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Marks and Spencer: Human Resource Management

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 3325 words Published: 17th Jul 2018

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In 1998 it became the first British retailer to make a pre-tax profit of over £1 billion, though a few years later it plunged into a crisis which lasted for several years. In November 2009, it was announced that Marc Bolland, formerly of Morrisons, will take over as chief executive from Stuart Rose in early 2010; Rose will continue as chairman until mid-2011.

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M&S’s Present situation of Recruitment, selection and training:

As M&S persist to grow the business and invest for the future, it is more essential than ever to keep amplification the team of employees at every level, from the shop-floor through to management. To attract and retain the best talent in the industry, HRM has to exhibit each day that M&S is a good employer, dedicated to creating all the people feel respected and providing them with career opportunities and quality training.

Recruitment and retention:

The company employs around 71,000 people in the UK, 75,000 worldwide. M&S has one of the lowest employee turnover rates in UK retail, at 27% for customer assistants and 12% for management. Around 40% of the people have been with it for over 5 years and 22% for more than ten years.

M&S can offer graduates a fast track into management and last year HRM received a record 8,500 applications in just over two months. Each year the company employ between 150 and 200 graduates and business placement programmed undergraduates for positions in retail, food technology, design, HR, buying, IT and other specialist roles. M&S won four major graduate recruitment awards, including the 2008 Times’ ‘Graduate Employer of Choice’ for retail.

Training and development:

The company needs to train people comprehensively to do their jobs, but also want to keep their skills and experience by giving them real opportunities to plan and build a career with Marks & Spencer. M&S has defined career paths in place for many of its people, including Customer Assistants and store management. During the year it introduced new career paths for store Section Managers and HR and marketing teams. Everyone joining in the stores completes a thorough induction and up to 26 weeks’ ongoing training – the longest on the high street. M&S has over 7,500 people in stores who act as coaches to train and support their less experienced colleagues.

This year the company has also run specialist training for people moving into senior management roles or taking up international assignments. Additionally, more than 4,000 people completed Buying Academy and Food Academy courses. M&S now testing similar types of academies for womenswear and merchandisers.

M&S’s Ethics and Code is communicated across the company and senior management is asked to confirm acceptance annually with breaches reported to the Audit Committee.

The recruitment and selection process of human resource in the company go through in two parts, Store and Head Office.


Retail Sales M&S has two schemes available in the stores: Selling and HR. Selling is where most of the graduates join, and offers the chance to be fast-tracked into senior level retail management. HR is where personnel train to be an HR manager, gaining experience into everything from managing recruitment to carrying out disciplinary procedures. Figure – 4

  • Store Roles
  • Store management
  • Managing HR in store
  • Store stock management

Head office

In a head office role, the personnel get the opportunity to develop professional skills and capabilities, and then use that acquaintance to influence strategies and confine growth across the rest of the business. M&S provides opportunities in IT, design, merchandising, garment, buying and food technology and product development. Figure – 5

  • Designing
  • Store development
  • Accounts and finance
  • Head office Roles
  • Procurement
  • Product development
  • Information technology
  • UK and International marketing
  • Information technology
  • Human resource management

Recruitment and Selection Procedure of M&S

Job centre

  • Recruitment Agencies
  • Recruitment Sources
  • Advertisements
  • On-line application
  • Schools, colleges, universities
  • Friends and relatives of existing employees
  • Executive search agencies


  • Work-based tests
  • Selection Procedures
  • Bio-data analysis
  • Psychological analysis
  • References
  • Analytical ability test

Training and development process:

M&S wants its people to enjoy their work and feel they have all the skills they need to do their job to the best of their ability. Therefore, the company offers in-depth training and performance coaching, and regularly assess the people’s development needs to ensure everyone has the support to achieve their potential.

“For once in my life I can truly say that I enjoy going to work every day and I really like the buzz you feel all around the store.” Brian – M&S Staff

It does not a matter in which area of the business someone joins, he/she will receive an induction that will help to settle into the team, giving a feel for what role will involve and leave to feel passionate, inspired and excited about the career with Marks & Spencer.

The following provides the nature of training one can expect in M&S’s stores and at head office, and how the company looks at developing future leaders of the business.

Marks & Spencer offers the majority of the training for store teams is on-the-job. It helps them learn in ‘real life’ situations. The section managers also receive specific training on stock management, driving sales and motivating their teams, while the store managers are regularly assessed to address any senior level development needs they may have.

Finally, the retail business transforms fast and making sure each of the employees has a flexible and diverse range of skills is as significant to the future of M&S’s business as it is to the people who work in it. That is true whether an employee joins the company for a short period of time or to pursue a long-term career. The training M&S offer is designed to help individuals build up their talents and capabilities, develop their experience and fulfill their career ambitions. M&S aim is to ensure that the employees have the skills they need to deliver the kind of service that customers expect from M&S.

Evaluation of the Human Relations School of management in relation to Motivation of staff:

In 1920 an experiment conducted by the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric (in Cicero, IL) known as the Hawthorne Experiments from which the human relations management evolved. This human relations management approach includes different models, ways and ideas.

Through this experiment an important observation was noted. As the employees were divided in to two groups for the purpose of experiment groups got varied attention from the management. And it was found that the group which got majority of attention got highly motivated and seemed their work as significant one and turn out to be more productive. Because of this particular work people understood that workers also need special attention as they were treated as some force which will do the job otherwise would be terminated at that era. And this observation helped to introduce a new horizon in the outlook of managers and help come into view human relations management.

This school of management is now there for quite a long time and withstands the test of time. This view is sometimes regarded as theory of motivation and the treat people working in the organization quite differently than other theories such as autocratic. Among different theories McGregor’s X and Y Theories presume workers can act in both ways that is some workers may be unmotivated and reluctant about the work imposed on them (Theory-X) and some may seem motivated and treat the work as trust vested upon them (Theory-Y). So management needs to be pretty much careful in handling workers. Management should design its different program by keeping human relations management. In this modern world workers are not only used like machines to make the job done rather they will have to nourish which will in turn provide nourishment to the organization.

To motivate employees to the work this approach recommends some steps that management can follow:

  • To treat employees as if work is as common as doing daily activities in normal mode.
  • The target of the employees work is aimed share those objectives to make the work more acquainted with the employees.
  • Make sure employees can take major decision on their own and can prove their own potential.
  • Provide proper training and increase work load as they become more capable.
  • Appreciate and motivate employees on doing successful projects and set standards which are achievable.

This approach tells us that employees are not motivated only by monetary benefit but also by different fringe benefits such as appreciation, sense of togetherness etc.

Program of Motivational Factors for a Small to Medium Sized Business:.

Motivational program is set to achieve the following objectives:

  • To Perform jobs as efficiently and timely as possible and
  • Be ready to take latest challenges as they are presented to them and stood confident to cope with those challenges.

So to design a program for a small to medium business the following factors or observations need to be addressed:

Ability and motivation: The program designed must be able to locate the areas which will motivate employees and the purpose of the program will be to motivate employees. The program should include something that increases employees’ eagerness to do the job willingly.

Reinforce employees positively and train them as it becomes necessary.

Always maintain and ensure fairness, respect, and honesty in treating employees. It is one of essentials of the program.

Identify, understand and talk to employees about their miseries, provide assistance if needed.

Job rotation, job redesign, restructuring or reorganizing job descriptions when necessary will make the employees more capable of doing different jobs and will reduce dependency on some key employees.

Based on the performance establish reward system which may range from providing monetary to non monetary benefits.

After the inclusion of all these factors or observations there will be a turnaround in the way of doing things in a small or medium sized business.

Classical and Scientific School of Management:

To manage work and train the workers to reduce dissatisfaction of the workers Classical management theory evolved during the Industrial Revolution. It mainly find the best way to perform the job assigned. There are two branches of Classical School of Management: classical scientific and classical administrative.

Classical scientific school:

The classical scientific branch deals with the process of work and the skills of the workers and to increase productivity. Taylor, Henry Gantt, and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were the main contributors of this school.

Taylor believed that organizations should study tasks and develop precise procedures.

Henry Gantt is the creator of the Gantt chart, a bar graph that measures planned and completed work along each stage of production.

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, studied job motions. Frank was an apprentice bricklayer, he was interested in standardization and method study. He studied about the workers’ slowness and inefficiency. The scientific management was developed to divide work between employees, methods of doing jobs, the teamwork building and training and developing workers.

Classical administrative school:

The classical administrative School deals on the total organization such as the development of managerial principles rather than work methods. Max Weber, Henri Fayol, Mary Parker Follett, and Chester I. Barnard were the main contributors.

 Max Weber believed that the organization should be run by structured rules and it should not be run as family-like basis. He didn’t think that authority should be based on a person’s personality. He thought authority should be something that was part of a person’s job and passed from individual to individual as one person left and another took over. This nonpersonal, objective form of organization was called a bureaucracy.

All bureaucracies have the characteristics as Division of work, A good hierarchy and Rule and regulations, competence and the relationships between managers and employees.

Henri Fayol’s 14 principles of management gives clear idea how a manager manage his department and staff. The 14 principles are:

Division of work, Authority and responsibility, Discipline, Unity of command, Unity of direction, Subordination of individual interest to general interest, Remuneration of personnel, Centralization, Scalar chain, Order, Equity, Stability of tenure of personnel, Initiative, Esprit de corps.

Mary Parker Follett  encouraged managers to share their power with the employees. She began to talk about such things as ethics, power, and leadership. She stressed the importance of people rather than techniques – a concept very much before her time. As a result, she was a pioneer and often not taken seriously by management scholars of her time. But times change, and innovative ideas from the past suddenly take on new meanings. Much of what managers do today is based on the fundamentals that Follett established more than 80 years ago.

Relevance of Maslow’s Theory in Today’s Workforce:

The dynamic world of business needs to motivate employees which contradict the past dictatorship by the top management. Through this process of development different perspectives arise and made their mark in motivating employees. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs alternatively known as the theory Z is one such remarkable innovation that never lost its eminent prospect in motivating employees and still followed all around the world.

The Maslow’s hierarchy calls for the meet up of employees physiological needs on the first hand. In today’s world firms’ focus on issues such as food, housing etc which falls in the physiological category to motivate employees. In USA Toyota has a village for its employees that provide housing facilities for its employees.

The second parameter is safety. Employees need job security, health support for them and for their families so if this can be ensured employees will surely be motivated. The example of Toyota village can be mentioned once again here.

People are by nature hungry for love and as human beings employees also need love and affection. So the insurance of appreciation, sense of belongingness will motivate them and theory Z is very much appropriate in identifying it.

In self esteem case employees act as confident contenders in performing a job. They will want achieve something for them and to obtain respect from others. Maslow rightly identified this need as low and mid level managers always try to be achievers. And they want top management to believe in them to take some decisions for which they will be responsible.

Employees at certain time become more creative in what they usually do. In this process of self actualization employees will need to be handled carefully as they can take the business to a whole new level. So Maslow’s theory is very much in line with the today’s workforce.

Evaluation of the autocratic and democratic ways of implementing changes within the organization:

Every company always tries to manage the changes by using democratic or participatory managerial style. Change management is a personal journey along with the organization changes. So each stakeholder’s views, complaints and concerns needed to be heard and this input needs to be incorporated into the change management process. If the organizational changes are imposed on the individuals without showing much respect towards the individual employees the firm should at the same time be prepared for a lot resistance.

Change management is difficult as there are negative reaction from the employees. The managers should be very much intelligent and competent to change and they must manage employees that they will not be affected badly.

People should be given information – be open and honest about the facts, but don’t give overoptimistic speculation. The information should be given everyone in the organization.

People should be given time, to express their views, and support their decision making, providing coaching, counseling or information as appropriate.

Where the change involves a loss, identifies what will or might replace that loss – loss is easier to cope with if there is something to replace it. This will help assuage potential fears.

Where it is possible to do so, give individuals opportunity to express their concerns and provide reassurances – also to help assuage potential fears.

Linkage between management style and motivational programs:

Generally with the democratic style of management, employees are highly motivated and inverse is the case with the autocratic style of leadership. But this simple statement needs better modification. While answering this question I will try to focus on the different motivational practice backed by the motivational theory and its linkage with the management style.

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According to the Maslow’s hierarchy of need theory people at a specific point of time has a specific level of need. After the fulfillment of that need a second stage need occurs. Employee who currently has safety and psychological needs will not care about the style of management for getting motivated. But in case of employees, who have love, esteem or self- actualization needs cares about the motivational level at the workforce and they will be much motivated with the scientific style of management.

According to Douglas McGregor of MIT Sloan School of Management Employees can be narrowly divided into two generic classes- one set of people who are innovative and love to work as to them working is equivalent to play. For motivating them he proposed democratic leadership, flatten hierarchy and team work (components of modem management technique). According to McGregor, another set of employee do not work hard since they find no real interest in the job and like to follow the command instead of thinking creatively. For motivating those types of employees he proposed autocratic leadership, strong chain of command (components of classical management technique).

Frederick Herzberg, a psychologist, has segregated different factors at the workplace that affect the productivity – motivators and hygiene factors. If there are no motivators like challenging work, responsibility, good management although he doesn’t leave the job but still he is not motivated. Firms which are more concerned about the efficiency not retention should incorporate scientific management to motivate the people.


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