Research Report Describing the Human Resource Management Issues and its Effect

Research Report Describing the Human Resource Management Issues and the Effect


The debate on the degree to which the hotel industry in the UK has embraced the concept of human resource management (HRM) is somewhat indecisive on account of the fact that not much is known regarding the implementation of HRM practices within this particular service sector. From empirical and conceptual contexts, HRM practices are firmly established in the manufacturing sector, more than in any other sector, even as the role of HRM in the service sector has somewhat been neglected (Bertillo & Salando 2013). Nonetheless, demand variations seem to have a strong influence on the implementation of HRM practices in the hotel industry, and more so in the case of establishments that cater for the seasonal tourism sector. The focus of this report is to analyse the role and purpose of human resource management in the UK hotel industry, with respect to Mercure Hotels, a global chain of hotels with operations in the UK hospitality industry. The demand and supply within the UK hotel industry will also be examined, along with the current employment relations in the industry. The impact of employment law on human resources in the hotel industry will also be examined, as well as providing a job description for a cleaner, and the person specification for the job. In addition, a comparison of the selection process in the airline industry will be compared to the one practiced in fast food industry. Finally, the report shall endeavour to examine the role of training and development in the hotel industry.

1.1 Analyse the role and purpose of human resource management in a related service industry

In spite of the shift in focus from viewing HRM from the context of the manufacturing sector to the service sector, most of the studies that have been conducted thus far seem to be more inclined towards HRM practices in the hospitality and tourism sector of a specific economy or country (Francis & D’Annunzio-Green, 2005, p. 71).  For example, Hoque (1999) examined HRM practices and performance within the UK hotel sector. Tsaur and Lin (2004) focused on the role of HRM policies and practices in enhancing quality of service in Taiwan’s hotel industry. Elsewhere, Little and Dean (2006) examined the association between employee commitment and quality in an out-sourced call centre in Australia.

Mercure hotels UK is a 4-star rated establishment that mainly caters for the needs of business clients, in addition to hosting seminars and conferences. The hotel chain has more than 300 guestrooms in various locations in the UK with a staff of over 200 (Mercure Hotels 2014). Nearly 70% of the staff have been employed on a permanent basis, whereby they are under a 39 hours per week contract, although this varies from time to time, increasing during peak periods, but rarely does it exceed the compulsory maximum of 48 hours per week. Those who work over and above 48 hours are, nonetheless paid overtime.  Almost a third of the employees are part-timers, working for a maximum of 25 hours every week. In this way, the hotel has been able to cushion itself against short-term rise in service demand. The hotel’s labour flexibility also benefits from return staff, mostly students, when they are on holidays.

1.2 Justify a human resource plan based on an analysis of supply and demand for a selected industry business

The UK economy in general and the hospitality sector in particular has been making a slow recovery following the aftermath of the 2007/08 global economic crisis. However, from 2013 moving on to 2014, the industry has been gathering pace, thereby shedding a ray of hope on a hitherto gloomy industry.  There is every reason to be happy about the development of events, as the hotel industry in the UK anticipates the highest levels of RevPAR (revenues per available room), ADR (average daily rates) and occupancy in 6 years (RBS 2014). In spite of such impressive improvements, the industry still has to contend with the issue of a progressively competitive business environment.  Industry players continue to grapple with capital and investment optimisation, changing guest demographics and operational vigour. In 2012, the UK hotel industry benefitted from an additional 18,000 bedroom and this is an indication of continued increase in new supply.

In 2013, the UK hotel industry realized a 1% rise in room supply, in a report on UK hotel news published by AM: PM (2014). According to this report, there was an addition of nearly 7,000 room by new hotels in 2013 in the UK, although the rates for these rooms were somewhat lower in comparison with those observed in 2012.  Majority of the new rooms (70%) were provided by budget hotels, even as 85% of the cumulative supply of new rooms was attributed to brands (AM:PM 2014). Although there was a temporary letup in the construction of new hotels in 2013, this is projected to increase by the end of 2014 when over 5,000 new rooms are expected to have been completed. This upsurge in the number of new hotel rooms has been attributed to increase investor demand, especially in the city of London (RBS 2014), and enhanced economic environment in several regional economic hubs in the UK.

2.1 Assess the current state of employment relations in a selected service industry

Various critics have described employment relations in the hotel industry as being akin to a ‘black hole’ (Guest & Conway 1999) or  a ‘bleak house’ (Sissons & Storey 2000).  These two terms describe the reactionary and unplanned management without any formality, largely driven by the need to periodically manipulate labour owing to unpredictable demand (Tesone 2008). Indeed the ‘black hole”/”bleak house” phenomenon is very much evidence at the Mercure Hotels, UK. The management is concerned about the huge problem that skills shortages pose to the hotel industry. Unlike in the other hotels where the issue of local skills shortages has been quite acute, at the Mercure Hotels, the management has crafted the image of a ‘good employer’, and this has enabled the organisation to both attract and retain valuable skills (Mercure Hotels 2014).  Also, the management offers their staff “exceptional” package of benefits, and this has proven to be key elements in attracting and retaining highly skilled, quality staff.

2.2 Discuss how employment law affects the management of human resources in a selected service industry business

The widespread reliance on migrant labour in the UK hotel industry has been a source of concern to lawmakers, especially because of the low pay and log working hours these workers are subjected to, among other forms of exploitation. The current employment system in the UK is such that most hotel chains recruit cleaners and housekeepers, among other staffs, via a separate management organisation (Bomford 2009).  The separate management organisation then contracts the work given to it by the hotel chain to a registered agency. There have been claims of hotel workers being exploited by these employment agencies and more so migrant workers because some of them are not fluent in English, in addition to the fact that these workers are not conversant with their rights as workers entitled to them.

Like all other players in the hotel industry in the UK, Mercure Hotels UK is also subject to various employment laws and legislations and these have an impact on the organisation’s recruitment and retention of its staff.  The organisation has to abide by the existing legislation in ensuring that its recruitment exercise does not contravene the existing legal rules. One of the employment laws governing Mercury Hotels’ human resource management practices is the 1999 Sex Discrimination Regulations. This particular law declares it unlawful for an employer to discriminate employees on grounds of gender (Bath 2012). To comply with this law, the management ensures that all prospective employees are given equal opportunities when a job opening happens, and it’s normally awarded on merit. The 1970 Equal Pay Act also declares it unlawful for an employer to discriminate workers on grounds of overtime, wages, holidays, as well as other contractual bonuses (Bath 2012). Mercure Hotels has ensured that the contract that binds its employees to them fulfils this requirement. In this case, employees are paid for the number of hours they work overtime. They are also granted an annual leave.

The 2002 Disability Discrimination Act gives immunity to employees against being treated unlawfully by employers on account of their disability. As much as possible, Mercure Hotels tries to act as an equal opportunity employer, even for persons with disability. The 1976 Race Relations Act also safeguards employees against being discriminated by employers on grounds of race, nationality, education, colour, or ethnicity (Heyes & Ninemeier 2008). However, because Mercure Hotels employs its entire staff via an agency, it becomes hard for the management to shield them against potential exploitation contrary to the above employment laws. Nonetheless, the management actively engages the agencies, including vetting them, to ensure that the rights of workers are respected.

3.1 Discuss a job description and person specification for a selected service industry job

Job Description:

The position entails making customers feel welcome and warm while they stay at our guest house. The main duties involved include keeping rooms fresh and clean in order to meet the high expatiations of our customers. The ideal candidate should demonstrate the ability to clean public areas and bedrooms within the stipulated timescales and standards. In addition, the cleaner should keep the linen room tidy, clean, and well stocked. The candidate should always remain clean as abide by the laid out procedures in handling security, lost property, linen, stock, and keys.

Person specification:

Customer focus:

-should be sociable, welcoming and friendly towards customers.

-Should remain patient, polite and calm while getting feedback from customers


-Should be self-motivated and confident

-Should be able to work with minimal or no supervision

-Ability to prioritise duties

-Personal integrity

-Reliable and honest

-Respectful and trustworthy


-Ability to communicate well with other team members

=Team player

-Ability to establish and maintain rapport

3.2 Compare the selection process of different service industries businesses

            Selection of personnel working in the airline industry, especially pilots, entails an

articulate, vigorous, and rationalized recruitment and selection procedure. Most of the positions

are advertised online and in newspapers to also include other host nations where an airline flies

for purposes of ensuring flight reciprocity.  Most airlines also have developed state of the art

training centers where the recruit personnel are trained further under a very intensive programme

(Berillo & Salando, 2013).

In contrast, the fast food industry does not have an elaborate recruitment and selection

process. This is because most of the jobs such as waiting do not require specialized skills (Royle

& Towers, 2002). While the fast food industry is likely to recruit its workers from advertising

agencies and online job advertising sites, there are also other prospective employers, especially

students, who prefer to check in person for any existing vacancies. Therefore, most of them tend

to learn on the job, beginning with washing of dishes to and thereafter they are promoted to

better positions.

4.1 Assess the contribution of training and development activities to the effective operation of the hotel industry

The current hotel industry has become increasingly competitive, thereby requiring

employers to incorporate training and development programmes in an attempt to improve the

competencies of their staff. Qualities of employees plays a key role in determining the level and

kind of service that customers in the hotel industry receive. The most sought after qualities of

employees by the hotel industry include skills, knowledge, and thoughts. These are vital for the

development and survival of any hotel establishment (Hoboken, Kraiger & Aguinis 2001). As

such, staff training in the hotel industry is crucial on a number of fronts. Besides increasing

individual employee productivity, it also empowers them with experienced skills, professional

knowledge, as well as valid thoughts.

In addition, employee training and development programmes in the hotel industry

inspires and motivates them by providing them with diverse information crucial in their

respective job descriptions (Hoboken et al. 2001). According to Nickson (2007), training and

development programmes are key components of the execution of HRM policies and practices.

For this reason, successful hotels make it a habit to facilitate training and development of their

staff as part of their growth and development strategy.



Whereas HRM originated in the manufacturing industry, it has over the years stretched its

tentacles to the hotel industry as well. Here, HRM is involved in the growth and development

strategies in this sector. The 2008 global financial crisis dealt the UK hotel industry a huge

blow, but the industry appears to have shaken off this slackening growth going by the rise in

demand and supply of hotel services.  Various employment laws affect the UK hotel industry,

including the 2012 Disability Discrimination Act, the 1999 Sex Discrimination Regulations, and

the  1970 Equal Pay Act . Players in the industry including Mercure Hotels endevour to abide by

these employment laws to avoid negative ramifications. Nonetheless, firms in the hotel industry

have recognised the crucial role of training and developent of staff on their growth and

development and for this reaosns, most of them have adopted elaborate training and development

programmes for their staffs.

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