University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Strategy and Human Resource Management
Present day business industry is highly dependent on the general success of the people within organizations who are commonly referred to as the human resource. Important to note is that the human resource prospect is defined under two categories within any given organization; firstly there is the employees of an organization themselves and secondly the people in management who are responsible for promoting the values of the organization through ensuring that human aspects within an organization are satisfactorily taken care of (Fernandez-Araoz, Groysberg and Nohria 2009 ). With regards to the aforementioned details, the human resource department is usually tasked with the responsibility of bringing in new employees whose skills sets suit an organization’s mandate and values in general through a rigorous recruitment and selection process. During the recruitment and selection process of prospecting employees, companies usually set out on a hunting mission for the crème de la crème who are available in the job search market. How an individual who is in pursuit of a job opportunity dresses and carries themselves in an interview and further their conversational skills greatly determine whether or not an organization will hire them; this is what is described as looking good and sounding right in this paper.
How an employee is dressed decimates into how they think and interrelate with customers in an organization thereby offering quality services and creating a conducive business environment in return. The underlying chapters of this paper will be keen on reflecting on the prospects and influences of dressing smart and sounding right with an inference on analysis and compilations from multiple academic literatures on the same topic while at the same time illustrating the influences of looking good and sounding right through the lens or organizational examples. Having a human resource that thinks right and has an exquisite recruitment strategy in place is what defines organization’s competitive edge in the current market; it is every organization’s dream that its employee’s appearance influences how the customers relate to the company on a broader perspective thus promoting their brand in the long run (Warhurst 2012).
The prospect of looking good and sounding right within organizations
Human resource practitioners will agree to the fact that a great deal of time goes into activities and processes related to recruiting and selecting new staff for a particular position in an organization. Many at times the long durations tied to recruitment are connected to the ideal of companies to not only want to source for staff who are knowledgeable about what their companies deal in but also look the part of any given brand and are easily approachable by customers. Staff selection during a recruitment process of an organization is one of the most vital decisions that the organizations have to undertake to ensure that their normal operations are running smoothly (Taylor 2008). Businesses have to know what they are clearly looking for in an employee before signing them up, not only how red-hot the skills of an individual seeking employment look will determine the long-term success of an organization and recruitment of the correct person but also the most important aspect is how they look and how they carry themselves while conversing with customers in an actual business setting (Quast 2012).
It is critical that organizations have systems and a recruitment process in place which is capable of accessing how the applicants of a particular job opening portray these traits before their full time absorption by any organization. Take the case of Richer Sounds an electrical retail chain store with over 53 stores across the nation: it has in place a three stage recruitment process for new staff seeking any job opportunities within the company. The first stage of recruitment involves placement of advertisements at the stores windows and also through the company website where people who are interested are requested to e-mail a CV to the company. The former kind of advertisement mainly targets people who pay attention to their brand and customers who are regular visitors to the shop thus are knowledgeable about the products (Fisher 2014). On the other hand, the latter advertisement is aimed to attend to a greater pool of applicants irrespective of their familiarity with Richer Sounds products. Considering the advertisement strategies imposed at this point, it is evident that a great pool of applicants will be willing to be signed; the most integral part of this initial stage is demonstrated through a store manager’s initial interview who is keen on sorting the applicants to remain with those who look the part through analysis of their dress code and personality. Operations director John Clayton suggests that, “Richer sounds hires on the basis of personality then later train for skills (Martin and Whiting 2010).” These instance posters a scenario where people get accessed on the basis of how they look even before a company takes a look and considers an individual’s qualifications.
Second in line of the recruitment strategy is a paid trial day for an applicant which in some circumstances stretches beyond the one day period. Here, the applicant is accessed on whether or not they are consistent in their dressing and how they sound when conversing with customers. Upon completion of the trial stage, other members of a particular store are asked on their opinion of what they think about a new recruit and whether they embody the company’s aspect of looking good and sounding right (Nickson and Dutton 2005). Last in queue of the recruitment process is stage three where an applicant’s qualifications are now accessed to see how suitable they are for the job after considering that the individual’s personality is suitable for Richer Sounds. From the Richer Sounds case, it is evident that the way companies approach their recruitment processes over the years has greatly revolved and now companies are keen on how an individual looks and how their conversations sound before customers. Irrespective of the costs of recruitment, companies are willing to dig deep into their financial coffers so that they can get the right group of employees; Williamson argues that, “it is arguably more expensive hiring wrong people in an organization as opposed to the cost of having a stringent recruitment strategy in place that is time consuming (McMillan 2014).” Richer Sounds is just one among the many companies that are currently inclined towards accessing applicants for job openings on the grounds of how they look and opulence they execute through their conversations with customers.
On a broader perspective, how an individual looks has a great influence on the operations of people within different organizations; important in the process of advocating for employees who look good is an employer who serves up to their word of promoting smart dressing for the workplace by leading as the actual ambassador of what their brand should be defined as. Looking good while pursuing a job opportunity has positive impacts and a higher probability one is going to achieve the job, people will ascribe good qualities on the prospect of your perceived appearance thus want to always associate their company with an individual who looks good. A Macquarie University research carried out in both the United Kingdom and United States suggests that looking good improves the chances of one scoring a job opportunity and also is responsible for boosting one’s career once they are employed in different organizations (Arkin 2007). The research further suggested that employees who look good and sound right are usually rated highly by their employers and the probability of them losing their jobs is usually minimal. In essence, looking good attracts a myriad of premium rewards for both the person and organization at large whereas those who are unattractive and have a poor personality in most situations lose out on several job opportunities (Boxall 2008).
Moreover, having in place a clearly defined staff is the key component that ensures customers to a particular organization have a clearly defined experience that warrants their coming back for the same services once again and consequently creates a solid positive internal culture of an organization. It is ideal that organizations have a culture that existing employees are well versed with so that when the recruitment process for new staff is commenced, it is one that runs smoothly. New recruits to any given organization should find in place, a culture where staff are usually well dressed and converse excellently with customers thereby prompting an easier transitioning process for new staff into the operations of an organization. Efficiently articulating a particular dress code for existing staff is key in determining and sourcing for new recruits who will promote the same culture and easily get acclimatized with the practices of any given organization which in return will yield positive results for the same company (Churchard 2010). Indeed, some positions within an organization do require employees with a particular set of skills usually defined as experience and qualifications for a specific job but setting out a hunt on this basis is the first step that organizations usually make during their recruitment process; companies should attend to the recruitment process with a different perception where the individual’s character is assessed for they are buying into the person’s character and not their qualifications. Possessing both this attributes is a plus for any prospecting employee and is a sure combined package to score one a job (Faccini and C 2010).
Arguably, the perception of looking good and sounding right in a respectable number of business circles usually refers to an individual’s physical appearance, a definition that has triggered a trend of the working class turning to the gym as a means of staying fit. The service sector for instance has rampantly changed over the years where unlike the previous years where service providers never met their customers currently employees are always in constant contact with their customer; a fact that influences the need for staff to dress the part and portray their organization in positive light (Emott 2007). How affluent and efficient an employee’s speech is determines the placement of any given company as a brand to all its customers which is greatly dependent on the employees. The enforcement and prescription for employees to embody both the aspects of looking and sounding good is referred to as aesthetic labour and this characteristics play an integral point of how new employees to any organization relate with customers. Companies have learnt that before their recruitment process, that for the success of any business to be achieved, recruitment of workers should be expressively based on labour aesthetics of any individual before they are taken in. Finding and incorporating the right people with this kind of characteristics is a daunting task for many organizations and the only means of recruiting an individual with the right skill set involves having in place a well structured selection system during the recruitment process (Hofstede 1997). However, the daunting recruitment process does not stop at this point, it is equivocally difficult to select out a specific candidate who suits the needed requirements for your organization.
Fast forward to the case of Nestle Group of companies which has a human resource policy that the company abides by whenever any recruitment is being carried out in their group of companies across the world (Kaplan 1992). Their recruitment processes is respectful of the varied legislation practices of different countries but above all the recruitment strategy is underpinned under the mantra of looking good and sounding right as a means of selecting new recruits into various positions of their wide range of companies across the globe. Underpinned in the promotion of its human resource policy, is the responsibility for employees of the organization to be capable of satisfying the needs of its customers (Hutchinson 2003). The human resource department is tasked with the requisite responsibility of proposing individuals that suit the aforementioned requirements. Furthermore, the Nestle Group has in place a mentorship programme that offers guidance to new recruits into the organization so that the company’s mission statement can be achieved in the simplest ways possible after assessment of recruits on the basis of how they look and sound good before the customers (Letmathe 2008). This partnership and mentorship programme between existing staff and new incoming staff is an efficient means that has been in use for a very long period of time for people recruitment and their management in general.
The recruitment cases of both Nestle Group and Richer Sounds demonstrates that companies are currently turning to the looking good and sounding good trait in applicants as a means of selecting who is suitable for any given position within their organizations (Paton 2008 ). This trend has been fuelled by the fact that there exists a broader pool of unemployed individuals with right qualifications but they cannot secure for themselves any jobs; looking good and sounding right is the ideal means used to disqualify this wide pool of applicants. Looking good and sounding right has become the ideal filtering tool for companies when they are sourcing and on a search for new employees through a well structured recruitment process. Irrespective of the fact that recruitment of new staff by the human resource department is a difficult task, clearly defining what the human resource management is looking for in a customer then crafting a description of the same as a recruitment step is usually instrumental in attracting the right cadre of individuals any given company is keen on hiring despite the fact that there are many people out there looking for jobs. Looking out for these two qualities in individuals is the first step towards narrowing down the wide numbers of applicants for any given job so that any company’s job opening can remain with only potential clients that can meet the values of the company while at the same time promoting the mission statement of the same company. Categorical in the recruitment process and requirements for applicants is the prospect of an applicant having passion for whatever job they are trying to achieve, their commitment to any given company, their general problem-solving skills and lastly any relevant experience they have in the field being advertised (Ritzer 1985).
Clearly outlining what as an organization you need in an applicant is instrumental in helping organizations know how attentive applicants are to detail as opposed to only looking at their resume which offers little or rather basic information about an individual. Before conceptualizing and kick-starting any particular recruitment and selection process, an organization must first attune its strategy to be relatively inclined to the values of the organization and is fully supportive of the organization’s culture. Pre-employment testing like the case of Richer Sounds is an ideal way in determining whether or not a company is making a wise decision by investing into an individual with the set capabilities of looking good and sounding right so that an organization can fully accrue its set goals (Gilmore 2000). The people recruitment strategy is a determining factor on whether a company is going to succeed or fail and also influential on how employees develop during their stay in a particular organization thus there general motivation that in return bears fruit through excellent service delivery to customers. New recruits embodying the prospect of looking good and sounding right is highly dependent on how the company itself is culturally inclined towards the promotion these two traits.
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