In the modern world, human resources are the most important asset for any company, and key competitive advantages of market leaders are created basing on the effective human resources management strategy. HRM thus becomes a part of overall firm strategy, and such important factors as sales, profits and shareholder value strongly depend on whether HR is perceived as strategic factor in the organization or not. It is possible to outline four classes of HRM objectives: societal, organizational, functional and personal (Bohlander & Snell, 2009). Key functions of HRM include job study, job design, job analysis, human resource planning, recruitment and selection, hiring, evaluation of performance, training and development, compensation management, career management and planning for employees, managing their welfare, health and safety administration, administration of work discipline, grievance handing and management of labour relations (Bohlander & Snell, 2009).
Thus, effective HR management starts with job study and design. The purpose of this paper is to select a reference organization, to describe this organization, its functions and development, to analyze the functions of HR department in this organization, and to determine the job study activities as well as the processes of creating and updating job descriptions, and to determine the role of HRM in this process.
1. Description of the organization
The chosen organization is Starbucks Corporation, which is the largest international coffeehouse chain in the world. It was launched in 1971, and has grown to a coffee giant with 18,887 stores in more than 55 countries (Bussing-Burks, 2009). Starbucks stores offer a variety of coffee beverages, teas, fresh food items, sandwiches, bottled water and juices to their customers. Starbucks also purchases and roasts coffee beans, and acts as a retailer, selling coffee accessories, teas and whole coffee beans (Bussing-Burks, 2009).
Starbucks is known for its corporate culture and for creating a special atmosphere of neighborhood and a social place for its customers. Starbucks stores are perceived as the best place to relax, to meet with others and surf the Internet. The company pays close attention to the needs of all stakeholders. In 2008, Starbucks launched a website for customer feedback and crowdsourcing of most wanted innovations, which has united customer community and allowed to establish a connection between Starbucks managers and customers (Bussing-Burks, 2009). With regard to HR, Starbucks also adopted a unique approach: all employees are referred to as partners, and treated appropriately. The company was often included in the Fortune’s top 100 list of companies “best to work for”. Starbucks uses a variety of HR strategies and approaches to attract and retain talents, starting with comprehensive package of benefits ending with bonus plans, flexible work hours, stock options and 401(k) savings plans (Bussing-Burks, 2009).
2. HR Department
HR Department in Starbucks plays a strategic role for the company’s functioning. There are various sub-departments related to human resources in Starbucks, such as benefits, stock and compensation section, executive, generalists, records, staffing, training and development, and HR Services sections (Professional Services Careers, 2012). It is possible to see that almost all functions of HRM are represented by separate departments in Starbucks hierarchy. Typical responsibilities of Starbucks partner resources manager include implementation of strategic HR projects and plans, development of talent plans and organizational structures, creation of retention strategies, facilitation of development and learning of partners, working with cross-functional teams in order to ensure that organizational needs are met, creation and delivery of development and training programs, and provision of support and consultation for partners (Professional Services Careers, 2012). It is possible to see that all subdepartments of Starbucks HR section closely interact with each other, and each subdepartment is responsible for a separate HR function. Strategic HRM functions are associated with higher HR positions (Regional Directors and Partner Resources President).
Responsibilities of a Regional Partner Resources Director lay in the spheres of leadership, planning and execution, development of business requirements, partner development and team building (Professional Services Careers, 2012). Among key responsibilities of a Regional Partner Resources Director there are setting goals, identification of key responsibilities of team members, development of strategic and operations plans for a specific work group, allocation of partner resources, monitoring of organizational climate, management of partner relations, internal procedures and processes, and consultative support for senior management.
3. Job study activities and the role of HRM in this process
HR department of Starbucks is headed by the Partner Resources President, several Vice Presidents, and Regional Partner Resource Managers. Job descriptions are updated annually in each of the regional departments, and job study is commonly performed by Regional Partner Resources Managers, their Regional Directors and their HR team members (Evans & Hansen, 2010). Furthermore, updates of job descriptions are synchronized with cross-functional HR teams, with Partner Resources specialist teams in particular (Evans & Hansen, 2010). Job analysis, update of job descriptions and employment planning activities are included into annual review procedures, thus ensuring that Starbucks job roles and descriptions optimally match market requirements. The process of job study and development of job descriptions includes the following steps: analysis of appropriate workforce for the task/position, analysis of work duties and common tasks for a given position, overview of similar jobs in other companies (e.g. barista functions and jobs), determining key outcomes and contributions associated with this job role, and formulation of job description (French, Rayner, Rees & Rumbles, 2011). Job descriptions at Starbucks can be viewed using Career Center, and adhere to the following format: responsibilities and essential job functions, required qualifications, required knowledge, skills and abilities, location and schedule specifications (Professional Services Careers, 2012).
For different positions, recruitment procedures are also different. It is possible to distinguish between hourly workers and full-time employees. Hourly positions provide opportunities for part-time jobs, and can be scheduled flexibly (Beardwell & Claydon, 2009). Full-time positions usually relate to management, communications, engineering, finance, IT, marketing, procurement, R&D, supply change management and social responsibility departments.
Jobs study and job descriptions are also used to perform career planning for partners. Commonly, career plan is reviewed annually: HR department discusses future development with the partner, and prepares prospective career advancement for every partner. Line managers and HR department (Partner Resources department) perform analysis of partner needs, and set goals for training and development programs. One of key features of Starbucks is that 100% of its employees are engaged into at least one training program per year (Evans & Hansen, 2010).
Thus, it is possible to see that such functions as job study and development of job descriptions are associated with several subdepartments of HR department at Starbucks (French, Rayner, Rees & Rumbles, 2011), and the decisions regarding job design and descriptions are integrated into the whole HRM chain, and have a significant impact on career planning and partner progress as well as on the strategic effectiveness of the company as a whole.