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Various Models of Human Resource Management & Its Functions - Unilever

University: University of Cambridge

  • Unit No: 6
  • Level: Post Graduate/University
  • Pages: 17 / Words 4284
  • Paper Type: Assignment
  • Course Code: LD501
  • Downloads: 643
Question :


Description of Assessment Requirements

You have been invited by Unilever company as a Human Resource Management Consultant, in order to advise them on the possibility of taking their HR practices to the next level in order to compete more effectively in the marketplace. In particular, the Board of Directors would like you to address the following:

Task 1

Discussing on the relevant HRM models, evaluate the approach of the company to the management of its human resources. (900 words)

Task 2

Briefly explain the organisation’s HR functions (such as recruitment & selection, HRD, motivation, performance) in relation to strategic human resource initiatives. Make relevant recommendations as to how it could improve these. (1800 words)

Task 3

Briefly examine a number of HRM software programs based on the criteria identified in the previous tasks, which are available off the shelf and evaluate which one of these software programmes would be mostly beneficial to the organisation. (650 words)

Task 4

Examine the characteristics of effective leaders as an advice to the company taking into consideration all the issues identified in the previous tasks. Draw on relevant models to justify your analysis. (650 words)

Task 5

Presentation, citations and referencing

Structure of report:

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Discussion/Literature Review
  5. Conclusions
  6. References
  7. Appendix

Module Learning Outcomes to be Assessed: -

Upon successful completion of this assessment the student will be able to:

  • Briefly discuss and analyse the key functions of Human Resource Management, workforce management, people management, and intellectual capital management
  • Evaluate the systems and structures that support effective workforce management, Human Resource Management, people management, and intellectual capital management in a variety of cultural contexts and through a variety of case study examples.
  • Create a workforce management, human resource management, people management, intellectual capital management plan, and design a valid recruitment and selection system for appropriate cultural contexts and labour market scenarios.
  • Briefly evaluate and examine the systems and tools which are used in the various interpretations of management of the labour force and the conventions which may be used in these various contexts (e. g. those used in UK Human Resource Management, or in workforce management in other cultures)

Produce a critical awareness of research in the evolution of human, people, workforce management of resources and the related challenges facing organisations in a variety of cultures.

Answer :
Organization Selected : Unilever


Human resource is one of most important resource for any organisation which they have to manage effectively. They are considered to be the capital of the organisation as with the help of their capabilities the objectives are achieved by them. The management of human resource is related with their recruitment, selection, trainings and development, induction and orientation, compensation planning, performance appraisal etc. With the help of this the competence of the employees are improved with the help of which their performances can be improved. The mangers and the leaders in the organisation plays crucial role in motivating the employees and in retaining them for a longer period of time so that an efficient workforce can be developed by them. In this report the organisation which is taken into consideration us Unilever which is a British Dutch company that offers various consumer goods. They have their operations at international level with the products such as cleaning agents, personal care products, beauty accessories, beverages, food products etc. In this reports various model of human resource management, functions of human resource are taken into consideration. Along with that the softwares programs which are used by the management of for managing the employees are also evaluated and the characteristics of effective leaders are also discussed with the help of which they can manages the employees in the organisation efficiently.

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Relevant Human Resource Models and approaches that are followed by the management of the company

Organisation is facing several challenges or issue such as to analyse the net profits, high rate of employee turnover, less productivity from regular operations, due to which competitive organisation impacts on majority of operations and functions that minimised the overall productivity of company specifically HR department face many challenges as workforce are highly demotivated because of non-accomplishment of organisational goals.

HRM models and the analyse of different approaches of organisation towards management and its human resources

HRM models refer to those aspects that focus on strategy, structure and scheme of organisation that are designed with the motive of generating coordination among all divisions and human asset of organisation. Models of HRM are combined with different principles that are hard and soft. Some of the major practical models that is implemented in respective organisation are mention as follow:

  • Harvard model - HRM Harvard model consists of six different components that are stakeholder interest, situational factors, HRM outcomes, HRM policy choices, long term consequences and feedback. The term stakeholder include management, employee, investor and all those individual who are engage and linked with operations of organisation. Situational aspect includes business strategy, workforce, union and framework. From perspective of HRM policy it is designed as per interest of stakeholder and existing situational factors. The main motive of HRM policy is to develop positive value and outcomes from operations in order to achieve organisational goals and objectives with in specified time frame. Along with this long term consequences are concerned to develop about positive social, organisation and individual results of organisation (Armstrong and Taylor, 2020).
  • HR value chain - The HR value chain is one of the most appropriate model of HRM and as per view from value chain all operations and task performed by HRM can be divide into two separate categories. HRM activities and HRM outcomes are two parts that undertakes aspects of HR divisional activities. Outcomes defined goals and targets that are accomplished by management of organisation by performing HRM activities. This refers that managers recruit various employees and train them to encourage more efforts for achieving organisational goals. On the other side, HRM activities state to complete routine activities that are selection, recruitment, employee satisfaction and many more. Along with this with better and accurate coordination between HRM outcomes and activities leads to generate positive results. This refers that candidates are selected with within organised manner due to which skilled employees are delegate right roles and responsibility (DeCenzo, Robbins and Verhulst, 2016). Thus, performance of organisation is increased on constant basis.
  • Standard causal model - It is one of the best known model of HRM as it is derived from different number of models that are developed for enhancing employee performance. This demonstrate the casual chain for initiating better business strategy that ends with HR processes and also improved financial and operational performance of organisation. The major motive of standard casual model defines that how different activities combined with each other and leads an organisation to gain huge success in market by organising and managing its human resources effectively. It also refers that HR strategy relates with all operations and functions that are performed in an organisation. Moreover, HR practices follow and implement different HR strategy in order to perform all functions with positive and collaborative approach by involving or engaging large number of employees in organisational functions (Assagaf, 2017).

Along with this various approaches are also required by Unilever to manage human resources. This refers that human are most important asset for organisation that is not substituted by any other organisation due to which it is easy to gain competitive edge in market. In the present scenario, human resources are the key for development and success of organisation. Some of essential approaches related with HRM are mention as follow:

  • To determine and understand company objective- Organisation must understand about all respective methods, structure and framework that are designed as per accomplishment of goals and objectives. This refers authorities must share and communicate right message with employees due to which workforce input efforts towards right direction by participating effectively in organisational strategy that are developed by HR department.
  • Analyse of HR capability- The current HR capacity must be design and evaluate to develop for better understanding that how employees are contributing towards accomplishment of organisational goals and objectives. There are various methods such as skill inventory methods and data analyse etc. is used by management to ascertain expert areas of employees. Moreover, it is also used by management to analyse those areas in which workforce provides low productive results. This result Unilever is able to overcome from loopholes by improving weak areas of employees.
  • Training and development- With the regular training and development session the performance of routine activities that are completed by workforce will be enhanced. This is one of the most essential responsibilities of HR department as they are accountable for identifying needs and wants of employees that also helps to retain employees for longer period. Along with this with right training and development organisation achieve more success by facilitating effective results from operations and functions (Bailey and et. al., 2018).
  • Identify of tools required by employees- Resources are the most important part for all project and task that are performed by management. So it is compulsory for Unilever to provide and utilise high quality resources and raw-materials to workforce as it directly relates with performance of organisation. Moreover, with right tools, methods and resources it is also easy for management to deal with issue which works as barrier between organisational goals and objectives.

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Critical analysis of various functions of the Human resource in relation to the strategic initiatives

Human resource department of the organisation performs various functions with the help of which they manage the employees. The aims, objectives and vision of the organisation are to be achieved with the help of efficient employees and people are attracted towards the organisation by them. Further they are selected to meet up with the roles and responsibilities with the use of their skills and the capabilities. The efficiency of the human capital is must for the organisation and for this they are held accountable for undertaking all the activities related to the employees. They make employees available to all the other department of the organisation so that their activities can be executed effectively on time. The functions that are performed by the human resource managers for managing the employees are:

Recruitment and selection: The recruitment is one of the most important functions of the human resource managers as create a pool for the company and out of which they select the suitable and appropriate candidate for the organisation. The candidates are selected with the help of a process in which their interview is taken, various assessment test are conducted by the managers so that they ability to handle the situation can be analysed. The nature and the process of recruiting and selection depend upon the nature of the products which the organisation is offering, the job role for which they are hiring the candidate and many more (Boon and et. al., 2018). The HRM of Unilever considers various methods for recruiting the candidate which are given below:

Internal recruiting: Internal recruitment is the process with the help of which the vacancies in the organisation are filled by the existing employees. It can be done the managers by way of transferring the employees, promoting them to some higher designation, turning the employees who have been working on temporary basis to permanent employees. Such recruitment is done by the managers and the leaders by way of an analysis of the performances of the employees and the requirement of the job role and the capabilities of the employees.

External recruiting: External recruitment is the one in which the candidate are selected from outside the organisation which be through various sources. The types of the external recruiting which are used by the Unilever for the recruitment of the candidates are:

  • Contingency Recruitment: In this type of recruitment the company gives responsibility to some outside firm to gather the candidates for the specific job with specifications required. For this the payments are made to the firm as and when the candidate gets selected by the organisation (Brewster and et. al., 2016).
  • Reverse Recruitment: It is a type of recruitment in which the candidate is motivated and encouraged to take their skills and the capabilities to some other organisation as they may get appreciated there. It can be done with the help of various tools as through the agencies so that the best candidate can be selected.
  • Retained Recruitment: This type of recruitment is one in which a recruiting firm is being appointed which is responsible for approaching the desired candidate and the interviewing them as per the requirement of the organisation.
  • Staffing Recruitment: Staffing Recruitment helps in identifying the candidates with the help of various staffing agencies and that is generally for a shorter period of time (Budhwar, 2016).

Human resource development is yet another important function which is being performed by the HRM of the Unilever as with the help of this the competencies, skills, ability and the knowledge of the employees can be increased. This helps them in improving their performances as with this they can identify the better way of performing and undertaking any activity. It can be done by way of organisation various training sessions and developmental programs, by organising orientation and induction programs for the new employees etc. With the help of such programs understanding among employees is developed by the managers of the Unilever. Also with such developmental programs the company takes the competitive advantage as with this the ability to perform better improves. Various training programs which are organised by the HRM of Unilever are given below:

  • Induction training: These trainings are provided to the new candidates so that they can understand the environment of the organisation, their rules and regulations, the reporting framework as who will give them command and to whom they have to report.
  • Job instruction training: These trainings are provided for making the employees understand the role and the responsibilities which they have to fulfil. Also the ways, techniques etc. that can be used by them are also discussed under such sessions (Carbery and Cross, 2018). 
  • Vestibule training: Such trainings are provided to the employees at some other location which is quite similar to the workplace for making the employees understand their job. This is one of the most important training as in this they get to know about what and how they have to execute their role.
  • Refresher training: Refresher training are those which are provided to the employees so that they can effectively adopt the changes which are taking place in the technology, process etc. With this the employees adds more value to their skills and capabilities that makes them efficient enough to deal with the changes.

Motivation :  The human resource of the organisation need to be kept motivated in order to keep them focussed and consistent towards their targets and goals which they have to achieve. They determine the need of the employees as by satisfying them the people working in the organisation can be motivated. By organising various trainings the employees are encourage to perform the tasks which they are responsible to do so. Unilever spend a lot of funds in conducting various sessions for training and development, other recreational activities and events etc. as through these the understanding among the employees can be improved (Crawshaw, Budhwar and Davis, 2017).

The managers identifies the need of the employees with the help of Maslow Need hierarchy theory. This theory provides a hierarchy in which the needs of the people are placed at five different level. The level depicts that once the lower level needs are satisfied then the person move towards the higher order need. The physiological needs are satisfied by the salary which is paid to the employees while the safety and social needs are satisfied by them by making the employees interact with each other and by providing better, comfortable workplace environment. For satisfying the needs of self esteem and self actualisation, HR department of the Unilever provides various opportunities to the employees with which they can achieve their growth. In addition to this various incentive plans are prepared by the HR managers which can be both financial and non-financial, that helps them to motivate the employees as the benefits plays a crucial role in making the employees consistent. 

Performance management : The managers in the organisation conduct the assessment of the performance of the employees so that the areas where the improvement is required can be identified. Also on the basis of the performance evaluation the productivity of the employees are determined and after this the requirement of the training and development are identified. Different methods are used by the company Unilever for evaluating the performance which are given below:

  • 360-degree performance appraisal: The performance appraisals were con ducted by the managers once in a year but with the changing requirement it became a ongoing process. In this methods the employees of Unilever appraises their managers, suppliers and even themselves. This analysis of the employees facilitates them in analysing the area where they need to focus upon (Gandolfi and Stone, 2017).
  • Assessment centre methods: In such methods the employees are assessed by way involving them in stimulations, group activities etc. With the help of this the managers at Unilever can gather the insights of the personality of the employees such as their ability to deal with the changes in the skills, understanding of the importance of ethics at the workplace etc.
  • Management by objectives: This is such a methods of appraisal of the performance in which the employees and managers both determine the plans and the goals are communicated. With this the goals are clearly defined and on the basis of their completion the performance are evaluated by the HR managers. 

Recommendations for improving these functions

On the basis of the analysis of the functions which are performed by the human resource mangers various recommendation are made to the Unilever with the help of which they can improve the efficiency of the functions. The company need to focus on various sources of the internal recruitment for recruiting the employees. This offers various advantages to them as this leads to internal mobility of the employees due to which the requirement of making the employees comfortable with the organisation culture and the rules, regulation at the workplace reduces. The requirement of the training and various sessions also reduces which help them to save their cost of trainings as the training only for the changes in the role is to be provided so that they can adapt the new technology, methods etc. (Healy, 2016)

Further it is recommended that the employees who has been recruited from the external sources must be provided effective induction and the orientation so that their can understand the culture of the organisation effectively. With such programs they can make them comfortable with the existing employees and the reporting framework i.e., whom they have to report to and the one who will give them command. In addition to this the company must focus upon the campus recruitment as with the help of this they can attract the new talent in the organisation. With such talent the Unilever can effectively handle the changes which are taking place as they have the knowledge of what is going on in the economy. The Unilever must focus on the refresher training for the existing employees as with the help of this they can make them competent enough to deal with the changes in the technology so used by them (Hughes and Byrd, 2017).

The HR managers of the Unilever need to focus upon various motivational theories and the ways with the help of which the employees relation can be improved. This will help them in retaining the employees for a longer period of time in the organisation. Various policies for managing the conflicts must be formulated and they need to be communicated to the employees. With the help of which the culture of the organisation can be managed effectively. It can be done by the managers through preparing a handbook in which all the policies, procedures, rules and regulations are specified so that the employees get through it. This will help them in reducing the chances of various issues that can be faced by the company in future.


Critical Evaluation of the HRM software programs and their evaluation

Human resource management uses various software programs with the help of which they can make their processes innovative and automated. With the help of this various functions of the human resources can be combined with each other such as the employees data, recruitment processes, tract the attendance of the employees etc. Such software facilitate the managers in analysing the performance of the employees, their compensation and many more. On the basis of which the HR managers determines the requirement of various training and development sessions for them (Järlström, Saru and Vanhala, 2018). The software programs which are adopted by the organisation for managing the employees are:

  • Paycom: This software helps in automating the core task of the human resource managers related to the recruiting, managing, retaining in the organisation. With the help of this software the pressure on the HR managers of the paperwork reduces and make them focus on those activities which cannot be automated. It provides various benefits such as it helps in reporting, on-boarding and learning management.
  • ADP Workforce Now: With the help of this software the organisation can handle various tasks simultaneously such as handling of the payroll, management of the talent, benefits the administration etc. The complexities of the life cycle of the employees can also be managed. But this is suitable for the company that has 50 or more employees (Mayo, 2016).
  • People Soft: It provides end-to-end solution by automating the activities and streamlining the entire supply chain. People Soft can effectively be used by any type of organisation irrespective of their nature of business.
  • Ultimate pro: Ultipro is a cloud based software with the help of which all the core HR functions such as the payroll, management of the talent etc. can be incorporated in one software. From this software the data can be accessed by the enterprises for different needs.

The Unilever can adopt various software for improving their processes and managing the human resources. The most appropriate software is People Soft as in that all the core activities of the human resource can be unified and automated. As the Unilever is a large company so it is suitable for it as the software can handle a large data and can be customised. Also with the help of this the supply chain of the company can also be streamlined. In addition to this the visibility of the activities of the human resource can be improved (Susanto, Fang-Yie and Chen, 2019). 

You may also like to read - Various HRM Models & Software Programmes


Characteristics of the effective leaders considering the issues identified above and analysis by way of a model

An effective leaders are those who passionately work and help in creating vision for the employees with the help of which they can perform their job effectively. Such a leader posses various characteristics with the hep of which they motivate the people to work. Some of the characteristics of the effective leaders which are possessed by the leaders of Unilever are:

  • Accountability: An effective leaders take the responsibility of the actions which are taken by them and are accountable for such action. They analyses various issues and tries to learn from the mistakes so that the performances does not get affected from it further. 
  • Creative: The leaders are creative as they tries to find out the solution of various problems by introducing the innovation in the activities. They make the employees comfortable with the changes that are taking place by making them understand the importance of such change (Troth and Guest, 2019).
  • Motivatesothers: The leaders motivate the employees by way of various incentives and by providing various opportunities to them. With this the leaders can effectively manage their employees.

The models which can be use for analysing the efficiency of the leaders can be the styles with which they tries to achieve the goals and objectives. The models which are used by the leaders of the Unilever are:

  • Autocratic Leadership: With the help of this style of leadership, all the decision are controlled by the individual. Such style are used by the leaders of Unilever in case the decisions are important because in this the participation of employees may not be entertained.
  • Democratic Leadership: This style of leadership is also known as the participative leadership in which the employees actively take part in the decision making of the employees. This leads to the free flow of the ideas of the employees.
  • Authentic Leadership: Authentic leadership is a approach in which the focus is on building the legitimacy of the leaders which can be done by way of building the relationship. With this openness is achieved due to which the employees can effectively share the ideas and issues with them (Wilkinson, Redman and Dundon, 2017).

The leaders in Unilever follows all the approaches as the organisation operates at large scale and have a large number of employees. They faces the problem of lack of motivation, reduced productivity etc. among the employees. Such problems can be easily be solved by way of these approaches.

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It is concluded from the above report that the organisation need to manage the human capital effectively in order to achieve their objectives. This can be done by way of adopting various approaches that can help the HR managers in motivating the employees. The employees can be motivated by satisfying their needs, providing them various opportunities, through various training and development sessions and many more. The human resource performs various functions with the help of which they can attract, retain and manage the employees effectively by way of various models and approaches of leadership.


  • Armstrong, M. and Taylor, S., 2020. Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Assagaf, A., 2017. Subsidy Government Tax Effect and Management of Financial Distress State Owned Enterprises-Case Study Sector of Energy, Mines and Transportation. International Journal of Economic Research.14(7).
  • Bailey, C. and et. al., 2018. Strategic human resource management. Oxford University Press.
  • Boon, C., and et. al., 2018. Integrating strategic human capital and strategic human resource management. The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 29(1). pp.34-67.
  • Brewster, C., and et. al., 2016. International human resource management. Kogan Page Publishers.
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