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02/14/2012

Human Resource Management For Travel Tourism Case Of British Airways


Human Resource Management for Travel Tourism

 

Introduction

The travel and tourism industry still continues to be a major source of employment in both developed and developing countries in the world. Thus, it is the largest generator of wealth in the world and considered as the economic engine for both developed and developing economies in the globe. The industry makes up the 11% of the entire global GDP, which supports 200 million or 8% of jobs in the world in 2000. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, by 2010, the tourism economy will contribute to 12% of the entire global GDP and will support more or less 250 million jobs or 9% of the entire employment (Rita 2000). Europe is the main tourist destination region in the world, which account for 59% of the international tourists’ arrivals and 52% of the tourism revenues. It is also the main generating market in the globe, and it is expected to increase its predominance in the long distance outbound travel. The World Tourism Organization forecasted that Europe will register 717 million incoming international tourists in 2020 (Rita 2000).

Travel and tourism industry is considered as an industry which mainly focuses on the services, therefore the performance of the employees or service staffs is vital in ensuring the overall image and performance of the company in the market. Thus, it is important to focus on the different factors or issues that are associated with human resource which includes the aspect of recruitment, training and development and termination. Aside from that it is also important to focus on the impact of employee relations and employment law on the different travel and tourism organization. This paper will study these issues by using the case of British Airways.

Human Resource Management Issues within Travel and Tourism

As have mentioned, travel tourism is considered as one of the most important industry in the world which offers wide range of jobs. Thus, it can affect the entire human resource planning of those firms in the travel and tourism industry, particularly during the process of HR planning.

One of the important issues which affect the HRM process of travel and tourism industry is the image of hospitality and tourism as employers. According the study of VistScotland/George Research (2002) showed that while a career in travel and tourism is generally considered as interesting (87%) and challenging (81%), it is also perceived as offering long working hours (56%) and low pay (54%). Aside from that, majority of the respondents stated that they don’t have good understanding regarding the range of jobs and career opportunities available (cited in Littlejohn & Watson 2004). As a result, because most of the people are not aware of the different opportunities in the industry, and have negative perception regarding the industries, it will be hard to attract possible employees that will join the company and will help companies in the industry to achieve its objectives and goals. This factor is connected with another issue which focuses on the labor shortage in the industry which signifies insufficient qualified help. This affects the HRM process of the company particularly the amount of money and effort to be spent in the recruitment and training process. In addition, in the process of correcting defects which caused by the employees who don’t care before they resign and by newly hired personnel who are concerned, but don’t have a completed training in proper work procedures (Hayes & Ninemeier 2008). The labor turnover or the total number of leavers and stability rates or the proportion of the employees who stay for more than one year are considered as the two main problem in the industry. The Intern Labor Organization (ILO) reported that in 2001, the turnover rate for operation employees is 51.7% in the US, 30% in Asia and 42% in the UK (Kusluvan 2003). There are different factors which causes instability of employment and high staff turnover such as seasonality of the tourism demand, fluctuations in demand because of unforeseen and inevitable social, economic and political disruptions, internal opportunity for growth, poor working conditions and human resource practices, poor image of the industry, employment opportunities in other organizations or industries, small size of employers who offer even limited career advancement, intrinsically transient nature of part of the workforce and lack of career structure (Boella 2000; Kusluvan 2003).

Another important factor which affect the HRM process of the company, particularly during the process of training, mentoring and evaluating the performance of the employees is the fact that large proportion of jobs in travel and tourism industry is semi-skilled or un-skilled. This is because knowledge and skills required for the jobs in the said industry can be learned in easy and quick manner on the job training without formal training and education (Kusluvan 2003). Thus, according to Baum (1996) in different developing countries, the industry needs to focus on recruiting much higher level of entrant for different positions, particularly in terms of educational attainment and all-around skills. Furthermore, it is also important to focus on recruiting and hiring front-line employees who acquire considerable cultural and communication skills in order to offer service standards at the international level (cited in Kusluvan 2003). Due to the said condition, it is important for different travel and tourism organizations or companies to focus on the importance of training, in order to ensure that all of their employees, particularly the front desk or service staff, are properly trained and inform on what to do in a given situation and customers.

Above all, the most important factor to consider is the increasing up-take of higher education, particularly in universities. According to Social Trends Edition 34, over the period 1990/1991 to 2001/2002, students on undergraduate degrees have increased to 782,000 from 538,000, showing 45% increase (National Statistics 2004).  As a result, the nature of the student population had changed, with the greater focus made on the vocational degrees. As a result, the Scottish Executive (2003) stressed that it is important to focus on the changing requirements of learners, at the same time be responsive to the demands of employers, at the same time maintain good value of the student experience and their retention from entry to qualification. 

Employee Retention and Employment Law in Travel and Tourism Industry

The British Airlines

British Airways is considered as one of the leading and famous airlines in the globe. Aside from that, it is considered as the largest international airline in the world. The company is based at Heathrow Airport in London, considered as the busiest international airport in the world. It has a global flight network through partners including USAir in the United States, Qantas in Australia and TAT European Airlines in France. Thus, the company serves 95 million passengers every year using 441 airports in about 86 countries and more than 1,000 planes (Funding Universe n.d.). Thus, it can be said that one of the major reasons behind the success of the organization is the proper management of human resource in the organization which include the process of selection, recruitment, training and development.

The selection process of the company has been carefully designed in order to match the skills of the applicants that are suitable with the vacancy, at the same time, be fair to everyone (British Airways 2009).

Recruitment Selection Plan

According to Nelson (1997) recruitment and selection are considered as central and boundary less functions of the organization. An effective recruitment process follows these steps:

·         job definition

·         person specification

·         designing of recruitment and selection process

·         job marketing

·         job application designs

·         receiving and documenting applications

·         running the selection process

·         carrying-out final checks

·         offer employment agreeing on employment terms and conditions including contract and induction (Peel & Dale 2001, p. 9)

Recruitment and selection is considered as the first and vital step in human resource because it can help the company to focus on the people who will be capable of handling a given position or role inside the company. This pertains on the different standards of the company which will be used in order to ensure that future employees will be appropriate for the culture of the organization. Torrington and Hall (2005) stated that recruitment is the process where in the management seeks for applicants in general or for a given vacancies manner. Thus, it is considered as the process of enabling the management to decide among the given candidates. On the other hand, selection enables employer to choose between two or more applicants that are interested.

Job Description

Job Title: Area Manager

General Function: be accountable for the overseas staff welfare as well as overall running of a chosen geographical area and ensure that customers received the best possible standard of service, thereby achieving the satisfaction level of the customers.

Duties and Responsibilities:

·         Co-ordinate and supervise the complete montage and demontage of all the accommodation, storage as well as specialist units in the given area following the procedures laid down at training;

·         take responsibility of the welfare and performance of the all the staffs in order to ensure high quality of service and maintain the good image of the company;

·         cultivate and maintain good relationships with all the employees;

·         ensure that all administration tasks are completed in accurate manner;

·         carry out contracting responsibilities such as camp hunting, emplacement selection and contract negotiation;

·         work in flexible manner.

Source: (Dale & Oliver 2005)

Person Specification

 

ü  Male/Female

ü  Must be 22 – 32 years old

ü  applicant must possess at least a Bachelor’s/College Degree in Hospitality/Tourism/Hotel Management or equivalent

ü  At least 3 years of working experience in Management

ü  Good communication skills

ü  Well versed in MS office applications and other software

 

 

Job requirements will be posted on employment portals or websites that are offering job marketing such as Jobstreet, JobsDB and other related websites. This is helpful because it can help the company to save money and effort in locating possible candidate for the position. It can also help because these websites are offering automatic retrieval of resume or curriculum vitae passed or upload by the applicant. However, it is vital to take advantage of the official website of the company. This is vital because currently, the opportunity feature/link is considered as an essential aspect of any website design, because it enables them to promote not only their products, but also enables the company to encourage people to join their team. As of now, in order to speed up and lessen the effort of the management in the process of recruitment and selection of applicants, major companies in the world are using the Internet in order to caught the attention of candidates for a given position or vacancy. British Airways is one of the airline companies in the world to jump to the bandwagon of the Internet as a tool for recruitment and selection process. The company established its e-Recruitment system which can be found in their website. Interested applicants can submit their application form in the website, therefore, it help both the company and the applicants to save their time, effort and money. Aside from that, the system also effectively manage the quantity of applications that are being received, thus the management will be able to quickly find the best candidates. It also enables the company to lessen the cost for administration time and manpower, at the same time, make the experience of the candidate more consistent. Above all, it enables the company to store and share application information and job vacancies between the different units of the organization (Step Stone Solutions n.d.).

Upon the retrieval of resume uploaded on those websites, the HR department will focus on evaluating the CV of those applicants and analyze they have passed the initial screening. Those who passed the initial screening will be contacted via phone or e-mail and will proceed with the different exams and interviews. One of the tests is the medical examinations (urine, blood etc.), which will check if the candidate is in good shape to work. Furthermore, personality, integrity, ability and aptitude tests of general knowledge as a measure of intellectual development (Benner 2004). Pre-employment testing is critical for business and commerce; it can either add to the growth or downfall of the organization. Personality tests always are embedding on social attraction or the personal predilection schedule (Saklofske and Moshe, 1995, p. 513).

After this, if the employee passed they will be scheduled to panel interview, then proceed to second and final interview. After this, the selected employee will be contacted and then inform him regarding the contract and other policies in the company.

Based on these factors, it can be said that one of the major factors to consider by any company in the travel and tourism is the aspect of discrimination, particularly in the aspect of age and gender. This is important because, it is important aspect of laws regarding human rights and equality. It is important to consider the unlawful discrimination against people at work on the grounds of sex, ace, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief as well as age. In addition, it is also important to consider the aspect of the number of working hours and balance working environment. Thus, Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) plays a very important role in these issues, which focuses on improving the organizations and working life via better employment relationship. This focuses on supplying updated information, independent advice as well as high quality training.

Training

The different problems discussed in the first parts of the paper pertain on the different problems which include the lack of skills and knowledge of employees in the industry of travel and tourism. As a result, training is considered as a must for all the organizations in order to ensure that all of the employees will work at their best, thus will increase satisfaction from the customers, and will improve market share of the organization. Training is vital in any organization because it helps management to support the capabilities and skills of their employees.

The organization is offering different courses and trainings for their employees, as well as other people that are interested to improve their knowledge and ability. The company focuses on training 3,500 pilots and 14,000 cabin crew, which mainly focus on flight safety and health. It also focuses on simulating aircraft emergency situation in a full-motion cabin stimulator and includes a packed that is full of safety device (British Airways n.d.). This is important because of the fact that there is an ongoing safety and health issues that are directly connected with the travel and tourism industry, particularly with the aspect of bombing, changing weathers and diseases like SARS and A(H1N1).

In order to improve the training and development aspect of the company, it is important for British Airline to focus on the different factors that will help to motivate the employee. This will be done by focusing on the design and outline of the training programs which will help to ensure that all of the needs and demands of the employees will be handled.

 

References

 

Boella, M. J. 2000. Human Resource Management in the Hospitality Industry. Nelson Thornes

 

Brenner, J 2004, The Mighty Tiger: Adventures of an Unlikely Pilot, Trafford Publishing

 

British Airways 2009. Our Recruitment Process. http://www.britishairwaysjobs.com/baweb1/?newms=info46. [July 22, 2009]

 

Dale, G & Oliver, H 2005, BTEC National Travel and Tourism, Heinemann

 

Funding Universe. British Airways PLC. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/British-Airways-PLC-Company-History.html [July 22, 2009]

 

Hayes, D. & Ninemeier, J. 2008. Human Resource Management in the Hospitality Industry. Wiley Publishers

 

Kusluvan, S. 2003. Managing Employee Attitudes and Behavior in the Tourism and Hospitality. Nova

 

Littlejohn, D & Watson, S 2004, ‘Developing Graduate Managers for Hospitality and Tourism’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 16, no. 7, pp. 408 – 414

 

National Statistics 2004, Social Trends 34 – a Portrait of British Society, National Statistics, London

 

Nelson, JD 1997, ‘The Boundary less Organization: Implications for Job Analysis, Recruitment and Selection’, Human Resource Planning, vol. 20, no. 4, p. 39

 

Peel, M & Dale, M 2001, Readymade Interview Questions, Kogan Page

 

Rita, P. 2000. “Tourism in the European Union.” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. Vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 434 – 436

 

Saklofske, DH & Moshe, Z 1995, International Handbook of Personality and Intelligence, Springer

 

Scottish Executive (2003), Life Through Learning; Learning Through Life: The Lifelong Learning Strategy for Scotland, Scottish Executive, Edinburgh

 

Step Stone Solutions. Case Study: British Airways.

 

Swarbrooke, J. & Homer, S. 2001. Business Travel and Tourism. Butterworth-Heineman

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