Analyse two potential benefits of Out and About plc’s current ‘soft’ Human Resource Management strategy. Human Resource Management Strategy is the process of making the best use of an Organisation’s employees in order to achieve its human resource objectives. A soft HRM strategy recognises that the workforce are a valuable asset to the business and are crucial to achieve the organisation’s objectives. Soft HRM has many benefits to Out and About plc- it’s main benefit is to improve staff motivation.
Out and About plc has shown this in many ways. Firstly, all staff are on permanent contracts providing them with greater security. This allows for the workers to provide a greater level of commitment to Out and About plc as it is their major career. This greater level of commitment will in turn produce greater labour productivity as workers who feel loyal and dedicated to a company will have a much more enthusiastic and hardworking approach as opposed to a worker who does not feel greatly involved and concerned of the companies on goings.
Furthermore, permanent staff are more likely to commit to training in order to acquire skills that can boost their career- which will again benefit the company. However, it is important to consider whether or not permanent contracts should be used for ALL staff as some groups of staff will most likely not be required at all times. Working in shifts could increase labour productivity as workers are more likely to be ‘fresh’ and more focused on a job in comparison to a member of staff who is to ‘go through the motions’ on a daily basis.

Also, permanent contracts for all staff would be a lot more costly than using temporary staff. Out and About plc will need to decide which staff require permanent contracts and which do not to see any benefits financially. Secondly, the company’s current statistics show that the average staff age is 45 and that the labour turnover is 5 percent (which is well below the industry average of 18 percent). This could indicate that staff are loyal and enjoy working for the business. Therefore it is good to question why a change needs to be implemented when staff are clearly happy.
Also a labour turnover of 5 percent is not something which Out and About plc needs to worry about, however it is important to realise that changing the HRM dramatically (form soft to hard) could also affect the labour turnover dramatically. Q2) What do you consider to be the most important influence on Lisa’s marketing plan? Justify your view. A marketing plan consists of setting marketing objectives and deciding upon the strategy needed to achieve them. There are many influences on Lisa’s marketing plan. Firstly, I believe that the operational issues such as location of shops and the availability of suppliers will be of great importance.
The passage states that: ‘As well as selling leading brands such as Salomon, Quiksilver and O’Neill, Out and About plc will also sell a range of ‘own label’ clothing. ’ This means that the ’25 new out of town stores’ will be heavily reliant on these other brands. Therefore, it is vital to gain information and research on the suppliers and how reliable they are. If this research is not done efficiently, Out and About plc could find that they have low levels of stock which could result in unsatisfied customers and the chance of a bad reputation.
Furthermore, the location of the shop is vital as it interlinks with the first problem of suppliers. If the shop is far from the supplier – it will be more difficult and take longer to deliver items which will cause great inefficiency. Another reason that the location of shops will be important is because the market in itself is fairly niche therefore the shops will need to be placed in fairly busy areas – like town centres as if they were on quiet desolate places they will see very little business.
Secondly, it is key to note that competitors such as supermarkets – Argos and JJB have already affected Out and About plc current market – ‘profits have declined by 15 percent. ’ Building your way up in a relatively niche market is extremely difficult, especially with well known large stores such as JJB competing. Therefore it will be important to ensure that, Out and About plc maintain competitive prices and high quality products.
The competition needs to be closely reviewed – for example, if Argos sells a camping jacket for cheap – Out and About plc will have to emphasise that the slight price difference is due to quality and design. Lisa will have to heavily promote what makes, Out and About plc different to Argos and JJB – and why consumers should choose them over a reputable brand. The above has only discussed (in my opinion) the two major points of the influencing factors of Lisa’s marketing plan however, there are many more. A key influence would be the reaction of the new target market.
If the target market are to decide that the cheaper alternatives are more suited towards them Out and About plc will have failed to create a successful business. I believe this factor is most logical as Out and About plc are almost trying to change a previously known ‘cheap’ business to a higher upmarket business. However, this means they won’t be appealing to the same consumers – this consumer market is much smaller than the aforementioned. We can also question whether or not sufficient market research been carried out upon which to base their strategy?

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