Weighting, type & length of assessment: 50% of total module mark, written report(s), 2500 words (+/-10%).
Deadline: Tuesday 7th June 2022 11.59pm. Students should submit on the Brightspace Turnitin link. (Don’t leave it to the last minute)
Assignment Requirements: see Guidance note for details.
This assignment consists of a series of tasks, drawing on the issues examined in the final four weeks of your course.
You are the HR director for ‘PoshChocs’ a rapidly growing, medium-sized UK chocolate manufacturer with a significant presence in the EU and Norway and a growing presence in parts of South East Asia, especially China. The chocolate is a high quality, prestige product with good ingredients, including premium cocoa.
‘Poshchocs’ employs 270 staff. The company board of six, aside from the HR director (you), is entirely male. The CEO pay package rose by 48 per cent last year, mainly because he achieved a bonus target. The company is considering whether to list on a stock exchange. One prospective investment fund (for shares) stated that the bonus system was not entirely clear and seemed to be very generous to the board if it achieves modest growth targets.
Staff turnover is growing. It is still mostly low, particularly at senior levels but it struggles to retain ‘Generation Y’ (those who are aged 25-40) employees. The median salary is £28,000. Uncompetitive pay, limited family-friendly policies, a work culture hostile to flexible working from home and a long hours culture are among the issues that came up in recent employee engagement surveys. Most of its consumers are well-educated ‘Generation Y’ ones.
For the staff in the small factory, minimum wage law is adhered to but you wonder if more can be done in this area to enhance the firms ‘ethical’ credentials. Nearly all of the fifty factory staff are women, most with children of school age.
A recent commercial success has been the direct delivery of birthday/special occasion boxes of chocolates to customers using couriers. However, the employment status of these riders is not always clear and labour turnover is high with some complaints about poor quality of service from riders (and concerns about how they are treated from some customers). There are also a high number of road accidents among riders trying to meet demanding time targets. The CEO argues the service needs a better service reflecting the values and brand image of ‘PoshChocs’.
The cocoa for ‘PoshChocs’ mainly comes from the Ivory Coast and Ghana. There are concerns about the use of child labour in the supply chain and other abuses of labour which could badly damage the reputation of the firm unless thorough measures are taken. Additionally, there is general agreement from the Board that the agricultural practices to grow the chocolate need to reflect good sustainability practice.
To prepare for its potential share listing you are asked to prepare the following:
Task 1: A short Gender Pay Gap report for the board. Outline the key points it would address (you can draw upon examples). (c.550-650 words).
Task 2: A briefing paper on pay strategy for all staff including the company board. (c.550-650 words)
Task 3: A paper on the employee relations options open to ‘PoshChocs’ for its courier service (c.550-650 words).
Task 4: A paper on international Supply Chain management issues, especially with regard to labour standards, so that good practice on child labour and other labour and environmental issues is practiced (c.550-650 words)
Each paper should have a (approximately) two/three sentence summary (or two or three bullet points) at the beginning and should make at least TWO recommendations.
Draft feedback: 1st June (in person & hardcopy); 2nd June online.