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Challenges facing HRM in service sector

Critically discuss particular problems facing the management of people and exactly how these troubles may be defeat in the service sector.

'People and how exactly we manage them have become more important because a great many other sources of competitive success are less powerful than they were in the past. ' (Pfeffer, 1994).

With the go up in service sector industries all over the world, Human Learning resource managers need to step up to the role in this fast - paced world. This essay will give attention to interactive service work of the service sector. Interactive service work has drawn a great deal of debate because it is considered to be work 'without technical or knowledge' skills. On the contrary interactive service skills are necessary for the clean and effective running of an company. Employees who own the right 'people skills' are destined to make a positive impression on your client which encourages them to conduct more business. With all the growth and go up in technology and world interconnectedness, the service sector employs a large number of people generally in most economically developed countries. There's a slow shift occurring from the 'knowledge established economy' to a 'service based economy'. The service sector encompasses financial services, service in restaurants and generally almost any service that requires face to face connection with clients or customers.

This article will be concentrating on the frontline interactive service jobs as observed in the hospitality industry and the retail industry. It really is worth mentioning that the service sector consists of tangible and intangible services. To get the effectiveness of an intangible service like client satisfaction, there is a need for efficient customer service which is an intangible service. The role of skills in the service industry has been up for argument recently and this has posed a whole lot of questions for managing people in the service sector. Frontline staffs will be the first contact clients have with an organisation which is important that they are effective in handling face-to-face situations.

Bateson cited in Singh explains frontline service jobs as "a three-cornered limited. " in which the customer (requiring attention and service quality) and the organization (challenging efficiency and efficiency) are at the two ends and the FLE is "caught-in-the-middle. " (Singh, 2000). Frontline services serves as a customer - facing functions. Inefficient frontline employees give the organisation a bad impression.

2. 0 Background and Discussion

2. 1 What's the Service Sector?

The service sector can be described as the part of the economy that includes individuals and businesses that produce services somewhat than goods. The service sector is one of the fastest growing sectors of the world market. It offers education, finance, communications, health care, utilities, wholesale and retail trade, and travelling. Producing these services as a whole have a tendency to require less natural capital and much more human being capital.

Korczynski list five traits that produce the service sector different from other sectors. They are intangibility, perishability, variability, simultaneous production and usage, and inseparability. (Korczynski, 2002). Services provided cannot be seen but produce a finish product. They usually last for a moment and cannot be separated. For instance, a customer being content with an employee is satisfied for your moment.

The service sector associated with an economy is also called the tertiary sector and the service industry. Although service sector consists of both tangible and intangible services, it is considered to include only of intangible service and is now known as the "quaternary sector". The quaternary sector includes knowledge based mostly work. Kenessey places retail under the tertiary or service sector and activities such as insurance and real real estate under quaternary services. (Kenessey, 2005). It is because they involve the use of genuine service definitely not resulting in a finish product like the restaurants.

It can be rightly said that the service industry requires more connection with people than the other sectors of the current economic climate for example the most important sector like manufacturing. The service industry consists of your day to day dealing with customers and clients as well. Along with the huge role the service industry plays, it is necessary to for the organisations to learn how to control people to get reliable and orderly service.

The graph below shows the rise in the service sector over the years. Developed countries including the EU have a higher percentage of men and women working in the service sector.

http://www. esf. be/new/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/world-economy. png

http://www. esf. be/new/statistics/

2. 2 Challenges

2. 2. 1 Recruitment and Selection

'The recruiter has to be effective in the highly specialised connection of the selection interview, where the task is to learn the relevant information about an applicant on which to bottom part a judgement as to if see your face would match the abilities, experience and behaviour required in the job to be filled'. (Torrington et al, 2008. pp 94)

One issue that comes to the forefront in taking care of people in the service sector is the recruitment and collection of staff. Controlling people in the service sector is now more difficult as organisations have to look for the right people who have got not just qualifications however the right 'attitude' and 'people skills'. There's a climb in the demand of 'cultural skills' and 'personal characteristics' in the frontline service. Recruitment and selection in this framework relies seriously on communal skills alternatively than specialized skills as there is a need for employees to communicate well with the clients to fulfil the demand of the business. It has become increasingly important for managers seek to receive the right person who will 'fit the part'. Definitely not based on experience but also on personality attributes.

Getting the right applicant for the job uses time and costs a lot. For instance, in the 2009/2010 IRS review into graduate recruitment, employers posted low quality of applicants among the major setbacks in recruitment.

Chart 4

High recruitment costs are part of the issues that managers have to constantly take on with as it requires constant time and effort to obtain the right applicant for the job. It's important for professionals to discern choosing the right people to avoid a high turnover.

Rise in the Demand of Aesthetic skills

One of the very most fundamental changes that has occurred in the last two decades has been the growing trend to label what in earlier times could have been seen by most as personal characteristics, attitudes, character qualities or predispositions as skills. (Warhurst et al, 2004 )

Soft skills such as personality traits and standard people skills have become ever more important. Frontline staffs need effective soft skills to relate with clients. This is a challenge in the service sector because such skills are hard to choose. There's a need for continuous skill development as the change in the service sector. The seek out the right person for the work has resulted in the rise in the demand for aesthetic skills. Frontline employees' appearance is now a fundamental element of an organisation because they are the first point of contact between your customer and the company. Frontline service companies tend to count more on aesthetic skills today that in the past years. John Philpott a Main economist with CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) puts it this way, "In such a jobs market, just how people look, dress, behave and promote themselves joins the long-list of 'very soft skills' employers require. Some economists have coined the expression 'visual labour' to describe workers hired generally for their image - and advocate 'style training' to ensure jobseekers can match the goals of employers and customers". (Staff Today, 2002).

Controversial Issues


The Merriam Webster dictionary identifies lookism as "prejudice or discrimination predicated on physical appearance and especially appearance believed to flunk of societal notions of beauty". Research shows that employers are evidently more worried about the way a worker looks and behaves than the certification they have got. Employers have stuck to interviews as thus giving them an opportunity to monitor a potential employee. Job features regarding frontline service usually have words in the advert that suggest what the employers want for. Appears/physical appearances have taken front place over the years and employers need to be careful in their adverts more work is being done on 'lookism discrimination'. (Tietje et al).


In recruiting and selecting people for frontline service work, the necessity to 'speak right' is essential for some employers. This has created the concept of the 'style labour market'. (Nickson et al, 2004). However, the interconnectedness of the world through globalisation and free activity of people across borders indicate that individuals from different nationalities might apply for a specific job. Professionals have to be careful to avoid any form of discrimination predicated on race. In this context, sticking to qualifications can form a good platform for indiscrimination.

2. 2. 2 Emotional labour

' area of the job is to disguise exhaustion and soreness, for otherwise the labor would show in an unseemly way, and the product. would be destroyed'. (Hochschild, 1983)

Managing mental labour in frontline service is vital for the success of an company. Employees who cannot put their emotions under check put the organisation vulnerable. Though psychological labour is essential in frontline service, it can cause problems if not managed properly.

Hochschild identifies three forms of jobs involving psychological labour. They may be those that require face to face or tone to voice connection with the public, require the worker to produce an emotional state in another person and the jobs that allow employees to exercise a amount of control over their psychological activities. This may lead to mental exhaustion and stress. (Hochschild, 1983). Relating to Grandey, psychological labour is a form of emotional rules wherein workers are required to show certain emotions as part of their job, and promote organizational goals. The supposed effects of these emotional displays are on other, targeted people, who are able to be clients, customers, subordinates or co-workers. (Grandey, 2000). Having a form of control over one's thoughts is considered to be skilled work. Nicky Adam, in a stimulating essay focused on "emotional labour", identifies it as, "the task involved in working with other individuals' emotions, a core element of which is the legislation of thoughts" (Wayne, 1989:15).

Emotional labour could lead to stress when employees are constantly required to sometimes respond against the way they feel. Emotional labour has led to work related stress in many organisations with employees taking times off work which impact on the organisation by losing valuable time and money. When frontline personnel feel overloaded with responsibilities, this may lead to stress and inefficient work. Stress related issues have resulted in high turnover rates which employers have to deal with. The regular demand for a boring followed service may take its toll on employees.

There should be programs for frontline personnel where they are able to discuss their psychological needs and exactly how they experience a particular job responsibilities. Employees need to be seen and regarded as resources not liabilities. Another way to assuage stress related issues is through job flexibility. The work-life balance strategy has been increasing and organisations are viewing the benefits associated with having an efficient workforce.

To deal with stress related issues, managers need to day offs, job sharing or part time work. In the long run this is a gain to the company and the employees would not have to take so many days off work because of stress. The climb of work - life balance is crucial in today's fast paced world and it takes the employers to see the dependence on this in their organisation to lessen absences and spend less.

2. 2. 3 Training and Development

A critical concern operating organizations may be to sustain service employees in general, and specifically those employees who are talented in dealing with customers and providing excellent service quality. (Slatten, 2011).

After the recruitment and selection process, managers are faced with the task of keeping the best employees. They need to retain them by frequent training and development Can soft skills that happen to be necessary for the frontline service learn? Frontline service companies require 'people skills' and employers are faced with the issue of training people for frontline service. With all the rise in the utilization of visual skills, taking care of the frontline workforce is demonstrating more strenuous. Employers feel the pressure not only is selecting and recruiting the right employees for the work but to continue training them. There's a need for organisations to invest in training because of their front-line employees as these are the first people customers or clients are exposed to.

Soft skills can be learnt and require practice and confidence in the work specification. For instance, an employee who has no knowledge of employed in a cafe is clumsy for the first couple of days or weeks but eventually gets comfortable with the work after portion customers on a daily basis. You will see no need for constant supervision from then on. This also applies to an employee working in an company.

In analyzing training and development in the service sector, a concern worth mentioning is in role clarity. An employee might not perform a specific job well because of doubt. Slatter explained this obviously in stating that "when an employee receives and comprehends clearly the info required to get the job done, there will be a positive effect on employees' recognized service quality" (Slatter, 2011). No two service interactions will be the same which gives climb to doubt in the service delivery process. If a worker is sure of how to proceed they'll be confident in providing effective service. On the other hand, uncertainty gives climb to poor service delivery. It is an employer's work to state the correct job specifications and give the employee a perspective of the goals set and where they be prepared to be in the near future.

Frontline employees operating organizations must interact with customers and are anticipated to cope with a number of demands (Karatepe and Uludag, 2008). Managers are equally responsible for empowering and training frontline employees to provide a service that demonstrates the company. The questions posed to administrator are can the skills that are necessary for frontline service be developed, trained or learnt?

This is where in fact the issues of best fit and best practice come in. This means that training practices changes across various service sectors. For example, top quality services such as McDonalds ensure that employees follow a program to ensure even quality.

Best Fit versus Best Practice

The skills that subject most are influenced by the kind of service sector and the level of discretion directed at the worker. The principle of 'best fit' versus 'best practice' has to be applied here. Employers are list personal characteristics among the abilities they are seeking for. There is currently a style of 'looking good' and 'sounding right'. Best practise is generally a way of adopting rules which have worked for a few organisations. It really is a standard way of practice. Best practice is not necessarily feasible as what works for one organisation might not work for another organisation. It is important to adopt skills that fit an company.

In top quality service business, organisations seek to regulate all the areas of frontline personnel by setting up guidelines of what they should do and say at every instant. This gets to the point of being a robotic form of work. Organisations need to determine the level of discretion necessary for a job standards before recruiting. They need to consider from what amount the employees will have a say in confirmed situation.

Best practices are not always best for the company. Employees acting on routine based performed are often still left confused when faced with a situation or query from a person which is not in the 'handbook'. There are benefits and drawbacks to both best fit and best practice so professionals need to purchase proper training for the employees and cause them to become use discretion when necessary. Acting on discretion requires quick on-the-spot thinking which can't be determined by a thirty minute interview with a worker. It is relevant to note that no best practice remains best for long just as this fast paced world, people are looking for improved ways to do things.

Best practice is dependant on uniformity which may be a threat to employees as they lose their words. Pfeffer identified sixteen procedures for 'competitive advantages through people'. Best practice is not suitable for all situations. (Pfeffer, 1994. ) Pfeffer mentions seeing the workforce as a secured asset not an price. Best fit on the other hand is moulded around the environment of business. It is design of management that is established specifically for a specific work environment. For example, Lockyer et al explain that best practice does not always work in the recruitment and selection of frontline personnel with a give attention to hotel personnel because most qualities needed for relating with customers is more of delicate skill somewhat than hard complex skills. Using a qualification does not mean that an employee has the right people skill in relating with customers. In the choice and training of frontline employees, Schneider helps it be clear using the restaurant example that there are different "selection and training of employees for restaurants in different market segments". (Schneider, 1994).

It is the employer's responsibility to raise the desire of employees by guiding them through the organisations' eyesight and long-term goals. There also needs to be a chance for career development. The need for excellent customer support for the success of the company should be discussed effectively. There's a need to invest in personnel training and development. The employees should get a chance to make decisions regarding their service to customers. Developing a robotic form of work does not motivate the employees to put in their best work. Incentive systems to keep the best employees.

3. 0 Conclusion

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