MANAGING HUMAN CAPITAL
Here in this present assignment, the researcher will try to review the existing HR practices of the New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad, the publisher of the largest circulating tabloid of Malaysia, Harian Metro. In doing so, the researcher will give specific attention to the company’s existing recruitment and selection process and human resource development (HRD) practices. By critically analyzing the existing recruitment and HRD practices of the firm, the researcher will propose necessary improvements to them. The researcher will also recommend effective employee motivation technique and change implementation process to New Straits Times Press.
2. Background of the Organization:
The Straits Times (Malaya) Berhad has first come into existence in 1966 soon after the introduction of the Companies Act of the Malaysian Government in 1965. The Straits Times (Malaya) Berhad has transferred its newspaper business of Malaysia to its wholly owned subsidiary, the New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad in 1972 (Nstp.com.my, 2015). Since 1972, the subsidiary is successfully running the newspaper business of Malaysia with multiple publications like New Straits Times and Harian Metro. The vision of the company is to become the “best news media company in Malaysia” (Nstp.com.my, 2015). The company as a part of its mission statement tries to offer best possible news content to its readers. Besides giving maximum returns to its shareholders, the company has a strong commitment to recruit the best set of workforce and retain them by offering them a safe and healthy working environment. From the very mission statement of the company, it becomes clear that the company has great concern for its human capital. Now, it is essential to judge whether the company’s human resource management (HRM) activities are in proper shape to give the company an added edge in the highly competitive global marketplace.
3. Recruitment and Selection Process:
3.1 Present Recruitment and Selection Practices in New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad:
In the present recruitment and selection process of New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad, a vacancy in an important organizational post is tried to be fulfilled by internal candidates at first. The Management Board, which uses to look after the recruitment process of the firm, gives utmost preferences to the internal candidates whenever a vacancy emerges. In case a suitable internal candidate is not identified by the Board, it chooses the traditional path of finding eligible candidates through known sources. A job advertisement containing details of duties and minimum eligibility criteria is usually furnished in all the leading newspapers of the country. As New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad loves to keep pace with the growing demands of time, it also utilizes latest mediums for posting job advertisements like different job portals, social networking sites and so on. One of the major reasons behind utilizing social networking sites for the recruitment process of the company lies in the fact that this medium is largely used by young generation and New Straits Times Press has a strong liking for recruiting young and energetic individuals only (Philpott and Swettenham, 2012). The publishing house even posts the advertisement on its official website.
Besides offering a job to the external candidates, the Management Board even offers a chance to the internal employees of the firm to furnish the names of their acquaintances in the list of probable candidates who are going to be interviewed in the due course of time. By collecting CVs (Curriculum Vitae) both from the outside candidates as well as from the candidates who have the reference of any one of the existing employees of the company, the Board uses to send them to the line manager of the concerned department where the vacancy arises. It is the responsibility of the line manager to shortlist the CVs only of those candidates who are going to interviewed and inform them about the time and venue of the interview session. In addition to that, the line manager also has the responsibility to take the first round of interviews. The member of the Management Board in charge of the department where the vacancy arises usually takes the second round of interviews. Besides these, the candidates also have to give some practical tests in which the practical capability of the candidates are judged by placing them in real business situations.
3.2 Effect of Present Recruitment and Selection Practice:
The Management Board of New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad is bestowed with the responsibilities of the formulating the corporate strategy of the company and recruiting and selecting suitable employees. Thus there is a clear connection evident between the recruitment process and corporate strategies of the firm. However, the recruitment and selection process of New Straits Times Press is not free from faults which to some extent affect the overall business strategy of the firm.
3.3 A Review of Present Selection and Recruitment Process:
By analyzing the present employee recruitment process of New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad, the researcher finds that the process has its own strong points as well as weak corners. The strength of the process lies in the fact that the company gives preference to internal candidates in order to fill up the vacancy in an important organizational position of the company. This very practice gives its existing employees an enormous opportunity of career development. Through internal promotions, they can claim a higher place in the organizational structure if they have a capability to accept added organizational responsibilities. Again, giving preference to the acquaintances of the existing employees in the recruitment process helps an organization to build up a positive team spirit (Brennan, 2013). There is chance that lesser number of HR issues will evolve as the employees will be previously known to each other.
The weakness of the present recruitment process of New Straits Times Press reflects if the vacancies of the company are fulfilled by the internal candidates, then the outside candidates will never get a chance to be recruited. The company, also, will miss the opportunity of selecting the best possible candidate from the country’s talent rich job market. Due to the absence of an HR department, the Management Board of the company has to look after the recruitment process. As the Board members are not professional HR officials, they fail to perform certain important functions related to recruitment and selection process. Conducting job analysis, specifying ob description and deciding personal specification of the eligible candidates are some of the activities that they fail to perform. Without a specific mention of the job description and the personal specification, the company will never be able to find out best possible candidates (Cakar et al. 2009).
3.4 Recommendation for the Improvement of the Existing Recruitment and Selection Process:
The weaknesses found in the present recruitment process of New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad compel the researcher to make certain effective recommendations to the company so that it can become able to recruit best possible candidates. The recommendations are:
New Straits Times Press should think of setting up its own HR department. The burden of recruiting a huge volume of workforce for the company is almost becoming unbearable to the Management Team. However, establishing a new HR department is not a matter of one day. For the time being, the company can outsource some of its HR activities to an experienced HR firm (especially a recruitment firm).
Outside candidates should be given equal preference to the selection process as is the case with the internal candidates. If the company tries to promote its existing employees to new organizational positions, it should have to adopt succession planning way before a vacancy arises.
4. Human Resource Development:
4.1 Present HRD approaches of New Straits Times Press:
The human resource development activities of a business organization can be majorly divided into sections. All these sections come as opportunities to the human capital of the firm. The opportunities are Training opportunities, Development opportunities, Learning opportunities and Career Development opportunities. In the following part of the assignment, the researcher will discuss to what extent the human capital of New Straits Times Press gains an access to these opportunities.
Training opportunities- the employees of New Straits Times Press are completely deprived of getting a chance to enter into a training session as the company considers an arrangement of a training program to be a sheer waste of money and time. Off the job is not at all allowed to the employees. However, the employees use to get on the job training from the superior or senior staffs of the company.
Development opportunities- similar is the case with availing development opportunities for the staffs of New Straits Times Press. The company never feels the urge to send its potential employees to external skill improvement programs by availing which they will be able to successfully place themselves in future management positions of the organization. Thus the catching of high flyers uses to remain a daydream for the organization. New Straits Times Press tries to provide development opportunities to its promising employees by gradually rendering them added organizational responsibilities. Through this process, the organization wants to groom its future managers.
Learning opportunities- this is perhaps the only area where the staffs of New Straits Times Press get support from their concerned organization. The company offers enough encouragement to those employees whose performances are probably not the best but they are trying to give their best for the organization. Academic qualification of the staffs does not impress the company’s top management. Instead the high performance of the staffs in the organization is what the management expects. However, the management does not throw away those who actually could not live up to the expectation of the company. They are given opportunities to learn and perform.
Career Development Opportunities- by closely intersecting the organizational structure of New Straits Times Press, the researcher observes that there is hardly any scope of career development available for the employees of the company. The Management Board of the company usually prepares rough career development plan only for those who perform excellently and for others, there is nothing. The Board has a feeling that the employees will remain happy by drawing a handsome salary. For the highly ambitious performers of the company, the Board gives them an opportunity to observe the present managers of the company closely and after gaining a fair idea about the managerial activities of the company, they are given certain managerial responsibilities which were earlier performed by the existing managers.
4.2 Critical Analysis of the Present HRD Practices:
The learner finds that New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad majorly practices soft alternative of HRM. However, in certain instances its support towards hard HRM is evident, especially in case of considering training as sheer waste of money and time. Modern business studies like to treat employee training program as an investment to develop the most important resources of a business organization – its human resources (Gashi, 2013). However, there is no denying the fact that sending the employees to external training agencies might not always bring positive outcomes (Grimaldi et al. 2013). Still, the necessity of imparting job related training cannot be ignored. The learner has also observed a lack enthusiasm on the part of New Straits Times Press in giving impetus to its employees to utilize learning opportunities to the fullest. The company does not encourage its young employees to admit in new professional courses. This can be considered as a reason for the high turnover rate evident amongst the young employees of the company.
4.3 Recommendation for Rectifying the Existing HRD Approaches:
The following are the recommendations which will help New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad to improve its current HRD practices:
The company should recruit a HR manager on an immediate basis who has experience in handling critical HRD functions with ease.
The individual training needs of the employees should be identified by the company along with the necessary skills that need to be developed for the employees. Soon after the identification of the training needs of the employees, New Straits Times Press should design a customized training program for its employees. The customized training program should give specific attention to individual employees in improving their professional skills. New Straits Times Press can even think of conducting an assessment test for its employees soon after the completion of the training program. The assessment test will enable the company to understand the professional progress of the employees. Based on the outcomes of the assessment test, the organization can be able to make necessary amendments to its existing training programs.
New Straits Times Press should avoid practicing hard HRM, where it usually follows soft HRM in most cases.
The company can think of providing some assistance to its young employees pursuing professional courses. The support can come in the form of scholarships, study leave and so on. This will help New Straits Times Press to reduce the high turnover rate of its young employees.
5.1 Relation between Employee Motivation and Organizational Performance:
The study of business management has successfully established a correlation between employee motivation and the performance of the organization. The high motivation level of the employees keeps them engrossed in organizational duties which ultimately result in improved productivity of the organization (Guest, 2011). The improvement in the productivity of the firm does not only mean an increase in the business output, it also means an improvement in the product or service quality. The improved productivity of a firm ensures that its customers are getting high quality product or service. The improved quality service or product can fulfill the needs and demands of the customers in such a way that it can easily claim high level of customer loyalty. The rising number of loyal customers helps an organization to increase its market and gain a high volume of sales (Meulenbroek, 2013). An increase in the sales volume denotes high profitability. This way a relation can be established between employee motivation and organizational performance.
5.2 Critical Evaluation of Different Motivation Theories:
Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory: Maslow’s need hierarchy theory can be considered as one of the most popular classical theories of motivation which successfully highlights different verities of needs which an individual usually has and the successful fulfillment of which gives the individual a high level of motivation (Snape and Redman, 2010). However, modern critics like Park (2012) denied to accept Maslow’s logic that human beings try to fulfill their needs in a chronological manner starting with physiological needs and then gradually comes safety needs or esteem needs. It is argued than human beings can have a necessity of fulfilling more than one need at the same time. Even they might have to give preference to their safety needs over their psychological needs if the situation demands. Thus Maslow’s arrangement of needs in a staircase pattern in which the need which stays at the second level of the staircase cannot get fulfilled if the need of the first layers remains unfulfilled is not accepted by motivation scholars at least in today’s time (Stevens, 2010).
Herzberg’s Hygiene-Motivation Theory: Herzberg has successfully categorized essential factors of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction under the name of hygiene factors and motivation factors. He has identified faulty company policy, excessive intervention of the superiors and lack of job security as factors which can negatively motivate an employee and must be eliminated by the concerned organization. On the other hand, Herzberg has highlighted offering achievement opportunities, recognition and added responsibilities as factors which can positively motivate employees to give their best to the company. The major critics of Herzberg’s Two Factor theory, DeShields et al. (2005) argued that Herzberg’s theory is applicable only in case of professionals who are skilled enough to place themselves in higher organizational positions. The outcome of Herzberg’s theory is not suitable for motivating unskilled or lower skilled employees. Another set of critics of Herzberg, Lundberg et al. (2009) were of the opinion that the great theorist probably was perplexed between job satisfaction and motivation and that was why he missed to capture the thin line of difference that exists between the two. Herzberg’s theory has also been criticized on the ground that the theory does not consider the necessity of including personality traits of individuals in the hygiene or motivation factors.
Vroom’s Expectancy Theory: Victor Vroom in his theory has given much importance on the decision making process of an individual working in a professional environment. However, the theory can be criticized on the ground that the theorist forgot to consider the emotions of individuals while discussing about the forces behind their motivation. Another major shortcoming of Vroom’s theory is that the main concept of the theory cannot be applied to a group working environment (Snape and Redman, 2010).
5.3 Hybrid Theory of Motivation for the Employees of New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad:
From the above discussion, it becomes clear that each of the motivation theories has its own limitations. An application of a single motivation theory will perhaps not be able to properly motivate the employees of New Straits Times Press. Thus the researcher feels the urge to develop a hybrid theory by amalgamating more than one popular motivation theories. Here the researcher creates a hybrid theory by amalgamating some of the necessary components of both Herzberg’s Hygiene-Motivation Theory and Vroom’s Expectancy theory.
The hybrid model highlights that in every business environment, there remains certain hygiene factors which cannot be eliminated. Hygiene factors like company policy, extent of supervision and working environment must be there in an organizational setting without which a sense of dissatisfaction may arise in the employees. Fixing target is perhaps the most important activity which the concerned business firm must have to perform in order to successfully motivate its employees. The target should be fixed in such a realistic manner so that the employees can expect that the set targets are achievable. Achieving the target, the next level of the hybrid motivation model, should be guided by an expectation to get lucrative rewards on the fulfillment of the set target. Thus it is extremely important for the business firm to declare the nature of rewards which the employees are going to get once they achieve their targets. In the process of achieving the target, the employees should also be provided with motivators like recognition, interesting work patterns in order to facilitate their process of achieving the prefixed goal.
The researcher considers this hybrid motivation model to be an ideal one to be adopted by New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. New Straits Times Press has a strategic objective of doubling its subscription base by 2020. In order to become successful in its attempt, the company should fix small and achievable targets in front of its employees and should also declare the specific kind of rewards that the employees will be given on the successful completion of their individual targets. The company should also provide certain facilities in the form of motivators to the employees in order to facilitate their journey of achieving their individual target. The accumulation of the small achievement of the employees will enable New Straits Times Press to achieve its strategic objectives.
6. Change Management:
6.1 Probable changes in the existing HRM of New Straits Times Press and Justification:
Form the above discussion; it has become clear that New Straits Times Press is badly suffering due to the absence of a proper HRM department of the organization. The Management Board has so far conducted essential HR activities of the firm, but the Board is facing certain issues in handling complex HR functions as none of the board members is an HR professional. Thus it can be proposed that the company should think of establishing its HR department comprising of experienced HR managers and executives who will be bale ton successfully handle the day to day HR functions of the firm like recruitment, training of the employees and so on. There is no doubt that the proposal will compel New Straits Times Press to adopt a major structural as well as functional change, though the change will surely bring improvement in the organizational functions.
6.2 Process of Change Management:
The process of change management in case of New Straits Times Press should comprise of three distinct stages. In the first stage, the company should start the planning process for implementing the proposed change. The Management Board of New Straits Times Press should plan the way through which the new HR department will be set up. The board should also consider the financial implication of this impending change. It should find out the sources from where the company will accumulate
Implementing the proposed changes of establishing a new HR department for New Straits Times Press will not be a cakewalk for the Management Board. The Board can expect to face a good number of challenges restricting the implementation of the proposed change. However, by conducting a Force Field Analysis, the researcher finds that the forces in favor of the change are mightier than the forces against it. The following diagram will show the extent of support and opposition that the proposed changes in New Straits Times Press is going to face and the reason why the company’s top management will voice their support in favor of the change.
6.4 Ways to Overcome Challenges:
Certain effective recommendations can be made in order to overcome the probable challenges which New Straits Times Press might face in implementing the proposed change. In order to reduce resistance from the employees of the firm, it is the solemn duty of the Management Board to educate the employees about the possible advantages that they are going to get from this change. The employees should be properly communicated the fact that the new HR department will not try to fire or displace them. Instead it will try to provide additional support to them by improving their salary structure and by imparting necessary training to them. The Board can even try to win the confidence of the employees towards the proposed change by involving them in the decision making process necessary to implement the change.
The present assignment proves to be a learning experience for the researcher as the researcher gets an opportunity to understand different recruitment and selection related activities which business firms must have to perform in order to recruit the best possible employees for them. The researcher also gathers knowledge about different models of motivation and the process of implementing changes in an organizational setting.