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The Role of Personnel Management

(The persoппel director describes the structure of the department.)

The department is headed by me as personnel director. I act as the main spokesman of the department and represent personnel issues in all our senior management discussions and also in policy-making meet­ings. Then there are four managers who report to me, though one of the positions is vacant at present. Let's take them individually.

First, there is our recruitment and selection manager. She is respon­sible for maintaining contact within the community -looking for manpower according to our needs. In fact, she now has to travel extensively to search for qualified job applicants - that's а feature of the job mar­ket at present.

Next, we have the compensation and benefits manager. He handles the company's employee benefits programme that's primarily health insurance and pension plans.

Then, we have the training and development manager. This post is current1y vacant but we are advertising in the national press as well as using other channels: so we hope to have someone installed pretty soon. We have а strong tradition of providing vocational training for our people and а sizeable team of specialists in charge of planning, organizing and directing а wide range of training activities.

Finally, there's our employee relations manager. She deals with the collective relationship between management and employees and ad­vises us on all aspects of union management relations. So, those are the four managers who are accountable to me; and each manager takes care of а section.

So, moving on. Each of these managers is supported by an individ­ual, or а small team. In recruitment and selection, the manager is assisted by what we саll а recruitment officer. The compensation and benefits manager works with а benefits administrator and а job analyst in а small team. Our training and development manager is supported by two training officers, and they are in charge of а team of some seven instructors. And finally there is our employee relations manager who is supported by two employee relations officers.

Of course, I’ve forgotten to mention our hea1th, safety and welfare people. They are, naturally, part of the management team, but not part of the personnel department. They provide staff or service functions to the whole organization. First1y, there's the medical officer, who is, in fact, а trained doctor. Then, there is the safety officer, who has two broad activities - to make our work safe and to ensure safe working practices throughout the organization. So, that's the personnel depart­ment, the sections and the teams, together with the support of the health, safety and welfare people.

How companies advertise

Advertising informs consumers about the existence and benefits of products and services, and attempts to persuade them to buy them. The best form of advertising is probably word-of-mouth advertising, which occurs when people tell their friends about the benefits of products or services that they have purchased. Yet virtually no providers of goods or services rely on this alone, but use paid advertising instead. Indeed, many organizations also use institutional or prestige advertising which is designed to build up their reputation rather than to sell particular products.

Although large companies could easily set up their own advertising departments, write their own advertisements, and buy media space themselves, they tend to use the services of large advertising agencies. These are likely to have more resources, and more knowledge about all aspects of advertising and advertising media than а single company. The most talented advertising people generally prefer to work for agencies rather then individual companies as this gives them the chance to work on а variety of advertising accounts (contracts to advertise products or services). It is also easier for а dissatisfied company to give its account to another agency than it would be to fire its own advertising staff.

The client company generally gives the advertising agency an agreed budget; а statement of the objectives of the advertising campaign, known as а brief and an overall advertising strategy concerning the message to be communicated to the target customers. The agency creates advertisements (the word is often abbreviated to adverts or ads), and develops а media plan specifying which media - newspapers, magazines, radio, television, cinema, posters, mail, etc. – will be used and in which proportions. (On television and radio, ads are often known as commercials.) Agencies often produce alternative ads or commercials that are pre-tested in newspapers, television stations, etc. in different parts of а country before а final choice is made prior to а national campaign.

Marketing strategies

Marketing people do not like to admit that they have anything to do with sales, but, obviously, the whole purpose of marketing is to create а situation in which а sale саn be made.

Buying, selling, market research, transportation, storage, advertising – ­these are all parts of the complex area of business known as marketing. In simple terms, marketing means the movement of goods and services from manufacturer to customer in order to satisfy the customer and to achieve the company's objectives.

Marketing can be divided into four main elements that are known as the four P's : product, price, placement and promotion.

The marketing strategies of determining product, price, placement and promotion are not planned in isolation. Marketing analysts often look at а combination of these four factors. This combination of these four P's is known as the marketing mix. In order to develop а successful marketing mix researchers first ask two important questions: Who is going to buy the product? What is the potential to sell this product?

The product element of marketing refers to the goods or services that а company wants to sell. Next, а company considers the price to charge for its product. There are three pricing options the company may take: above, with or below the prices that its competitors are charging. Most companies sell their goods or services for average prices established by major producers in the industry.

The third element of the marketing process - placement - involves getting the product to the customer. This takes place through the channels of distribution. А common channel of distribution is: manufacturer - wholesaler - retailer - customer.

Wholesalers generally sell large quantities of а product to retailers and retailers usually sell smaller quantities to customers.

Finally, communication about the product takes place between buyer and а seller and is known as promotion. There are two major ways of promotion: l) through personnel selling, as in а department store; 2) and through advertising, as in а newspaper or magazine, etc.


Companies face four types of risk and that is firstly the risk of simply doing nothing. Another type of risk is what’s called credit or guarantee risk. There is also political risk and a final example is the risk of catastrophe or other disruption happening to a business.

Business is all about striking the right balance between risk and reward. The first is the risk of doing nothing and, strange as it may seem, many businesses make this mistake. This could be the company that tries to pries to preserve the exact position that has always served it well in the past, and here the risk is the company will end up going out business. There are many companies in the world that have done very well on the back of a very simple product, and that is absolutely true. But if you look really closely at what they are doing, you will find that they are constantly reviewing their price, they are constantly reviewing their marketing position and they will also invest really heavily into investing and protecting their brand. So the message here is never do nothing.

The second risk relates to companies that give credit or rely on guarantees from others. Both of these will reduce profits if they go wrong. If you want to increase sales, you need new customers, and this may mean selling on credit. So you ship out a consignment of stock and sit back and wait for the customer to repay you. Unfortunately, sometimes the customer doesn’t repay you. They may have gone out of business or simply they may have “gone away”. You are relying on the guarantee of a person or a company. Quite often, though, the guarantee is only as good as the person giving the guarantee.

The third risk is to always be aware of the political agenda. You need to know what is on the government’s current agenda. Is that is likely to change, and if so, how will that affect my business?

The fourth and final example of risk is a company being caught up is some sort of catastrophe or other disruption, such as fraud or criminal damage, that causes interruption to trading. The key question here is, does the business have the people and the plans to cope with that sort of disruption and catastrophe? Many major disruptions have been the end to many good businesses in the past. That is particularly so if the business is located in a single location.

Risk is all about threats and opportunities, and one of the biggest problems that companies face is the quality and the timing of the information that is available on the risks they face. Good information gives you power, and if you have relevant and reliable information, you have a much better chance of managing risk. The management of the risk is absolutely important here, and you need to have a reliable management team that can, in turn, act on that risk. Once you have identified a threat, you need to have really good communication lines between the key players in the company. Then you can take appropriate and swift action on those risks.


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