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Human Resource Management In Service Industry

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Human Resource Management refers to a strategic planning and approach which is related to the management of people within a company. It is essential for the businesses in service industry to manage their human resources effectively to gain an appropriate work environment within the company as well as gain a competitive advantage in the market (Baum, T. ed., 2016). The following assignment is based on British Airways, which is one of the biggest companies in the service industries. It covers a detailed understanding of human resource management and the effect of employee relations as well as employment law in service industry businesses. The report also covers the recruitment and selection processes of various businesses in the  industry and contribution of training and development within the organisation.


1.1. Analysis of role and purpose of HRM within airline industry

Human Resource Management is a technique adopted by various organisations within the service industry to effectively manage the operations within their businesses and achieve organisational objectives appropriately. Within the airline industry, HRM plays a quite prominent role as existence of its businesses depend heavily on the HRM practices within the firm (Deery and Jago, 2015). There are various purposes of HRM that could be reflected effectively in the airline industry, particularly British Airways which are discussed below:

(Source: Purposes of HRM, 2019)

  • Staffing:One of the main purposes of HRM is staffing. It is a process under which companies recruit and select skilled talent to strengthen their human resource effectiveness and enhance their business performance. For airline industry, effective HRM would allow its businesses, like British Airways, to select the most effective personnel for their firm. This would help them gain a keen position in the market and better customer management.
  • Employee Relations and Legislations:HRM also undertakes creation of a positive and effective perception of the firm within the eyes of its employees. It would allow British Airways to develop healthy relations with their employees. It includes setting up their contracts and manage their issues regarding the firm, its operations or with co-workers. It also undertakes various employee legislations into account to help firms in Airline Industry to develop ethical work frame.
  • Internal Customer Management:The most prominent purpose of HRM is to establish effective customer management within the organisation. This requires addressing their demands, their preferences and their problems effectively. HRM within the airline industry would aid this purpose for British Airways by developing effectiveness in the working of employees to strengthen customer management (Dhar, 2015).

Along with various HRM purpose, there are various roles played by Human Resource Management  without which effectiveness could not be achieved within the airline industry. These roles are described below:

  • Planning and Forecasting:The biggest role of HRM within the airline industry businesses, particularly British Airways is that the firm could effectively plan and forecast the need of Human Resources based on the analysis of effective demand and supply provided by various HRM practices.
  • Capacity Building:Human Resource Management effectively aids British Airways to enhance itself in terms of performance, effectiveness as well as physical capabilities. HRM allows the firm to effectively monitor its budget and measure performance of its employees. This aids the company in effective capacity building.
  • Training and Development:The most crucial role in HRM within the airline industry is that it allows companies like British Airways to train its employees as per their job roles and in order to ensure their personal future growth and effectiveness of the company. The firm provides implements effective training and development programs to ensure effective performance of all of its employees (Bratton and Gold, 2017).

There are various HRM practices that could be adopted by British Airways to effectively manage people within the company. These practices are mentioned below:





This approach treats employees as the most valuable resource in the organisation.

Under this approach, employees are treated simply as a resource like air-crafts and machineries.


The main emphasis in this approach is to satisfy the needs of the firm's human resource in terms of motivation, job roles, rewards and so forth.

The emphasis of this approach is on the workforce demand of the company and management of human resources accordingly.


It emphasises on long-term planning of workforce within the firm (Lăzăroiu, 2015).

Short-term workforce planning is the goal of this approach.

British Airways could adopt both the practices as per the needs of the business. For instance, Hard HRM would enable the company in quicker decision-making and cost-effective management, whereas Soft HRM would aid the firm in developing healthier employee relations which would serve them well in the long run.

1.2. Human Resource Plan

HRM planning is a process through which British Airways could plan and hire effective employees that serve the agenda of accomplishment of organisational goals for the company. As per the scenario, there would be four flights from Heathrow Airport and four flights returning from Madeira per week in the peak summer season, where as the number is reduced to three during rest of the year. The HR plan for the same is mentioned below:


Analysis of  organisational objectives

The first step of the plan is the analysis of the overall business objectives of British Airways. For the Madeira trip, the objectives must be to provide utmost safety and comfort to the passengers travelling with the company both to and from Madeira.

Existing Human Resource Availability

Before execution of a plan, it is essential for British Airways to determine the availability of existing employees. This analysis of the availability would allow the company to provide accurate number of human resources to four flights to and from Madeira in the peak season and three flights for the remaining time of the year (Du Preez and Bendixen, 2015).

Demand and Supply Forecast

This step requires British Airways to forecast the HR demand and Supply for the Madeira Trip. This requires the company to effectively evaluate their job profiles and establish the workforce need by effective estimation. For the trip to Madeira, the required employees to effectively carry out the trip would be ground staff, engineers, air traffic controllers, cabin crew members and pilots. Since the duration of 4 hours, each flight would require at least 2 pilots. For cabin crew members, since Airbuses of British Airways have a capacity of more than 100 passengers, each flight would require two 4 cabin crew members and 3 additional attendants to serve passengers within the 4 hour flight. In addition to this, each flight would require 4 on-board engineers and a team of ground staff to regulate the flight effectively and maximise the safety of the Airbus (Raddats, Burton and Ashman, 2015). Furthermore, at least 10-15 ground staff members are required at both the Madeira as well as Heathrow Airport. These members would be carrying out the ground duties like baggage management, fuelers, ticket sales etc. This staff would be working 6 hours a day both before and after flight.

Estimation of manpower gap

After the forecasting, the manpower gap is measured and thus, it is determined whether there have to be any modifications in the existing workforce or does British Airways require to hire new employees. As per this estimation, since the location is new and there are various other locations served by the company. The firm requires additional ground staff and crew members to maintain the balance between these new scheduled flights as well as the existing ones.

Action Plan

British Airways must hire new employees through effective recruitment and selection processes (Bailey and et. al., 2018). In addition, the firm also must provide training to cabin crew members and pilots to ensure the comfort and safety of passengers travelling with the firm on the Madeira trip.

However, there are various internal and external factors that influence HR planning. The internal factors are mentioned below:

  • The organisationalstructure of British Airways.
  • The budget decided by the firm to successfully handle the HR planning for the Madeira trip.
  • The skills and competence required by the new hired employees to carry out these trips effectively.

The external factors influencing HR planning are:

  • Competition of British Airways with other airline companies in the UK and beyond.
  • Legislations that are required to be complied by the firm (Marchington and et. al., 2016).
  • PoliticalScenario and policies set out by the UK government for recruitment and selection of Human resources.


2.1. Current State of Employment Relations in Airline Industry

Employee Relations is a term which is widely used in Human Resource Management to effectively manage relations between an organisational employees and employers. Within the Airline industry, it is imperative that healthy employment relations are established to retain the existing skilled staff and acquire new ones to satisfy the workforce demand of the company. The current state in the employment relations in the Airline Industry is mentioned below:

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Union is term used for a group of individuals within a company which play a significant role in collective functioning of employers as well as the employees. The role of unions within the airline industry is that it acts as the liaison between the employers and the workforce. However, in present scenario the role is limited, but it could be an effective strategy that could be used by Airline Industry businesses in ways which are described below:

  • Structure:Unionisation could help the airline firms like British Airways to develop effective organisational structure by ensuring better management of human resources through appropriate management.
  • Culture:It could help British Airways to develop effective values that are required to be followed by the employees of the company to ensure ethical working within the firm.
  • Collective Bargaining:The most appropriate strategy that could strengthen employment relations within Airline industry is by collective bargaining. It undertakes aspects like working hours, benefits, fair wages and other standards that are within the rights of the employees (Shin and et. al., 2015).
  • Negotiations:Through effective negotiations, unionisation in Airline industry could reduce the employee turnover rate which would enable businesses like British Airways to effectively retain their existing employees.

Employee Participation:

One of the major problems of any industry is that employees don't feel themselves involved in decision-making of the firm which reduces their interest and trust from the company and its practices (Brewster, Chung and Sparrow, 2016). There is extreme pressure on the staff members throughout their duties in the airline industry which requires them to work efficiently regardless of the time and their comfort. Thus, it is essential for its businesses like British Airways to ensure proper employee participation. The firms could achieve  this by effectively providing them various work incentives for effective work and rewards associated with challenging tasks. In addition, employee participation would also allow them to gain a competitive edge in the market which would enhance their position globally.

Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures:

The current scenario of Airline industry is focusing more on a soothing, ethical and contributing work environment for the employees to perform at their maximum capabilities. One of the strategies that could aid the businesses within the industry like British Airways to develop better employment relations is through implementing effective grievance and disciplinary procedures. This means, that there would be a code of conduct on which employees would act upon. In addition to this, businesses must effectively develop systems where employees could directly contact the company in case of a a complaint or personal issues.

2.2. How employment law affects the management of human resources in British Airways

Employment Legislation refer to the laws that effectively govern the interests of employees in an organisational context. These laws are subjected to protect employees from any kind of harm or unethical behaviour and contribute in their professional growth effectively. The employment laws affect management of human resources in the airline industry. Some of these laws affecting British Airways are mentioned below:

  • Employment Rights Act, 1996:This act was implemented in 1996 by the UK government and it covers all the aspect related to employment of a personnel within an organisation. These aspects are protection of payments and wages, standard working hours, standard leaves, training schedules as well as factors governing termination (The Employment Rights Act, 2019). Such laws affect the working of British Airways as the firm is required to make employees familiar with their rights and act in accordance with the rights stated in this act.
  • Equality Act, 2010:This act effectively protects the employees from discrimination of any sort within the company as well as in the society. It ensures equal practices and treatment given to the employees regardless of their sex, race, beliefs, etc. (Equality Act 2010: guidance, 2015). British Airways must operate in an ethical way to comply with this law. It requires the company to effectively protect the employees from any sort of discrimination and itself provide effective work standards for each employee in terms of equal wages, equal working conditions, equal reward schemes, etc.
  • Maternity and Paternity Rights:These are the rights exercised by the employees at the time of their maternity or paternity period. For female employees in British Airways, the leave would be scheduled for 52 weeks where the employee could take a leave as per her convenience. As per standards, they are also subjected to pay during this period. As for male employees, they are also paid during their paternity period and could take a leave of a week or two during this period.


3.1. Discussion of job description and person specification in British Airways

Job Description:

The British Airways has completed is recruitment process in various steps such as by accepting online application form from the candidates, online assessments, assessment day, final interviews and some more steps. Also, a 5 year pre employment check is also done by the company so as to check the employment background of the candidate. Job Description is a written statement which defines the responsibilities of an employee. The recruitment process is also done taking into consideration the labour market conditions. Labour Markets is external tool for getting employees in a company (Eaton, 2017).

The factors which affect the labour market of British Airways are such as individual qualities, education and training, working environment, wages, working hours. BA looks upon all these factors so as to make sure that candidates they are hiring are meeting the same as they are searching for. The job description is followed by qualities BA is finding in their employees. As for the Cabin Crew Post, it is the duty of employees to maintain proper relation among colleagues, and ensure the safety and security of customers.

The data related to the task and duties of Cabin Crew are collected such as the the responsibilities, duties, skills, knowledge about the work that an individual must have. On the basis of these data, the design of the job is created specifying the required skills and knowledge that the applying individual must have (Bratton and Gold, 2017).

The methods of advertising used by BA are by making use of their own official website where the candidates will get all the updates regarding the job. In addition to this, after applying job alert option so that the candidates can be continuously updated. It also helps in preventing job seekers from fraud job updates given by others. They can simply go to the official website of British Airways and get updated from there.

Person Specification

The description of data such as personal qualifications, skills, knowledge, experience is counted in person specification. Effective Communication skills and confidence are included in the organisational needs which specifies that an individual must posses these skills. It is so because these are necessary to fulfil the duties which will be provided to the candidate. Along with this, an individual should also be flexible in working and have knowledge of safety and security of customers. Maintaining proper relations with both customers and colleagues is also necessary as this job needs patience in an individual to deal in various situations. Experience in travel and tourism sector is also preferred because it will help in learning job process easily as more effort is needed on inexperienced candidates.

Person Specification will help BA in making the selection process more accurate and according to their organisational needs so that appropriate candidates can be selected and others can be rejected. British Airlines spending a lot in recruiting and training their Cain Crew Members to deal with every difficult situation by being patient and calm so that a positivity can be created and customers can be handled in a good way.

Some legal standards are also set up by EASA (European Safety and Aviation Agency), which drafts aviation safety regulation, doing inspections and making ensure that all the rules and regulations are met and followed by the airlines. So for avoiding legal compliance and intervention, BA is recruiting the most appropriate candidates which suits the vacant post (Wiegmann and Shappell, 2017).

3.2. Comparison of selection processes of British Airways and Transport For London (TFA)

The comparison between the selection process of British Airways and Transport for London is done for two different posts which are Cabin Crew and Customer Service Assistant respectively. The comparison between both is done on the basis of their methods used by them in their selection process (Holloway, 2017).

  • Method used for Recruitment Advertisement:

The method used by British Airways is only through its official website. While on the other hand, Transport for London make use of Recruitment Agency along with its Website.

  • Online Interaction:

British Airways is asking some questions for getting the satisfied that the candidate will meet all the requirements that they are searching for or not by asking certain online questions from them such as about the communication skills, physical fitness, and personal details. On the other hand, in the next step of Transport for London it is only creating the login id and password of the candidates.

  • Interest and Application Form:

Both of the companies have their own separate procedure of selecting the candidates. British Airways is asking their candidates to fill an interest form in which details such as name, e mail id, etc. are filled by the candidates. And Transport for London is taking situational judgement tests in which different situations, can be realistic and hypothetical, both are given to them and their responses are taken to check their judgement. And Transport for London is providing an application form to their employees in which they have to fill details for the post they are applying for (Wu, 2016).

  • Method of Assessment:

The method of assessment used by British Airways is with the help of psychometric tests which includes the verbal reasoning, numerical questions, situational judgement tests for meeting the basic requirements of the selection process. These type of informations will help in getting the knowledge of the candidate, his abilities, personality which are very important to know for a company in order to select the candidate. It will help in knowing whether the candidate is capable enough to perform the functions provided to him in the job description. On the other hand, Transport for London uses the  method of written assessment for fulfilling the basic requirements of their selection process (Stolzer, 2017).

  • Assessments Taken:

 The assessments taken by British Airways includes the use of multiple choice questions, group exercise, role play and an interview for those candidates who passes the online test stage in the s4election process. Transport for London makes use of only interview by two people and a role play exercise for the selection of candidates passed the online stage.

  • Background and Reference Check:

British Airways is checking the background and medical fitness of the candidate in order to confirm the selection of the candidate. After completing this, BA will offer training place to the selected candidates after their medical and background checks. While on the other hand, Transport for London takes the references from the candidates that how they came to know about it and a medical questionnaire is also taken so as to ensure the medical fitness of the selected candidates.


4.1. Assessment of Contribution of Training and Development within British Airways

Training refers to the activities undertaken by a company in relation to enhancements in their employees' performance for a certain specific role. It is an essential element for British Airways which could help the company to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace (Nankervis and et. al., 2016).

Role and Need of Training:

Airline Industry requires its employees to give utmost service quality to its customers which aids companies in ensuring trust as well as confidence within its businesses. British Airways is one of those companies which is world-renowned and has a huge workforce to manage. The role and need of training within the company is described below:

  • It is a crucial need for the employees to develop expertise in their respective job roles to enhance the quality of service given to its customers. This could be effectively established by training (Pasban and Nojedeh, 2016).
  • Within the airline industry, there are variety of passengers having different needs. Training could play an effective role of enhancing the flexibility and effectiveness of the employees which could enable them address these different needs effectively.
  • The firm is in the dire need of training where staffing and hiring costs are concerned. Training could play a crucial role in reduction of these costs and could be reviewed as a strategy by British Airways to retain their existing staff and reduce employee turnover.

Types of Training:

British Airways have multiple individuals working at multiple job roles which require different type of training methods to be implemented by the company to enhance the performance of each individual working within the company. These types are discussed as under:

  • On-the-Job Training:There are various individuals within the company that are given spot-on training by teaching the required knowledge, skill as well as competency to the employees so they could enhance their performance in a specific job role. This is a contributing environment where British Airways effectively monitor the performance of each employee and eradicate the possibility of any error spontaneously.
  • Technology-Based Training:With enhancements in technology and its increasing familiarity in the Airline Industry, it is imperative that employees working within the firm be specifically trained to efficiently use the technology accessed by them. This type of training is given to employees of British Airways to enhance their effectiveness when they work with new and efficient technology both on the ground as well as on-board.
  • Induction Programmes:Each organisation needs to communicate the employees regarding the working of their company. Induction programs allow the new recruits to effectively familiar themselves with the operations of the company, their job roles and expectations that the company has from them (Collings, Wood and Szamosi, 2018). The link between these programmes and training is that it effectively aids the company to provide the individuals certain amount of training required by them to effectively begin their professional career with British Airways.

Difference Between Training and Development:

The debate of difference in both these aspects has been ongoing; however, they are quite vast if viewed on a wider scale. While training aims at enhancing performance on a specific role., development targets the overall development of individuals (Wilton, 2016). The difference between the two is described below:





Training emphasises on the present organisational needs, i.e., the focus of training is on increasing the performance for a certain job profile.

Development emphasises on the future developments of employees in relation to their professional and personal life.


It is job-oriented. It is  limited to gaining perfection in the performance in a specific job.

It is career-oriented. Development is an ongoing process throughout an individual's career.

Benefits of Training:

British Airways could effectively experience various benefits of training their employees. These benefits are described below:

  • Training could help British Airways to effectively enhance the job satisfaction as well as the morale of its employees effectively.
  • It could also increase the efficiency of its pilots, crew members, engineers as well as ground staff.
  • Training could help the organisation in gaining competence in the market and effectively manage their human resources up to their full potential (Gibbs, MacDonald and MacKay, 2015).

Why evaluation of training against overall objectives is important:

For a company as big as British Airways, it is imperative that its Human Resources pay perform at their level best each day and satisfy as many customers as possible. The training and development programs provided by the company could effectively help them to manage situations even in the worst case possible. However, it is important for British Airways to evaluate its training methods to employees' needs. There are scenarios where rigid training schemes fulfil the personal objectives of the managers by fail to accomplish organisational goals (Brewster and et. al., 2016). The main goal of British Airways is to provide effective service quality to  its customers. Training and development could contribute the firm in achieving this objective in a better and appropriate manner. In addition to this, these methods could also contribute the firm in expansion of its workforce and hence, expansion of its customer base.


Thus, it is concluded by the report that human resource management in service industry is crucial for businesses operating under it. It is essential for the firm of airline industry to effectively identify the purpose and role of HRM and develop effective HR plan for the new trips to enhance the effectiveness and comfort given to its customers. Organisations also require to develop effective employee relations and comply with employee laws that affect their business operations. It is crucial for determining appropriate job description and person specification to hire the most talented and apt employees within the firms. In addition to this, it is crucial for the firms to compare their recruitment and selection procedures to determine the shortcomings and improve them. Lastly, training and development should be an important aspect followed by the company to achieve its objectives in a systematic and better way.


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  • Baum, T. ed., 2016. Human resource issues in international tourism. Elsevier.
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  • Brewster, C., Chung, C. and Sparrow, P., 2016. Globalizing human resource management. Routledge.
  • Collings, D.G., Wood, G.T. and Szamosi, L.T., 2018. Human resource management: A critical approach. In Human Resource Management (pp. 1-23). Routledge.
  • Deery, M. and Jago, L., 2015. Revisiting talent management, work-life balance and retention strategies. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 27(3). pp.453-472.
  • Dhar, R.L., 2015. The effects of high performance human resource practices on service innovative behaviour. International Journal of Hospitality Management. 51. pp.67-75.
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  • Eaton, J., 2017. Globalization and human resource management in the airline industry. Routledge.
  • Gibbs, C., MacDonald, F. and MacKay, K., 2015. Social media usage in hotel human resources: recruitment, hiring and communication. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 27(2). pp.170-184.
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