Difficulties in Recruiting, Training, Motivating and Rewarding Staff in a Given Financial Services Company
Human Resource Strategies and Difficulties at UK-Based Financial Services Organization Alliance & Leicester
Recruiting, Training, Motivating and Rewarding at Alliance & Leicester
Alliance & Leicester uses a combined approach to recruiting its staff members. First of all, it strives to satisfy its staff necessities through its organizational web page. In this order of ideas, it promotes the company not just a leading banking institution, but also as a great place to work in and a “community of 9000 ambitious, capable people supporting one another to achieve personal and shared goals” (Official Website of Alliance and Leicester, 2009). The website lists the available positions and the skills required from the candidates.
A second means of recruiting is that of placing advertisements in specialized media channels and attracting candidates. A relevant example in this sense is given by the job advertisements placed on the Your County website. Finally, the third means, and probably the most traditional one, is that of sending information on the available positions to the employment agency. When striving to occupy more vacant positions at one time, the company requires the services of specialized recruitment companies, such as Baxter Neumann or the Hays Resource Management (Gumtree, 2009).
Alliance and Leicester realized the necessity of employing capable and skilled employees not only as they represent the company’s liaison with its customers, but also since, as the company does not offer a material and palpable product, customer satisfaction is pegged to the quality of the services offered — and these include the impression of the interaction with the organizational staff members at a great level. Additionally, training is pivotal not just for customer satisfaction, but consequently to organizational profits.
Alliance and Leicester generally contracts the services of specialized training institutions as to ensure that their staff members benefit from the expertise of the best. One of the largest training contracts was signed in 2004, with QA and extended over a period of three years, during which “QA, the UK’s largest independent provider of it training and consulting, [was in charge of] the delivery and administration of technology and end-user desktop training to Alliance & Leicester employees throughout the UK” (Training Press Release, 2004).
Alliance & Leicester offers its employees a multitude of financial and non-financial incentives. The financial incentives will be dealt with throughout the following section. At this stage however, it is necessary to reveal that the financial services company stimulates its employees by offering them a wide series of benefits, including “flexible holidays, childcare vouchers and healthcare options” (Your County).
Another means of motivating the staff members is that of sustaining their professional development. In this order of ideas, the company’s management strives to identify its most reputable, skilled and capable employees and present them with promotional opportunities. “Professional and special opportunities occur throughout the group in areas as diverse as: Financial Advice, Statutory Accounts Management, Business Support, Secured Loans & Impairment Group Finance, Branch Management and Financial Protection” (Your County).
The rewarding policies for the human resource at Alliance and Leicester are generally undisclosed to the public. Yet, anonymous sources from within the organization state that the annual income for a product manager lies between Â£33,000 and Â£35,000; the salary of a database administrator is between Â£34,000 and Â£37,000; the wage of a computer operator is of Â£33,000, up to Â£36,000 and the salary of a marketing communications manager is between Â£38,000 and Â£41,000. The figures are scarcer in terms of premiums and bonuses, but the same sources indicate that a product manager can receive a bonus between Â£655 and Â£715 (Glass Door, 2009).
2. Strategic Fit with Rewarding Systems
Since the rewarding system at Alliance and Leicester is not generally transparent, it is rather challenging to asses its correspondence to the strategic course of action implemented by the financial organization. Yet, it can be concluded that the managerial team recognizes the diverse challenges and responsibilities associated with each and every position, and has as such developed a reward system that integrates the chores of the position and remunerates in accordance with these tasks. For instance, while the tasks and responsibilities of the product manager are crucial for overall business success, the reward system proves that they are less important in comparison to those of the marketing communications manager.
This conclusion translates into the fact that the executives at Alliance and Leicester place an increased emphasis on the organizational orientation towards attracting and satisfying customers, and that in this endeavor, greater focus is being placed on constant communications with the representatives of the market, rather than the development of new products. Overall then, it can be concluded that the fit between strategic direction and reward system is fairly strong in the meaning that the reward system reveals the company’s strategic goals and strategic courses of action implemented in the direction of achieving the pre-established goals.
3. Human Resource Management Discussion
An analysis of the human resource management policies developed and currently implemented by one of UK’s largest financial retailers reveals several applications of theoretical models and concepts. For once, there is the traditional model according to which the wage will reflect the chores and responsibilities assigned to each individual position. The more responsibilities pegged to the job and the more complex and difficult to be replaced a job is, the more will its occupant receive in salary. This has been best revealed by the example of the discrepancies in the salaries received by the product manager and the marketing communications manager.
Another means by which Alliance & Leicester implements theoretical models of human resource management is that of motivating its staff members. In this order of ideas, the company developed a wide set of incentives that not only increase employee on-the-job satisfaction, but also their performances and as such the company’s chances of attaining its objectives. A relevant example in this sense has been the implementation of flexitime, or flexible working schedule, which reveals a twofold advantage. “Employees find that flexitime helps to reduce stress resulting from conflicting demands of work, family and personal life. It eliminates daily anxiety about punctuality, reduces travel time and costs and allows more daytime participation in non-work activities. It may result in improved productivity because of greater motivation and better morale of employees; absenteeism declines as employees no longer have to deal with personal matters during working hours; overtime costs are reduced; and in addition, it facilitates recruitment, as flexitime is attractive to potential candidates” (Kanawaty, 1992, pp. 68-69).
4. Cost Implications of HRM Policies and their Impact on the Organizational Stakeholders
In order to effectively assess the cost implications of each of the four stages of human resource management, it is first necessary to restate the most important characteristic at their basis. This will be followed by the cost implications and the impact upon organizational stakeholders.
Recruiting — based on complex and combined systems; increased financial costs with advertisements on multiple media channels — this generally means that the final profit of Alliance and Leicester will be reduced with these costs: for the shareowners, it implies that they will receive lower amounts of money in the form of dividends; for the prospective candidates however, it means that they can easily gather sufficient information on the company and its available positions; the costs with recruiting through the company’s website is nevertheless reduced and this has limited financial impact; candidates however know exactly where to start gathering information and where to send in their resumes.
Training — ongoing training programs organized with the intent of increasing organizational performances and customer satisfaction; in terms of costs, they imply great levels of expenditure as specialized training firms are contracted; yet, they manage to register a sufficient return on investment as performances increase; the profit of the shareholders decreases with the making of the investment, but increase as the investments return; employees are better capable to handle their jobs and feel the sense of professional formation; customers are being served by better capable employees and as such their levels of satisfaction increase
Motivating — numerous non-financial incentives, such as flexitime or health insurance; creates employee on-the-job satisfaction; increases the performances of the staff members and consequently the customer satisfaction; prospective candidates might feel encouraged to send in their resumes; financial costs are fluctuant based on each individual strategy — while flexitime does not generate massive costs, the same cannot be said about health insurances
Rewarding — the rewarding system is not transparent and this generally creates employee dissatisfactions; in terms of costs however, the lack of transparency allows the managerial team at Alliance & Leicester to better control their expenditures and be as such less pressured by employee demands; as long as this does not generate negative effects upon employee morale and performances, the shareowners enjoy increased sums of money in the form of dividends; prospective candidates might however feel discouraged from working with a company that reveals lack of transparency in its rewarding system.
5. Recommendations and Rationale on Motivational and Reward Systems
Two features are observed relative to the motivation and reward system at Alliance and Leicester. First of all, the motivational strategies do not include training programs within the incentives offered to the employees, but treat it as a different category. This approach should be addressed in the meaning that training ought to be presented as an incentive, as an opportunity to gain professional knowledge and set the path for future professional formation. In contrast with being offered training as an exclusive means of promoting organizational goals, this new approach would offer the employee a sense of belonging to the organization, being cherished, while also increasing his sense of stability for his future.
The second recommendation refers to increasing the levels of transparency relative to the reward system. Premiums and bonuses are generally scarce at Alliance & Leicester and even when they are awarded, the criteria used in setting them in undisclosed. This often generates employee frustration, lack of motivation, low morale and, as such, low performances. Additionally, it could easily materialize in high levels of employee turnover rates, which would in turn metamorphose into increased costs with replacing and retaining the employees.
6. Budget and Evaluation Methods
The greatest part about the previously made recommendations is that they stand increased chances of success, while requiring minimal financial investments. In both cases, change comes not as an investment, but as a new approach, a new mentality and a new way of treating the human resource. Specialized assistance could be brought in with the aim of sustaining the company make its transition to higher levels of transparency and a new approach to organizational behavior.
In terms of the methods used to evaluate the efficiency of the proposed measures, it would be advisable to issue questionnaires to inquire about the levels of employee on-the-job satisfaction, their future prospects, the sense of future stability or the levels of appreciation they feel on the part of the employer. Additionally, it would also be useful to assess the HR figures relative to absenteeism and employee turnover rates. Lower levels on these indicators reveal the success of the enhanced rewarding and motivation strategies.
Appendix — Background Information on Alliance & Leicester
Alliance and Leicester has been a constant presence within the English financial sector starting with middle nineteenth century. The organization has undergone a series of changes, but has managed to maintain its position as an undisputable leader of the national market. The financial services organization can trace its roots back to 1852, with the foundation of the Leicester Permanent Benefit Society. The following century, namely in 1985, the company merged with the Alliance Building Society to form a new entity called Alliance & Leicester. The headquarters of the financial organization were set in Narborough, Leicestershire. Five years into this merger, the new organization acquired Girobank, a subsidiary of the United Kingdom Post Office. In more recent times, Alliance & Leicester was itself purchased by the Spanish financial group Santander. The endeavor led to the delisting of the UK organization from the London Stock Exchange. This year, on the 27th of May, Alliance & Leicester announced it would change its name to Santander — this would be completed starting with 2010 (Official Website of the Alliance & Leicester Group, 2009).
Today, Alliance & Leicester offers its customers a wide array of financial products and services, including loans, mortgages, savings, investments and insurance and employs little fewer than 10,000 individuals. Despite the company’s strong commitment to satisfying its vast palette of stakeholders, 2008 has proven a difficult year, due to two elements — the internationalized economic crisis and the acquisition by the Santander Group. As a result, the financial outcomes of the UK-based company suffered drastic reductions. For instance, the total operating income decreased from Â£1,426 million in 2007 to Â£824 million in 2008. Fiscal year 2008 ended with a net loss of Â£918 million, as opposed to profits of Â£296 million in 2007 (Alliance & Leicester 2008 Annual Report).
Kanawaty, G., 1992, Introduction to Work Study, 4th Edition, International Labor Organization, ISBN 9221071081
2004, Alliance & Leicester Selects QA for Management Training Service, Training Press Release, http://www.trainingpressreleases.com/newsstory.asp?NewsID=945 last accessed on September 7, 2009
2009, Alliance & Leicester Salaries in United Kingdom, Glass Door, http://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/Alliance-and-Leicester-Salaries-E7754.htm last accessed on September 8, 2009
2009, Leicester Recruitment / HR Jobs, Gumtree, http://leicester.gumtree.com/leicester/54/44436054.html last accessed on September 7, 2009
2009, Official Website of the Alliance & Leicester Group, http://www.alliance-leicester-group.co.uk last accessed on September 7, 2009
Alliance & Leicester 2008 Annual Report, Retrieved from http://www.alliance-leicester-group.co.uk/html/investor/annual_report.asp# on September 7, 2009
Alliance and Leicester Jobs — Alliance and Leicester Recruitment, Your County, http://www.yourcounty.co.uk/business/allianceandleicesterjobs.html last accessed on September 7, 2009
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