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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Various contributing external factors that currently can have an impact on an organisation's business and HR functions is government legislation, economic conditions, technological advances and workforce demographics. Workology. 2018

Government legislation will require HR to ensure any new legislation is implemented and adhered to within the organisation and can influence every HR process.  Not following legislation can result in serious ramifications to the organisation, which can include receiving a fine and some organisations maybe closed down. New compliance can also put added pressure on HR to be operating correctly within the law.

In April 2017, HMRC reviewed and updated the tax legislation for Limited and Personal Services Companies (PSC's) whereby the responsibility of confirming the tax status was devolved to local authorities to administer.  The impact on Camden was the outcome of workers tax status could mean that crucial consultants working on high profile projects could potential leave the organisation due to having to pay tax and national insurance contributions as if they were a permanent employee.  The impact on HR was they had to resource the administering of the legislation.

This was a massive exercise where I had to administer the IR35 assessment tool for every Ltd or PSC to provide an outcome of their tax status either being inside or outside of the tool.  If workers fell inside of IR35, their tax status had to change to Pay as You Earn (PAYE) as if they were a permanent employee.  If the status comes out as outside IR35 this meant the Ltd or PSC could continue to work as they were and be responsible for paying their taxes.

Economic conditions can have an impact and influences within the organisation through the hiring of staff.  It is important to know what is happening and trending externally to support and prepare for these conditions and plan for the changes that may occur so that you can deal with any economic turns.

This is particularly important in recruiting, resourcing and identifying the different mediums that you can put in place to support the changing ways of recruiting.  For example, Camden has followed different advertising through social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn, instead of only using the traditional methods of advertising for jobs.  Changing the way in how the Council recruits have increased a wider spectrum of candidates across the board.

Technological advances are a constantly evolving and considered an external influence as when new technologies are introduced this can provide opportunities for HR to look at downsizing and ways how to save money.  A job that may have required various individuals because of new technology may now only require one person, which will be an internal cost reduction to the organisation.

Where this is evident within Camden is transiting from the old Oracle payroll system to Oracle Fusion, which is more advance and cloud-based.  The cloud allows much more storage of data and has increase staff's email inbox size from 4gb to 100gb of data which is a massive increase.  This will also stop the IT servers from clogging up and shutting down due to not being able to cope with the overload of data that is stored on individuals systems.

Workforce demographics are changing where currently we have an aging workforce and we need to look at ways how we can attract a new generation.  This will entail hiring in a different way and offer different types of compensation packages that are appealing to the younger generation and ensuring the work environment is contusive to how the future generation works.

2.1  An analysis of internal forces which can shape the HR agenda

There are vast ranges of internal forces in the public sector that can shape the HR agenda. In April 2016, the Camden Council made the decision to move into a new organisational structure. The main reason for the change was to make sure it could continue to provide the best possible public services for residents. The new structure helped to focus on providing support to people early on before problems get worse which will ensure more people are able to overcome disadvantages, support themselves and ultimately live safe, healthy and independent lives for as long as possible.

Changing the structure saved money, as by 2017 the council funding from central government halved.  By 2017/18, the council aim was to save £78 million.  Back-office saving s were achieved of £30 million and changing the way the council previously were organised saved £2million from the most senior levels of management.

The organisation has three directorates, Supporting People, Supporting Communities and Corporate Services.  The HR function falls within Corporate Services directorate, which focuses on strategic direction and providing essential support services. It oversees the use of resources, develops digital and data capabilities and helps to adapt and change to remain innovative and ensure focus on the future. This directorate covers HR, finance and corporate functions as well as Camden's customer services.  The HR functions within Corporate Services are HR Strategic Leads, Organisational Development and Learning and Development, Specialist HR Advice (Pay, Policy and Equality), Health and Safety, Business Advisors and Resourcing.

One model that has underpinned and influenced the HR agenda is the Ulrich model (CIPD 2018), which many local authorities have adopted over the period of the initial design of the model. For example within Camden HR we had Business Partners which operated as described in the Ulrich model, but due to organisational change and re-design these roles changed to HR Strategic Leads to fit the future business needs. Camden operates transactional where they have implemented various self-service systems within HR, such as the Taleo recruitment system, which allows self-service for managers to view submitted applications by candidates.  Candidates upload their application and personal details and can save their application and log in and out at any time and pick where they left off with their application.  

Within HR, there is also the Oracle self-service system where employees can update their personal information, view learning and development records and view their payslips. There is also the Matrix system, which is third party for the use of the engagement of temporary agency staff.  Managers use the system to engage temporary workers, the order placed then goes directly to the chosen agencies and suitable candidates are forwarded for consideration.  Agency workers complete timesheets via the system and managers authorise the timesheets via the system. The advantage of using these systems is it reduces resourcing and HR staffing costs.

The HR outsourcing model (CIPD 2018) has key benefits such reduced costs, increased efficiency, and improved access to HR IT systems. The model was implemented within Camden where both permanent and temporary recruitment was outsourced to an external provider Hays Recruitment for a number of years.  After a period, the council found that they did not have enough control of the service and after reviewing, the service provided by Hays found it was not cost effective and there were various compliance issues.  The council decided to bring permanent recruitment back in-house and retender for the temporary agency contract.

Other internal forces that shape HR strategies is stakeholder demands (CIPD 2018).  During the re-procurement of the temporary agency contract, I was responsible for writing various reports covering the reason for retendering the temporary agency contract, what model was going to be used, the different framework options available which were discussed with the relevant management teams, portfolio holder (councillor), Head of HR and OD and signed off by stakeholder's of the business.  The stakeholders would ask questions for clarification to ensure that they understood the report content to ensure that it would be sustainable for the service that I was proposing. During the re-procurement process, what I learnt about stakeholder demands is that you have to be able to balance individuals and service needs, taking on board their experiences, views and provide a rationale of why and how you have come to a decision that best suits the organisation's requirements.

The impact to Camden has provided more ownership to managers, giving them more autonomy and control.  This then enables a reduction of resources within the services and a more strategic focus on the required objectives.

Business objectives (Business Goals and Objectives examples. 2018) derive from business planning, which translates into achievable goals.  The goals support the strategy of the organisation for achieving its vision.  Business objectives require commitment and discipline to follow through and achieve the required actions to get there. A good model to support written objectives is the SMART model. (S.M.A.R.T. goal setting | SMART | Coaching tools | YourCoach Gent. 2018).  The model provides you with measurable goals with a timeframe to achieve the objectives set and consist of specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely set of objectives.

2.2 Different tools for comparing the business environment

Various tools can be utilised when analysing the business environment and have different advantages and disadvantages and organisations may have varying reasons to which of the tools they will use.  The two tools that will be analysed is the SWOT and PESTLE shown in table 1 below.

Table 1

Advantages Disadvantages

SWOT • A straight forward 4 box framework

• Highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation.

• Provides strategic thinking development.

• Management teams can focus on strengths and build opportunities.

• Enables a flexible approach.

(CIPD 2018) • The amount of data used for decisions can be over-simplified and easy to use insufficient data.

• The process needs to administered frequently to be effective.

• It can be difficult to anticipate developments that may affect an organisation in the future due to the pace of change.

• Seeing the wood through the trees can be made difficult due to capturing too much data and risks leading to ‘paralysis by analysis'.

PESTLE • Simple framework to use

• It provides an understanding of the wider business environment.

• It encourages the development of external and strategic thinking.

• Organisations can anticipate future business threats and take action to avoid or minimise their impact. (CIPD 2018) • Some users (of a PESTLE analysis) oversimplify the amount of data used for decisions – it's easy to use a limited selection of data.

• The risk of capturing too much data may lead to ‘paralysis by analysis'.

• The pace of change makes it increasingly difficult to anticipate developments that may affect an organisation in the future.

The benefit of utilising the SWOT model is it is a good self-assessment tool for management; however, the components can seem unreliably modest.  Deciding the strength and weaknesses and the impact of the Opportunities and Threats of the organisation is more complexed than it may first appear.  Fundamentally, there is the risk of making incorrect expectations when assessing the SWOT model can contribute to management procrastinating when deciding on different strategic alternatives, which can then result in unnecessary delays.  The SWOT model was used for our team away day to identify how well we are working as a team and the areas for improvement. You could use the SWOT with other techniques such as PESTLE. (CIPD 2018)

The value of using the PESTLE model it is a simple framework with an understanding of the wider business and the organisation can anticipate future business, opportunities and manipulate them.  There are some same comparators with both the models, such as simple and straight forward framework, capturing strategic thinking, identify future business opportunities, over simplifying data and capturing too much data.  I used the PESTLE model when analysing the requirements for the re-procurement of the temporary agency contract.  (CIPD 2018)

2.3   The Key Stages in strategy formulation and the implementation and the role of HR

When developing an effective strategy that correctly aligns with and supports the organisation's overall objectives, HR must have a full appreciation and understanding of the business.  HR need to create and organise interpositions to meet the business requirements and increase their business acumen awareness to gain a comprehensive all round view of the business. (CIPD: Log in to the site. 2018).  

Devising and formulating a strategy and its implementation can be supported by using the five-step approach, analysis, formulation, evaluation, implementation and control.


During analysis we have to look at where we are now and where have we come from. To accomplish the answers we can implement the SWOT, PESTLE and marketing mix, Porter, Ansoff.  Before the above questions are answered, the strategy should not be developed.


The second stage of the process is formulation where we question where do we want to get to and why do we want to get there. We then need to look at scenario planning, visioning process, individual and group innovation to establish the answers of the questions raised at this stage of the process.

Camden in 2025 sets out its vision, a place where everyone contributes to shared goals of achieving a safe, fair, creative and active community. To develop this vision, everyone who lives, works and studies in the borough was invited to inform what Camden as a place should be like in 2025, to anticipate future challenges, and to consider new and innovative ways to tackle some of our most difficult problems. The result is a vision for the future that is deeply rooted in the values of the people of Camden, and builds strongly on the ambitions of the first Camden Plan (2012-2017).

To support the Camden 2025 vision, the council has developed a plan, covering the next four years (2018-2022), which sets out how it will deliver its services and spend its money in line with the ambitions set out in Camden 2025. The Camden Plan reflects the need to work differently but is also very clear about the value of local public services. There is a need to work differently, not to step away.


Evaluation is the next step in the process where we ask do our objectives make sense and can we do it in the timescales? We then examine the strategic processes of critically assessing risk, checking figure, planning and consulting stakeholders.  At this point, we would evaluate decisions made so far.  


The next step in the process is the implementation stage is questioning how are we going to get there, who will we use and what problems we must overcome?  We would look at problem solving, force field-analysis, leadership and change management, motivation and persuasion.

HR need to become ‘business savvy' enhancing the level of understanding and technical expertise that is more likely to be recognised in others than recognised in ourselves. To achieve success in business you will recognise becoming an expert in your field is an ongoing learning and discovery process, communication, problem solving and developing understanding. (Fifo Capital. 2018).  Four foundations of business savvy is to understand the business model at depth, generating insight through evidence and data, connecting the curiosity, purpose and impact and leading with integrity, consideration and challenge. (CIPD: Log in to the site. 2018)


Next, we would analyse how to achieve goals and implement new strategy, evaluate different approaches. Within Camden council, the organisational strategy is set out in The Camden Way and Camden Plan 2025.  Both residents and staff were part of the consultation to gather their feedback to contribute to the objectives and ambitions set out in the plan.


The last step in the process is control.  How will we know when we have got there?  This is supported by doing checks, using KPI's, reviewing goals and milestones.  The organisation must implement processes for measuring progress and success.  (CIPD: Log in to the site. 2018) At this stage we need to ensure that we are use the SMART model specific, measurable, acheivable, realistic and timebound. (S.M.A.R.T. goal setting | SMART | Coaching tools | YourCoach Gent. 2018. S.M.A.R.T. goal setting)

HR plays a major role in the Camden Plan and 2025 vision whereby they will work with the different services areas to achieve the vision through directorate and service objectives.  It is important for HR to enhance the organisation's economic performance, improvement and competitive advantage. It is HR's overarching service priority to support the organisation deliver the vision of Camden 2025. This may mean delivering on specific initiatives, but underpinning this is the development and delivery of quality business as usual HR services that meet the needs of the organisation.

HR have created a framework illustrating how the individual team portfolio priorities can fit together. The framework currently has four main themes. Set out underneath each theme HR have stated the priorities and actions HR as a service will take to deliver against these. See diagram A below showing the four themes.  Appendices 1-5 demonstrates how the five-step approach is being implemented in the process.

Diagram A

(Camden Council Intranet 2018)

2.4 HR's contributions to business ethics and accountability

As a HR professional the CIPD code of professional conduct standards and behaviours ‘obligations' should be adhered. These obligations are grouped into categories of Professional Competence and Behaviour, Ethical Standards and Integrity, Representative of the Profession and Stewardship. (CIPD 2018)

Camden Council is diverse borough and organisation and expects certain standards of performance and conduct from employees. To support the required standards of performance there are a range of policies in place to ensure that everyone treated with dignity and respect at work and behaving ethically.

Bullying and harassment is not be accepted in Camden and there is a Dignity at Work policy that helps all employees to deal with these issues. Camden has an issues and concerns section on the intranet, which provides more information on what to do if employees think that someone is not following these standards.  

It is the responsibility of HR to administer the policies and processes ensuring conducted in a fair and transparent way, advising and supporting where required.  Implementation of code of conduct policies can be challenging and complicated, and are there to exercise under the right situations and circumstances. The code of conduct is provided to each new employee at induction and an overview is provided of Camden's expectation.

The policies are inforce to protect both the employee and organisations from ramifications and to provide equal access of opportunities.  To support policy Camden has a selection of relevant courses that employees can access to gain a full understanding for their role and responsibilities as employees of Camden.

As the Agency Contract Manager, I have to deal with standards of performance and conduct of agency workers, whereby they have acted inappropriately and I provide the engaging manager with advice on how to deal with the situation.  For example, a temporary worker was using inappropriate language and gestures to a female colleague on more than one occasion.  The manager spoke to the temporary worker and explained that his behaviour was unacceptable; however, his behaviour did not improve.  

I advised the manager that she was correct in discussing the inappropriateness with the worker, however the worker would and should be aware of Camden code of conduct and she did not have to continue to engage the worker as the worker is an employee of the agency and not Camden. I also highlighted that if the worker were a permanent member of staff appropriate action would be sort to deal with the inappropriate behaviour.  

I explained the process to follow, which was to inform the managed service supplier Account Manager of the issue and inform her that she would like to end the workers engagement due to his behaviour, as it was a concern that it continued even after she had spoken to the worker on more than one occasion.  The account manager would then contact the agency the employer of the worker who would then inform the worker that his employment would be terminated, giving the reason why.

When conducting the re-procurement of the temporary agency contract I had to follow corporate governance requirements, which entailed receiving sign-off from the portfolio holder councillor for my directorate to authorise the proposal of the direction the re-procurement was taking.  When I wrote the required re-procurement reports, they had to go to the corporate management team to be agreed and then the final report is uploaded onto a portal for the public domain and is discussed a committee meeting and authorised if there is no objection to the proposal.

3.1 Evaluate business performance and the role of HR in business planning and the change management agenda

The table below shows financial and non-financial indicators of business performance can be evaluated.


Profit Staff Surveys

Training Spend per employee Customer Satisfaction

Cost of absence Wellbeing

Return on Investment (ROI) Diversity Measures

(CIPD Avadolearning.2018)

Measuring profit from income generation in local government can show how by charging for services can bring in income which can enable to keep employee resources and prevent redundancies.  Staff surveys provide staff feedback which is important to identify how staff feel they are being treated and inclusive within the organisation. This also enables HR to look at areas that they may need to improve upon such as communication ensuring that staff are always informed of what is going on in the organisation and how it fits into their role.  

The cost of absence is imperative as high absences means money lost to the business.  HR can investigate high absence service areas to try to pinpoint the reasons for high absences and identify how staff can be supported (e.g. adjustments/phased return to work) and where necessary commence relevant proceedings in extreme cases to reduce the cost of absence. Diversity measures are important to ensure that the organisation is being inclusive of the borough that it serves and if failing on their diversity KPI look at ways to encourage a more diverse workforce.

Business Planning

HR play a key role in business planning using data and information to drive decisions and objectives. Currently as Agency Contract Manager, I have identified the service areas that have long tenure of agency workers, such as Legal, Social Care and ICT and areas with the highest spend.  During this financial year, the Senior Management Team has identified savings from the agency contract.  I will be discussing with managers the engagement length of their long-term workers and suggesting various recruitment options, for example, fixed term and permanent contracts.  Looking at reasons why they need to continue engaging the worker, which will require a business case, which will be either accepted or rejected.  Providing a definite end date for the worker.

Other areas where business planning is with diversity, future of recruitment, workforce age gap, pension changes. Examining diversity data to identify if the organisation is meeting the ethnicity and disability target.  How can the organisation encourage more people with disabilities and from ethnic backgrounds to want to work for Camden?  Using local employment agencies and working in partnership with local employment businesses planning recruitment drives and open days.  Using the most current mediums to advertise and attract, e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Change Management

Lewin's change management model (Lewin's Change Management Model - from 2018) has three stages unfreeze, change and refreeze.  

The Lewin model was used when implementing the IR35 new intermediaries' tax legislation, which HR had the responsibility for administering.

Unfreeze – Communication sent out to all managers of agency staff informing them of the new IR35 legislation. An explanation of what it meant for their agency workers and how the change could affect the service if some agency workers when assessed fell inside of IR35 meaning that they would be liable for paying tax and NI as if they were a permanent employee. Workshops provided to disseminate the change.

Change –All Ltd temporary workers assessed to determine their tax status as either inside or outside IR35.

Refreeze – .Workers reviewed annually and process in place for ensuring all new engaged temporary workers assessed to determine their tax status.

3.2 Assess and utilise different sources of business and contextual data for planning purposes

The tables below shows the type of data two internal and external factors by advantages and disadvantages used for planning purposes.


Advantages Disadvantages

1 Staff can provide feedback on how they are satisfied with working for the organisation Not all staff may be honest and open, so the feedback may not be conclusive

2 Staff feedback can enable the organisation to be aware of where they need to make changes Some staff may not complete the survey so the results are not a true reflection of staff in the organisation

3 The organisation can identify the areas where they are doing well Potentially can act as a de-motivator for staff morale as its perceived the managers do not and will not act on the feedback provided.

Conducting a staff survey gives the organisation the opportunity to capture staff views and expectations and use feedback to improve trust and communication within the organisation.  It may boost staff morale and motivation if the organisation responds to staff feedback and demonstrates that they are being listened to my taking action and following it through.  


Advantages Disadvantages

1 Can identify areas with the highest absence rates and look at the reasons Data provided may not be accurate and therefore unreliable

2 Trends can be identified and used to establish how to improve absence Skilled in the interpretation not afore

3 Highlight areas for action and forward plan To wide an array of issues to compile a coherent assessment for implementing an action.

HR has a responsibility to investigate, control and reduce absence to balance the cost incurred for days lost to the business through sickness.  


Advantages Disadvantages

1 Keep abreast of changes that will legally affect the organisation ensuring awareness and understanding Employee resource to implement new or updated legislation maybe demanding

2 Ensure that the organisation does not face ramifications for not adhering to new legislation The organisation does not implement and is at risk e.g. fines, bad practice

3 Utilise changes that can be positive or beneficial for the organisation through implementation Communicating and ensuring that all relevant information is given to the right audience

Keeping abreast of new legislation is important to ensure that all legal requirements are being adhered to not leaving the organisation open to ramifications.  It can also benefit change in the organisation for better ways of working.


Advantages Disadvantages

1 You can compare how the organisation is doing against similar organisations (councils) May highlight the areas where not doing so well against others

2 Can identify good practice and make changes and implement in the organisation Highlight organisations weaknesses

3 Can benchmark organisations ranking and identify strengths and weaknesses Do not have the capacity to rank the same as other organisations.


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