Challenges facing HRM in service sector

Critically discourse peculiar challenges confronting the direction of people and how these challenges may be overcome in the service sector.

‘People and how we manage them are going more of import because many other beginnings of competitory success are less powerful than they one time were. ‘ ( Pfeffer, 1994 ) .

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With the rise in service sector industries all around the universe, Human Resource directors need to step up to the function in this fast – paced universe. This essay will concentrate on synergistic service work of the service sector. Synergistic service work has drawn a batch of argument because it is considered to be work ‘without proficient or cognition ‘ accomplishments. On the contrary synergistic service accomplishments are needed for the smooth and effectual running of an administration. Employees who possess the right ‘people accomplishments ‘ are bound to do a positive feeling on the client which in bend encourages them to carry on more concern. With the growing and rise in engineering and universe interconnection, the service sector employs a big figure of people in most economically developed states. There is a slow displacement happening from the ‘knowledge based economic system ‘ to a ‘service based economic system ‘ . The service sector encompasses fiscal services, service in eating houses and by and large any sort of service that requires face to confront contact with clients or clients.

This essay will be concentrating on the frontline synergistic service occupations as seen in the cordial reception industry and the retail industry. It is deserving adverting that the service sector involves touchable and intangible services. To acquire the effectivity of an intangible service like client satisfaction, there is a demand for efficient client service which is an intangible service. The function of accomplishments in the service industry has been up for argument late and this has posed a batch of inquiries for pull offing people in the service sector. Frontline staffs are the first contact clients have with an administration and it is of import that they are effectual in managing face-to-face state of affairss.

Bateson cited in Singh describes frontline service occupations as “ a three-cornered tight. ” in which the client ( demanding attending and service quality ) and the organisation ( demanding efficiency and productiveness ) are at the two terminals and the FLE is “ caught-in-the-middle. ” ( Singh, 2000 ) . Frontline services can be described as client – facing functions. Inefficient frontline employees give the administration a bad feeling.

2.0 Background and Discussion

2.1 What is the Service Sector?

The service sector can be described as the portion of the economic system that includes persons and concerns that produce services instead than goods. The service sector is one of the fastest turning sectors of the universe economic system. It includes instruction, finance, communications, wellness attention, public-service corporations, sweeping and retail trade, and transit. Producing these services as a whole tend to necessitate less natural capital and more human capital.

Korczynski list five properties that make the service sector different from other sectors. These are intangibleness, perishableness, variableness, coincident production and ingestion, and inseparability. ( Korczynski, 2002 ) . Servicess provided can non be seen but produce an terminal merchandise. They normally last for a minute and can non be separated. For illustration, a client being satisfied with an employee is satisfied for that minute.

The service sector of an economic system is besides known as the third sector and the service industry. Although the service sector comprises of both touchable and intangible services, it is thought to consist merely of intangible service and is now referred to as the “ quaternate sector ” . The quaternate sector encompasses knowledge based work. Kenessey topographic points retail under the third or service sector and activities such as insurance and existent estate under quaternate services. ( Kenessey, 2005 ) . This is because they involve the usage of pure service non needfully ensuing in an terminal merchandise like the eating houses.

It can be justly said that the service industry involves more contact with people than the other sectors of the economic system for illustration the primary sector like fabrication. The service industry involves the twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours covering with clients and clients likewise. With the immense function the service industry plays, it is necessary to for the administrations to cognize how to pull off people to acquire efficient and orderly service.

The graph below shows the rise in the service sector over the old ages. Developed states including the EU have a high per centum of people working in the service sector.

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2.2 Challenges

2.2.1 Recruitment and Selection

‘The recruiter has to be effectual in the extremely specialized interaction of the choice interview, where the undertaking is to happen out the relevant information about an applier on which to establish a opinion as to whether or non that individual would fit the accomplishments, experience and attitudes required in the occupation to be filled ‘ . ( Torrington et Al, 2008. pp 94 )

One issue that comes to the head in pull offing people in the service sector is the enlisting and choice of staff. Pull offing people in the service sector is going more ambitious as administrations have to look for the right people who possess non merely makings but the right ‘attitude ‘ and ‘people accomplishments ‘ . There is a rise in the demand of ‘social accomplishments ‘ and ‘personal features ‘ in the frontline service. Recruitment and choice in this context relies to a great extent on societal accomplishments instead than proficient accomplishments as there is a demand for employees to interact good with the clients to carry through the demand of the concern. It has become progressively of import for directors seek to acquire the right individual that will ‘fit the portion ‘ . Not needfully based on experience but besides on personality traits.

Geting the right applier for the occupation consumes clip and costs a batch. For illustration, in the 2009/2010 IRS study into graduate enlisting, employers listed hapless quality of appliers as one of the major reverses in enlisting.

Chart 4

High enlisting costs are portion of the issues that directors have to constantly tackle with as it takes changeless clip and attempt to acquire the right campaigner for the occupation. It is of import for directors to spot how to take the right people to avoid a high turnover.

Rise in the Demand of Aesthetic accomplishments

One of the most cardinal alterations that has taken topographic point in the last two decennaries has been the turning inclination to label what in earlier times would hold been seen by most as personal features, attitudes, character traits or sensitivities as accomplishments. ( Warhurst et al, 2004 )

Soft accomplishments such as personality traits and general people accomplishments are going progressively of import. Frontline staffs need effectual soft accomplishments to associate with clients. This is a challenge in the service sector because such accomplishments are difficult to pick. There is a demand for changeless accomplishment development as the alteration in the service sector. The hunt for the right individual for the occupation has led to the rise in the demand for aesthetic accomplishments. Frontline employees ‘ visual aspect is now an built-in portion of an administration as they are the first point of contact between the client and the administration. Frontline service industries tend to trust more on aesthetic accomplishments today that in the past old ages. John Philpott a Chief economic expert with CIPD ( Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development ) puts it this manner, “ In such a occupations market, the manner people look, frock, behave and present themselves joins the long-list of ‘soft accomplishments ‘ employers require. Some economic experts have coined the phrase ‘aesthetic labor ‘ to depict workers hired chiefly for their image – and recommend ‘style developing ‘ to guarantee jobseekers can fit the outlooks of employers and clients ” . ( Personnel Today, 2002 ) .

Controversial Issues


The Merriam Webster dictionary defines lookism as “ bias or favoritism based on physical visual aspect and particularly physical visual aspect believed to fall short of social impressions of beauty ” . Research has shown that employers are seemingly more concerned about the manner an employee expressions and behaves than the makings they have. Employers have stuck to question as this gives them a opportunity to detect a possible employee. Job specifications sing frontline service normally have words in the advertizement that suggest what the employers are looking for. Looks/physical visual aspects have taken front topographic point over the old ages and employers need to be careful in their advertizements more work is being done on ‘lookism favoritism ‘ . ( Tietje et al ) .


In recruiting and choosing people for frontline service work, the demand to ‘speak right ‘ is indispensable for some employers. This has created the construct of the ‘style labor market ‘ . ( Nickson et al, 2004 ) . However, the interconnection of the universe through globalization and free motion of people across boundary lines mean that people from different nationalities might use for a specific occupation. Directors have to be cautious to avoid any signifier of favoritism based on race. In this context, lodging to makings can organize a good base for indiscrimination.

2.2.2 Emotional labor

‘aˆ¦ portion of the occupation is to mask weariness and annoyance, for otherwise the labour would demo in an indecent manner, and the productaˆ¦aˆ¦.would be damaged ‘ . ( Hochschild, 1983 )

Pull offing emotional labor in frontline service is important for the success of an administration. Employees who can non set their feelings under cheque put the administration at hazard. Though emotional labor is important in frontline service, it can do jobs if non handled decently.

Hochschild describes three signifiers of jobsA affecting emotional labor. They are those that require face to face or voice to voice contact with the populace, require the worker to bring forth an emotional province in another individual and the occupations that allow employees to exert a grade of control over their emotional activities. This can take to emotional exhaustion and emphasis. ( Hochschild,1983 ) . Harmonizing to Grandey, emotional labourA is a signifier of emotional ordinance wherein workers are expected to expose certain emotions as portion of their occupation, and to advance organisational ends. The intended effects of these emotional shows are on other, targeted people, who can be clients, clients, subsidiaries or colleagues. ( Grandey, 2000 ) . Having a signifier of control over one ‘s emotions is considered to be skilled work. Nicky James, in a stimulating essay dedicated to “ emotional labor ” , defines it as, “ the work involved in covering with other peoples ‘ feelings, a nucleus constituent of which is the ordinance of emotions ” ( James, 1989:15 ) .

Emotional labor can frequently take to emphasize when employees are invariably required to sometimes move against how they feel. Emotional labor has led to work related emphasis in many administrations with employees taking yearss off work which impact on the administration by the loss valuable clip and money. When frontline staff feel overloaded with undertakings, this can take to emphasize and inefficient work. Stress related issues have led to high turnover rates which employers have to cover with. The changeless demand for a everyday followed service can take its toll on employees.

There should be channels for frontline staff where they are able to speak about their emotional demands and how they feel about a peculiar occupation undertakings. Employees need to be seen and regarded as assets non liabilities. Another manner to pacify stress related issues is through occupation flexibleness. The work-life balance construct has been on the rise and administrations are seeing the benefits of holding an efficient work force.

To pull off stress related issues, directors need to twenty-four hours offs, occupation sharing or portion clip work. In the long tally this will be a benefit to the administration and the employees would non hold to take so many yearss off work because of emphasis. The rise of work – life balance is important in today ‘s fast paced universe and it takes the employers to see the demand for this in their administration to cut down absences and salvage money.

2.2.3 Training and Development

A critical issue in service organisations may be to retain service employees in general, and specifically those employees who are talented in working with clients and presenting first-class service quality. ( Slatten, 2011 ) .

After the enlisting and choice procedure, directors are faced with the undertaking of retaining the best employees. They have to retain them by changeless preparation and development Can soft accomplishments which are needed for the frontline service be trained? Frontline service industries require ‘people accomplishments ‘ and employers are faced with the quandary of preparation people for frontline service. With the rise in the usage of aesthetic accomplishments, pull offing the frontline work force is turn outing more demanding. Employers feel the force per unit area non merely is choosing and enrolling the right employees for the occupation but to maintain on developing them. There is a demand for administrations to put in developing for their front-line employees as these are the first people clients or clients come in contact with.

Soft accomplishments can be learnt and require pattern and assurance in the occupation specification. For illustration, an employee who has no cognition of working in a cafe is gawky for the first few yearss or hebdomads but finally gets comfy with the work after functioning clients on a day-to-day footing. There will be no demand for changeless supervising after that. This besides applies to an employee working in an administration.

In analyzing preparation and development in the service sector, a concern worth adverting is in function lucidity. An employee might non execute a specific undertaking good because of uncertainness. Slatter explained this clearly in saying that “ when an employee receives and understands clearly the information required to make the occupation, there will be a positive consequence on employees ‘ perceived service quality ” ( Slatter,2011 ) . No two service interactions are the same and this gives rise to uncertainness in the service bringing procedure. If an employee is certain of what to make they will be confident in presenting effectual service. On the other manus, uncertainness gives rise to hapless service bringing. It is an employer ‘s responsibility to province the right occupation specifications and give the employee a vision of the ends set and where they expect to be in the hereafter.

Frontline employees in service organisations are required to interact with clients and are expected to cover with a figure of petitions ( Karatepe and Uludag, 2008 ) . Directors are every bit responsible for authorising and developing frontline employees to supply a service that reflects the company. The inquiries posed to director are can the accomplishments that are required for frontline service be developed, trained or larn?

This is where the issues of best tantrum and best pattern semen in. This means that developing patterns will be different across assorted service sectors. For illustration, branded services such as McDonalds guarantee that employees follow a modus operandi to guarantee unvarying quality.

Best Fit versus Best Practice

The accomplishments that matter most are dependent on the sort of service sector and the degree of discretion given to the worker. The rule of ‘best tantrum ‘ versus ‘best pattern ‘ has to be applied here. Employers are naming personal features among the accomplishments they are seeking for. There is now a tendency of ‘looking good ‘ and ‘sounding right ‘ . Best practise is normally a manner of following regulations that have worked for some administrations. It is a standard manner of pattern. Best pattern is non ever executable as what works for one administration might non work for another administration. It is of import to follow accomplishments that fit an administration.

In branded service industries, administrations seek to command all the facets of frontline staff by puting up regulations of what they should make and state at every minute. This gets to the point of being a robotic signifier of work. Administrations need to calculate out the degree of discretion needed for a occupation specification before enrolling. They need to see to what extent the employees will hold a say in a given state of affairs.

Best patterns are non ever best for the administration. Employees moving on modus operandi based worked are frequently left confused when faced with a state of affairs or question from a client which is non in the ‘handbook ‘ . There are pros and cons to both best tantrum and best pattern so directors need to put in proper preparation for the employees and promote them to utilize discretion when necessary. Acting on discretion requires speedy on-the-spot believing which can non be determined by a 30 minute interview with an employee. It is relevant to observe that no best pattern remains best for long every bit in this fast paced universe, people are looking for better ways to make things.

Best pattern is based on uniformity which can be a danger to employees as they lose their voice. Pfeffer identified 16 patterns for ‘competitive advantage through people ‘ . Best pattern is non suited for all state of affairss. ( Pfeffer,1994. ) Pfeffer references seeing the work force as an plus non an disbursal. Best tantrum on the other manus is moulded around the environment of concern. It is manner of direction that is created specifically for a peculiar work environment. For illustration, Lockyer et Al point out that best pattern does non ever work in the enlisting and choice of frontline staff with a focal point on hotel staff because most qualities needed for associating with clients is more of soft accomplishment instead than difficult proficient accomplishments. Having a making does non intend that an employee has the right people skill in associating with clients. In the choice and preparation of frontline employees, Schneider makes it clear utilizing the eating house illustration that there are different “ choice and preparation of employees for eating houses in different market sections ” . ( Schneider, 1994 ) .

It is the employer ‘s duty to increase the motive of employees by steering them through the administrations ‘ vision and long term ends. There should besides be a opportunity for calling development. The demand for first-class client service for the success of the administration should be outlined efficaciously. There is a demand to put in staff preparation and development. The employees should be given a opportunity to do determinations sing their service to clients. Having a robotic signifier of work does non actuate the employees to set in their best attempt. Reward systems to maintain the best employees.

3.0 Decision

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