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Human Resource Consulting Report for Vodafone (Research Paper Sample)


Please read through HR Assignment Berief and 3 HR Strategies and Brief two times carefully, you need to choose one of three HR Management strategy from Best Practice Approach(high-commitment), Best Fit Approach, or Resource-Based View for this assignment. then you need to apply this HRM strategy into four functions of HRM( 1. Resourcing, selection, and recruitment. 2. Reward. 3. Performance Management 4. Human Resource Development). based on your chosen strategy to do research for these four parts; I will upload textbook, articles, and course content to help you start, and you need to find qualified sources(details in the Brief) to support the report. thank you.


Vodafone to bring 2,100 call-centre jobs back to UK

Vodafone has joined the push to bring customer service jobs back to the UK with the announcement of 2,100 new call-centre roles. The mobile phone company, which has struggled with customer service issues in recent years, will “onshore” the support roles from South Africa, where it uses an external agency.

It will retain some customer service operations overseas, including technical staff in Egypt. The new roles will be spread across existing Vodafone call centres in the Midlands, Scotland, Wales and Surrey. They will be filled over the next two years as part of a £2bn investment in improving Vodafone’s customer service operations. About 800 jobs will be added in Guildford bolstered by a significant recruitment drive. The telecoms and technology industries have long looked to cheaper overseas locations to fill customer service roles initially in India but also in countries such as the Philippines and South Africa.

However, rampant wage inflation in those countries, notably India, and customer frustration at being routed to overseas locations has prompted more companies to consider bringing work back to home countries. The Italian government introduced a law last year that gives consumers calling a company the option of speaking to a call-centre worker in the country rather than someone overseas. The move has threatened thousands of jobs in Albania, which is a hub for call centres for Italian companies. EE started bringing back thousands of call-centre roles to the UK in 2014 and said this year that all calls to the company would now be answered in Britain or Ireland. BT, which acquired EE for £12.5bn, has also started to bring back customer service support from India.

Vodafone was fined £4.6m in October by Ofcom — the largest fine imposed on a UK telecoms company — after a botched integration of its billing systems in 2015. Ofcom accused Vodafone of “mis-selling, inaccurate billing and poor complaints handling procedures” as a result. It pledged to invest in its customer service systems following the debacle.

Nick Jeffery, chief executive of Vodafone UK, said: “These new, skilled roles will make a real difference to our customers and a real difference to the communities that are the focus of our customer services investment.”

Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, said: “Vodafone is one of our country's great international success stories and it’s fantastic this global organisation is demonstrating its confidence in the UK by creating new jobs across the north, in the midlands, in Scotland and in Wales.”

1. Introduction

Vodafone is reshoring their call centre to Guildford, UK! In order to meet their needs for management of human resources during this strategic business move, they are hiring expert HR consultant to produce HR strategy and plan for the call centre in Guildford. That consultant is you! That is right, for the purpose of this assignment, you will need to imagine that you are an expert HR consultant, who has been hired by Vodafone and tasked with designing an HR strategy plan for setting up its UK call centre operations in Guildford (see the adapted article on page 1 above). Your task is to provide a context-appropriate plan of 2,500 words, that links specific HR strategy approach and primary areas of HR practice to create an integrated HR strategy to meet business goals.

The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with opportunity to practice crafting an integrated HR strategy plan to meet specific business needs and context. It will help you develop practical understanding and application of theoretical knowledge and empirical evidence in the field of Human Resource Management. This assignment will also help you develop technical skills of research, evaluation of knowledge quality, critical argumentation, concise and effective articulation of broad knowledge and ideas, and formal/business writing. In this guide, you will find further information on what is expected of you in this assignment, criteria you will be marked on, and guidance to help you get started and achieve expectations.


2. Assignment brief and expectations

In this assignment, your key task is to propose integrated HR strategy plan for the new call centre in Guildford. Your task is to identify suitable overarching HR strategy approach and propose strategic recommendations supported by rationale for key functions of HRM:


1. Resourcing, recruitment and selection

2. Reward

3. Performance management

4. Human resource development.


Your plan should rely and good quality academic and professional knowledge within HRM, Organisational behaviour, and related subjects. In addition, your proposed HR strategy should be aligned with specific business needs or goals as well as relevant context factors. Therefore, you will need to conduct extensive literature search to find knowledge informing solutions for your plan.

In addition to research, another essential task in this assignment is to use your own critical thinking to evaluate knowledge and draw practical implications for this particular business case. Therefore, you should aim to produce well established arguments, containing clear premises and conclusions. You should avoid description and practical step-by-step overviews of essential processes (for example, it is better to state a broad approach/principles to recruitment and selection, not the seven steps that will be recommended).

This assignment should be written in a formal style and business report format. In this type of writing, it is common to take a highly focused approach, therefore please avoid vague, generic, or trivial statements. A business report normally includes title page (similar to one covering this guide), executive summary, table of contents, introduction, and clearly sub-headed sections. To elaborate further:

?                    • Executive summary should be placed after the title page and before table of contents. Executive summary is aimed to equip the reader with essential points made in the entire report, therefore please do not treat it as introduction. It is a very concise summary of all key arguments made in the entire report. Therefore, aim for clear, specific, and concise points. It should not be longer than one page.

Introduction of this report will not be the same as one you might write for a standard academic essay. You should aim for a focused approach concerning only the purpose of your assignment: HR strategy for Guildford call centre. It will be appropriate to identify and discuss relevant context factors and issues which your HR strategy plan will aim to address, overarching HR strategy approach and rationale for its suitability in this particular case, and the scope of your report (what it will and will not achieve).

?                    • The main body of your report should be organised by four HR function areas. You have freedom to structure these, but it is important to include clearly stated strategic objectives and recommendations for their achievement, supported with relevant knowledge and rationale.

?                    • Conclusion should also be concise overview of important points. Again, aim for specific statements. You may wish to produce a summary list of all recommendations in your plan and place it towards the end.

?                    • Appendices are appropriate in this assignment. These should include additional but not essential knowledge, which you may wish for the reader to see. Please remember not to ‘bury’ essential knowledge in there. Also, appendices should be clearly referred to in the main text.

Please make sure that you appropriately cite your sources in text and provide full reference list at the end in Harvard referencing. Also, please make sure that you sufficiently paraphrase knowledge in your own words, even if accompanied by citations. Please make sure that your submitted report is in either PDF or MS Word format.

The total assignment word count should not exceed 2,500 words. This does not include title page, executive summary, table of contents, nor reference list and appendices. You may use bullet points and tables, but please avoid reproducing non-original charts.







4. Searching for good quality literature

As already indicated in the brief above, you are expected to carry out independent research and obtain good quality relevant knowledge for this assignment. You will need to gather this knowledge yourself in order to construct arguments and provide justifications for your insights and recommendations. Majority of knowledge used in your report should be obtained from peer-reviewed scientific journal papers published in relevant subject area. You may use other types of knowledge, such as newspaper articles or financial reports, but these should be kept to a minimum and acquired from reputable sources.

Searching for literature can be really overwhelming, especially if you have not done it before. Also, the internet is burgeoning with information of varying trustworthiness and quality, therefore it is crucial to evaluate the credibility of sources you obtain your knowledge from. In this section, you will find a few tips of advice on how search for literature and ensure it is reputable.


2. Use Google Scholar to find peer reviewed journal articles. Our library has impressive access to many excellent journals and other resources online. You may also use other academic databases or platforms such as ScienceDirect, Web of Science, JSTOR, EBSCO, etc.


3. Aim for the latest publications first, published within the last three years or so. Starting with recent publications ensures that your knowledge is up to date and of contemporary relevance, which is especially important in pragmatic subjects such as HRM and OB. Also, a peer reviewed journal article will likely start with an overview of existing knowledge, which will save you time. Of course, some of the theories you will refer to are established decades ago and still important today, but it is necessary to review recently obtained empirical evidence, demonstrating that the theoretical predictions can be observed in real life.


4. Indicate the journal where the paper you found is published and make sure that it is of good quality. Good quality journal means that the research published in the article is likely to have been acquired with scientifically rigorous methods and make important contribution to existing knowledge. There are several easy ways to establish journal quality:


                        a) Association of Business Schools (ABS), a UK based organization produces Journal Ranking Guide every few years, which is available online and lists high quality academic journals within various business subjects. They have a star ranking system, highest being 4*. If you are reading a paper which is published in a journal ranked by ABS (especially 4* and 3*), you can be fairly certain that the knowledge reported has been acquired by scientifically rigorous methods and makes important contribution to pre-existing knowledge.


                        b) Journal impact factor is internationally recognized score and indicates yearly average number of citations to recent articles which are published in a particular academic journal. This score is often used as an indicator of journal importance within its subject area. The higher the impact factor, the more influential the journal is.


                        c) If you find a paper that you like but published in a journal which is not listed by ABS and you cannot find the impact factor, it may not necessarily mean that it is rubbish. To establish the quality of its content, it may be worthwhile to see whether the journal is published by a well-known publisher, such as Wiley, Elsevier, Sage, Taylor and Francis Group, Emerald Insight, Springer, etc. It may also be useful to look up the authors of the article. Perhaps they are well-established researchers in the particular subject area and have published other papers in good journals or collaborated with internationally renowned scholars, etc., which may also indicate the quality of knowledge being reported.


5. Even though it is expected that you will largely refer to academic journal papers in your report, there are other resources which can also be valuable and contribute relevant knowledge to your arguments. However, as already highlighted, please keep these to as few as possible. Also, it is important that you are critical about how reputable these sources are. For example, if you need to refer to any news or current events stories, please make sure that you select good quality outlets such as Financial Times, The Independent, The Economist, etc. Citing tabloids such as Daily Mail or The Sun is not acceptable in academic assignments. If you are referring to content found on a reputable website (for example, Vodafone or CIPD), please make sure that the link to this specific content page is included in the reference.

5. Where to start?

HR strategy and four areas of HR function to start gathering ideas and constructing search terms.

These materials should allow you to establish specific search terms, which you can use to carryout purposeful and targeted independent ‘digging’ in Google Scholar on HR strategy, HR management in call centres, and each of the four function areas identified in the brief.

Please remember to choose one approach to HR strategy which you think is the most suitable for this case and propose solutions in function areas which are clearly linked with the key objectives of your chosen overarching HR strategy. Gather key ideas from your researched knowledge for rationale and develop your own implications to support your recommendations.

Please make sure that you give yourself enough time to write the report, then edit the language and format the reference list. Write executive summary after you have written the main parts of your report and arrange the appendices. Table of contents and title page can also be left as last tasks in this assignment.


6. FAQs

2) I have never written a business report. Is it similar to academic essay?

Yes, as your report will contain introduction, body, and conclusion. Also, in this assignment you are expected to discuss justifications for your recommendations, which will take a form of arguments based on acquired knowledge. You are also expected to articulate your ideas in an academic style and consistently cite your resources.

3) Do we have to create our own strategy by criticizing the already existing ones in this assignment?

All three of the HR strategies reviewed in the lecture on Week 2 have limitations and can be criticised. However please do not create your own strategic approach and this is likely to have even more limitations! Just apply the criticisms of the existing approaches.

4) Regarding the two journals mentioned in the "Assignment brief", I am not sure how I should use them in the assignment as most strategies are different from the ones discussed in class.

Unfortunately, HR strategies are characterised under several different names. A best-practice approach can also be called ‘high-commitment’, ‘high performance working’ ‘bundles’ etc. A contingency approach is sometimes interpreted via business life cycle models, or strategies to achieve completive advantage. Unfortunately, different journal papers use different labels and its only by reading them will you understand this. You also need to be aware that the content of a contingency strategy is unique to the organisation therefore the configuration (type, combination and direction) of the practice areas you use, WILL be unique! It’s the approach that is criticised, and this will remain true however well you combine your HR practices to support your business strategy.

5) Are we allowed to use the CIPD or any other author mentioned in the textbook as references to support our statements in the report?

You should make wide use of sources. You may use CIPD resources. Textbook, although good starting point to get acquainted with the subject. However, it is a good idea to read the textbook first and expand your research from there by finding original sources cited in the book which you find useful.

6) How many references should I have?

There is no requirement for specific number. The short answer to this is as many as you need to construct sufficiently informed compelling arguments/justifications. You will have seen in the marking criteria that demonstration of knowledge at depth and breadth as well as effective use of sources are important expectations in this assignment. Therefore, it is expected that you conduct a great deal of independent research.

Given the length of report, I suggest starting with finding at least 20 or 30 good quality and relevant resources when you begin working on your assignment and then continuously build the knowledge which will expand your reference list throughout the process. In the past, we have seen good reports with up to 60 – 100 references. However, please note that the importance here is not solely to demonstrate how much you have read. Make sure that you use your research points for a clear purpose and do not just describe them.

7) What does ‘depth’ of analysis mean in the marking criteria?

‘Depth’ in this context means the extent to which you have researched and justified your practices. It does not mean that you should design HR practices in detail. If you find yourself putting together detailed training plans or drawing up person specifications/ job descriptions, you are wasting words and time. Make sure you focus on justifying the direction/ principles of practice areas – i.e. the reasons that underlie your choices - rather than spending time deciding exactly how practices will be implemented. You can be specific in your recommendations that follow each of your practice areas – but these choices and the detail at that point is not where your marks will be earned. Ensure that your approach to the implementation of HR practice areas is strategic, integrated, justified and supported by academic evidence and relevant examples.


8) I am not entirely clear about the executive summary and what it should include.

Executive summary should be included on a separate page and precede your report. The purpose of it is to quickly get your reader acquainted with the key highlights of the report. Therefore, as the name suggests, it should effectively summarise your report so that your audience can get a good idea what it is about without reading entire report. Even though it is not included in the word count, the executive summary should be concise and highlight key points following the same order as in the report.

10) Can I emphasise on resourcing or another area of HR in my report?

Please ensure that you review and analyse all four of the broad HR practice areas indicated in the brief (resourcing, training and development, reward, performance management). You should not emphasize one or two areas more than others nor exclude any altogether.

11) What should I include in the introduction? Do I need to talk about Vodafone strategy in my introduction?

on what to include in the introduction has been provided above. Please remember that you do not need to get carried away researching and analysing Vodafone’s business strategy. This is neither a Strategic Management nor an Organisation Development assignment. There is no need for competitor analysis or much external evaluation – except on the labour market or other points of relevance to HR. If you find yourself getting drawn into organisation charts – you have gone too far! You may find HR practices that Vodafone ARE, in reality, implementing, even in their call centres. However, it does not mean that referring to them will fit with your approach and you may lose marks. This is an original assignment for you to demonstrate your skills in designing and implementing a strategic HR approach, not to research what they are doing. Depart from “reality” after business strategy.



Executive Summary
As Vodafone plans to reshore its call centre to Guildford, UK, it needs to ensure that its needs for human resources are well met. Reshoring a call centre is a long term strategic process which is complex, costly and a lot of problems are likely to appear. In order to overcome these difficulties, the company should choose the best approach in order to achieve the benefits that will come with this move.
The move to reshore the call centre is likely to bring various impacts to the economy of various countries where these services were outsourced from. However, this move is not only likely to benefit the organization but also create a number for jobs for UK citizens. As the company plans to set up a new call centre, it needs to have a different HR strategy to meet the needs of the company. By creating a new call centre in Guildford, creating a human resource management strategy is extremely important for the company.
In this particular report, the recruitment and selection process for Guildford Call Centre will be addressed as well as recommendations and their success observed. Besides this, the rewarding system for the centre will be addressed in detail and the benefits that will arise. Additionally, performance management metrics for the centre will also be discussed together with the benefits that are likely to arise if they are implemented. Finally, this report addresses the human resource development strategy for the company even though the centre does not seem to be providing promotion opportunities. Therefore, the need to ensure that development opportunities are provided and the strategies through which this can be achieved is discussed. All these factors will be based on the Best Fit Approach which stresses that the HR strategy should consider the needs of the organization and its employees.

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