This paper presents a staffing analysis of Unilever Middle East. The first section of this paper presents a staffing compliment. The staffing complement is a breakdown of the different jobs and their requirements. The second section looks into the current staffing levels in Unilever Middle East, and the staff vacancies that exist. The final section deals with the recruitment sources and the challenges facing recruitment processes at Unilever Middle East.
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Unilever Middle East draws its employees from around the Middle East and North Africa. The majority of staff at Unilever Middle East are in sales. The sales force is wide to ensure proper coverage of the vast region. The region is subdivided into areas that are manned by managers. Other professions that are well represented in the Unilever Middle East are accountants, information technology specialists, engineers, and auditors.
The employees at Unilever are qualified in their fields because employment at Unilever Middle East is anchored on Meritocracy. Each job group or the individual position has well-delineated requirements in terms of skill, competence, and experience, which candidates have to meet.
People aspiring to enter the organization at a management level are expected to be or real high cadre. They should have had three to five years of management experience. Candidates are expected to have at least a master’s degree in their area of specialization e.g., a master in human resource management. There are a number of soft skills that such candidates must have. Some of the skills and competencies include understanding of organizational behavior, understanding of industry trends, strong analytical capability, a problem solver, a natural leader, personal etiquette, and hygiene and communication skills.
Below the management are different supervisors or division heads. All employees at this level are expected to have at least an undergraduate degree and working experience of over three years. Employees at this level work with a cross-section of teams. Therefore, they are required to be good team players. Further, they should have a thorough working knowledge of say B2B and consumer communication skills for marketers. Communication and public relation skills are required of employees at this level because they deal with other organizations and even interact with media. Like the managers, employees at this level are expected to be inspiring leaders who can marshal their teams to deliver on set targets, whether it is in production, marketing, or sales.
The final level is the lower cadre employees who must have at least a diploma in a relevant field. These employees carry out the daily operations in the company and require both technical and soft skills. They are supposed to be good at customer management, have the necessary technological knowledge, and desirable competencies like problem-solving, analytical capacity, and market sturdiness.
Each job is analyzed individually, and its peculiarities incorporated in the preparation of job descriptions (Unilever, 2008). Each employee inducted into the company is given a job description that outlines clearly his or her position, the roles of that position, the reporting directions, the remunerations, and the performance standards expected.
Staffing Levels and Vacancies
The Unilever Middle East currently has a total of four thousand eight hundred employees (Unilever, 2008). There are a number of vacancies that exist in the sales and marketing area and in the information technology area. These vacancies are filled, bearing in mind that Unilever is a dynamic brand that is extremely diverse (Unilever, 2008).
Unilever, as a company, the general has very dynamic recruitment policies that aim at ensuring the organization responds appropriately to the growing volatility in the labor market. The general policy of the company is to recruit fresh graduates and bring them into the system as interns. By so doing, there is always a pool of management or employee trainees who are developed to take up positions in the organization.
The company has a well organized human resource management system that provides proper demand forecasts. Based on forecasts, the company intends to hire more employees in the sales field as well as the Information technology field. It thus encourages, through its website, young graduates wishing to join it to apply. However, the organization does not rely on fresh graduates only. As was indicated above, senior jobs require that individuals have some experience in the given operations.
Due to market characteristics, there is a high turnover rate with respect to personnel in the sales field. The high turnover means that there are always gaps to be filled in the sales divisions and departments on a regular basis. The high turnover is occasioned by the fact that a sales job is an entry job for many graduates. Individuals join sales as a stepping stone into an organization. Some also only take up sales jobs to remain occupied or profitable as they continue searching for their dream jobs.
To fill up identified vacancies, Unilever uses all three types of sources i.e., internal-external and referral sources (Unilever, 2008). The internal sources often include the interns; it takes up for training and promotion of junior level employees to senior positions. The external sources are varied and diverse. Referral sources are not commonly used but are an acceptable way of employee sourcing.
Before choosing a sourcing source, the merits and demerits of using such a source need to be analyzed properly (Mathis & Jackson, 2001, p. 78). Vacancies have been identified in the sales, accounts, and IT divisions because some employees are retiring while others have moved on to other organizations. The challenge is whether to promote internal employees or sourced externally. The company, human resource managers, will have to evaluate each case on its own merit. This is to means that depending on skills available in the organization, management should know if available employees fit into vacancies, if they can be trained into the posts or if outside sourcing is most viable.
The recruitment process at Unilever is basically the classical one (Unilever, 2008). Classical recruitment follows the following procedures; advertising vacancy, receiving applications, scrutinizing applications, selecting qualified individuals for interviews, evaluating the interview reports, and selecting one. Although this process or recruitment style still works, it does not serve the organization well in the current labor market.
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The current labor market is very dynamic and requires a more concerted effort when it comes to recruitment (Bratton & Gold, 2001, p. 191). The traditional or classical recruitment process serves the organization, but it is not rigorous enough. Additionally, the process is also not very cost-effective (Mathis & Jackson, 2001, p. 108). To cut down on costs and improve efficiency and effectiveness in the evaluations, new methods have to be infused into the system.
The recruitment process has to bear in mind the social, cultural setting in which the employees are to operate (Bratton & Gold, 2001, p. 189). The social, cultural setting defines what qualities an individual ought to have to survive in say sales or marketing. The recruitment process has to ensure both the candidates’ level of knowledge, skills, and attitude are known. It is not easy to identify someone’s strengths in merely a ten-minute interview. Additionally, due to the commercialization of education, many graduates have degree certificates but lack skills and knowledge that is pertinent when it comes to job execution (Mathis & Jackson, 2001, p. 86). The challenge for human resource managers is in being able to devise a recruitment process that will bring out the technical capacity and soft skills of the candidates.
The second challenge for the recruiters is able to build a value package that attracts the employees. In the current labor market, job security is not guaranteed. Secondly, traditional compensations no longer appeal to employees. It is this kind of scenario that led to the development of the ‘total compensation’ concept Bratton & Gold, 2001, p. 238). Total compensation requires that human resource managers go beyond the basic pay to put together attractive accompanying benefits.
Additionally, total compensation also looks into the look and feel in the organization. This is important because it determines how long employees will be willing to work for an employer and with what level of enthusiasm (Bratton & Gold, 2001, p. 237). Just as the recruiters will be working hard to ensure only candidates with the right skills, knowledge, and attitudes enter the organization, it is equally important that they work out attractive total compensations for the recruits.
In conclusion, Unilever Middle East is a dynamic company whose success largely depends on how well staffing analysis is done and planned. It is only on the basis of a staff analysis or Human resource audit that proper human resource planning can be done. Unilever Middle East employs many people; however, it still uses traditional methods of recruitment. There is a need to infuse creativity in the recruitment process. Creativity and innovation should aim at establishing the actual strengths and weaknesses of employees in terms of skills, knowledge, and attitude. Further, the recruitment process would have to take into account value propositioning to the employee. Total compensation packages have to be designed to help lure the right employees.
Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2001). Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice. 2nd Ed New York: Routledge
Mathis, R.L.., & Jackson, J, H. (2007). Human Resource Management. 12th Ed. New York: Cengage Learning, Unilever. (2008). Unilever Middle East. Web.