/practitioner sources, or comparable case example. Clear evidence of wider research.

Clear and relevant recommendations, supported with a good range of academic/practitioner sources, or comparable case example. Evidence of wider research.

Relevant recommendations, supported with a good range of academic/practitioner sources, or comparable case example. Evidence of wider research, but over-reliance on other cases, than case one type.

Relevant recommendations but supporting evidence limited. Over reliance on a particular  type of resource e.g. practitioner sources, or supporting case example(9) not from comparable sector.

Recommendations not well thought out – unrealistic , or do not reflect the key issues in the case. Supporting evidence limited.
Recommendations not well thought out – unrealistic , or do not reflect the key issues in the case. Supporting evidence very  limited.
Recommendations clearly not well thought out – unrealistic , or do not reflect the key issues in the case. Lack of supporting evidence.
Implementation plan: (30%)
This section is extremely well thought through. Clear actions, with responsibilities.  Timescales are realistic.  Very clear thoughts on how outcomes will be monitored.
This section is  well thought through. Clear actions, with responsibilities.  Timescales are realistic.  Clear thoughts on how outcomes will be monitored.
This section is  well thought through. Clear actions, with reasonably clear responsibilities.  Timescales are quite realistic.  Clear thoughts on how outcomes will be monitored.
This section  is  quite well thought through. Actions  reasonably clear.  Timescales rather ambitious. Good thoughts on how outcomes will be monitored.
This section needed more thought. Actions  less clear and/or unrealistic. timescales. Reasonable   thoughts on how outcomes will be monitored.
This section needed a lot more thought. Actions  unclear and/or unrealistic. timescales. Limited evidence of how outcomes will be monitored.
This section needed a lot more thought. Actions  very unclear and/or unrealistic. timescales. Limited evidence of how outcomes will be monitored.
This section needed a lot more thought. Actions  very vague. Limited evidence of how outcomes will be monitored.
Presentation, structure, and referencing: (10%)
Extremely fluent and fluid assignment. Professional presentation.  In-text referencing consistently conforms to Harvard standards.  Reference list in correct Harvard format.
A highly fluent and fluid assignment. Professional presentation..
In-text referencing largely conforms to Harvard standards.  Reference list largely in correct Harvard format.
Very  fluent and fluid assignment. Professional presentation.  In-text referencing largely conforms to Harvard standards.  Reference list largely in correct Harvard format.
Overall quite  fluent and fluid assignment. Good overall presentation and style of writing.   In-text referencing largely conforms to Harvard standards.  Reference list largely in correct Harvard format.