In the 21st century, businesses are faced with challenges to live and grow. These challenges are observable over the world, especially after the 2008/2009 recession. Personally, having been an employee in a grocery store, I have observed these challenges hit my store on a first hand basis. In the past, the store where I work did well in terms of service provision and profit generation. Employees worked hard and maintained high standards of service. There was emphasis on the quality of customer and store staff relations. Prices of commodities in the store were low. Customers enjoyed frequent offers and/or sales. They liked shopping and coming back again to shop, because the prices were fair and the services commendable. On the other hand, the store management was positively oriented towards customer service and turnover of the store. They designed methods to keep these two areas working smoothly. However, things have long changed. Today, the store sales are low.
Customers no longer flow into the store to make purchases. Several reasons can bear attributed to these changes. First of all, there has been hike in prices of commodities. Taking a fast study, one will not fail to observe that at average, prices of commodities have gone up by at least 19% within a span of the just ended year. The hike in prices can be economically related to the loss of customers. Moreover, there has been an incoming of new grocery stores in the market. These have come in with better services and better offers that those provided in my store. In this sense, customers have had no choice but to turn to the greener pastures, regarding their tastes and preferences. Lastly, management in the store has stopped caring. They are no longer concerned about the employee conduct. They do not care about the relationship between the store and their customers anymore. All they care about today is making a lot of profits from the few customers visiting by hiking prices. These are unethical advances in business. There are better ways to address the ongoing crisis in this store. All that the store needs is a strategy and a sound implementation of the laid plan. In this understanding, I choose to move and come up with a strategic proposal, aimed at finding a solution to this grocery store.
Background to the study
According to reputed scholars of economics and business studies, the reputation of a business is entirely depended on its management. Despite the fact that the chief aim of any business is to make profits, it is also true that, a business is obligated to deliver quality services and considerable prices of their goods or services to their customers. In this sense, a business management is required to keep up in strategic planning. At any time, a business management is supposed to check the performance of its strategies and review where necessary.
Therefore, I am justified to take a move in reviewing the current status of the subject grocery store. The review is expected to find out problems underlying the continued poor performance of the store. The review shall further take into consideration both the internal and eternal environments that are directly affecting the performance of the store. In the end, this paper shall outline possible considerable courses of action. Possible solutions found for addressing the issues in the store shall herein be presented in a proposal format.
As noted above, there are issues facing the grocery store where I work. Today, the store sales are low. Customers no longer flow into the store to make purchases. Several reasons can bear attributed to these changes. First of all, there has been hike in prices of commodities. Taking a fast study, one will not fail to observe that at average, prices of commodities have gone up by at least 19% within a span of the just ended year. The hike in prices can be economically related to the loss of customers. Moreover, there has been an incoming of new grocery stores in the market. These have come in with better services and better offers that those provided in my store. In this sense, customers have had no choice but to turn to the greener pastures, regarding their tastes and preferences. Lastly, management in the store has stopped caring. They are no longer concerned about the employee conduct. They do not care about the relationship between the store and their customers anymore. All they care about today is making a lot of profits from the few customers visiting by hiking prices. These are unethical advances in business. There are better ways to address the ongoing crisis in this store.
According to economists, the chief purpose of any business is to make profits. Normally, the success of a business is measured in how much it can make as profit overtime. However, economists further note that the basis of the success of any business should not just be based on profit returns. Instead, a successful business takes step to ensure they uphold business ethics; both internal and external. The balance between ethical considerations and profit generation is a key determinant to the life of a business. A businesses life, continuity and expansion will highly depend on this balance.
However, with reference to the subject business, its management has been reluctant to address these internal and external ethical issues of a business. Considering the necessity of upholding ethical issues in a business therefore, I set out to review the current status of the business, aiming at proposing reliable solutions and bringing the grocery store back to track.
- Revision of prices
- Improve business relations in the internal and external environments
- Improve employee recruitment, training and placing process
Implementation of the Objectives
Revision of prices
As I have stated in the introductory part of this paper, the services and products provided by my store have been hiked. This has caused a large loss of customers as they opt for similar commodities provided at cheaper prices by competitors. Therefore, in efforts to lower prices and regain customers, I propose that the store management cuts down their prices to lay them between a profit margin of between 5% and 20% per commodity. This way, profits obtained will not be super normal. Instead, they will be reasonable and on the other hand, the prices of commodities and services will be within the considerable reach of the anticipated customers.
Improving Business Relations
Despite the excellent performance of the HRM and company management at large, there have been various short comings concerning employee and industrial relationships. The various weaknesses in the current system concerning employee and industrial relations can be summarized to three forms; the protocol, the workspace layout and internal and external interactions.
The HRM for this company is commendable for the efforts taken so far in maintaining quality relations between the management and the workers. So far, the policies passed and others amended have provided a healthy environment for relationship between these two parties. However, the system is today faced with several challenges as described above. The challenges can be broadened in detail as follows:
Protocol: The issue of protocol in the work place has an effect of reducing the credibility of interaction and relations. For instance, an employee may want to report misdoings of a fellow employee who is senior in rank. Due to the policy of protocol, such an employee is forced to report such a case, through the same employee being reported. This breaks the effectiveness of relations between the workers and the management and thus compromising relations. Secondly, the issue of protocol at times breaks or delays the chain of communication. This commonly happens in cases where along the chain, there is a lazy or absentee figure. For insurance, a case where an employee has put a letter through, and has to wait till it gets to the top management, of course following the chain. If in between is a lazy or absentee figure, then the communication chain may break or delay, compromising the effectiveness of relations.
Working Space: The plan in which an office is laid influences workers relations in the work environment. If the lay out for a working station is closed, there is inhibited interaction between workers. Further, a case of closed office in a working station encourages undesirable behaviour in the working place. For instance, if working in a closed office environment, employees may easily get lazy, postpone work, take bribes or misuse office facilities. These are the weaknesses facing this company in regards to the current policy.
In an effort to help solving the current crisis in employee relations, the company HRM is recommended to revise its policies regarding protocol. Protocol is necessary and inevitable, but its stiffness could hinder desirable changes in the work place. Therefore, the HRM needs to reform the protocol policies aiming at making them a little fluid of flexible so that in the future, cases that compromise relations between senior need junior workers are contained. In the issue of work space, the company needs to revise its office settings to adapt an open office setting. When offices are turned to open settings, workers interact more, openness encourages activeness and the risk of behaving inappropriately goes away. Thus, to address the company’s weaknesses triggered by closed office settings, open office need to be adapted.
The issue of industrial relations needs change as well. As highlighted earlier, the problem in industrial relations is mainly caused by the excessive ‘official’ contacts remained between the company and its associates. There is need to curb this menace and recommendable, by adapting a strategy that incorporates the company and its links in less formal settings. The best strategy that has worked between other companies according to research is holding tournaments. The nature of sports is less formal. Therefore, associating companies in such settings reduces the tension that comes with formal meetings, eventually cultivating a healthy interaction between the companies’ involved.
Improving Recruitment, training and Placement
As outlined by Latus business solutions, the department responsible for personnel is referred to as the Human Resource Management (HRM). HRM is mandated through policy to manage and provide necessities to employees in an effort to enable a business achieve its objectives. If well managed, HRM should be able to increase a company’s profitability through improvement of job designs, training employees, spear heading institutional change, reducing job absenteeism and minimizing recruitment and training costs, but still ensuring that these activities are effectively carried out. The aspects underling HRM are reviewed and presented below:
Position Specification: The aim of recruitment and selection of personnel is depended on various basic considerations. First of all, the management is mandated to consider the job role. In this case, management is supposed to ask itself questions of what duties the employee in question will be responsible for. Further, the management needs to be aware of the expectations with the stipulated role both by the management in terms of performance and productivity and the employee by measure of reward. A second aspect worth considering is the work place needs. The management needs to have a clear expectation of who the prospected employee(s) shall report to as well as who reports to them. Finally, the management has no choice but to engage regulatory requirements. Regulatory requirements in this context refer to both legal and legislative standards relating to the position specified.
Position description: This entails the positions duties, reporting lines and salaries, HRM should be responsible enough to sufficiently describe the position on these basis. Overall, these could be referred as the commonly asked questions regarding a position. The main focus in the aspect of duty is to specify the roles that the prospected employee shall be required to take. After description of duty, it is worth clarifying the reporting lines in the work place. These are important in ensuring individual responsibility is monitored and that duties are not double allocated. Last issue of interest is the issue of salary. HRM needs to provide at least a range if not a specific amount so that the anticipating employee is aware of their reward before signing into contracts.
Assessment of applicants:
Recruitment Procedures: The procedures for recruitment are normally based on qualification and experience. Management needs to have a just and fair strategy for the evaluation of these considerations. Second, there is need for management to evaluate how much the applicant could bring to the company either qualitatively or quantitatively. Last consideration in the issue of recruitment procedures is setting and informing the job applicants of ways through which their productivity will be measured overtime.
Application letters: The HRM should is obligated to assess the job applicant’s letter of application to judge whether it is pleasant in their eyes. With reasons, the HRM has a role to either approve or decline chance to an applicant on basis of their application letter. The main considerations when assessing the application letter are the presentation format, spellings among other grammar formalities and use of titles.
Personal qualities: The HRM is obligated with a role to ensure that much as they consider technical knowhow in the anticipated employee, they also put in mind the personal skills and operation styles. The person hired should not only be technically equipped, they should show potential for risk taking of opportunities that come their way. This desired character is psychologically referred to as aggressiveness and it is an important consideration in employee assessment. Aggressiveness together with other personal qualities can be used to predict a candidate’s performance.
Information gathering: The HRM needs and ought to specify selection criteria. The criteria for selection could be preset, prescribed or through methodology training. Influencing factors around information gathering are common research designs clearly; quantitative and/qualitative measures. After gathering the information, management is obligated to analyze collected data and advice candidates promptly either by clarifying issues or responding to applicants.
Procedure deviations: To avoid the issue of deviance from arrangements, management should be loyal enough to all arrangements stick to agree upon. To avoid the possibility of deviating from agreements, the business management ought to plan prior to agreement, set methods of identifying deviations and corrective measures in case deviation occurs. Note should be taken that deviation management is only meant to contain the unconscious or unavoidable deviances. Otherwise, the availability of a deviance management approach should not be misused to encourage deviations.
Induction: After successful applicants have been hired, the management is obligated with a role to ensure that they are welcomed. The process of welcoming new employees is generally referred to as induction. During induction, the new employees are introduced to employees, familiarized with the organizations infrastructure, their work places and immediate workmates with an aim of enabling them to fit in smoothly and perform efficiently within the shortest time possible.
Relationships between the industries, community and government and the management of the company is depended on their dealings. If deals are successfully carried out, relationship between either is healthy. If there is failure, most probably, the relationship turns to a blame game of whose fault it was and who should take responsibility of the situation. To protected relationships, information shared needs to be formal and open. The failures should be dealt with independently; they should not be a root of personal grudges.
Management is the link between business activities and the outsiders who are also the main source of funding for business. For this reason, business management is obligated with the responsibility to link the business teams to the stake holders. For stake holders to approve of the interest in teams, they need to fell convinced that the teams are alive and exemplarily performing. There is therefore need for management to provide progressive reports to the stake holders especially with involvement of through team leaders. The reports need to be true and prompt that stakeholders’ support is duly won.
Lastly, there is need for either parties relating with the company to observe acceptable conduct. Some desirable interactions may not be stipulated in the policies of conduct. However, each party is expected to uphold moral, communal and ethical uprightness in relating. For instance, just because the community around a production company has not restricted passing through its premises does not mean they have allowed it either. Therefore, people of the community who find it easier to use shortcuts within a company should self warn themselves as such conduct is inappropriate.
Upon the successful completion of the implementation of the first three objectives proposed, there shall be need for advertisement. Advertisement is necessary to make customers aware of changes made in the store. It is meant to re-invite customers to the store they once loved. Through advertisement, information shall be conveyed to old customers and consumers, potential to become customers.