Developing a Human Resource strategy
A Tarmac case study

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Page 3: Workforce planning

Workforce planning involves a continual review of human assets and the business” organisational structure. The process identifies the skills and knowledge required at the present time. It also estimates what Tarmac needs to have in place to respond to future challenges in its market place.

At Tarmac, like most other businesses, human resource needs are constantly changing:

  • Sometimes individuals leave the organisation to take up other posts.
  • Some individuals retire (this is a growing issue with the UK's ageing population).
  • Employees are promoted within the business.
  • New technology removes some roles but also creates new types of jobs.
  • The changing economic climate may result in more or less demand for its products.

The changing and evolving nature of Tarmac's business means it needs to anticipate where new skills, such as those involved with different technologies, are required. This helps it to identify what training existing employees need to support future growth for the business.

Product portfolio

The core business of Tarmac is producing aggregate such as rock, gravel and sand. The aggregate is extracted from quarries across the UK and distributed to both wholesale and private customers.

In addition to the production of aggregate, Tarmac uses its own materials to provide the building trade with many other products. For example, sand, gravel, water and cement mixed together will make concrete that is helping to build the infrastructure for London 2012 Olympics. A mixture of various sizes of aggregate added to sand and bitumen will be used by the Nottinghamshire Highways Partnership to repair all roads across the county until 2016.

Harden Quarry in Northumberland produces a decorative stone called Harden Red. This is used for cycle tracks and for the grounds of Buckingham Palace, due to its unique properties and red colouring.

Such a distinctive product portfolio means Tarmac needs to have a more diverse workforce than ever to support its operations. Due to increases in new technology and improved ways of working, Tarmac requires specialist skills across the business, both on sites and in Head Offices.

Roles needed

Tarmac's people make the business the market leader that it is. Employing people with science, business, engineering, finance, language, and information technology backgrounds helps to ensure Tarmac stays at the forefront of its industry. For example, there are key roles within the Head Office. Other individuals are required for a range of commercial roles, for example, an Account Manager looking after a group of customers. This requires strong communication and organisational skills to ensure all account customers get the materials they need on time.

Chris moved into this role when joining Tarmac's Graduate scheme: 'It's my responsibility to analyse the market for the types of materials we supply and monitor prices. I also provide quotations for customers, support on-site teams at jobs we are supplying and work with colleagues to ensure the customer gets what they need.'

Other commercial roles support Tarmac's business development:

  • Web Marketing Officer - This job focuses on developing Tarmac”s presence on the internet. The site uses digital marketing activities to develop relationships with existing and potential customer groups. This role is vital in a competitive market. Other aspects include creating, analysing and providing detailed web reports for senior management. These show how successful previous campaigns have been and help inform development decisions.
  • Senior Finance Officer - This role is vital in helping Tarmac to achieve financial targets. Supporting a Director, this involves managing financial teams that generate information such as regular financial reports. As well as co-ordinating activities relating to this information, the role involves setting budgets and targets for the business.
  • Procurement Manager - Managing the supply of more than 20,000 items per year costing £40-£50 million, this role involves monitoring the business' needs and purchasing a range of resources at the best possible rate.
  • Inbound Services Co-ordinator - Manages a team that supports customer service within the business. It involves helpline calls, website enquiries and providing customer support for a range of services. In the competitive building supplies sector, contracts can be won or lost on the quality of customer service provided. It is important that this role is performed effectively.

These posts indicate how much Tarmac's human resource needs and make-up have changed, requiring more office-based staff to drive the business forwards.

Tarmac | Developing a Human Resource strategy