Global Development Institute Blog

GDI’s Human Resource Management course aims to equip learners with a robust theoretical framework for careers in HRM and at the same time to provide students with an opportunity to gain insights into practice-focused HRM across a wide range of management contexts and sectors. The MSc HRM Enhancement Programme has been developed over five years to offer closer student engagement with a wide range of organisational contexts in the field of HR practice. This year, due to the impact of Covid-19, alternative plans have been made for the enhancement programme to invite guest lecturers from different organisations to engage on matters of HR Practice with HRM students through a series of webinars. 

Following the HRMEP (MSc HRM Enhancement Programme) webinar on the Hermes Airport Project, the Human Resource Team from World of Wedgwood, Fiskars Group, provided outstanding inputs to a webinar with GDI staff and students.

The HR team included key HR staff, Heather Kennedy, Amy Jones, and Andrea Piddock, located in Stoke-on-Trent, England and Keith Connolly, the HR manager in Waterford, Ireland. The webinar included an overview of the Fiskars Group, including mission, vision and strategy, before making a specific focus on issues in human resource management issues, including the Group’s HR strategy, people processes, recruitment and onboarding policies. It also discussed the current challenges in the context of Covid-19 and explained how HR practices are implemented in the organisation to reduce the pandemic impact on employees.

The MSc HRM Enhancement Programme through online webinars, such as these, supports GDI students’ learning experience, linking their study of HR theory with practice in different organisational contexts. This also consolidates our cooperation with some of our fieldwork hosts whom we have met previously in better times in the UK and abroad in organisational site visits.

Student representatives of the MSc HRM (ID) Programme Federica Cavallere, Grishma Kumari and Shah Md Azimul Ehsan reflected on the webinar:

World of Wedgwood’s presentation was comprehensive as well as articulate. It was very well-coordinated too. At the start, Amy Jones, who is one of the HR specialists, explained in detail the Fiskars group’s history as well as its values and vision. 

Then, representatives of both the company and HR gave us an overview of how SHRM works within the company, coordinating strategies to reach the same common goals. We appreciated the quick quiz we had to fill in to demonstrate our understanding of the lecture. It was useful since it made us understand the main points of the lecture along with a recap of the topics we had discussed before. 

Their motto “ making everyday extraordinary” was so inspiring, especially when our future is more uncertain because of Covid-19, encouragement from people who work in our “dream” field has given us the sprint we needed. Their values like “creating change” and “celebrating the everyday” reflect our values since we, as students as well as young people, aim to change the world to make it a better place and there is no better way to do that than working in your dream job. 

The session generated a fair discussion from the participant and truly reflected what we needed right now: inspiration, motivation and knowledge. 

Siqi Wu from MSc HRM (ID) reflected on the Webinar:

The team from World of Wedgwood shared their strategic HR response to the Covid-19, which was impressive. Effective communication is important to maintain employee morale during the pandemic and respond to employees voices through innovation and adaptions. Relevant information needs to be updated on time even while people work at home and flexible working options or digital capabilities should be considered as well. The challenges due to Covid-19 and the changing world have demanded a more flexible HR strategic plan with on-going reviews. 

In addition, the HR team of World of Wedgwood tries to realize its value of “make the everyday extraordinary” by strategically partnering with the business to inspire a collaborative culture where everyone is engaged and enabled to do their best. It helps build reputations and attract the right talents, who want to work for successful businesses that has strong embedded values. This shows the importance of organizational culture and how to integrate it with HR procedures.

Cheuk Yan Rachel Wai from MSc HRM (ID) gave this feedback:

Overall, the guest session was informative, well-organised, fascinating, and inspiring. All the content they had discussed was very clear and concise. The guests made great efforts to help students understand the whole HR process of their companies.

One of the most memorable lessons that I learnt from World of Wedgwood was employers have to listen to their employees’ voices. It is not the way to show empathy with them, rather is to treat people as a human and then try to communicate with them.

There has a traditional saying, ‘there is always room for improvement in every aspect’. From my point of view, since there are lots of students who come from China in our class, hence, the HR group of World of Wedgwood can talk more about their operation or strategies in Asia and/or China context. It will definitely help most of the students to get more familiar with how the HR department functions in a private organization.

Thanks again to our colleagues, Heather Kennedy, Amy Jones, Keith Connolly and Andrea Piddock in Fiskars Group at the World of Wedgwood, for making this webinar possible by sharing their working experience in Human Resource Management with our students.

Note:  This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of the Global Development Institute as a whole.

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