International Human Resource Studies

Requirements: Consultancy Report

The assignment should be presented in the form of a consultancy report and should include reference to relevant theoretical concepts and empirical data. The report should show evidence of carefully developed arguments, and follow academic conventions including proper use of the Harvard System for referencing and avoiding plagiarism.

Consultancy brief

Bench2Belong is a manufacturing firm that specialises in making park benches. The owner, Mr Frost, is aware that since the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have been struggling with their mental health. The park benches are designed to be used by people who are feeling lonely and want other people to sit next to them and chat to them. They are made of wood, but supported by metal and each bench has a plaque on it that states: Bench2Belong- Please sit here if you feel lonely and would like someone to ask, ‘Are you OK?’

The firm Bench2Belong is located in the North of England. Currently, the headquarters of the firm employs 50 people (including marketing, HR, operations management, supply chain management, accounting and financial management), and it also has a manufacturing plant in the North of England where 100 people are employed. In addition, it has one manufacturing plant located in the South of England and one in Norway, each of which employs around 100 people. Each plant specialises in the manufacture of different types of benches but uses wood as the main material.

The company previously had one manufacturing plant in Durban, South Africa. However, it closed that plant during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is wondering whether it might be good to set up a plant in South Africa again, either in the same location (Durban) or in another one. Mr Frost thinks that setting up the plant in South Africa might enable the firm to tap into local markets and utilise local labour. In order to evaluate possible options for the way forward, different departments at head office are responsible for producing feasibility reports of the various aspects that need to be considered in taking forward this ambitious plan. The HR Office has been charged with producing a brief report that outlines the key opportunities and challenges involved in setting up a plant in South Africa, from an employment perspective. They have already determined the key aspects that they wish the report to cover, and although these may not seem to be comprehensive, they address previously identified gaps in knowledge. Since they want external advice, they have asked you, as an HR consultant, to take on this project.

The maximum wordcount should be 2,500 words (excluding the end list of references and appendices). The following subheadings should be used for the individual sections, but the word counts for each section should be used only as a guideline.

● Executive Summary: Briefly summarise the key findings of each section of the report including the key recommendations for the company (around 200 words)

● Introduction: Briefly cover relevant country facts not covered elsewhere in the report and then justify what will be covered in the rest of the report (around 300 words)


Key aspects for the consultancy report for 2024:

● i) Immigration. Critically evaluate how South Africa’s legislation on immigration might affect Bench2Belong’s possible decision to locate a plant in that country (around 300 words)

● ii) Equal opportunities and managing diversity. Explain why Bench2Belong should aim to ensure that there is no disability and racial discrimination within the workplace (around 300 words)

● iii) ILO and informal sector employment. Identify the most important ILO conventions in relation to informal sector employment, and explain why Bench2Belong should avoid employing workers in South Africa informally (around 300 words)

● iv) Job creation. Explain how companies such as Bench2Belong are likely to help with job creation in South Africa in the future, and how the South African government might influence Bench2Belong’s expansion through legislation or government policy (around 300 words)

● v) Globalisation. Critically assess the extent to which ‘globalisation’ may affect Bench2Belong’s future decisions on sending expatriates to South Africa (around 300 words)

● Conclusion: a) Give a brief summary of the report’s findings. b) Then refer to the 5 aspects (i-v) and provide a cost benefit analysis (not including any numbers) of setting up a plant in South Africa. c) Then, using an action plan, recommend whether and if so, how, the company should set up a plant in South Africa at the current time or in the future (around 500 words)

International Human Resource Studies

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