Background information on the problem
The problem of ageing workforce is becoming a critical issue of management in Australia. Most organizations in Australia are getting overwhelmed by the issue of a rise in the number of ageing employees. Approximately a third of Ramsay Health Care employees are over 50 years.
This denotes the likelihood of the hospital having a relatively higher percentage of aged employees in a span of ten years. However, the organization has been at par with a range of activities that are meant to ensure that the employees who are over 50 years of age remain active and deliver for the organization.
In August 2011, there was the introduction of a program known as Fifty Plus. The program entails an array of activities through partnership with other organizations. The program discharges a series of activities that make the employees who are over 50 to remain active and productive. Over 400,000 Ramsay employees who are at least 50 years of age have already enrolled for the program (Ramsay Health care 2012).
Ramsay Health Care is a widely recognized organization in the capital of Australia. The organization began its operations in 1964. The organization has widely grown to become the biggest listed market hospital corporation in Australia. The fact that the company has operated for a long period of time gives it a market advantage over the other newly established health centres.
The company operates under a decentralized structure, which enhances the rate at which decisions are reached and implemented. Ramsay, who is the owner of the organization, allows decisions to be made collectively (“Ramsay Health Care Main Page (1963-2005)” n.d.).
The company is still listed as a private company. This emanates from the late 1990s development, which resulted in the re-acquisition of the organization by Ramsay as a way of saving it from collapsing.
This prevents it to be listed on the stock market and gain from the sale of securities. While the company has a resounding record of employee retention, its policy of recruiting employees who are over 50 years is worrying (“Ramsay Health Care Main Page (1963-2005)” n.d.). Figure 1.0 in the appendix reveals the rate of absenteeism in the organization.
Issue of company workforce planning
According to Boxall and Purcell (2011), workforce planning is a critical element in strategic human resource management, which is meant to ensure that a company implements a set of human resource functions that ensure delivery and sustainability of the workforce in the organization.
Ramsay Health Care has been proactive in terms of deploying human resource strategies, which has enabled the company to attain the level of success that it celebrates today. However, there seems to be a smouldering problem in the organization concerning recruitment of employees in the company.
While Ramsay Health Care has not attained any problems of employee turnover and retention, the organization is bound to face problems of delivery in the future due to the steps that have been taken to maintain employees who are 50 years and over. There is bound to be a problem of an ageing workforce in the company as a substantial number of employees in the company grow older and attain the retirement age, yet there is no group of employees to replace them.
While the human resource practices in the organization denote the emphasis on a human resource program that is supposed to ensure that the ageing employees remain productive, one thing that is often forgotten is that there is need to develop a balanced workforce to ensure that the organization does not have a problem of generational differences in its workforce when more than a third of its employees who are over 50 years of age retire (Ramsay Health Care, 2012).
Moseley and Dessinger (2007) observed that modern human resource managers are charged with the task of sustaining a workforce through the establishment of an environment that allows for the transition of skills from a given set of employees to the other. This helps in bridging the generational gaps in the organization and enhancing the rate of compatibility in the organizational workforce.
As a way of motivating all the employees, including the employees who are under fifty years, it is important to establish programs that steer employee performance. However, this is a complex exercise and may result in increase in the cost of managing the employees.
There is need for Ramsay Health Care to engage in the incorporation of younger employees in its workforce to avoid the existence of a transitional gap when the ageing employees leave the organization.
When embracing employee performance programs, the human resource team in the organization should consider the employees from the entire organization instead of focusing on a certain generation of employees. This may draw negative feelings and reactions from the other employees.
Strategic human resource management entails a complex set of human resource functions that are meant to steer the performance of the employees and the performance of the organization. In strategic human resource management, the organization develops and deploys several strategies with the aim of improving the discharge of functions by the organizational staffs and the improvement of organizational outcomes.
Each strategy is measured and linked to a specific goal or expected outcome. The pros and cons of the strategy must be explored in order to ascertain the worth or the level at which the strategy can sustain performance outcomes in the organization (Ehnert 2009). For instance, the strategy of maintaining employees who are over forty years by Ramsay Health Care is considered to be a strategic practice by the organization.
However, the analysis of this strategy has revealed a number of weaknesses that are bound to emanate from the continued enforcement of the strategy. This implies that human resource strategies are not static. They can be altered, especially in times when they are seen to have the potential of bringing about maximum payoff to the organization. When weaknesses are detected, strategies have to be revised in order to capture the concerns that are raised to ensure sustained performance of an organization (Wu & Zhao 2012).
As observed earlier, strategic human resource management is a complex exercise. It, therefore, requires an inner look into the programs of an organization to be able to develop recommendations that can help the organization restructure its practices in order to attain desirable results.
The validity and worth of the analysis of strategic human resource practices in an organization is determined by the nature of recommendations and the level at which the recommendations can help in solving the weaknesses in the strategies of an organization (Ehnert 2009).
The recommendations made in the case are as a result of a limited analysis of the strategic human resource management in Ramsay Health Care and the development of recommendations to aid in improving the human resource practices in the organization. The recommendations made in this case are based on the main problem of human resource planning that is facing Ramsay Health Care.
The first recommendation is based on the potential dangers of the prevailing strategies of the organization; employing and retaining employees who are over fifty years. The second recommendation is guided by research about human resource planning and the potential impacts of the strategies that are used in the organization to enhance human resource planning.
Boxall, P & Purcell, J 2011, Strategy and human resource management, 3rd ed., Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
Ehnert, I 2009, Sustainable human resource management: A conceptual and exploratory analysis from a paradox perspective, Physica-Verlag, Heidelberg.
Moseley, JL & Dessinger, JC 2007, Training older workers and learners: Maximizing the workplace performance of an aging workforce, Pfeiffer, San Francisco, CA.
Ramsay Health Care Main Page (1963-2005), n.d. Web.
Ramsay Health Care, 2012, Human resource indicators. Web.
Wu, C & Zhao, S 2012, ‘Organizational learning and the complexity of strategic human resource management’, Kybernetes, vol. 41, no. 9, pp. 1297-1304.
Source: Ramsay Health Care, 2012.