Marks and Spenser Company’s Human Resource Management


Business investments and other nonbusiness organizations must have active employees to enable them to realize their aspirations. They establish investments in viable places to acquire qualifieD and competent staff and use modern technology to do different activities. However, sometimes they fail to run their operations smoothly due to the challenges that face employees (Hamel 2011).

This has led to the establishment of the human resource departments to ensure that it addresses all needs related to employees. However, there are several challenges and responsibilities that lie ahead of this department to ensure it performs its duties effectively. This paper explores the functions of the human resource department in Marks and Spenser’s company.


Human resource department refers to an intentional plan to establish measures that will regulate the activities of workers and their relationship with other related stakeholders (Johnston 2011). This department is usually established based on the policies of a company and how it handles its work force.

Some companies integrate the activities of this department with the personnel department. This department ensures that employees are productive by providing to them all favourable conditions to facilitate their work.

Marks and Spencer: Background

This company was established in 1884 by Thomas Spencer and Michael Mark. Its tradition was very unique since it offered products (clothes and food) produced by British companies only.

However, this tradition was abandoned in 2002 when it started selling products from other companies located within and outside Britain. According to the 2010 economic survey index this company had 1,010 stores located in Britain and other parts of the world including the United Kingdom and America.

Currently, it is managed by Marc Boland (CEO) and Robert Swannell (Chairman). The survey also indicated that the operating income of this company was about $ 9.934 billion and the profit index for that year was $ 746.5 million.

The huge number of stores this company owns means that it must have a very elaborate workforce. Currently, it employs more than 81,223 permanent employees in its stores. This number does not include the employees recruited on short term basis when the number of shoppers doubles.

Differences between Personnel and Human Resource Management

Personnel management is a group of activities regarding the workforce and includes payroll, staffing, contracts and other administrative roles (Johnston 2011). This means that personnel management involves all activities regarding the management of workers and not resources. This department is focused on administrative roles and its manager must ensure that the needs of employees regarding their urgent concerns are attended to.

This means that these personnel managers are supposed to mediate between workers and managers. This is a serious conflict with the objectives of the departments of management.

On the other hand, human resource management involves ensuring management objectives are fulfilled and at the same time making sure that the requirements of all resources are attended to. This means that this department combines resources and policies to ensure they work together to fulfill the objectives of a company.

Responsibilities of a Line Manager

Mark and Spencer has very many outlets located in different parts of the world, and this means that it must have many line managers. These managers include the personnel and human resource workers who are in charge of administrative and employee functions. A line manager performs the following roles.

First, the person is in charge of ensuring that the company has enough workers in all departments. Therefore, it recruits employees to ensure that there are enough workers to serve its clients. The peak season is usually very busy since most shoppers visit its stores to purchase food or clothes (Johnston 2011).

The recruitment exercise is usually conducted by all stores and this means that these managers are responsible for staffing their stores. In addition, they prepare payrolls for their workers on permanent and short term contracts. They must provide guidelines regarding the salaries of workers and their number to the finance department.

Human Resource Organisational Purposes

It is necessary to note that this department plays similar roles regardless of the size of an organization. This company has a huge employee base, and this means that its human resource department has a huge responsibility of ensuring that the resources of this company are managed well. The following are the roles played by this department.

Wages and Salaries

This department conducts market surveys to know the number of salary employees should earn depending on their roles in this company. However, it is necessary to explain that the decisions made by this department regarding salaries must reflect the financial position of this company (Johnston 2011).

This means that this department must work together with the finance and other related departments. Even though, there are standard regulations that must be followed when deciding the salaries of employees sometimes these rules may not apply in some organisations depending on their structures and financial positions.

Selection and Recruitment

Even though, Marks and Spencer’s has a limited variety of products (food and clothes) offered to the market it nonetheless needs to have a well-developed staff to promote its operations. The human resource department sets out guidelines for recruiting staff to fill the permanent and temporary vacant position. The department ensures it recruits experienced, qualified staff that will promote the realization of the objectives of this company.

Performance Appraisal

This company has many branches located in many countries. This means it has an eye on opening others in other countries to ensure it covers most markets; therefore, it needs workers that can propel it to realize this goal.

The personnel and human resource department ensure it conducts regular performance appraisal of workers to evaluate their contributions to the company. This exercise helps this company to know the needs of all employees and provide them.

Training and Development

This department must keep a close eye on the contributions of all employees and evaluate their performance regarding technology and market trends. This means that the department must ensure it identifies gaps and weaknesses of all employees and train them to improve on their weak areas. The department may train or hire trainers to ensure the efficiency of employees is increased to boost their performance.

Welfare and Motivation

This department ensures all employees are happy and satisfied with the work environment. This means that there must be steps to ensure workers are involved in activities that will make them happy and boost their morale. This means it must review the policies about the motivation of the employees and recommend staff parties, retreats and get together events.

Managing Employees Grievances

All organizations face challenges regarding the relationships between employees and management. However, this department acts as an arbitrator between these parties when there is a crisis. This company has many employees, and they cannot present their grievances to the main office (Johnston 2011).

The human resource department established in all branches ensures that these grievances are handled at the local level. This includes proposing to the management efficient ways of eliminating these challenges in future.

Managing Labour Relations

Labour relations are very important in ensuring that the management is in good terms with workers. Therefore, this department ensures that all issues related to work are handled immediately they arise. Employees and the management are usually at cross roads regarding salary and work conditions. Therefore, this department ensures it prepares these parties to engage in productive negotiations to resolve their differences.

Implementing Organisational Policies

An organisation must have policies to guide its workers and operations towards achieving its goals. This department ensures it implements the policies established by various stakeholders by monitoring how workers perform their duties. In case, there are inconsistencies regarding the performance of workers this department has a right to punish workers who cannot follow the rules of this company.

Dismissal and Redundancy

This organization has a set of rules, regulations, and codes of conduct that guide the behavior of employees. This means that they must perform their duties in line with these regulations (Johnston 2011).

However, those that cannot work within these guidelines are shown the door by this department. Also, this company employs short term workers during peak season, and it is the responsibility of this department to terminate their contracts when these seasons are over.

Impacts of Environmental Factors on Human Resource Management

This department cannot work in isolation from others since it depends on them for various reasons. This means that it must coordinate with other stakeholders to ensure it promotes efficiency in its operations. The following are some of the external environments of the department of human resource in Marks and Spencer’s company.


This company must adjust its operations to reflect the technology trends exhibited by the public. It is necessary to explain that food stuff and clothes are influenced to an as significant degree by trends.

Modern technology becomes an indispensable environment that this company must consider to ensure its products are modern. It should consider using the latest technology in producing food and clothes that will ensure it continues to dominate in these markets.


They form the bulk of the factors that determine the existence of this company, and without them, it will be forced to close its operations. Customers must be treated respectfully to ensure they continue to trust and believe that the company offers quality products. All measures that ensure a company gets a huge following should be used to place this company at a higher position compared to its competitors.

Workers Unions

All organizations in the world have bodies that help them in advancing their needs. Employees voluntarily or forcefully subscribe to various unions to ensure their rights are respected. It is necessary for this company to consider these unions and make sure it provides a good working environment with them (Mathis 2010).

This is possible through ensuring that workers are paid good salaries and given time to present their grievances when they occur. Also, it must offer them good working conditions to ensure nothing affects their performance.

Social, Economic and Political Issues

The social environment consists of social institutions, occupation, culture, mobility and class structures. This company must respect the values of these groups and issues and ensure that it works in line with them. Any attempt to interfere with these issues means that there will be conflicts with workers or other stakeholders. Economic factors include inflation, taxes, exchange rates and the value of this company on the stock exchange.

These issues determine the prices of commodities and salaries of employees. This company must work in line with these factors to ensure its operations remain relevant.

Even though, this company cannot directly participate in political activities it must ensure that they do not affect its operations. Politics can influence its market trends depending on the perspectives of the local population. However, it is important that the human resource department of this company maintains a law profile regarding politics.

Stages and Importance of Human Resource Planning

The human resource department of this company must follow the following stages while planning its roles. First, it must forecast future needs to ensure it identifies the future needs of this company.

This means that it must focus on internal and external factors like market growth and technology respectively to plan for its responsibilities and those of the company.

This stage allows this department to inform the company of any expected changes that may affect its operations (Martins 2012). For instance, the department must forecast the impacts of ort technology on future requirements in terms of human labor. This will help this company to decide whether to increase or decrease the number of its employees.

Secondly, it must analyze its inventory regarding the expected supply from the market. This department must evaluate the rate of resignations and retirements expected in the future. These are important issues that determine the future of this company in terms of the availability of employees in the future.

Thirdly, it must audit its inventory and supply trends regarding supply and demand of workers. This involves identifying the areas that have surplus and shortages. It must give clues to the reasons why most workers seek resignations or transfers. Also, it must also review recruitment procedures, remunerations, promotions and all other factors that affect employees.

Moreover, it must also consider developing action plans that will break the gap between market supply and forecast issues. This includes developing effective strategies of recruiting new workers, retrenchments, training, work regulation and planning on various motivational plans (Hughes 2009). This department must ensure that it complies with work regulations and evaluates the impacts of its policies on laws regarding employees.

Lastly, it must ensure that after proposing and implementing organizational policies it must develop monitoring strategies that will help the organization to monitor its performance. Workers are supposed to follow the policies of their companies and abide by the rules set. The human resource department must implement and control all employee-related policies to ensure workers perform their duties by the policies of this company.

Effectiveness of Recruitment and Selection Process

An effective recruitment programme must base its considerations on the following issues. First, it must ensure that it recruits workers who are experienced and able to deliver good results. This means they must have the necessary skills required by this company. They should have experience in handling food stuffs or clothes. It must ensure it identifies the skills necessary to fill the vacant positions available.

This department must plan its interviews to reflect the requirements of various positions. Selection must be based on merit and not any other issue (Noe 2009). In addition, the selection and recruitment process must be guided by the future needs of employees. It is highly advisable that the department must identify employees that are already qualified or have less weakness that can be managed through training.

The process should also consider the ability of individuals to work autonomously. This means that they must satisfy the job description presented by the interviewers (Johnston 2011). Lastly, the recruitment process must aim at avoiding any problem that may arise in the future as a result of poor staffing procedures. Therefore, it must focus on recruiting employees who will contribute to the development of this company.

The link between Motivational Theory and Reward

Employees are human beings and must be motivated to work very hard and achieve the objectives set by their employers. It is necessary to state that employees need motivations even if they are paid good salaries.

This theory assumes that a little motivation will make employees to feel that their efforts have been appreciated. The link between motivation and reward is that the former is a broad category of the ways that employees can be encouraged to work hard. A reward is anything offered to employees to motivate them to work hard.

An effective reward system must be consistent and applied to all individuals. This means that there must be standards set by the human resource department to ensure all workers are rewarded according to their achievements and contributions. Also, it must be reasonable and achievable; therefore, it must not be beyond the ability of a company to provide it at the expense of other pressing needs.

Measuring and Monitoring Performance

The human resource department is supposed to measure the performance of its employees through the following ways. First, it can conduct performance appraisal to identify the contributions of workers and evaluate their needs. Secondly, it can use the profit index versus the expenses to assess whether its employees are performing well or not. The balanced scorecard method is the most effective way of evaluating the performance of this company.

Legal and Framework Considerations during Termination of Employees

This department is responsible for employing and sacking employees. The following are legal requirements that must be observed before sacking a worker. First, the terms of the employment contract must come to an end before an employee is sacked.

However, if this is not observed the employer may be forced to pay the employee the expected benefits. Also, a breach in terms of contact agreed between the employer and employee must follow. An employee can be sacked if any of these terms are violated.


A robust human resource department plays significant roles in promoting the performance of a business. Workers must respect this department and all policies established to ensure there is a good relationship between them and the management. Employee recruitment, training, and termination must be based on legal, social and economic considerations.


Hamel, G 2011, The Future of Management, Harvard Business School Press, New York.

Hughes, M 2009, Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Johnston, D 2011, The Principles of Human Resource Management, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Mathis, M 2010, Human Resource Management, South Western Cengage Learning, New York.

Martins, S 2012, Human Resource Management for Better Productivity, Cengage Learning, New York.

Noe, R 2009, Human Resource Management, McGraw-Hill, New York.