Human Resource Management

Theory and practice, fifth edition

by John Bratton and Jeff Gold

HRM as I see it

Video interviews with HR practitioners

This section of the website enables you to learn about how HRM operates in practice. In a series of video interviews, HR managers and directors from a range of organizations discuss their activities in the workplace, providing invaluable insights into the 'real world' of HRM.

Keith Stopforth

Head of Talent, Learning and Development, Bupa Health and Wellbeing

Click here to download the transcript (pdf)

Bupa is an international private healthcare company with bases on three continents and over ten million customers in over 200 countries. Bupa provides health insurance, care homes, health assessments, occupational health services and childcare, and runs its own hospital, Bupa Cromwell Hospital, in London. The company also owns several healthcare companies overseas including Sanitas in Spain and IHI Danmark in Denmark.

Keith Stopforth has been with Bupa since 2001, now working in Bupa Health and Wellbeing in the UK, having previously worked as a sales manager and then Branch Training Manager at Prudential. Keith is currently developing his skills in executive Coaching and Mentoring. He is a member of the Talent Forum 2011.

00.06 – Why did you decide to work in HR?
00.58 – What is organisational culture and how does the HR department at Bupa promote it?
02.46 – What is involved in talent management at Bupa?
05.07 – How important is diversity at Bupa?
07.07 – What advice would you give to students who want to work in HR in the future?

Now check back to page 153 in chapter 5 of your textbook and answer the questions in the 'HRM as I see it' feature.

Sarah Myers

Director of Talent Management, Sky

Click here to download the transcript (pdf)

Sky entertains and excites more than 10.1 million homes through the most comprehensive multichannel, multi-platform television service in the UK and Ireland. It continues to break new ground with its own portfolio of channels including Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Arts, Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports, Sky News and Sky Movies. Sky also works with dozens of other broadcasters on the satellite platform, online and on mobile. Sky is now leading the UK into the age of high definition television with Sky+ HD and has launched Europe's first 3DTV channel, Sky 3D, as well as Sky Anytime+, its internet delivered video on demand service. The company is also the UK's fastest-growing broadband and home phone provider.

Sarah Myers joined Sky in 2003. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has an MSc in Human Resources from the London School of Economics. She is also a member of the HR Leadership Alliance for the Heads of Talent Management, an alumni of The School of Coaching and a member of the Editorial Board of People Management Magazine.

00.06 – Why did you decide to work in HR?
00.50 – What is talent management and why is it important to you?
01.49 – How important is talent management at Sky?
02.29 – What specific approaches are taken to talent management at Sky?
04.50 – How does talent management work alongside an organisation's business strategy?
06.01 – What advice would you give to students who want to work in HR in the future?

Now check back to page 197 in chapter 6 of your textbook and answer the questions in the 'HRM as I see it' feature.

Tania Hummel

Group Human Resources Director, Macmillan Publishers

Click here to download the transcript (pdf)

Macmillan Publishers Ltd is one of the largest international publishing groups in the world, with 7000 staff operating in more than 80 countries. Macmillan publishes a variety of academic and scholarly, fiction and non-fiction books and online content, as well as STM (science, technical and medical) and social science journals, educational course materials and dictionaries, and higher education textbooks. Divisions of the company include NPG (Nature Publishing Group), Macmillan Education, Pan Macmillan, Picador and Palgrave Macmillan.

Tania Hummel joined Macmillan in 2006 as Personnel Manager for the London divisions, having spent many years in publishing, most notably with Rough Guides and Lonely Planet publications. She has an MSc in HRM, with a special interest in Management Development.

00.06 – Why did you decide to work in HR?
00.57 – What changes have you witnessed in the move from personnel to HR?
02.31 – What are the challenges face in recruitment at the moment?
03.14 – How do you encourage diversity in the workplace?
04.04 – What advice would you give to students who want to work in HR in the future?

Now check back to page 215 in chapter 7 of your textbook and answer the questions in the ‘HRM as I see it’ feature.

Helen Tiffany

Managing Director, Bec Development

Click here to download the transcript (pdf)

Bec Development is a people development consultancy firm, working with clients to implement growth in their organisations. They specialise in learning and development and offer:
  • training, delivered via workshops, seminars and courses
  • management development, to embed new behaviours and bring about change
  • leadership development through 360 degree feedback, psychological profiling, assessment centres and strategy days
  • coaching, including team, one-to-one and executive coaching
  • facilitation, by brainstorming and strategising with clients
  • organisational development, including staff surveys, training needs analysis, talent development and competency frameworks.
Helen and her team work closely with each of their clients and their board of directors to help implement change through staff development, in line with the strategic aims of their clients’ organisations. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and sits on the Council for the Association for Coaching and is on the executive board for Mentoring Digital Minds.

00.06 Why did you decide to work in HR?
01.46 – What impact can HR and particularly coaching have on an organization's business strategy?
04.13 – How do you become a coach? What training is needed?
05.09 – What advice would you give to students who want to work in HR in the future?

Now check back to page 306 in chapter 9 of your textbook and answer the questions in the 'HRM as I see it' feature.

Ruth Altman

Ruth has worked across a variety of sectors and industries throughout her career including several as HR Director. Her last role was as Director of HR and Development for Cranfield University which she left summer of 2011 to move back into consultancy and interim work.

Her route through human resources has been as an HR generalist working with the business, gaining experience in more specialist areas such as reward, industrial and employee relations, OD, change management and delivering management development programmes. She then went on to take up more overarching strategic HR roles. More recently, Ruth was a member of the UHR Executive and the Higher Education Sector's HR professional body for which she chaired the annual national conference committee. For the last two years she was also a judge for the sector's marketing and communications initiatives, the Heist Awards.

00.06 – Why did you decide to work in HR?
01.15 – How can a HR department nurture and develop its workforce?
03.57 – What are the cultural differences of working in a HR department in a university?
06. 58 - Do you think higher tuition fees will impact on the reward system at universities?
11.58 - What advice would you give to students who want to work in HR in the future?

Now check back to page 393 in chapter 11 of your textbook and answer the questions in the 'HRM as I see it' feature.

Ray Fletcher OBE

Director of Personnel and Development, Unite the Union

Click here to download the transcript (pdf)

Unite is a large trade union formed by a merger between two of Britain's leading unions, TGWU (Transport and General Workers’ Union) and Amicus. It is a democratic and campaigning union which strives to achieve equality in the workplace for its members, as well as advancing its members’ interests politically. Unite is active on a global scale and represents over 3 million members in the UK, Republic of Ireland, North America and the Caribbean.

Ray Fletcher worked in personnel in the automobile and building materials industries before moving over to the not-for-profit sector, where he became Executive Director of HR and External Affairs at Remploy. Remploy seeks to provide sustainable employment opportunities for disabled people and Ray was awarded an OBE in 2004 for his work there. Ray currently works at Unite, where he has been for six years. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and has forty years’ experience in personnel.

00.06 – Why did you decide to work in HR?
02.06 - What role do unions have in a post-industrial society?
03.44 – Do trade unions play a role in workplace learning?
05.26 – What are the prospects for and barriers to union-green coalitions?
07.01 – What advice would you give to students who want to work in HR in the future?

Now check back to page 415 in chapter 12 of your textbook and answer the questions in the 'HRM as I see it' feature.

Keith Hanlon-Smith

Employee Relations Director, Norland Managed Services

Click here to download the transcript (pdf)

Norland Managed Services are a provider of hard services-led facilities maintenance and support services in the built environment. They work for national and global organizations to fulfil their building management requirements and their aim is to maintain and enhance their clients’ buildings so the clients can focus on their core business. Among their latest customers are Bloomberg, the o2 Arena, Scottish Power, Southampton University, Experian and Manchester and Stockport PCTs (primary care trusts).

Keith Hanlon-Smith has been with Norland since 2006, and has previously worked as HR Manager at Sony DADC and Quantum Business Media, as well as Employee Relations Manager at Earls Court Olympia Ltd. He is a member of the HR Professionals Network.

00.06 – Why did you decide to work in HR?
00.52 – What impact can effective HR practices have on a business?
01.42 – How does HR work at Norland Managed Services?
02.43 – What current trends are you seeing in HR?
03.21 - How did you come to work in employee relations?
04.17 - How has employee relations changed over the years?
05.06 – What is the employment relationship and how important is it?
06.03 – What advice would you give to students who want to work in HR in the future?

Now check back to page 435 in chapter 13 of your textbook and answer the questions in the 'HRM as I see it' feature.

Lori Rilkoff [bonus feature for the companion website - text only]

Human Resources Manager, City of Kamloops (Canada)

The City of Kamloops employs over 640 people, including firefighters, lifeguards, gardeners and heavy equipment operators. The main aims of the City are to manage the infrastructure in Kamloops safely and cost-effectively, diversify the local economy, reduce the carbon footprint of Kamloops and maintain a high quality of life for its inhabitants. It is one of Canada's top award winning public sector organizations. Lori Rilkoff has an MSc in HRM and Training and is a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP). For her work on the City of Kamloops' Wellness Works program she was selected as part of the City's Innovation Committee in 2008 and four years earlier was awarded a Senior Management Award of Excellence for Wellness Works Program Leadership.

Why did you decide to work in HR?
As a student entering into a Canadian university, I had little knowledge of human resource management (HRM) as a profession. My chosen course of general study was business administration, with the sole purpose of pursuing a practical career with hopefully a promising job market waiting for me when I graduated. By the time I had completed my second year of studies, I had learned the basics of accounting, economics, and marketing and had been exposed to a number of possible professions. However, I still had little or no grasp of the importance of people to an organization’s viability and bottom line.

My first exposure to HRM came in an introductory course during my third year of university. Having always been interested in the social sciences, I quickly realized that HRM was actually the study of human behaviour at work, a science, and not just the paper processing reflected in yesterday’s personnel office. The true mechanisms for how organizations function and succeed became much clearer: job satisfaction; employee engagement; motivation; employee relations; training and development – all of these and other HRM concepts provided me with an understanding of how important work was to people and to the companies in which they worked. They clarified for me the contributions people bring to a workplace beyond their labour and the idea that people added to a company’s competitive edge as much as any other aspect of a business. HRM as a field of study encompassed not only the employment relationship between the worker and the employer but also the connections to the labour market, the economy, and society as a whole. Work is important to people and their quality of life - an employer, armed with the right HR strategies and knowledge, could make a difference.

Even if I chose not to pursue HRM as my profession, it was undeniable that the knowledge and comprehension of these concepts would be integral to any management position I held or for any organization I worked for. As a manager, having HR skills would enable me to work with my staff more effectively to reach our organization’s goals. The fact is, everyone works with people to some degree and I believed that HRM concepts could be applied to make any working relationship more productive. Upon graduation, I felt confident about applying my new HR theoretical knowledge gleaned from the years in the classroom. However, my feelings of enthusiasm were diminished upon realizing that what I had learned at university was not always practised in the workplace and in fact, was at times dismissed as ‘academic theory’ and not seen as practical for real life situations. Organizational politics, budgets, collective agreement language, and past practices were suddenly part of a landscape I was unfamiliar, and not all that comfortable, with. When I lamented to a former professor about this dose of realism, he was not dismayed. ‘You have to aim for the ideas you learned in the classroom’, he explained. ‘You are now a practitioner who must try to apply and achieve the ambitions of the theories you know. Understanding the differences between the research and the practice is the key to closing the gap’.

It’s been fifteen years since I started this journey. I still strive to close that gap, continually working towards making practice meet the theoretical idealism I read in textbooks. I now understand that the knowledge I obtained at university is a guide to what we want for our workplace and the role of human resource professionals is to move our organizations toward that vision. It does not just happen because you want it to and it is not always easy to see the path to get there.

What do you look for when hiring graduates?
When hiring graduates, I am looking for that enthusiasm I displayed as a new practitioner, eager to apply what I had learned and to see it in practice. I want to see them endeavour to create that optimal organization they learned about in the classroom, regardless of how impractical it may seem. That optimism is what will make the difference, in the profession and in the workplace.

Lesley White

Human Resources Director UK & Ireland, Huawei Technologies

Click here to download the transcript (pdf)

Huawei is a multinational networking and telecommunications company which provides information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and products to its customers. These solutions and products, including telecom networks, devices and cloud computing, are used in over 140 countries and serve more than a third of the world's population, making the company the largest of its kind in China and the second-largest in the world. Huawei is headquartered in Shenzhen in China.

Lesley White is an HR professional with more than 20 years’ experience, having started as HR Assistant. She specialised for 9 years in European Compensation and Benefits, designing reward strategies and associated policies to attract, retain and motivate employees. Her current role covers all areas of HR Management with key focus on strategy planning and implementation.

00.06 – Why did you decide to work in HR?
01.05 – What is it like working in a HR department in the UK for a company with its HQ in China?
02.18 – Are there different working styles in the UK/Europe to China?
04.51 – How does the HR strategy support the business strategy at Huawei?
05.57 – What advice would you give to students who want to work in HR in the future?

Now check back to page 513 in chapter 15 of your textbook and answer the questions in the 'HRM as I see it' feature.