Current paper deals with the scope of human resource management in relation to the field of tourism and hospitality organisations performance on the global scale. The core stance that serves as a basis for current discussion course is the position developed and analysed by Nickson (2013). The author claims that the phenomenon of HRM is a challenging aspect and a serious problem in the contemporary area of tourism and hospitality organizations. The issue in question requires in-depth insight in the nature of human resource management phenomenon and constructive analysis of its practical implementation within the outlined sphere of business activity.
The phenomenon of human resource management is a topical notion in current course of time and one of the most challenging aspects of business performance. Armstrong (2006) defines it as a В“strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organizationВ’s most valued assets В– the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives.В” The basis for proper comprehension of the currently discussed concept is provided by diversity of theories, which originate from different disciplines and are successfully aligned and applied to the issue of concern. For instance, the organizational life cycle theory, role behaviour theory and resource dependency theory form the background of theoretical framework of HRM. Nonetheless, Nickson (2013) underlines that the notion of HRM still lacks distinct and unambiguous definition. He presents and discusses ten different notions considering the key aspects of the analysed phenomenon. The author concludes that the notion of HRM may be comprehended differently depending on a position and relation of a person to it in practice. It is relevant to present the following definition as the most appropriate one in the given context: В“A set of professional practices suggests that there are a range of personnel practices that can be integrated to ensure a professional approach to managing peopleВ” (Nickson, 2013). Hence, the borders and the focal aspects of the issue in question include strategic approach that predetermines and guides the course of management of company employees, which guarantees professionalism and employee-oriented corporate culture. The aforementioned vagueness of definition is one of the aspects which prove the challenging position of the HRM phenomenon within any scope of business. It is especially complicated in terms of tourism and hospitality organizations activity. Sufficient lack of distinctive requirements and demands to the performance of personnel combined with the specific nature of the work in the given industries should be comprehended as a basis for the following discussion. The reason is that such kind of industry provides unquestionable quantity of jobs all over the world, whereas the aspect of quality presents a problem of primary topicality and urgency (Urbano & Yordanova, 2007). Since В“people are the industryВ’s most important assetВ” (Nickson, 2013), the quality of corporate activity is directly connected with the levels of proficiency, efficiency and constructiveness of the employees.
The choice of such kind of human resources requires not only brilliant HR managers, but also correspondent working conditions and terms the company offers for its personnel. The latter factor is crucial as far as currently discussed sector is notorious for unsatisfactory level of job image to the applicants, which have significant knowledge in the field, excellent skills and flawless experience. Baum (1951) highlights such key drawbacks of the tourism and hospitality industry as В“poor conditions, low pay, high staff turnover, problems in recruiting skills in a number of key areas, a high level of labour drawn from socially disadvantaged groups, poor status and the virtual absence of professionalism.В” It is appropriate to discuss the aforementioned factors in details in order to present their impact on HRM practice within the given industry sector.
First, the poor conditions of the tourism and hospitality scope of business activity predetermine not only the level of job prestige the efficient applicant is searching for. Moreover, such factor often impacts the health conditions of the employees. Therefore it is considered to be one of the focal problematic issues in question. Second, low pay is also a negative and strongly influential point to be considered. It also impacts the prestige rate of the job and usually corresponds to low level of education and insufficient experience. Third, the problems which appear in terms of recruiting skills, as well as in the outcomes of ungrounded and unconstructive recruitment course constitute for a very notorious factor that decreases HRM efficiency. Such aspect does not depend on the corporate policy or financial system of the companies, but lies in the area of recruitment and managing proficiency rate. Actually, it may be regarded as a basic problem of the company in case the leading HR managers fail to recruit relevant and perspective employees.
Fourth, a high level of human resources quantities, which are recruited from socially disadvantaged groups, is also a drawback that occasionally occurs in practice of HRM. It is especially vividly presented in the tourism sector. The reason is that the tourism sites are often situated in remote places, which are characterized by low level of urbanization and closeness to the nature. As a result, it dramatically decreases the potential of well-trained and highly proficient specialists in the nearby area. Therefore, it is logical that the pool of employees may be rather limited. Nonetheless, the industry should presuppose such tendencies and provide not only excellent HR professionals, but also significant alterations in the corporate policy and salary potential in order to provide satisfactory level of personnel performance. Fifth, the virtual absence of professionalism is also a considerable obstacle, especially when the apparent lack of professionalism is demonstrated by the applicants with sufficient experience in the given scope of activity. Its huge importance may be explained in the following way: such people will hardly succeed in the tourism and hospitality sector if they have not done it at their previous places of employment. Consequently, it will be more constructive to employ a person with no experience but significant potential and vivid ambitions.
It is evident that the above-presented challenges and miscellaneous aspects of the HRM practice within the hospitality and tourism industries require specific approach, as well as strategies which are potentially efficient and relevant to the key peculiarities of the sector. Management of people aims at uniting the core values, principles and targets of the corporation and also at including constructive HR practices, individual approach aligned with the team spirit and innovative technologies. The focal aims of the properly selected strategy and its long-lasting effect on the business are considered to be the following: В“enhanced commitment from employees, leading to improved organizational performance, higher levels of service quality and ultimately increases in productivity and profitabilityВ” (Nickson, 2013). Though, the aforementioned goals may be achieved only in case of appropriate strategy choice that corresponds to policies, culture and corporate performance of a particular tourism or hospitality establishment.
Nickson (2013) presents the categorization of successful organizational HR strategies as the classic example provided by Redman and Matthews (1998). The significance of the strategies is also supported by Lengnick-Hall, Lengnick-Hall, Andrade, and Drake (2009). The first strategy in their classification that targets at securing high quality service is recruitment and selection. Such approach is directly connected with the decision-making process that is based on В“correct attitudinal and behavioral characteristicsВ” (Nickson, 2013). The essence of the strategy of recruitment and selection starts with the course of assessment of an applicant in strict accordance to the corporate requirements. The main criteria of the assessment practice include values in terms of corporate performance, personality, abilities to find solutions in a fast and efficient manner, interpersonal skills and communicative potential. Such assessment aims at evaluating the relevance of the applicants to the so-called В“service-orientationВ” (Nickson, 2013). One of the key challenges of the local character in the given context is connected with the cases when an establishment has not defined and announced concise and clear corporate values, principles and requirements and the concept of service orientation is not properly formed. It is an ordinary situation with small and medium companies within the tourism and hospitality sectors on the initial stage of development. One more challenge is related to the core universal features, values and capabilities of the potential employees. The reason is that only they will play a crucial role in case the organization will alter its activity and key targets or the methods and approaches to work. Moreover, they are valuable in the course of changes and innovations implementation for the personnel.
The next strategy offered by Redman and Matthews (1998) is retention. The nature of such strategy relies on В“the need to avoid the development of a В‘turnover cultureВ’, which may of course be particularly prevalent in tourism and hospitalityВ” (Nickson, 2013). The techniques of currently discussed strategy involve the system of bonuses, promotional patterns and extra rewards. The strategy is applicable to the given industries, but the challenge in such case is that employees may work only for bonuses. Consequently, in case there is no increase in the amount of bonuses and the career escalation progress, such personnel members may quit. Therefore, the balance between working with bonuses and working for bonuses should be established. The strategy of rewarding quality presents more innovative and constructive approach to the given aspect of professional performance.
The next strategies are interrelated and are considered to be efficient and perspective for the tourism and hospitality industries. They include teamwork, training and development practices. Actually, such approach is based on innovations, which are implemented in the process of management and coaching of the employees. Moreover, it also relies on the new leadership styles which aim at motivating, inspiring the corporate personnel and improving their performance in order to form and enhance the relevant service orientation (Nickson, 2013). The author highlights that current strategy has such focal aspects as semi-autonomous work of the employees, permanent team-working spirit development and cross-process performance of the personnel (Nickson, 2013). Nonetheless, it is crucial to provide grounded and constructive semi-autonomous work of the corporate staff that is justified by sufficient coaching course that may result in positive and perspective outcomes. Moreover, the human resources should be selected according to such criterion as the key one in order to guarantee further capability of the applicants to be taught and correspond to the requirements of service orientation.
There are also organizational strategies which are generally and universally applicable for every sector of business, for instance: job security and appraisal. Such strategies are universal and should aim at sustaining the major quality goals for the organization.
Finally, it is relevant to account for the strategy of employee involvement and employee relations that is presented in the book of Nickson (2013). The strategy puts a primary emphasis on the level of involvement of the personnel into working process. In order to achieve significant involvement and dedication of the staff, the aforementioned strategy suggests such practices as cooperation, higher level of autonomy and self-control during the professional performance. Guarantees possibility to incorporate creative approaches to problem solving and task completing processes should be considered, as well. Moreover, it also features the level of involvement of the employees into cross-sectional and cross-departmental activity. According to Nickson (2013), В“The use of educative and participative mechanisms, such as team briefings and quality circles (QCs), are allied to changes in the organization of work that support and В‘empoweredВ’ environment.В” The apparent challenge that may be hidden within the given strategy is as follows: it is obligatory to demonstrate a new efficient leadership style in the process of professional activity, as well as to improve both professional and personal features. Otherwise, innovations will not provide progress and sustainability. Furthermore, tourism and hospitality industries are characterized by high percentage of the positions, which initially require particular self-control and relative autonomy in terms of professional performance.
The HRM circle illustrates that it is relevant to incorporate several strategies in order to provide efficiency and constructiveness of the HR managers work. The HRM circle includes a) attraction of highly qualified, competitive and perspective human resources; b) maintaining of the efficient workforce which involves such activity as relationship between the personnel members on different levels, reward system and disciplinary procedures; c) development of efficient employees that is based on permanent development and improvement course, as well as relevant evaluation of the employeesВ’ achievements and working outcomes (Nickson, 2013). Hence, it is apparent that every stage of the presented circle should be guided and developed in accordance with the chosen strategies.
Furthermore, the drawbacks and challenges of the tourism and hospitality industries have been profoundly discussed by Keep, Mayhew and Jonathan (2006). The in-depth insight into the issue in question was also provided by Kusluvan, et al. (2010). The aforementioned investigators positioned the gender unequal representation and competitive pressures as serious problems in the given industries. The unequal gender representation means that low-level positions are predominantly occupied by the female employees, whereas men occupy primarily high-level, prestigious and well-paid places (Nickson, 2013). Moreover, the scholars also highlight negative impact on HRM practice provided by excessive reliance of the HR managers on informal methods of recruiting potential employees. Therefore, it is recommended to increase В“the importance of economics and judgments about the relative value of skill as key determining factors for HRM policies and practices in tourism and hospitalityВ” (Nickson, 2013). Moreover, it is also recommended to make the selection of HR managers and, subsequently, overall personnel recruitment processes more strict, quality- and goal-oriented, as well as insightful and constructive.
Thus, the stance of Nickson (2013) on the challenging nature of HRM practice in the tourism and hospitality industries is relevant and consistent. The discussion results in identification of the numerous challenging aspects within the HRM practice in the given business area, their discussion and analysis. The key challenges are connected with the low payments, high rates of labour turnover, the available pool of the applicants with low qualification level which are, therefore, easily replaceable, poor proficiency and lack of the HR managersВ’ experience, unequal representation of the genders within the human resources and informal methods of recruitment.