Human Resource Coursework
Assignment Briefing (level 5)
|Module Name||Human Resource Management|
|Assignment Title||Applied Case Analysis – Schwartz Group HR Scenarios|
|Type of Submission||On-line written assignment via Canvas/Turnitin|
|Weighting of the assignment in the overall module grade||50%|
|Word Count||1500 (+/- 10% excluding cover page, text of questions, reference list & any appendices)|
|Issue Date||April 23 2020|
|Submission Date||9am Thursday 14 May 2020|
|Date of Feedback to Students||11 June 2020|
|Where feedback can be found||Canvas/Turnitin|
Students are required to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the syllabus content by writing a case analysis report based upon the following terms of reference.
The report should be 1500 words (+/- 10%), excluding cover page, text of questions, reference list & any appendices. (Note – there is NO requirement for an executive summary, introduction or conclusion.)
Not adhering to the limit will result in losing marks.
Reports must be anonymised and provide a wordcount.
You have been contacted again by the Schwartz Group to provide further HR consultancy. As you will recall, the Schwartz Group is a large privately held organization based in the UK. The main business of the Schwartz Group is providing insurance services and it has two main divisions, Domestic and Corporate.
The Domestic division employs 500 people, the majority of whom work at a call centre operation in Ealing, west London. This offers car, home and life insurance products and undertakes both outgoing (sales) and incoming (customer service) calls. This is a high volume operation with the emphasis on efficiency, meeting targets and customer satisfaction. The staff here comprise recent A-level / college graduates and workers in a range of other age ranges with previous call centre or other work experience.
The Corporate division operates from an office in the City of London and focuses on providing insurance services to owners of commercial property (e.g. offices, factories) as well as shipping vessels, with an international as well as UK focus. The 200 staff here undertake high-value, complex work where the emphasis is on meeting the specific requirements of individual clients. Employees here include recent university graduates and others with experience in this sector of the insurance industry.
Read the business developments below and in your report address the questions outlined. Provide advice for management drawing on the sources provided.
Scenario A: Reduction in Headcount at the Domestic Division
Business demand in the domestic division has fallen due to intense competition in the car, home and life insurance markets stimulated by price comparison websites such as ‘confused.com’ and ‘gocompare.’ As a result of the fall in customer demand, management have identified a need to reduce numbers employed by ten percent. Fifty people are to be let go. (In contrast, business demand in the corporate division remains high, with notable expansion in some foreign markets.)
Lewis, the managing director of the domestic division, has asked the Schwartz group’s HR manager for help in “implementing these cuts as a matter of urgency, as quickly as possible.” He has commented that because the Schwartz group does not recognise a trade union he expects the process to be “very straightforward.” Lewis has also suggested that the employees to be let go should be made up of those recruited recently and those with a poor attendance record.
Provide advice to the Schwartz Group HR manager as to how handle this situation. Your advice should address the following points:
(a) Summarise relevant legal obligations or considerations for companies in such a situation.
What law defines ‘redundancy’? Do the facts of this case meet the criteria outlined for a redundancy? (6 marks)
What legal obligations exist as to consultation with employees regarding possible redundancies? Address here (i) in what circumstances a consultation duty arises; ii) who to consult with; iii) when this should take place; iv) the content of the consultation
Who is eligible to receive statutory redundancy pay? What level should this be paid at? (6 marks)
(b) Advise about how to manage this process in a way that both complies with the law and principles of best practice HR.
Consider ONLY the following issues:
· alternatives to redundancy (include what they may be and the process for considering them)
· Choice of & process of applying selection criteria
Scenario B: Missing Money in the Corporate Division
Fifteen people work in the Customer Accounts department at the corporate division, which is headed by Samira. Their role is to collect insurance premia from Schwartz group customers including office, factory and ship owners. Three of these, Raj, Sarah and Dexter, handle the accounts with the ship owners. They are all employees and have worked at the Schwartz for three (Raj), seven (Sarah) and ten (Dexter) years respectively. The manager of this team, Ahmed, has just found out that a £50,000 premium payment from the customer, Hellenic Vessels, has gone missing.
Ahmed is shocked and wants to find out what has happened. He recalls that Raj has been rather stressed recently citing “money worries.” Ahmed has seen him checking his personal bank account during work times and knows he recently sold his expensive BMW car which he used to drive to work. Sarah has arrived at work this week with a new designer hand bag and sunglasses. No change has been observed in Dexter’s behaviour, he just get’s on with the job and then goes home to his family.
Ahmed has asked the Schwartz Group HR manager for advice as to handle this situation. He explained that he has invited Raj and Sarah to come to a meeting together with him so that “we can identify and dismiss the culprit as quickly as possible.”
Your advice to the HR manager should address the following points:
(a) Summarise relevant legal obligations or considerations for companies in such a situation.
What are the main sources of legal obligations on companies in the areas of discipline & dismissal? (3 marks)
What groups of workers can normally claim unfair dismissal and which workers in this scenario can potentially claim? (6 marks)
What two things must an employer show in order to prove a fair dismissal? What are potentially fair reasons for dismissal according to the legislation? (6 marks)
In what circumstances can an employee request to be accompanied in a disciplinary meeting? Who are employees permitted by law to request to represent them? (6 marks)
(b) Advise as to how to manage this process in a way that both complies with the law and principles of best practice HR.
Consider ONLY the following issues:
· Investigation of conduct issues
· Management of disciplinary meetings, outcomes & appeals
In preparing the report, you must refer to at least three academic reports on scenario A, AND at least three academic reports on scenario B.
By academic report we mean academic textbook or other book, journal papers or high quality practitioner reports – see the assignment page on Canvas.
All report should have the following sections: cover page; section A; section B; list of references. NB – there is NO requirement for an executive summary, introduction or conclusion.
A number of readings are outlined below. However this is not an exclusive list and other workshop readings, library books or sources identified on iCat may also be used if seen to be relevant. See also the materials on Canvas.
Hook and Jenkins textbook, chapter 12 ‘Discipline and grievance’ & 13 ‘Dismissal, redundancy and outplacement’ (or equivalent chapter in previous editions of Foot and Hook textbook).
Gennard J., Judge G., Bennett, T. and Saundry, R. (2016): Managing Employment Relations, 6th edition, London: CIPD (chapters 12, 13 & 14).
Beardwell, J. and Thompson, A. (2017): Human Resource Management: A Contemporary Approach, 8th edition, Harlow: Pearson (Chapter 10 ‘The Employment Relationship & Employee Rights at Work’, by Alan Ryan, especially pp. 367-373).
ACAS (2015): Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, London: ACAS (available from https://www.acas.org.uk/codes-of-practice).
Ashman, I. (2012): “‘The nature of bad news infects the teller’: The experiences of envoys in the face to face delivery of downsizing initiatives in UK public sector organisations”, ACAS Research Paper, 3/12, London: ACAS.
Ashman, I. (2012): ‘Downsizing envoys: A public/private sector comparison’, ACAS Research Paper, 11/12, London: ACAS.
Suff, R. (2013): ‘Discipline and Grievance: 2013 XPertHR Survey’, available from XPertHR (available at www.xperthr.co.uk)
van Wanrooy, B., Bewley, H., Bryson, A., Forth, J., Freeth, S., Stokes, L. and Wood, S. (2013): Employment Relations in the Shadow of the Recession: Findings from the 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
XpertHR – login via iCat –various materials on dismissal & redundancy
Allocation of Marks
|Scenario A – outline of the law||24|
|Scenario A – discussion of best practice||17.5|
|Scenario B – outline of the law||21|
|Scenario B – discussion of best practice||17.5|
|Presentation (structure, formatting, grammar, spelling, writing style)||10|
|Referencing (extent & appropriateness of referencing, accuracy of in-text citations & reference list at the end)||10|
FEEDBACK ON THE WRITTEN ELEMENTS OF THE MODULE WILL BE BASED ON UNDERGRADUATE L5 GRADE CRITERIA:
|CLASS||%||LETTER GRADE||OVERALL DESCRIPTION||GUIDELINE GRADE DESCRIPTIONS|
|First||85-100||A+||Outstanding||Your work meets all of the criteria described below for the A and A- grades. On top of that, it shows that you have an impressive grasp of the skills and knowledge covered in this module. Your work is also consistently effective in analysing key concepts that we studied and you draw on a comprehensive range of evidence, reflection and reasoned argument. Your work shows that you have followed good academic practice in terms of citation and referencing, presentation format and clear, accurate English.|
|Your work shows a detailed knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this module. You have taken a creative approach to the ideas and topics that we studied. Your work shows your ability to analyse ideas critically using evidence, reflection and reasoned argument based on the theories and principles that we covered. Your work shows that you are consistently able to identify and define problems and/or practical issues clearly and to choose appropriate methods to resolve them. Your work shows that you have followed good academic practice in terms of citation and referencing, presentation format and clear, accurate English.|
|Good||Your work shows a good knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this module and you tackle a range of different ideas and/or contexts. Your work also shows that you are able to analyse ideas critically using the principles, theories and approaches that we covered in the module. Your work also shows that you are able to define problems and/or practical issues clearly and to choose appropriate methods to resolve them. Most of your work shows good academic practice in terms citation and referencing, presentation format and clear, accurate English.|
|Satisfactory||Your work shows some knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this module. Your work also shows that you are able to analyse material critically, but it does not always focus on key points. Your work shows that you have applied appropriate methods and tools to identify resolve the more straightforward problems and/or practical issues covered in the module. Your work follows good academic practice to some extent in terms of citation and referencing, presentation format and clear, accurate English|
|Adequate||Your work shows that you have gained a basic knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this module. Your work tends to be descriptive, and your analysis is oversimplified. There is some evidence in your work that you have applied the methods and tools covered in the module appropriately to resolve straightforward problems and/or practical issues. Your work shows some evidence of good academic practice in terms of citation and referencing, presentation format and clear, accurate English, but this is not always consistent throughout.|
|Marginal Fail||35-39||F5||Unsatisfactory||Your work shows only a limited knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this module. Your work is descriptive and shows little attempt to analyse ideas or arguments. You make some assertions without sufficient evidence to back up your arguments. Your work does not apply what we learnt appropriately to straightforward problems and/or practical issues. Your work has not followed good academic practice in terms of citation and referencing, presentation format and clear, accurate English.|
|Fail||34 and below||F4||Poor||Your work shows little knowledge or understanding of the material covered in the module. Your work is descriptive and shows no attempt to analyse ideas or arguments. You make assertions without putting forward the evidence to back them up. Your work suggests that you have not understood the methods and tools covered in the module well enough to apply them to ideas or problems. Your work does not meet most of the Learning Outcomes for this module. Your work has not followed good academic practice in terms of citation and referencing, presentation format and clear, accurate English.|
When you write an essay, report or dissertation you should always cite the published sources to which you quote, refer to or use as evidence, otherwise you are likely to be committing plagiarism, which is a form of academic misconduct with potentially very serious consequences. References need to be made both within the text and in a list at the end.
The aim in doing this is to ensure that somebody reading your work can easily find these sources for themselves. This applies to whether you are using a book, a report, a journal article or an Internet site..There is help available from MyKingston, the library and online, including a range of videos such as those given below:
https://mykingston.kingston.ac.uk/library/help_and_training/Pages/referencing.aspx (SEE HARVARD REFERENCING FOR BUSINESS STUDENTS IN MIDDLE OF PAGE)
Do remember you can submit your work as many times as you like before the final deadline. It is a good idea to check your Originality Report and ensure that any potential plagiarism is eradicated for your work by rewriting in your own words and referencing correctly. The staff on the BLASC desk in the LRC will be able to advise on this. Here you can find out how to access your Originality Report:
Additional helpful resources can be found here:
The best way to avoid academic misconduct or plagiarism is to use your own words at all times; do not cut and paste from other work.
|Illness or other mitigating circumstances
By submitting an assignment you are declaring yourself fit to take the assessment therefore please make sure that if you are unwell you understand our mitigating circumstances process. The most important thing to do is keep us informed if you are experiencing problems! See our regulations on this link: