Increasing employee engagement through HRM
A Harrods case study

Page 5: Benefits of Human Resource Management

Harrods 18 Image 1 Research into Human Resource Management indicates that the factors that really motivate employees are intrinsic ones which are based on meeting the personal needs of an individual. Human beings have a number of key psychological needs including:

  • The need to feel that you can do something well.
  • The need to be part of a group.
  • The need for respect and encouragement from others.

These needs are typically met from non-financial rewards, for example, by providing opportunities:

  • for promotion 
  • to make decisions
  • to contribute to a team
  • to do a variety of tasks.

Harrods 18 Image 11 Harrods recognises these intrinsic needs and encourages job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment to provide career development opportunities. Job rotation involves periodically changing jobs and work areas to develop new skills in different areas of the business. Cross departmental experience is viewed as important for personal development. Harrods offers a range of many different types of job opportunity including face-to-face customer operations, merchandising, recording and reporting of sales and online customer communications. Job enlargement involves encouraging and supporting staff to take on new and more challenging tasks. Job enrichment involves building existing job roles by enabling employees to engage in a wider variety of interesting tasks, for example, taking on some team leadership responsibility and removing unnecessary supervision.

An informed and engaged workforce

Having an informed and engaged workforce has resulted in many tangible benefits. There have now been four employee surveys. Each survey has seen a higher return from employees and an improvement in the indicators of employee engagement. Significantly, 91% of employees have stated in the most recent survey that they are proud to work for Harrods and employee turnover has halved in the last five years.

Harrods 18 Image 2 The ultimate proof of the success of an employee engagement exercise is that it needs to be lived by employees. They need to feel that the culture has changed and that they have played a part in the improvements. Harrods places a high importance on brand values so it is essential that these values are reflected in how employees behave. Employees have to live up to the Harrods brand because customers are aware of it and expect excellence. Engaged employees are committed ones who help the organisation to achieve its targets and to live its values. Harrods recognise that this is a democratic process. Employees are not just a key part of the visual representation of the organisation - they are the organisation.

The engagement of employees is admirably reflected in the following quote from Jennifer Glyn, a Creative Team Project Manager at Harrods:

‘I like being part of a big brand, it is stable but exciting – I feel pride coming in on a Monday Morning. I enjoy telling people what I do and where I work.’

Similarly Laura Gorse who works in Learning and Development states:

‘I never dread coming in to work, I actually look forward to coming in – you don’t want to miss out on what’s going on. The values come from what we do.'

Harrods | Increasing employee engagement through HRM

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