Case Study

Assessment 1: Case Study (2,000-2,500 words)

Job Filler LLP

You are a self-employed HR consultant.  Sarah is a new client who is the Managing Partner of a small recruitment consultancy called Job Filler LLP.

The company is based in Exeter with 35 employees and a turnover of £5m, these employees include:

  • Administrators who are entirely office based and provide routine administrative support to recruitment consultants, most do not possess a university degree. They are mostly paid minimum wage.
  • Resourcers who support recruitment consultants by working on certain elements of the recruitment process such as identifying and contacting potential candidates. Resources may hope to progress to being recruitment consultants and are largely office based.  Most possess a university degree.  Resourcers are paid a fixed salary of between £18,000 and £24,000.
  • Recruitment Consultants whose primary responsibility is to win business from clients and oversee the delivery of the recruitment process for their clients. They attend briefing meetings often held at client premises and interview candidates, either at their office, at the client’s offices or sometimes even in coffee shops, hotels etc.  Recruitment Consultants each line manager at least one Resourcer and one Administrator.  The Recruitment Consultants are managed by the Partners.  All recruitment consultants possess at least an undergraduate degree with an increasing number also holding postgraduate qualifications.  Recruitment Consultants are currently paid a fixed basic salary of around £20,000-30,000 with a significant amount of their income coming from individual commission bonuses that they receive for each recruitment project they win from clients and complete.  Typically, a Recruitment Consultant will receive 5 to 10% of the fee paid by a client as their commission bonus.
  • Partners – There are current two Partners in the business in addition to Sarah and both are minority shareholders. John is the Partner with responsibility for the company finances and Des is the Partner responsible for marketing and IT. Partners receive a salary of at least £40,000 plus a share of the company profits.

Sarah’s clients pay a fixed fee for each recruitment project the size of which depends on the nature of the project e.g. seniority or salary of the role being recruited.  The business is growing steadily and has been making a relatively modest profit for the last two years.  This growth is likely to continue and so Sarah expects to create some additional Recruitment Consultant and Administrator positions within the business during the next 12 months which she will need to fill.  Sarah knows all of the employees quite well and morale has generally been high since she started the company.  However, Sarah has noticed that this seems to be slipping and an increasing number of employees seem to be less motivated and enthusiastic than they were.  In particular, she has overheard some of the Resourcers complaining that the Recruitment Consultants get a disproportionate share of the credit and financial reward for their work compared to the Resourcers.  However, the ongoing growth means that in the short term Sarah needs everyone to complete more work until the business can demonstrate that it can support additional employees.  Sarah is also aware that she has lost several of her best Recruitment Consultants to one of her competitors due to the more comprehensive benefits packages they are offering.  Within her workforce Sarah has more women than men and often at least one of her employees is pregnant or has been pregnant in the last 12 months, whilst Sarah and many of the other employees are under the age of 40, two of the male recruitment consultants are over 50, and Sarah has two employees from outside the UK.

Whilst the business as a whole has been growing, unfortunately one of the teams that focuses on recruiting to the retail sector has been consistently losing work to competitors and has been making a loss for over six months.  Sarah feels that the work is there to be won and that several members of the team have not been performing as well as they should.  Sarah is particularly concerned about David who is the only male Recruitment Consultant in this team as his performance has noticeably reduced since he had a car accident three months ago that left him with permanent but minor short term memory problems.  Sarah is determined that the performance of this team must be improved if it is to remain a part of the business.

To date Sarah has left all people management issues to the Recruitment Consultants.  Where there have been problems with the Recruitment Consultants Sarah has stepped in to deal with people management or HR issues on an ad-hoc basis.  However, Sarah has no other qualifications or experience in Human Resource Management and she is worried that if she doesn’t put formalised Human Resource Management policies and practices in place the company will stop growing and stagnate. Sarah has asked you to help her understand the different areas of HRM practice and make recommendations to her as to what policies, techniques, procedures or approaches she should put in place to deal with the issues outlined above and ensure that the performance of her employees and business is maximised moving forwards.  Sarah would specifically like you to address the following key areas:

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Training, development and talent management
  • Performance and reward
  • Employee relations and engagement

 

As part of your report you need to explain and evaluate the differing approaches that could be taken to HR policy or practice in these areas and identify any relevant factors that might influence the choices Sarah makes about which policies, procedures, techniques or approaches she applies within Job Filler LLP.  You must make recommendations to Sarah which should be clearly presented in a recommendations section at the end of the report.

You MUST ensure that your arguments are informed by reference to appropriate sources. This includes academic textbooks (e.g. the core texts listed above), ACADEMIC journal articles, Government/CIPD/ACAS reports and guidance. If you cannot support your proposals with reference to contemporary and relevant theory and research then your mark will suffer, if your work is not supported with any such evidence it will likely be marked as a fail. 

Assignment structure:

Given the limited wordcount for this assignment, you are not expected to include an executive summary. You should include a clear but brief introduction, followed by a discussion of the areas of HR practice stated above, a brief conclusion, detailed recommendations, and finally a list of references. It is expected that you will draw on AT LEAST 15 APPROPRIATE, ACADEMIC REFERENCES to support your discussion and recommendations.  Do not exceed the maximum wordcount stated above, only the first 2500 words of the main report will be marked (excluding your reference list but including citations made within your text).  When preparing your work for submission please use this brief and the marking criteria to help you structure the contents of your work.

This assessment will be discussed in detail in seminar 3 (Moodle/DLE video).

Submission details:

Your assignment should be submitted via e-submission in a WORD file only (.doc or .docx). You will have access to Turnitin before your submission to check the originality of your work.

Please check that you are submitting the correct assignment to Moodle-mistakes made in uploads will not be granted extenuating circumstances.

Please be aware that late submissions made within 24 hours of the deadline will be capped at 40% and submissions made more than 24 hours after the deadline will receive a mark of zero.

Marks and feedback will be provided by the end of 8th February 2021 and will be released through the Moodle/DLE page.  Marks will be awarded according to the criteria on the following page of this handbook.  If your overall mark across both assessments is less than 40% you may be required to complete additional work over the summer and the mark for that work will be capped at 40%.

If you are unable to meet the assessment deadline or to attend an assessment (e.g. examination, practical, in-class test) because of exceptional circumstances, outside of your control, that can be corroborated by independent evidence and which occurred during or shortly before the assessment you may apply for extenuating circumstances. Please note that computer, printer and IT problems are generally not considered valid extenuating circumstances.

If you feel your work has been adversely affected by circumstances beyond your control, you should consult your Personal Tutor or the Faculty Support Office for advice.  Please note that a Module Leader cannot grant an extension to an assessment deadline.

Application forms to claim for extenuating circumstances can be obtained from the Faculty Support Office or UPSU Student Advice Centre and should be submitted to the Faculty Support Office accompanied by independent corroborating evidence.  Further guidance is available at: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/your-studies/essential-information/exams/exam-rules-and-regulations/extenuating-circumstances.

 

Assessment 1 – Individual case study marking criteria and feedback sheet

Marking criteria Fail: 0% to 39% 3rd class:  40% to 49% 2.2: 50% to 59% 2.1: 60% to 69% First class: 70% to 84% First class: 85% to 100%
Structure and presentation

(10 marks)

Writing contains numerous errors in punctuation and/or grammar, and severely lacks clarity/flow.  Report format is not used, sections and/or formatting mostly incorrect or missing.  Language is often inappropriate e.g. slang.  Document does not conform to wordcount and/or file format specified in brief. Highly inconsistent. Writing regularly contains errors in punctuation and/or grammar, and often lacks clarity/flow.  Report format is often inconsistent or not properly applied, one section may be missing.  Language is sometimes inappropriate e.g. slang.  Document conforms to brief. Inconsistent.  In places writing contains errors in punctuation and/or grammar, and lacks some clarity/flow.  In places report format is inconsistent or not properly applied, though sections are unlikely to be missing.  Language is rarely inappropriate e.g. slang.  Document conforms to brief. For the most part work is well presented.  Occasionally writing contains minor errors in punctuation and/or grammar, rarely lacks clarity/flow.  Report format mostly consistent and well applied with few minor errors.  Language is entirely professional and appropriate e.g. no slang.  Document conforms to brief. Work is very well presented throughout.  Very occasionally writing may contain minor errors in punctuation and/or grammar, but clarity and flow throughout.  Report format well applied with very few minor errors.  Language is entirely professional and appropriate e.g. no slang.  Document conforms to brief. Outstanding presentation.  Isolated or no issues with punctuation and/or grammar, clarity or flow.  Report format well applied with no or isolated minor errors.  Language is entirely professional and appropriate e.g. no slang.  Document conforms to brief.
Introduction

(10 marks)

Introduction is missing or not clearly identified, and extremely brief.  Does little or nothing to remind reader of brief/aims and outline the structure of the report.  No context provided regarding the case or importance of key issues or concepts. Introduction may not be clearly identified and/or is very brief.  Partially reminds reader of brief/aims or partially outlines the structure of the report.  No context provided regarding the case or importance of key issues or concepts. Introduction clearly identified but is incomplete.  Partially reminds reader of brief/aims and outlines the structure of the report, or does one comprehensively whilst the other is absent.  Little context provided regarding the case or importance of key issues or concepts. Introduction clearly identified and mostly complete.  Reminds reader of brief/aims and outlines the structure of the report, though may not be entirely comprehensive. Some context provided regarding the case or importance of key issues or concepts. Introduction clearly identified and complete.  Reminds reader of brief/aims and outlines the structure of the report.  Context provided regarding both the case and the importance of key issues and concepts. Introduction clearly identified and comprehensive.  Reminds reader of brief/aims and outlines the structure of the report very well.  Insightful context provided regarding the nature of the case and key issues and concepts.
Theoretical knowledge and critical understanding (25 marks) Incomplete. Demonstrates little or no understanding of some or all of the key areas outlined in the brief and related models, theories, debates or contemporary issues/ideas associated with people management.  Descriptive rather than critical, no comparison of academic theory or findings. Little or no relevance to brief or case organisation. Very limited or basic understanding of most or all of the key areas outlined in the brief and related models, theories, debates or contemporary issues/ideas associated with people management.  Descriptive rather than critical, little or no comparison of academic theory or findings. May be of limited relevance to brief or case organisation. Good, but inconsistent levels of understanding shown across the key areas outlined in the brief and related models, theories, debates or contemporary issues/ideas associated with people management.  Descriptive rather than critical, limited comparison of academic theory or findings. In places lacks relevance to brief or case organisation. Very good levels of understanding of most of the key areas outlined in the brief (with all areas covered) and related models, theories, debates or contemporary issues/ideas associated with people management.  Mostly descriptive, may be some useful attempts at critical evaluation and/or comparison of academic theory or findings.  Occasionally lacks relevance to brief or case organisation. Excellent levels of understanding of all of the key areas outlined in the brief and related models, theories, debates or contemporary issues/ideas associated with people management.  Regular and mostly effective comparison and critical evaluation of academic theory or findings. Very occasionally lacks relevance to brief or case organisation. Outstanding, comprehensive understanding of all of the key areas outlined in the brief and related models, theories, debates or contemporary issues/ideas associated with people management.  Comprehensive comparison and critical evaluation of academic theory or findings. Highly relevant to brief and case organisation throughout.

 

 

Recognition of legal, ethical and moral issues

(10 marks)

 

No relevant legal, ethical or moral issues that may be of concern to the case are identified and addressed. Few relevant legal, ethical or moral issues that may be of concern to the case are identified and addressed, may only be identified in relation to one or two areas of HR practice. In places relevant legal, ethical or moral issues that may be of concern to the case are identified and addressed, but this is inconsistent and often opportunities to do so are missed. Relevant legal, ethical or moral issues that may be of concern to the case are identified and addressed in most areas of HR practice, though occasionally opportunities are missed. Relevant legal, ethical or moral issues that may be of concern to the case are consistently identified and addressed in all areas of HR practice but not comprehensively. Relevant legal, ethical or moral issues that may be of concern to the case are consistently and comprehensively identified and addressed in all areas of HR practice.
Application of theory to practice through conclusions and recommendations (25 marks) Incomplete.  No or very limited conclusions and/or recommendations that do not cover all key areas outlined in brief.  Lack logic, relevance, and realism.  Very weakly linked to theory and/or case evidence, with little or no justification. Very limited or basic conclusions and recommendations provided that may not address all key areas of HR practice.  Often lacking logic, relevance or realism.  Often weakly linked to theory and/or case evidence, with little or no justification that only focuses on positives or negatives. Good conclusions and recommendations provided but may not cover all key areas outlined in brief or does so inconsistently.  At times not entirely logical, relevant or realistic.  In places these may be weakly linked to theory and/or case evidence. Justification is inconsistent and may only focus on positives or negatives. Very good.  Clear conclusions and recommendations covering all key areas of HR practice outlined in brief to some degree.  Mostly logical, relevant and realistic.  Justification shows some consideration of positives and negatives, occasionally may be weakly linked to theory and/or case evidence.  Some relevant points may be missed. Excellent.  Broad conclusions and recommendations covering all key areas outlined in brief.  Entirely logical, relevant, and realistic.  Regularly justified on basis of positives and negatives.  Rarely may be weakly linked to theory and/or case evidence or a relevant point may be missed.  Some consideration of alternative approaches. Outstanding, comprehensive conclusions and recommendations covering all key areas outlined in brief.  Entirely logical, relevant and realistic.  Fully justified using positives and negatives and consistently well linked to theory and/or case evidence. Regularly shows consideration of alternative approaches.
Use of research evidence

(20 marks)

Rarely draws on sources to support work and fails to include 15 relevant academic sources (e.g. academic journal articles and textbooks), overall the range of sources used is very narrow and lacks relevance and/or credibility (e.g. mostly websites or blogs/online magazines). Reference list and citations missing or incomplete and do not conform to Harvard format. Occasionally draws on a narrow set of sources to support work that often lack relevance and/or credibility and may not include at least 15 academic sources (e.g. academic journal articles and textbooks). Reference list and citations incomplete and/or very limited and often do not conform to Harvard format.  Some omissions may be evident. Inconsistent.  In places draws on sources that lack relevance and/or credibility, but sources used include at least 15 academic sources (e.g. academic journal articles and textbooks) but may be narrow in scope or not of the highest quality or relevance. Reference list and citations complete but regularly contain inconsistencies or minor errors with respect to Harvard format. Regularly draws on at least 15 academic sources (e.g. academic journal articles and textbooks) to support most or all sections of work as part of a varied set of sources that are mostly relevant and credible. Reference list and citations complete but in places contain inconsistencies or minor errors with respect to Harvard format. Very regularly draws on at least 15 academic sources (e.g. academic journal articles and textbooks) to support all sections of work as part of a varied set of sources that are entirely relevant and credible.  Reference list and citations complete but occasionally contain inconsistencies or minor errors with respect to Harvard format. Throughout draws on at least 15 academic sources (e.g. academic journal articles and textbooks) to effectively support work as part of a comprehensive set of credible, relevant sources, perhaps including government and company reports. Reference list and citations complete with few or no minor errors with respect to Harvard format.
How to improve your marks next time: