Developing as an effective HR professional in the Real Food Company

Andrea has just joined the Real Food Company as the new HR Business Partner following the company’s buy out by a local businessperson (who is now the new Chief Executive). This is a new role – in the past all HR issues were ‘dealt’ with by the previous Chief Executive whenever problems arose. The new owner decided that a HR Business Partner was needed in order to take a more positive and proactive approach to people management within the organisation, appreciating that people are probably the organisation’s largest source of competitive advantage.

Following a lengthy recruitment and selection process Andrea was appointed despite the fact that she had not worked in a management role before – although she had successfully completed her professional qualifications and has five years of experience as a training adviser. Andrea was very keen to get this job as it involves setting up a new department from scratch and it will give her plenty of opportunities to implement new initiatives. During the interview process the Chief Executive gave some clues about her initial perceptions of the organisation’s key HR issues:

The most recent staff survey found that 75 per cent of staff were not happy working in the organisation.
1. There have been complaints by departmental managers that the first line managers are unproductive.
2. Levels of sickness absence are 50 per cent higher than the national average.
3. Levels of staffing are not fairly distributed between departments.
4. There does not appear to be any formal performance management processes in place.
5. Pay rates don’t appear to be consistent with what is offered by local rivals.

A challenge of being the first ever HR Business Partner is that a job description doesn’t currently exist…

Part one: Complete this in your groups

1. Andrea has come to you as an HR Consultant, to ask you to give her an outline job description for her new role as HR Partner. Identify at least eight responsibilities that you think should be detailed on her job description.

2. Andrea has consulted the HR profession map and can see how it will be useful to her now and as part of her ongoing continuing professional development (CPD). She asks you to choose three of the behaviours and three of the knowledge area that you think she should prioritise over her first three to six months.
Explore the HR profession map available on the CIPD website:
Discuss which knowledge areas and behaviours you would choose (and why) and give some examples of how it will add value to both Andrea as the HR Business Partner and the organisation.

3. Draw up a PDP for Andrea which would enable her to decide the specific resources and training she should request to progress in her role.

Part two: Consulting Assignment – In your groups, present an outline of these key areas to the CEO and Andrea
The Real Food Company has approached you as an HR Consulting Company to help them outline the following areas:
1. How can Andrea better design the HR Function so that it’s not mainly administrative but is more strategic?
2. The Role of the HR Business Partner in the Real Food Company and some Key Performance Indicators for this position.
3. The expectations of different stakeholders of Real Food Company from the HR Business Partner with suggestions of how they can be prioritise and understood better.
4. What HR challenges currently exist in the Real Food Company,
discuss how the HR Business Partner should investigate these?
5. As a HR Business Partner with the Real Food Company, what are some of the strategic changes that you would consider making to the HR Operations. How should Andrea implement this change?

Discuss in your groups the advice that you would offer to Andrea on the areas highlighted above.

Leave a Reply