Over the last two decades, many studies pointed out that staffing and resourcing play a vital role in human resource management (HRM) of all organisations. Additionally, performance management includes a huge number of issues that are also central of HRM (Marchington & Wilkinson, 2005). A deep investigation on Neighbourhood Textiles LTD. will prove these arguments by analysing key problems of the organisation. With the purpose of solving these problems, human resource interventions should be given priority and justified through the organisation's original ethos in this paper. And by the end, some recommendations are suggested regarding current circumstance.
The London Borough of Southminster established a local resource group. This group had got many plans for an 'industrial community resource', a light industrial complex, and a number of small workspaces for new businesses. Through further feasibility research combined with commercial viability, Neighbourhood Textiles was formed by the resource group. The purpose of the creation is helping local economy to cope with the decrease in local manufacturing industry, the increasing level of local unemployment, as well as the lack of 'employment and training opportunities for local school leavers' (Case Study).
The structure which Neighbourhood Textiles adopted was a 'top-down' model since the organisation was supposed to tackle current troubles, for examples identify market opportunities and set up businesses to exploit these opportunities, recruit and train native people to take up the reins of these firms and promote a co-operative basis. It took an over two-year period to get the involvement of prospective members in the enterprise's planning and to share power with the managerial staff in order to help with preparation such as recruitment before trading commenced (Paton & Emerson, 1988). In the case study, the supervisors and managers were mainly employed in March of Year 3, and until July with the recruitment of staff. It is obviously that all the involving members of organisation would face difficulties as spending more than two years for nothing and opportunities might pass by such period. When trading began, the Steering Committee still took responsibilities more or less but it did a little effort to control the project and aimed 'to transfer all management responsibility to the users of the Neighbourhood Textiles' site' (Case Study) by appointing a production manager working towards the commercial launch rapidly. Another illustration of the committee's weak control was in setting targets in which no production targets during the first five months of trading, and merely individual target-setting was recommended despite the fact that the targets had not been determined explicitly. Sharing control as well as empowerment was one of the most difficulties in appeal appropriate candidates for the managerial positions as the Steering Committee secretary even remembered that 'there would be 'work for all', regardless of skills or experience' (Case Study). The psychological ownership of the project and the employees' commitment was totally weak and not developed. Machinists felt unsafe when raising and discussing controversial issues at informal production meetings. Furthermore, the production manager was believed to be inclined to criticise anyone making complaints and rant on problems of productivity and punctuality. A more critical weakness of the project laid in the vague relationship between the Steering Committee and the Management Committee, and how the council worked. The Management Committee report of July, Year 4, stated that 'the production manager had spent too little time on the shop-floor' and the production supervisor had been supported too little (Case Study). Nonetheless, regarding quality control, the Steering instead of acting, it did nothing and 'a quality control system' was set up with five more quality control supervisors. It was completely unclear about the role of production supervisor here and the meaningless of the report to the Steering Committee from the Management Committee in February of Year 4. In terms of financial information, during the trading life period, six meetings were held by the Steering Committee but all the financial reports constituted 'limited, optimistic and usually inaccurate' explanations, and even the production manager was suspicious of altering financial information prior to submission to Southminster Council. The responsibility of consultant Q - a local councillor was ambiguous while he acknowledged a wastage rate of 50 per cent for garments but did not report to higher level.
From the beginning, it would seem that there was problem with how the council worked. It was unable to provide the contract of rent but finally, the lease was taken by the council. The influence of this delay to both funding applications was so severe that the project was merely approved by the DoE for the Urban Programme application for Year 3 and 4 and by the ED EWS funding application from the middle of Year 3. It led to the significant negative effect upon Neighbourhood's development as the terms of the original application were described as 'seriously out of date' when 'costing had risen well beyond due to the high rate of inflation over the period' (Case Study).
Nevertheless, a major problem of Neighbourhood Textiles stemmed from managing human resources. Particularly, since the production manager was recruited suddenly, all the consequent activities of the whole organisation were considered as terrible. Launch timescale, worker induction and training programme were shortened. Even recruitment programme for production worker as well as its aim was changed by the production manager's new policy notwithstanding threat of 'inadequate quantities of suitably skilled workers' (Case Study). It seemed that the production manager tried to correct his mistakes by employing 8 workers in Intake 1 and 14 people in Intake 2 separately. However, he failed in 'planning to have the right quality and quantity staff at the right time' (Taylor, 2002c) as the recruitment process had problems itself. The first recruitment was divided into two rounds but only three people were seen at both rounds, even one successful applicant had lied about her skills and experience at interview, a quality control supervisor was appointed thanks to her colleagues' opinions and the chosen production supervisor did not have sufficient experience of machining. The function of the panel conducting interviews was vacuous, and the recruitment process was full of haphazard and confusion.
- Marchington, M. & Wilkinson, A. (2005), Human Resource Management at Work: People Management and Development, 3rd Edition, London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
- Paton, R. & Emerson, T. (1988), '"Top-down" and "bottom-up": Goodbye to all that?', Local Economy, Volume 3 Issue 3, pp.159-168