Human resource development is the framework that helps employees develops their organizational skills, abilities and knowledge. According to Budhwar and Debrah (2013), human resource development is a series of organized activities leading to behavioural changes. The aim of this paper is to analyse Zara, a fashion retailer for clothing and accessories based in Galicia. According to Butler (2015), a lot of HR issues are faced by retailer across the globe. As the fashion retailer is very successful, one would wish to work for it (Jansen and Samuel 2014). There are opportunities in the organization to improve the human resources and make a difference. This paper analyses the key challenges faced by the human resources in the organization. The aspects that are well followed in the organization are presented. Based on the weaknesses faced by Zara, recommendations are provided to improve the human resource department that impacts both individual and organizational performance.
Zara is a Spanish clothing industry under the Inditex group. They are the largest apparel retailer serving the products and services worldwide. The products sold at Zara clothing and accessories for men, women and children. The retailer has over 2,100 stores across the globe (Inditex.com 2017). Moreover, 77 stores were added in 2015 in several cities like New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and others (Inditex.com 2017). It was founded in 1974 with a mission to satisfy its customers (Inditex.com 2017). They continually improve the experience of its customers by making new and affordable designs (Forbes.com 2016). Zara claims itself to be the largest fashion companies but with the research being done within the area of human resource practices, several issues have been raised. Any hostile or inappropriate work environment in the organization is meant to be dealt by the human resources department at Zara. This paper aims to analyse the human resource factors that need improvement.
The human resources department is responsible to provide a positive work environment to its employees. The employees expect to have consistent communication with each other and the employees as it helps in building morale and trust. Further, the employees must receive proper light, space, ventilation, sanitation, adequate toilet and temperature at work. Workplace dangers are not always obvious but paying attention to these issues and those related to areas such as emergency lighting, suitable floors, safe traffic routes, windows and doors will help to achieve this (Alfes et al. 2013). According to Butler (2015), cases of excessive work were reported in the Brazil workplace. Illnesses and accidents were reported in the Brazilian labour ministry in 2011 (Butler 2015). It was reported that 67 Zara factories had issues causing 22 cases of excessive work and 84 accidents or cases of illness at work (Butler 2015). An investigation was conducted by the Brazilian Government in which sweatshop practices were identified. Inditex promised that it would check on the working conditions to help improve the matters. However, it was reported that Zara had seating issues and other minor infringements (Butler 2015).
According to Cascio (2014), every employee in the organization works for good compensation, benefits and rewards. The benefits and compensation process provides the managers to build a difference among employees as the high performance corporate culture can be built in the organization. Organizations must keep compensations and reward program to remain competitive in the labour market and ensure sustainability. According to Martinez (2016), 121 colleagues were fired from Zara, GAM and H&M as they were protesting to demand a living wage. The Bangladeshi garment workers are one of the lowest paid workers in the world (Gulf-times.com 2016).
The human resources is responsible to create a discrimination and harassment free environment. The human resources set out a harassment free and respectful environment. Any improper conduct, comment or humiliation is unwelcomed in the organization. Any hostile work environment in the organization is meant to be dealt by the human resources department. Zara is accused of discriminating among its employees. The employees of colour agreed that the managers show favouritism. Also, the customers are treated with bias as their packages are mentioned as ‘special orders’ for suspected shoplifters (Wiener-Bronner 2015). Also, the ex-general counsel Ian jack Miller reported that he faced discrimination due to his ethnicity and sexual orientation (Espinoza 2015). Another incident was reported where a woman working for Zara was discriminated because of her braid hairstyle. The employee claimed that she was left humiliated as she was discriminated in front of other employees in a busy mall. The employee claims that her hair type is directly linked to her ethnicity. As there are no formal polices regarding an employees’ hairstyle, the employee claimed that this was a move against ethnicity and race. Later, a discrimination complaint was logged with the human resource department at Zara (Morley 2016).
Therefore, Zara faces several issues regarding HR. The human resources department is supposed to provide an environment that is safe and healthy for the workers. The working conditions of the employees such as limited seating and making them work excessively is de-motivating. The employees will not perform efficiently if they do not get the proper motivation and working condition (Jansen and Samuel 2014). Further, Zara faces issues relating to compensation and rewards. As analysed, the company does not pay minimum wage in several garment factories in Bangladesh. Zara was also found discriminating among its employees making the human resource development questionable (Sung and Choi 2014).
However, there are certain aspects that are followed by the organization. Not every aspect of Zara in the human resource development is poor or requires improvement. There are several aspects in the human resource development that can be learnt as lessons by the other organizations. The human resource department strives to be super efficient by organizing new hires. By implementing the right philosophies, work environments can be creates so that the employees succeed both as individuals and contributors. The human resources is responsible for screening the employees to recruit in the organization (Jansen and Samuel 2014). The human resources department must know to motivate the employees. Financial rewards and money may not always be necessary to motivate the employees. Therefore, the HR department must provide non-financial rewards such as promotion, better working conditions, improved facilities and others to motivate the employees (Schuler and Jackson 2014).
According to Dugan, Rimella and Simpson (2014), Debenhams, Matalan and The North Face are a few high-street clothing shops who do not pay fair wage to its employees. Zara is striving to improve the working conditions of people in Bangladesh after the Rana Plaza incident. Zara has agreed to pay the living wages to the people after discussing rates with the local trade unions. Also, Zara has agreed to raise the wage of the employees in New York after they raised a campaign (Covert 2015). The employees launched a Change Zara campaign for better scheduling at US stores and higher pay. Therefore, the human resource department said that it shall increase the number of full-time positions (Covert 2015). The human resources department also stated that the employees who have been working for less than a year shall receive at least $12 an hour (Covert 2015). Moreover, the employees working in the organization for one to three years shall receive $13 and $14 per hour (Covert 2015). Previously, Zara had on-call shifts in which the employers put employees down as a shift. But, the employers may call the employees in an hour or two before work. Zara eliminated this policy that makes the human resource development towards the satisfaction of employees (Covert 2015).
The human resource department must improve technology and accessibility. The culture and benefits must be emphasized in a manner that values the employees. Setting up standardized procedures and policies, employers must be personally involved as employees are the lifeblood of the company. The human resources play a critical role in training and developing their employees. The training and development practices enhance the employee skills and abilities. The Inditex Group has over 162,450 professionals of 90 different nationalities (Inditex.com 2017). The human resource department is responsible for hiring the workers. The human resource department hires people based on talent and does not discriminate based on gender, nationality, religion and others. Over 200 job positions are available everyday as there are multiple opportunities (Inditex.com 2017). The people working at Zara believe in power. The organization believes that growth starts with the development and employee working for it. The employers provide flexible working environment to the employees. The human resource department provides training to the employees as it is crucial for continual teamwork and innovation. The training programs tailors to the needs of the employees regardless of the position they hold in the organization (Inditex.com 2017).
Zara needs to improve HRD and its impact on both individual and organisational performance. The human resource department provides administrative and strategic services. The role of human resource is complex as the employees’ needs and rights must be met. The responsibility of human resource department varies from benefits and compensation to training and organizational effectiveness. It is challenging for the human resource managers to make the right investment in learning and development programs. A few learning and development shall help employees motivate (Jansen and Samuel 2014). The managers’ passion need to be ignited to coach their employees. As the managers’ pass their knowledge and skills to the employees, managers are now overburdened with responsibilities. It is further recommended that Zara must self-direct and customize the programs as one size does not fit all doesn’t work anymore. The employees must engage in learning and development activities to make opportunities accessible for people. The employees in the organization crave for transparency, openness and honesty. Therefore, the employers must be honest with them to actively pursue their own careers (Ferrazzi 2015).
The managers have a responsibility to show that this is not right, by rewarding employees who maintain good work-life balance habits (e.g. leave work on time) and can still perform well. Zara must motivate its employees to maintain work-life balance. The employees must not be asked to work excessively that is usually the case in the organization. Every employee expects certain rewards in the organization. Rewards are necessary to encourage certain behaviours among employees. It is known as positive reinforcement (Tyson 2016).
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Zara must fulfil the five level of needs. According to Maslow, certain needs must be achieved for motivating the employees. The most basic need is physical survival. Physical survival involves food, warmth, air, and others. Zara must provide sufficient seating space, electricity, lighting and optimum temperature that is necessary for survival in the organization. Secondly, the safety needs involve protection, security, stability and others (Jansen and Samuel 2014). Zara may motivate its employees by offering job security. If the employees have fear of being fired except in case of low productivity, they may choose to leave the organization (Karnatovskaia et al. 2015). Also, their motivation shall be low and might not perform efficiently. Thirdly, love and belongingness involves friendship, intimacy, trust and acceptance. Zara must show their faith and trust among employees. They must be entrusted with responsibilities. The employees must be accepted in the organization for whoever they are. Fourthly, esteem needs involve independence, status, dominance, self-respect and prestige. As Zara has been know for discriminating among employees, they must make sure that the employees are not humiliated. Their esteem needs may be met by giving them renowned status in the organization to keep the motivational level high. Further, the self-actualization needs must be fulfilled. The employees at Zara may be self-fulfilled, seek personal growth and peak experiences. The learning and training opportunities must be designed at Zara in a manner that the employees seek to enhance themselves.
Further, Zara may apply Herzberg’s Two Factor theory. Herzberg propounded two-factor theory or the motivator-hygiene theory. The hygiene factors are described as the dissatisfiers or maintenance factors that are required in the organization to avoid dissatisfaction among employees. Zara must ensure that minimum wage is provided to all the employees. It must be competitive to the other companies such as H&M and other organizations that belong to the retail clothing industry. The company policies of Zara must be fair and clear (Jansen and Samuel 2014). They must provide flexible working hours, dress codes and vacations so that the employees stay motivated at work. Further, they must be provided with fringe benefits such as health care plans, employee help programmes and benefits for the family members. The working conditions at Zara are claimed as poor. So, they must ensure that the working conditions such as heating, lighting and physical space are adequate. The employees working at Zara must have a retained status. The employees must be provided with job security (Yusoff, Kian and Idris 2013).
Further, the motivational factors yield positive satisfaction. The factors or satisfiers are rewarding intrinsically. These satisfiers act as the additional benefits. Zara must provide motivational factors to its employees. The employees must be praised and recognized so that they are motivated to provide high quality work. The employees at Zara must feel that they have achieved. The employees must have adequate growth and development opportunities for high level of motivation. The employees must have responsibility and ownership to manage work. A high level of accountability shall make it challenging, interesting and meaningful for the organization (Jansen and Samuel 2014).
Conclusively, Zara claims itself to be the largest fashion companies but with the research being done within the area of human resource practices, several issues have been raised. An investigation was conducted by the Brazilian Government in which sweatshop practices were identified. The human resources set out a harassment free and respectful environment. Any improper conduct, comment or humiliation is unwelcomed in the organization. Any hostile work environment in the organization is meant to be dealt by the human resources department. The employee claimed that she was left humiliated as she was discriminated in front of other employees in a busy mall because of her braid hairstyle. The human resources department is supposed to provide an environment that is safe and healthy for the workers. Further, Zara faces issues relating to compensation and rewards. The human resources is responsible for screening the employees to recruit in the organization. Zara is striving to improve the working conditions of people in Bangladesh after the Rana Plaza incident. The human resources play a critical role in training and developing their employees. The training and development practices enhance the employee skills and abilities. As Zara has been know for discriminating among employees, they must make sure that the employees are not humiliated. The employers provide flexible working environment to the employees. Organizations must keep compensations and reward program to remain competitive in the labour market and ensure sustainability. The human resource department provides training to the employees as it is crucial for continual teamwork and innovation. Zara must show their faith and trust among employees. They must be entrusted with responsibilities.
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