The Kangaroo Island Council: Human Resource practices

Abstract

The Kangaroo Island Council (KIC) was founded in 1996, has a population of 4413 people, and includes settlements such as Baudin Beach, Emu Bay, and American River (Kangaroo Island Council: Introduction, 2016). It is a local governmental authority, which ensures the prosperity, economic stability, and safety of the residents of the geographical location.

In this case, it could be said that the paper uses KIC strategic management plan (2014-2018), and it is applied to identify the primary issues in human resource management (HRM) and employee relations (ER). Depicting major issues in HR and ER will help highlight the areas of operations, which require improvement. The findings of these analyses were used as a basis to design new policies and strategic human resource plan (SHRP) to improve the efficiency of the organisation.

In this case, the proposed SHRP is applicable within the 2014-2018 timeframe to ensure the alignment of HR practices with the initial mission and strategy of the organisation. Despite the well-designed objectives and actions of the plan, the management of the council should emphasise the significance of flexibility in the decision-making. It could be said that applying this approach will help adapt to internal and external changes and assure better alignment with the initial business strategy.

Contextualising and Analysing Strategic Management Plan of the Kangaroo Island Council

Key Strategic Areas

The Kangaroo Island Council is the governmental agency, which ensures the prosperity of Kangaroo Island located on the South coast of Australia (Kangaroo Island Council: Home, 2016). It is one of the most attractive destinations for visitors, and 190,000 tourists visit the island annually (Kangaroo Island Council: Home, 2016). Thus, the nature of the area and its need for financial stability require the authorities to highlight the core spheres, which require improvement. In this case, they include cost management, generation of the revenue, and the stimulation of the involvement of the community (Kangaroo Island Council, 2014).

Thus, to ensure the effectiveness of the achievement of the goals and objectives, one has to divide the aim into the structural attributes (Christensen & Raynor, 2003). Using this strategic initiative will help establish a set of actions, which organisation should pursue to comply with its mission statement (Christensen & Raynor, 2003). In the context of the Kangaroo Island Council, the company took advantage of this method and defined seven aspects, which have to be enhanced to reach its initial goals aims. The governmental authority highlights the selected areas such as:

  1. Infrastructure;
  2. The Kangaroo Island Council’s shared vision;
  3. Community, ethnicity, and culture;
  4. Partnerships and collaboration;
  5. The island as a cultural and environmentally-friendly area;
  6. Economic development;
  7. The effectiveness of internal management and organisational structure (Kangaroo Island Council, 2014).

Environmental Analysis

Analyzing external factors is critical. It has a beneficial impact on redesigning and reshaping the strategy (Porter, 2008). Thus, assessing the five forces of competition and external factors and applying the theoretical concepts into practice will assist in the enhancement of the decision-making practices (Porter, 2008; Christensen & Raynor, 2003). In this instance, it could be said that PEST is the most applicable instrument, which might reflect the potential impact of external forces on the HRM practices and strategic management of the Kangaroo Island Council.

Political/Legal

Being a part of the governmental network requires the council to comply with new policies enacted by the national authorities of Australia. In this case, informing employees of these changes is a critical part of HR architecture (Boxall, Purcell, & Wright, 2007). These concepts can be achieved with the well-established corporate culture, organisational values, and the stimulus of the opportunities for the employees (Kangaroo Island Council, 2014). Thus, these changes in legislation offer the possibilities to align the HR practices with business concepts and ensure that ER supports the initial mission.

Economic

The potential economic factors are the necessity to leverage funds with Federal government, rising prices for transportation and energy, and the need for strategic alliances (Kangaroo Island Council, 2014). Thus, to ensure financial stability and face the challenges mentioned above, the council has to prioritise its employees as critical assets. The majority of the outcomes are dependent on financial modelling, planning, scheduling, and budgeting (Kangaroo Island Council, 2014). Thus, assuring the skill retention and commitment via best practices will help reach goals and retaliate economic challenges (Smith, Oczkowski, & Sellby-Smith, 2011).

Socio-cultural

One of the factors is the elevating popularity of the region among tourists and visitors (Kangaroo Island Council: Home, 2016). Focusing on providing the best practices for the employees will increase their commitment and cultivate high retention rates among visitors. These matters highlight a well-established reward system, safety, well-developed approaches in recruitment, and favourable conditions for the development (Pfeffer, 1998; Ashton & Sung, 2006). Consequently, a combination of these aspects with the effective reward and compensation systems enhances the opportunities of the company (Armstrong, 2007; Stewart & Brown, 2009).

Technological

Simultaneously, technological developments in HR might increase the need for restructuring ER and HRM concepts. In this case, the organisational goals associated with these areas pertain to the need to design the competitive advantage based on the human capital advantage and high-performance work systems (Wright, Dunford, & Snell, 2001). Consequently, competent and committed employees are needed to benefit from these changes.

Key Assumptions

Using the theoretic concepts of managerial practices helps define major assumptions and reflects the core of the organisational issues (Christensen & Raynor, 2003). In this case, the key conventions depicted during the development of the Strategic Human Management Plan are:

  1. It remains apparent that the primary limitations of the proposed plan are related to the limited access to the information of the Kangaroo Island Council. The assumptions are made based on the publications and documentation available online;
  2. It is expected that no major changes in economics and politics will take place;
  3. The HR manager has a right and autonomy to implement the HRM practices to optimise the functioning of the organisation;
  4. The proposed human resource management plan is based on aligning its principles with the company’s goals described in the Kangaroo Island Council strategic management plan of 2014-2018;
  5. The organisation has the required funding and views HR as a strategic partner of the company.

Key Human Resource Implications

As it was mentioned earlier, the actions of the HR practitioner has to be consistent with the firm’s mission and corporate strategy and theoretical concepts (Christensen & Raynor, 2003). Based on the various types of analyses conducted above, one can state that several challenging areas in the HRM could be identified as:

  1. Training and professional development;
  2. Performance management;
  3. Workforce planning, recruitment, and selection;
  4. Retaining and motivating the highly qualified workforce.

Thus, it is vital to highlight the influence of these concepts on the performance of the organisation. Training and professional development is a critical contributor to the employees’ success and the increased quality of the provided services (Salaman, Storey, & Billsberry, 2005). This matter will cultivate the rise of the additional revenue due to the potential influence of this phenomenon on the retention of visitors (Kangaroo Island Council: Home, 2016).

At the same time, optimising the performance management systems serves a similar purpose. Alternatively, it might elevate the cost-effectiveness of the organisation, maximise its profitability, and ensure the consistency of HRM practices with the initial strategic intentions of the Council (Guest, 2011).

As for the evaluation of the workforce, proposing a relevant selection policy will affect the organisational performance beneficially (Gatewood, Field, & Barrick, 2011). It remains apparent that the hiring process is rather expensive. Consequently, prioritising efficient human resource planning will have a positive impact on the company’s ability to increase its revenues. Thus, it could be said that the retention and motivation of the employees serve similar goals and will have a positive influence on the returns of the tourists and the development of the infrastructure.

It remains apparent that HRM aspects depicted above have a clear impact on the capability of the organisation to meet its objectives. Thus, in the context of the Kangaroo Island Council, the selected practices for the detailed analysis are Training and Professional Development and Workforce Planning, Recruitment, and Selection. The selected aspects will assist in building a basis of HRM to ensure meeting the critical organisational goals.

Training and Professional Development

Ensuring training and professional development will help meet the selected objectives of the Kangaroo Island Council (Kangaroo Island Council, 2014). The PEST analysis conducted above highlights that the organisation needs to be prepared for political and economic changes in policies. Functioning in the constantly altering business environment and being dependent on the governmental funding emphasise the essentiality of flexibility as a core value of HR and business strategies (Kangaroo Island Council, 2014). Despite the high expenses of training, it is one of the suitable instruments to increase the effectiveness of the workforce and achieve organisational goals pertained to the growth of the revenue and the prosperity of the geographical area. At the same time, this HRM segment has a critical impact on the overall financial stability of the organisation both in long and short-terms (Ashton & Sung, 2006). Underestimating this concept is not reasonable since it can contribute to the strengthening of the competitive advantage of the Council (Lloyd, 2005).

Workforce Planning, Recruitment, and Selection

The Kangaroo Island Council positions itself as a socially responsible and environmentally-friendly organisation, which prioritises the economic and cultural prosperity of the region (Kangaroo Island Council: Introduction, 2016). In this case, attracting and recruiting qualified personnel will help it continue the achievement of the set goals. As it was mentioned earlier, the hired workforce defines the quality of the provided services. Therefore, hiring and selecting the individuals with the right set of skills and competences will help the organisation enhance its planning strategies. Consequently, one cannot underestimate the significance of the recruitment process to the prosperity of the firm and the area.

Human Resource Policy Statements

Policy 1: Training and Professional Development

The primary goal of this policy is to optimise HRM functioning regarding training and professional development and ensure that it is aligned with the organisational goals. As it was mentioned earlier, the employers tend to invest a substantial amount of financial resources into employees’ training and development. Providing favourable conditions for learning and offering opportunities for personal growth contributes to the upsurge in motivation and commitment (Ashton & Sung, 2006).

Therefore, actively employing this concept will help cultivate the importance of change among employees and increase the participation of the workforce in the decision-making process (Burnes & Jackson, 2011). With the assistance of the qualified labour, the Kangaroo Island Council can achieve its goals in cost management, generation of the revenues, and improvement of the quality of the provided services.

In this instance, the guidelines have to cover the steps to be taken during the implementation process. The topics such as the analysis of the required financial resources for the development of suitable training programs and hiring qualified professionals are covered. At the same time, the council can conduct supporting activities in the form of seminars and lectures. Following this strategy will assure the alignment of the new proposed policy with the organisational goals including an additional generation of the revenues and cost optimisation (Kangaroo Island Council, 2014).

The selection of this HRM aspect is reasonable since it will help establish a sufficient set of actions and objectives to reach the goals from the perspective of the ER. The major requirements for the environment and policy are 1) the training costs should not exceed the set amount of $14,000; 2) the training has to be provided following the job position; 3) the employees will be offered training within their working hours, and 4) the progress of the training and learning outcomes will be evaluated with the assistance of measures mentioned in the Strategic HR Plan.

Policy 2: Workforce Planning, Recruitment, and Selection

The critical goal of this policy is to make sure that the decisions pertained to recruitment, workforce planning, and selection are completely sufficient within the organisational architecture. At the same time, the Kangaroo Island Council has to make sure that the selected personnel’s values and goals comply with the overall philosophy and strategic orientation of the governmental organisation. It is apparent that the hiring process is a challenging procedure, and the employees’ actions and knowledge has a substantial influence on the company’s success and financial stability (Ashton & Sung, 2006).

In turn, it is critical to determine the particular guidelines, which one have to follow to implement the designed strategic plan effectively. One of the requirements is selecting the personnel by ethical principles and eliminate discrimination during the selection process. Simultaneously, the skills of the recruits, advertising of the vacancy, evaluation of the competences and decision-making, prioritisation of internal recruitment, and consultancy with the managers of the departments have to be emphasised and discussed in the resource management plan.

Strategic Human Resource Management Plan

Plan 1: Training and Professional Development

Brief Background and Objectives

Training and professional development aim at enhancing the skills and competences of the labour force. Simultaneously, it ensures the quality and cultivates the need for change (Burnes & Jackson, 2011). Thus, the objectives are to develop and train the employees in KIC.

Strategic Alignment and Major Assumptions

The proposed training program and organisational goals will be aligned with the council’s strategy to meet the initial mission. Simultaneously, qualified employees will help pursue excellence in service quality and reach high revenues. Thus, the primary assumptions include that the organisation has all the required resources to invest in the proposed training program, and no political or economic downturns and changes will take place.

Timing, Resources, Milestones, and Measures

Milestones Description Measures Timeline
1. Determine the need for training KIC has to assess the skills of the employees and identify, which workforce groups need training. Simultaneously, it has to highlight the skills, which will help the organisation to maintain its competitive advantage (Schuler & Jackson, 1987; Boselie, 2010). Such skills as analytical and critical thinking, finance awareness, and communicational skills are needed. Interviews with top management, employee assessment September 2016
2. Select a suitable training design Based on the needs of the employees, one has to design a program. In this case, it will include lectures, case studies, and seminars. Compliance with financial capital, employees attendance October 2016
3. Evaluate financial resources The financial department has to evaluate the financial needs. Cost versus benefit analysis, financial ratios, prices, and available budgeting October 2016
4. Training activities HR department and qualified lecturers will implement the activities. Lectures: twice a week (80 hours); seminars twice a week (100 hours); and case studies twice a week (80 hours); quizzes after each training activity November 2016
5. Evaluation of the training outcomes This stage evaluates the impact of training on the overall profitability. ROI, costs versus benefits analysis, higher retention rates, quizzes after each training activity March 2017
6. Developing and designing subsequent and supporting training procedures The subsequent programs will be designed based on the outcomes of this program.
2016 20% to be trained
2017 55% to be trained
2018 75% to be trained
Annually

Table 1. Training plan miles stones and measures.

Ethical Considerations

The primary ethical considerations include 1) respecting the privacy of the employees; 2) considering the employees’ needs; 3) acting following antidiscrimination legislation; 4) providing clear instructions and expected outcomes; and 5) applying relevant scientific approaches into HR practice (Rousseau & Barends, 2011; Banaji, Bazerman, & Chugh, 2003).

Plan 2: Recruitment, and Selection

Brief Background and Objectives

KIC currently aims at generation of the revenue and quality improvement, and hiring new personnel has a direct impact on the organisational performance (Wilkinson, Bacon, Redman, & Snell, 2010). The primary objective of the plan is to recruit the right personnel and meet the goals of KIC. Consequently, designing a relevant plan of recruitment is critical.

Strategic Alignment and Major Assumptions

The strategic alignment pertains to fulfilling the workforce needs of the organisation. Thus, the recruitment process has to focus on cost-optimisation initiatives. In this case, expecting to have the required funding and expecting the plan to the implemented shortly are the main assumptions.

Timing, Resources, Milestones, and Measures

Milestones Description Measures Timeline
1. Evaluation of the company’s workforce Analyzing the employees and highlighting what spheres require improvement KPIs addressing the percentage of the employees meeting organisational goals, current to expected performance ratio, the number of employees required to meet the goals September 2016
2. Designing a job description Based on the needs, one has to design a job advertisement, and it has to focus on needs, roles, and responsibilities. Interviews with employees and supervisors October 2016
3. Financial optimisation Financial department has to analyse whether the recruitment process meets the budgeting requirements. T Analysis of current budgeting, costs of implementations, costs to benefits ratio November 2016
4. Advertisement of the vacancies and publications Using recruitment agencies and internal channels of advertisement to deliver the message. Websites, recruitment agencies, intranet December 2016
5. Preliminary selection HR practitioner and supervisors have to evaluate CVs. Meeting the requirements of the job descriptions January 2017
6. Testing This stage implies offering various tests to evaluate different areas of skills of the candidates. A psychological and logical assessment January 2017
7. Selecting and interviewing Based on the analysis conducted above, individuals, who meet criteria, are interviewed. Interviews, personal assessments, simulations, case study tests. February 2017
8. Final selection Designing the top list of candidates March 2017
9. Evaluation of the process The effectiveness of recruitment is assessed. The benefit to costs ratio Continuously

Table 2. Recruitment and selection.

Ethical Considerations

As for the potential ethical issues, the HR practitioner and management have to follow these recommendations to avoid them: 1) do not judge candidates based on their cultural background and race, and 2) respect the privacy and confidentiality of the information.

References

Armstrong, M. (2007). Employee reward. London, UK: Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

Ashton, D., & Sung, J. (2006). How competitive strategy matters? Understanding the drivers of training, learning and performance at the firm level. Oxford, UK: Oxford and Warwick Universities Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance.

Banaji, M., Bazerman, M., & Chugh, D. (2003). How (un)ethical are you? Harvard Business Review, 1-9.

Boselie, P. (2010). Strategic human resource management and context. Berkshire, UK: McGraw Hill Higher Education.

Boxall, P., Purcell, J., & Wright, P. (2007). The Oxford handbook of human resource management. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Burnes, B., & Jackson, P. (2011). Success and failure in organisational change: An exploration of the role of values. Journal of Change Management, 11(2), 133-162.

Christensen, C., & Raynor, M. (2003) Why hard-nosed executives should care about management theory. Harvard Business Review, 81(9), 66-75.

Gatewood, R., Field, H., & Barrick, M. (2011). Human resource selection. Boston, MA: South Western Cengage Learning.

Guest, D. (2011). Human resource management and performance: still searching for some answers. Human Resource Management Journal, 21(1), 3-13.

Kangaroo Island Council. (2014). Kangaroo Island Council strategic plan 2014-18.

Kangaroo Island Council: Home. (2016).

Kangaroo Island Council: Introduction. (2016).

Lloyd, C. (2005). Competitive strategy and skills: Working out the fit in the fitness industry. Human Resource Management Journal, 15(2), 15-34.

Pfeffer, J. (1998). Seven practices of successful organisations. California Management Review, 40, 96-124.

Porter, M. (2008). The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard Business Review, 41, 78-93.

Rousseau, D., & Barends, E. (2011). Becoming an evidence-based HR practitioner. Human Resource Management Journal, 21(3), 221-235.

Salaman, G., Storey, J., & Billsberry, J. (2005). Strategic human resource management: Theory and practice. London, UK: The Open University and SAGE Publications.

Schuler, R., & Jackson, S. (1987). Linking competitive strategies with human resource management practices. Academy of Management Executive, 1, 207-219.

Smith, A., Oczkowski, E., & Sellby-Smith, C. (2011). To have and to hold: modelling the drivers of employee turnover and skill retention in Australian organisations. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(2), 395-416.

Stewart, G., & Brown, K. (2009). Human resource management: Linking strategy to practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Wilkinson, A., Bacon, N., Redman, S, & Snell, S. (2010). The Sage handbook of human resource management. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Wright, P., Dunford, B., & Snell, S. (2001). Human resources and the resource-based view of the firm. Journal of Management, 6, 701–721.