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    CASE STUDY: The SNOW Mountain Hotel Essay

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    CASE STUDY: The SNOW Mountain Hotel BY b3b3to SNOW Mountain Resort: The Pride of SNOW Village SNOW Village is located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, 75 miles from Vancouver. While forty years ago SNOW Village was virtually unknown, it is now a worldwide attraction drawing in more than 4 million visitors annually. SNOW Village owes this success to the major development of its ski resort, the SNOW Mountain Resort – which was transformed from a low capacity ski destination with minimal amenities into a top-end ski complex with an unrivalled reputation for luxury mountain vacations.

    Today, SNOW Mountain Resort is seen as the pride of SNOW Village and is home to approximately 8600 permanent residents, 1 1 5 accommodation businesses (including hotels, condos and bed & breakfasts), 93 restaurants, lounges and bars, and 207 retail shops. For the past seven years, the SNOW Mountain Resort has been voted the ‘best ski resort’ by Mountain Sports & Living magazine. Whilst its skiing facilities and scenery typically receive top scores, it has also been recognised for the high level of service and value that guests receive. The SNOW Mountain Resort is host to a steady number f visitors over both the winter and summer months.

    However, levels of demand tend to fluctuate in a dramatic way between the peak and off-peak seasons. The latest figures show that the average number of visitors during such seasons can be anything between 5000 and 1 5000 a day. Coping with these fluctuations effectively is seen as an ongoing challenge for the many businesses operating within the resort. Thus, a key concern for these businesses is to manage fluctuations in demand whilst maintaining a high level of customer service. SNOW Mountain Hotel: Topping the Best Ski Resort Hotels List in North America

    Nestled at the base of SNOW Mountain, the SNOW Mountain Hotel is part of the SNOW Hotel Group which has over 25 landmark hotels across cities in Canada and the US, as well as a number of larger Resort properties in ski and beach resorts in the US, Bermuda, Barbados and Acapulco. The SNOW Mountain Hotel has 558 guest rooms, 28,000 square feet of meeting space, a health club and spa, and a golf course. Its staffing levels tend to vary in line with the fluctuating number of visitors throughout the year – with approximately 250 employees when ‘business is slow and 40 employees during the winter months.

    Up to now, the SNOW Mountain Hotel has been able to demonstrate great flexibility in confguring its resources to address varying levels of demand and in creating superior value for its customers by swiftly responding to their diverse needs and wants. Last year, the SNOW Mountain Hotel reputation as a destination of choice for ski enthusiasts. SNOW Mountain Hotel’s HR Strategy: A Passion for Excellence The SNOW Mountain Hotel’s human resource practices are framed by the overarching HR strategy of its parent organisation, which is driven by a passion for xcellence.

    This HR strategy is underpinned by a number of guiding principles and values including spontaneous celebration, a commitment to the creation of a culture and environment in which the human spirit will soar, and an intent on promoting the best experience for past, present and potential employees. During a recent conference of its human resource managers, the Group reaffirmed the tremendous value they place on their people and repeatedly stressed that by focusing on employee morale, commitment and retention and teamwork, customer and investor alue would be maximised.

    This particular orientation led to the identification of a set of key ‘strategic thrusts’, including ‘becoming an employer of choice’ and focusing on management succession’. The HR department in SNOW Mountain Hotel In accordance with the key strategic thrusts mentioned above, the HR department in SNOW Mountain Hotel has developed what they refer to as the vision’, which is to be recognised as an ’employer of choice’ in SNOW Village within the next 2 years.

    Linked to this goal is a recruitment strategy that emphasises attitude (enshrined in the logan We hire for attitude and train for skill’) and an attractive benefits programme. Changes on the Horizon As is the case for each unit within the SNOW Group, the SNOW Mountain Hotel had until recently a dedicated on-site HR team typically consisting of an HR manager and an HR coordinator to deal with paperwork and other HR administrators.

    In addition, a centralised team in the USA handled payroll and a limited amount of administration relating to recruitment, compensation and benefits. The parent organisation is now deciding whether to centralise its HR activities in a shared service centre. It is hoped that doing so will improve the overall quality of HR admin across the organisation while freeing up more time for in-house staff to focus on strategic work as part of a move towards the implementation of a new business partner model.

    Differing Views on the Way Forward Line managers would be expected to become more involved in day to day HR matters and take on many of the responsibilities previously carried out by the on-site HR managers. The HR department has expressed concerns about how this will be responsibility for HR work has been rather negative, as can be seen in the following emark: I am wasting so much of my time dealing with staff issues and problems.

    I am not an HR manager and IVe got bigger priorities than looking at application forms and preparing for interviews. I’m already responsible for form-filling for absence and holidays and for other activities like dealing with staff discipline and appraisals. More than 40% of my time is taken up with HR-related work and I have no time to run my own department! This ‘negativity has been reinforced by the general manager of the SNOW Hotel Group, a known traditionalist who has been promoted through the ranks.

    While emaining a great supporter of the value of HR to the business, he still holds the strong view that an in-house HR team is the way forward: I want my line managers to focus on running the business and making a profit and my HR people to focus on the softer HR management and administration issue. On the other hand, the HR Director has a different perspective and some forward- looking ideas about how HR should support and contribute to the business. She is keen to promote the business partner model of HRM across the SNOW Hotel Group and to ensure that HR is fully engaged with all line managers.

    Drawing on her rich xperience in implementing the business partner model in her previous organisation, she wants to develop a change agenda whereby: (i) HR is freed of its administrative burden so that it can concentrate on value-added strategic activities; (it) all HR managers have the necessary skills and motivation to achieve business targets at no extra, if not reduced, costs; (iii) line managers are given proper training to take on new HR responsibilities; and (iv) new technology is introduced to enable the restructuring service systems and the devolution of greater responsibility for people management to line managers.

    A top priority for the HR Director is to consider how HR can improve its relationship with business leaders and make its voice heard at board level in order to drive efficiencies and business improvements whilst demonstrating their impact on bottom line performance and productivity. She also believes that it is imperative for HR to start working closely with line managers in order to offer them the support they need in the discharge of their new HR responsibilities.

    The HR department in SNOW Mountain Hotel finds itself at the crossroads, having to grapple with the differing views and tensions emanating from the top. It is therefore crucial that a final decision be made on the way forward as this will have far-reaching and long-term consequences for both the HR department and its parent organisation. Another problem which has preoccupied HR departments across the SNOW Hotel Group and which now tops the agenda of the HR team and line managers in SNOW Mountain Hotel is the high employee turnover.

    Factors contributing to this high turnover include the following: staff residing in SNOW Village failing to cope with high housing and living costs; low Job satisfaction at the lower levels of the rganisation; burnout during peak and boredom during off-peak seasons; difficulty in achieving a work-life balance; and perceptions of unrealistic corporate expectations.

    Elaborating on this particular problem, the HR director has re-described it as a persistent labour turnover cycle: This cycle begins with a high labour turnover due to failure to maintain adequate staffing levels, leaving existing staff overworked and creating the need for a constant influx of new staff requiring attention and training.

    This forces managers into a fire- fighting position where they are unable to delegate as much as they would like and truggle to meet operational challenges, leading to high levels of management turnover. This in turn triggers the need to hire new managers who try to implement drastic changes in departmental priorities, causing increased stress and turnover levels among staff and what we have here is a negative spiral with an ever- increasing rate of turnover.

    The Need for a Radical Rethink of the Recruitment and Selection Strategy For the HR Director, this persistent turnover cycle is closely linked to the current recruitment and selection strategy, which is mostly reactive and seems to be driven y the sole concern of ‘getting the numbers right’ in tackling seasonal fluctuations in demand levels. She contends that recruitment and selection should not only be about ‘getting the numbers right’ but also about ‘getting the right people in’.

    According to her, there is need for a radical rethink of the current recruitment and selection strategy that can effectively reverse the labour turnover cycle in which the organisation seems to be locked: We need a new recruitment and selection strategy that demonstrates forward planning and breaks the turnover cycle that has plagued the SNOW Hotel Group. After all, everyone at our last HR conference agreed that this is where we should start if we are to convince management that we can add value to the business.

    The new recruitment and selection strategy would have to emphasise flexibility, commitment and creativity – where new staff and managers would be able to adjust their work patterns in line with the fluctuating demand levels that typify the resort industry; display commitment-seeking behaviours characterised by a genuine interest in the Job advertised together with a potential for progressing their career within the organisation; and indicate a positive attitude towards learning and hareholder value and generate enhanced organisational performance and success in the longer term.

    Since the adoption of new technology is high on the change agenda, the HR director is keen to look into how this can aid the recruitment process to enable the constructive profiling of potential recruits, enhance the organisation’s image as an employer of choice, and tap into talent pools and professional communities that have so far been neglected.

    Whilst addressing operational challenges that demand urgent attention, the HR director believes that a new recruitment and selection strategy ffers a unique opportunity for the start of a close collaboration between HR and line managers – dispelling in the process doubts about the importance of devolving some of the HR responsibilities to the line and about its positive impact at both departmental and organisational levels.

    Coursework Assignment You have been hired as consultant to the HR team in SNOW Mountain Hotel. You are required to write a report to advise the HR team on the way forward by addressing the key HR issues and challenges arising from the new strategic orientation of its parent organisation. Drawing upon and referencing relevant theories and models of HRM, your report should include the following: 1 .

    An explanation of the business partner model and the advantages and disadvantages of using this model (600 words). 2. A critical appraisal of the use of shared service centres and the removal of on-site HR professionals (600 words). 3. A critical examination of the practicality of devolving HR responsibilities to line managers (600 words). Use the following format when writing your report: Introduction (100 words) Clear statement of purpose Context of report (both theoretical and organisational)

    Clear statement of proceedings (to provide a brief overview of the following sections) Body (1800 words) Business Partner Model (600 words) Explanation of business partner model Internal and external drivers of the business partner model Value to the business (strategic orientation; integration of hard and soft approaches to HRM; impact on bottom-line performance and productivity) Potential disadvantages of implementing the model The use of centralised shared service centres (600 words) Explanation of shared service centres Internal and external drivers for developing shared service centres Benefits and rawbacks Devolution of HR Responsibilities to the Line Managers (600 words) Meaning and aim of devolution to the line Benefits and drawbacks Practical issues to be addressed to ensure HR and line managers are fully engaged Conclusion (100 words) Summary of key issues raised Final comments reinforcing importance of report and pointing to the way forward List of References (adhering to the Harvard Referencing Style) Appendices (if appropriate) Word Count and Submission Date As per breakdown above, your report should be around 2000 words (10% below or above the limit is acceptable). It accounts for 50% of your final mark. It is due to be submit to the coursework box outside Room 1/53 at Craiglockhart.

    NB – In writing your report, you must demonstrate that you have referred to relevant academic sources and that you are able to apply the theory covered in lectures and tutorials to the case study. You must adhere to the Harvard Referencing Style. You should also refer to the marking criteria to make sure that your report meets the requirements for a pass at this level of study. Introduction to Human Resource Management Case study Assessment Criteria Criteria Weighting Merit: 5% and above Good Pass 55 – Acceptable Pass 40 ??” 54% Poor: Less than 40% Overall presentation & style Neat legible presentation. Correct spelling. Accurate grammar and punctuation.

    Meaning clear and fluid with an articulate academic writing style. Neat legible presentation. Occasional spelling errors. Mainly accurate grammar and punctuation. Coherent meaning and fluent writing style. Neat presentation. Frequent spelling errors. Fairly accurate grammar and punctuation. Meaning mostly clear and adequate writing style. Untidy presentation and difficult to read. Significant spelling and grammatical errors. Meaning unclear in places. Language lacks fluency. Quality of Introduction Clearly states the purpose of the report. Effectively sets the scene in both a theoretical and organisational context. Explains in specific terms how the report will be structured. ood indication of the structure and contents of the report. Although unclear, the purpose of the report can be inferred. Context of the report not altogether clear. Some indication of the contents of the report. Leaves the reader in doubt as to the purpose of the report. Context of the report unclear. No indication of the contents of the report. Evidence of research and wider reading Demonstrates sound knowledge of an extensive range of appropriate and current literature. Demonstrates good knowledge of a reasonable range of appropriate and current Demonstrates a reasonable knowledge of a limited range of appropriate literature. Little and superficial knowledge of appropriate literature.

    Critical analysis and coherence of argument Critical approach to the literature. Thorough analysis of key issues raised. Arguments highly developed to consider the practical implications of the theories discussed. Attempts to take a critical approach to the literature. Some analysis of the key issues raised. Argument reasonably well developed to indicate generally good understanding of the practical implications of the theories discussed. Approach to literature mainly descriptive. Limited analysis of the key issues raised. Arguments underdeveloped but demonstrates some understanding of the practical implications of theories discussed. Approach to literature relies on description.

    Inadequate level of analysis of the key issues raised. Arguments are incoherent and fail to consider the practical implications of the theories discussed. Quality of conclusion Identifies significant points from preceding discussion. Draws together main threads of argument. Makes a concluding statement based on these arguments. No new information introduced. Summarises main points effectively. No new information introduced. Adequate summary of main points. No new information introduced. Fails Referencing Literature is accurately integrated into the text. All sources used are correctly acknowledged. Harvard citation method used. Literature is mostly integrated into the text.

    Most sources are correctly acknowledged. Harvard citation method used. Some iterature is integrated into the text. Most sources are acknowledged, although some errors. Harvard citation method used but inconsistencies. Literature is not integrated into the text of not used. Sources unacknowledged. Harvard method not used/used poorly. Introduction to Human Resource Management HRM08101 CASE STUDY FEEDBACK SHEET Matriculation Number: Marker: Programme: Mark: Merit: 65% and above Good pass: 55 – Acceptable: 40 – 55% Poor: Less than 40% Merit Acceptable Poor Quality of introduction Evidence of research and wider reading Quality of conclusion Comments:

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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