How human resources can benefit your fashion business

According to Wikipedia┬áHuman resources are the people who make up the workforce of an organisation, business sector, or economy but the formulation of human resources strategy and policies specialists should act as advisors to and educators of top management. It is crucial that all of the general management including Brisbane HR consultants Carter Lambert, and most especially top management, are human resources literate. But being a general manager usually means being literate about a lot of stuff and an expert on rather little, and unless the Carter Lambert or the division (or business unit or regional) chief has a human resources background, one is unlikely to be a working force expert. Some of the human resources management is pretty straightforward common sense. Take, for instance, the design and redesign of performance appraisal systems. Given the number of different goals that performance appraisal serves, it is common sense how to achieve an appropriate balance. It’s even harder to anticipate all the feedback effects that a change in performance appraisal practices will bring.

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Perhaps most subtle of all is the notion that change in performance appraisal for its sake may have benefits. Or, to take a somewhat more mundane but still very critical aspect of staffing and recruiting, consider job interviews: Should they be unstructured, so that a skillful interviewer can follow leads that develop in the course of the conversation; or should they follow a script, so that there is a firmer basis for the inevitable cross-person comparisons that follow interviews? Should they be conducted one-on-one, which may encourage the candidate to relax; or many-on-one, to reduce interviewer caprice? The general point is that a specialist – someone who follows the literature on human resources management and is educated to appreciate the nuanced conclusions of human resources research – can help find answers to questions that general managers have and, even, to recognise important questions that might not otherwise have occurred to the general manager.

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Indeed, even when the CEO or division chief is highly human resources literate, the conflicting demands on that person to pay attention to marketing, finance, operations, and so on are likely to mean that he or she won’t have the time to follow the latest thinking on the subject, or even to devote careful thought to these issues (You can employ a human resource consultant for your business too if this is the case). A staff that concentrates on this matters not to the exclusion of other matters, but with human resources on the front burner all the time is important, as long as the chief doesn’t abdicate her decision-making authority (or the authority of the executive committee) on these issues.

 

A good example of this role being enacted by specialists is provided by the vice president for human resources in a prominent, high-technology global corporation, who recently gave a presentation to a group of managers participating in an internal management development program. The company, which had grown at an astounding rate, was less than two decades old, founded very much on the “engineering” model. The firm had been at the cutting edge of some major technological developments in computers and networking, and it had been able to attract extremely talented technical personnel by offering opportunities to work at the technical frontier. The company also provided extremely generous and comprehensive benefits, financial and otherwise. As the company had grown and matured, it had inevitably lost some of its initial “start-up” allure, and its innovations had prompted heightened competition from other leading technology companies. The head of human resources at fashion company had become increasingly concerned about how the firm would continue to attract and retain the technical elite.

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Accordingly, he commissioned a comprehensive and carefully designed survey of current and former employees, as well as information obtained from prospective employees, designed to answer the question: What differentiates this firm in the labor market and what are the dimensions of which it can be the employer of choice in a world of increasingly fierce competition for technical stars? According to the director of human resources, after they methodically analysed the data, the answer came back loud and clear about what distinguished his company from competitors in the labour market: absolutely nothing. As a result, the head of human resources persuaded senior management at this fashion company to launch an initiative aimed at redefining the business’s culture and human resources practices around the idea of being a “career” employee. He believes this will give the company a competitive edge against other technology firms, which have tended to deemphasize commitments to their employees and play up the notion that individual employees must be responsible for their careers.