Aim of the report

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This report is aiding a new manager to the business so they can gain some understanding of the organisation in preparation for their start in PC World. The aim of the report is to ensure the new manager:

1. Understands the purpose of the organisation and its operating environment 2. Understands the structure, culture and functions of the environment 3. Understands how HR/LD activities support the organisation

The report will be based on my job role as a General Manager of PC World.

PC World is one of the United Kingdom’s largest retail Computer Superstores. Established in 1991, it became a part of Dixons Stores Group in 1993. Stores can be found in most towns in England offering good local employment, services and products to thousands of customers.

The products PC World offers its customers are:

Electrical and technological products such as laptops, tablets, televisions, cameras, audio products, computing software, printers, printer ink, audio accessories, navigation systems, projectors and an array of other computing accessories, i.e. bags, screen cleaners etc. PC World also offers services to customers such as:

Repairs on array of products, the repairs are carried out by the Knowhow team which is also part of the distribution network which is owned and run by Dixons Stores Group. In home delivery service (this delivery service is for business customers and customers who buy larger items in store or online) for example large screen televisions. Pay and collect service (this is where customers pay on line for their products and they have them delivered to their home or to a local store for collection). Reserve and collect this is where customers can reserve a product in store for 24 hours. This service is great for customers who do not like waiting and know what they want. Knowhow bars are available in all PC World stores. This is a designated part of the store where experts are at hand to offer customers in store technical advice for their products.

PC World has internal and external customers

Page 2 Understanding human resources Essay

External customers buy the services and products we provide i.e. parents buying gifts, customers investing in the latest technology, local businesses, local councils and students as well as many others. Internal customers to PC World are all the employees employed by the business, shareholders, suppliers e.g. HP, Samsung, Norton andApple to name a few. The knowhow is the distribution network for PC World they are the team who deliver the goods to customers.

Purpose and goals of PC World

The purpose and goals of the organisation are to bring the latest technology to customers at the best price whilst also providing great advice and after sales customer service. This is measured via customer feedback to Customer Services when customers either phone in or email them; exit surveys in stores are also conducted on a monthly basis. PC World’s key purpose is to make a profit to invest in new stores, refurbish some of the older stores, increase share price, deliver shareholder return, increase number of staff in local stores (this has had a big impact with the closure of Comet who was Dixons Group main competitor). The local community benefits in regards to job security where stores are trading, the average number of employees in UK and Ireland for Dixons Stores group is 20461.

PC World looks at the environmental issues and works with private and public sector groups to reduce the impact of resources, eco systems and the carbon footprint in the UK. Here are two examples, PC World works with an organisation called Waterwise which is a non-government organisation. Waterwise works to reduce the water consumed in the UK. In PC World new devices have been fitted in toilets to save water an estimated 1 litre per flush is being saved by these devices. It also recycles customer’s old electrical products and batteries. There is an EU directive that requires the UK to recycle 25% of all household batteries. PC World is part of the Governments advisory group, and in all stores has a specialist container to collect used batteries these are then recycled by GP batteries. Dixons retail corporate website. (online) accessed on 10/10/2013 Dixons retail corporate website. (online) accessed on 10/10/2013 The second external factor is the Technological

PC World’s tagline is “bringing life to technology”. It is always at the forefront of introducing new technology to the UK market. One example was that it was the only retailer except Apple to stock the Apple Ipad for 60 days after the launch. The business has moved forward in developing its online shopping business for customers to either shop online or reserve products in stores. The main reason is that more shoppers are shopping on line. The challenge is to keep up to date the rate of change of technology because it changes at a very rapid rate. More training is offered to staff, those who train more are rewarded by an increase in their hourly rate. The third external factor is the Social

Social media does affect retailers and PC World is not exempt from that. PC World has had to increase its advertising on media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to advertise its deals because it provides a convenient way to attract new customers. Socially a lot more customers are using new technology. The range of products available to customers does differ from store to store due to demographics, age factors and affluent areas, for example in a less affluent area they may not sell a £2000 laptop but range more entry price point laptops to offer the right product at the right price.

The fourth external factor is the Economic
The UK economy is starting to grow but there is a difference in pay and the price of goods. The closure of Comet has had a positive impact on the growing sales for PC World. Currently Dixons Stores group is merging PC World stores and Currys stores that have two in one town, naming them 2 in 1 stores. This will aid the reduction in costs for the group so they can sell all the products under one roof saving a great a deal of money on rent, rates and other overhead costs. The Guardian “Economic factors affecting business” (online) accessed on 16/10/2013

The structure of the organisation and four functions groups

The structure of PC World is that it is a limited company; it has a board of directors which consist of executive and non-executive members. At head office level it has four main function departments they are:

The HR function provides expertise in managing change and facilitating training, development, recruitment and employee relations.

Operations look at how the products we sell get to the customer either through distribution (knowhow) or the other channels i.e. DPD etc. They also look after waste management, shop floor plans in regards to the right product in the right place, at PC World it is called the Customer Journey.

Finance is in control of budgets and cost saving within the organisation they set clear targets for stores in regards to payroll budgets, sales and margin targets (to maximise profits) and negotiate rent and rates.

Marketing is responsible for getting the right product to the customer through advertising via an array of many outputs i.e. internet deals, newspaper adverts and television adverts.

How the different functions work together to optimise performance

The four functions need to work together to optimise PC World’s performance. The HR department ensures that managers follow policies and processes in line with the company guidelines; they also train staff to increase knowledge and skills (development of staff is a key priority for the HR Team). Another key role is to conduct disciplinary hearings and recruit staff. The Finance department source the cheapest products to maximize profit and calculate the cost of the training to ensure that it is productive. Another important function of the Finance team is to ensure that the company is in line with payroll budgets and future forecasting, they monitor the hours needed, so the company can function effectively. PC World have developed a tool called “RPRTRP” (right people, right time, right place) this is a tool to manage staff resources and is managed and updated monthly by the Operations team.

The operations team also ensure all processes and policies that are updated are communicated effectively throughout the company, they ensure also ensure that products get to stores and customers through the right channels. In turn the Marketing support the functions by making the customers aware of the products that the company have on “special offers” this is through various channels i.e. adverting on social media channels (Facebook twitter and you tube) other ways are television advertising, newspaper adverts and in store leaflets to name a few. The Times 100 / Tarmac / How roles and functions contribute to competitive advantage / Organisational roles and functions (online) accessed on 16/10/2013.

The culture of PC World and two ways this affects operations The culture of PC World is to operate in an open and honest environment; in my view most colleagues enjoy working for the company. It has clear guidelines and processes which staff adhere to making it easier for them to accept their roles and responsibilities. “The customer is at the heart of everything we do” was recently launched in PC World this looks at how the teams can make customers happy with the service they receive. All staff participate in a “have your say survey” (this survey asks questions about the working environment, teamwork and other questions, and how the staff feel, the answers are if they agree or disagree).

This is completed department by department and store by store. The results are given back to the line managers and they share the results with their teams. After sharing the information the teams devise an action plan to move the negative things from the survey to make them positive.

Retail Finding the Grey “Retail Culture” (online) >> accessed on 16/10/2013 In regards to processes and procedures, the operation team have to ensure that any changes are fully briefed to all concerned. In PC World if any changes are made they hold focus groups, this group is generally a mixture of head office and in store teams at different levels.

One example is that I was part of a focus group that was looking at how the bonus structure could be made better. As part of the group I was the voice of the stores, it was an interesting meeting and the operations team did a great job in delivering the changes to all concerned via the line managers. The “have your say survey” concluded that the majority of staff were unsatisfied with rest room facilities in a lot of the older stores this can effect on in store morale. The operations team is now doing a lot of work on how these areas can be improved. John Martin, (2009), Human Resource Management, Publisher sage, page 23.

Three HR activities that support PC Worlds strategy

The main strategy for PC World is to deliver shareholder return. Three HR activities that support the strategy are: Resourcing: recruiting staff if the demand is required, succession planning for existing employees or career moves within the organisation. Currently all deputy managers in the organisation have been up skilled on the recruitment process. Training and Development: Gaps in training and knowledge need to be identified and then plans set in place to fill in any voids. Development is a key initiative to retaining staff.

PC World has a great online training site called The Edge this is where training is done online and a test at the end to ensure that the trainee understands what they have done. PC World work alongside manufacturers such as Microsoft and Samsung to provide one day training workshops for staff. Reward: This is an excellent way of retaining staff. Reviewing and updating the reward system, pay levels and benefits packages in comparison to competitors aids the attraction of potential employees. Margaret Foot and Caroline Hook (2008), Introducing Human Resource Management, fifth edition, chapter 1 page 3. Publisher Pearson

Three Ways HR Professionals support line managers and the staff at PC World

HR support Line Managers in recruitment and selection. In PC World all Managers are trained on how to recruit in line with the guidelines set out by HR. Potential employees first visit the website and fill in an online questionnaire, if successful then a HR administrator will filter through the successful applicants ready for the line manager to interview them. HR tries to ensure that the best person in regards to skill and expertise is employed. HR supports the staff with grievance issues. If a member of staff feel they have not been treated fairly and equally then they are supported via the grievance procedure. They contact the HR department with their complaint and it is then fully investigated to find out the cause of the complaint. HR supports line managers in disciplining individuals who may have breached their contract of employment. HR offers help and advice to managers when dealing with all disciplinary matters it could be for a wide range of things i.e. poor time management, poor performance, not following company policies or guidelines etc. Margaret Foot and Caroline Hook (2008), Introducing Human Resource Management, fifth edition, chapter 1 pages 28, 29 and 30 Publisher Pearson.


Dixons retail corporate website. (online) accessed on 10/10/2013 Dixons retail corporate website. (online) accessed on 10/10/2013 The Guardian “Economic factors affecting business” (online) accessed on 16/10/2013 The Times 100 / Tarmac / How roles and functions contribute to competitive advantage / Organisational roles and functions (online) accessed on 16/10/2013. Retail Finding the Grey “Retail Culture” (online) >> accessed on 16/10/2013 John Martin, (2009), Human Resource Management, Publisher sage, page 23. Margaret Foot and Caroline Hook (2008), Introducing Human Resource Management, fifth edition, chapter 1 page 3. Publisher Pearson Margaret Foot and Caroline Hook (2008), Introducing Human Resource Management, fifth edition, chapter 1 pages 28, 29 and 30 Publisher Pearson.

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