Vodafone UK is one of the most established and largest communications service providers in the United Kingdom, offering broadband, mobile, and landline services. Currently, Vodafone UK controls approximately 21 percent of the market share. In the last year Ofcom, UK’s telecom regulator conducted a survey of the telecommunication’s industry dominant CSPs with the aim of assessing customers’ satisfaction levels. The survey revealed that Vodafone received the lowest satisfaction score of satisfaction rate of 72 percent in broadband services, with the lowest performance being recorded in handling customer complaints. The following discussion is a critical evaluation of the organization’s human resource department to identify and address any skill gaps that may be present.
Vodafone UK is one of the most established and popular communication services provide in the United Kingdom that offers broadband, mobile, and landline services. Currently, Vodafone UK controls approximately 21 percent of the market share. In the past year, Ofcom, UK’s telecom regulator investigated the telecommunication’s industry dominant CSPs with the aim of finding out customers’ satisfaction levels. The survey revealed that Vodafone had the lowest satisfaction score of a rate of 72 percent in broadband services, with the lowest performance being recorded in handling clients’ complaints. Nevertheless, the company has attracted new customers through the new sales team. New employees, for instance, the sales director who have joined the company have played a crucial role in addressing the issues that affected the firm. Moreover, the survey revealed that the new team has embraced new strategies that are geared towards reaching new customers but have underperformed in maintaining the existing ones. The following is a critical evaluation of the organization’s human resource department to identify and address any skill gaps that may be present in the organization. Despite the focus of the discussion being Vodafone, the article analyzes a variety of factors affecting the telecommunications sector in the United Kingdom. Indeed, the issues that Vodafone UK is facing are human resource related.
2- Organizational Background
In the United Kingdom, the availability of telecoms infrastructure plays a critical role in the social and economic development of the region. For instance, most of the population observes broadband connectivity as a necessity. It suffices to say that there is no sector in the United Kingdom that does not rely on some form of connectivity. Consequently, telecommunication is considered part of the UK’s national infrastructure. The failure of telecommunication systems and most importantly the failure to invest in upgrades to meet the evolving demands of the consumers can have a direct and adverse effect on people’s ability to interact socially. Indeed, the telecommunications sector in the United Kingdom is highly regulated at the European Union level through the EECC (European Electronic communications code). The EECC strengthens competition in the telecommunication sector, drive innovation, stimulate investment, and foster a free market for consumers. Under the European Union rules, NRAs (National Regulatory Authorities) Ofcom is tasked with analyzing specified markets in the United Kingdom to identify market failure. The markets are subject to scrutiny under European Union rules, including business and residential narrowband, broadband, fixed telephony, and mobile calls. Currently, the market reviews are conducted every three years.
In a recent survey, Vodafone was named UK’s worst mobile and broadband provider for customer service. Consequently, Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator was listed as the mobile, landline, and broadband provider offering the worst customer service records. The study that focused on complaints, customer satisfaction, and call-waiting times revealed that Vodafone broadband customers received the worst treatment by a telecommunications provider. Vodafone may have had one of the quickest calls waiting times averaging at less than 50 seconds compared to the major competitor which was matched to EE which was ranked at 48 seconds. In the survey, only 4 out 10 of those surveyed said that they were satisfied. Ofcom used nine metrics to determine the performance of broadband providers. In effect, it revealed that Vodafone was the worst performing in various factors ranging from its willingness to assist customers in problem solving and ensure politeness to advisers. The survey further showed that Ofcom received over 100,000 mobile users more than 48 of them were on Vodafone.
Vodafone’s challenges in the United Kingdom are still on the high as revenues continue to drop further by nearly five percent in the last business quarter. Its latest financial results reveal that the company’s total revenue decreased by over 3.6 percent to as low as 11.8 billion pounds. The revenues fell across the company’s mobile department by 5.2 percent in revenues from mobile services even though Vodafone had managed to increase its market share successfully by adding over 6,000 contract customers. Vodafone asserted that through its collective enterprises globally, it had surpassed the 100 million mark of 4G customers. Moreover, data usage was on the rise with a limited 30 percent of the UK customer base being on sim-only contracts.
In the company’s broadband for home division, it was making great strides which were evident in the last quarter through the addition of over 39,000 customers as Vodafone’s customer base reached an all-time high of 316,000 across the United Kingdom. The rapid growth is attributed to the significant discounts across many Vodafone mobile offerings and broadband as it hoped to respond to price drops from BT (Moore 2018).
The recent analysis of the telecommunication company operations aimed at determining the main issues affecting the company resulting in poor survey ratings. Mainly, it revealed some issues that the firm needed to address promptly. Firstly, the sales director struggled in locating a consolidated database or tracker which contains customer and sales records. A second issue noted is that the information in the sales records did not match with that present in the customer complaints’ management. The conclusion was that there were numerous anomalies in the data used to deal with customer needs, hence, lower satisfaction levels. In addition, it was noted that the organization was so successful in acquiring new business but failed in maintaining consumer loyalty. For example, it failed to address the needs of existing customers, resulting in their departure.
According to a press release by Deloitte at the beginning of the year, a variety of trends are bound to transform the telecommunications sector in the United Kingdom. Firstly, 90 percent of the adult population in developing markets and consequently an estimated 92 percent of the adult population in the United Kingdom is expected to have a smartphone in the next five years. Secondly, an estimated 85 percent of the senior citizen population between the ages of 55 and 75 years is expected to have a smartphone as of 2023. The third game-changing trend is associated with smart innovation which is likely to shift towards invisible technologies, including connectivity, software, and sensors. Future improvements are expected to be in the form of the experiences of the customers. Towards the end of 2018, over one billion global journeys will take place in aircraft fitted with in-flight connectivity (Deloitte2018).
Indeed, the predictions made by Deloitte on the telecommunications sector in the United Kingdom will create a shift in the industry, especially regarding skill requirements. It is apparent that innovation in technology will be a major game changer. For companies to succeed in keeping up with the changes and create a competitive advantage, they need to invest in innovators. The bulk of the innovators will require specialized skills in information technology, computer engineering, and network engineering among others. Moreover, organizations should seek fresh ideas from various areas, including colleges and high schools. In turn, the innovative ideas will create a foundation for survival and development in the telecommunications sector (Lim 2016).
Secondly, as most of the adult population starts acquiring smartphones, consumer wants, and needs are bound to change. It is critical that the organization develops an active research and marketing department. Such a team will play a critical role in collecting and analyzing large volumes of data to determine consumer needs and wants. The information collected and analyzed from a variety of surveys will play a significant role in ensuring that the organization develops products and services that cater to specific consumer needs and demands. Designing specific products and services guarantee that the organization does not waste resources developing products which will not perform in the market. Also, a strong marketing team will create a variety of techniques which will enable the organization to penetrate emerging markets with confidence (Jyothi 2013).
To address the numerous issues affecting the organization strategically, it should invest in acquiring a human resource analyst. Accordingly, the human resource analyst would be tasked with collecting and studying information related to various issues, costs, and jobs that affect the progress of the organization. Many human resource analysts use human resource information system programs. Through the HRIS is a software package used to professionally manager Human resource data with higher accuracy and efficiency. Notably, human resource analysts play a variety of roles (Thacker 2012).
The first role of a human resource analyst is to collect and gather statistics on salaries for various job titles. They work in collaboration with the human resource managers in setting employee salary ranges for different positions. In some cases, the human resource analysts may possess more specialized skills which they may apply in the selecting, interviewing, and recruitment of new employees. Also, they may develop a set of questions, personality, and skill test needed in acquiring the right candidates. Analysts play a crucial role in obtaining volumes of information used in establishing a company’s procedures and policies. For instance, the human resource analyst specializes in the compensation and benefits that a firm’s policies adhere to with certain labor laws (Mondy 2016).
The second role of human resource analysts is data collection. The analysts play a significant role in improving employee development programs as well as determining job satisfaction. They may conduct surveys to acquire information. The data collected is analyzed, and recommendations are made with the aim of improving employee relations, morale, and job satisfaction. The analysts may also evaluate the training programs to increase their efficiency and suitability. Human resource analysts work with human resource managers in creating department budgets.
It is critical that the organization employs the “right” individual as the human resource analysts. For that reason, it should develop an effective recruitment strategy. Firstly, the organization needs to determine the role and responsibility of the human resource analyst. The roles and responsibilities will outline the skills required to complete the tasks. Once the skills have been identified and listed, the organization can determine the salary range and compensation for the new position. Once all the above activities have been completed successfully, it can start the recruitment process. The organization has two major options to consider. The first one is to outsource a recruitment company which will be tasked with facilitating the recruitment process. The second option is to undertake the hiring process on their own. The second alternative will require additional resources to accomplish as the company will spend numerous hours looking for the “right” candidate. Consequently, the organization should hire a recruitment firm which will use their resources in searching, interviewing, and selecting the most appropriate candidate. It is critical that the organization works in liaison with the recruitment firm to ensure that the organizational needs and demands are met sufficiently (Human Resource Management 2017). In a scenario whereby, the organization opts to undertake the recruitment process on its own, it should possess the required resources to facilities the recruitment process. The interview process is quite challenging as the recruiting officer needs to select questions which will assist in identifying the “right” individual for the job. Besides, the recruitment exercise may require the organization to interview numerous candidates who may apply for the job. The process may take time, but it may prove fruitful in the end. Given that, the organization should evaluate its options to make the “right” decision.
the issues the organization faces have negatively affected its performance in various aspects. Even though some pertinent issues that affect the company have been addressed, some problems are still evident based on its performance. Its failure to address the numerous problems could paralyze the organization. For instance, although the team has succeeded reaching out to new customers, it has underperformed on repeat business with the existing customers. Moreover, it could hinder the firm from meeting its goals in the future. The success of firms is premised on its goals and objectives which are mostly future-oriented. Addressing organizational issues is a major concern that should be addressed promptly. The problems cannot be handled without information. Accordingly, the organization needs to collect a wide variety of information. Furthermore, the issues being experienced in the organization are related to HR. Given that, the solution can only be achieved through effective human resource strategies. The recruitment of a human resource analyst will highlight the root causes of current issues in the organization and give it an opportunity to address the problems conclusively. Indeed, the survival and future of the telecommunication firm are highly dependent on a successful and effective human resource department. The human resource analyst will assist the organization in addressing its current issues as well as prepare for the future.
Deloitte predicts UK telecommunications sector trends for 2018 retrieved at https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/press-releases/articles/uk-telecommunications-sector-trends-for-2018.html
Moore, M (2018). Vodafone UK performance suffers despite broadband growth retrieved at https://www.techradar.com/news/vodafone-uk-performance-suffers-despite-broadband-growth
Human Resource Management Journal, 27(1). 2017. doi:10.1111/hrmj. v27.1
Jyothi, P, & Venkatesh, D N 2013. Human resource management. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Lim, G S, Mathis, R L, & Jackson, J H 2016. Human resource management. Singapore: Cengage Learning Asia Pte.
Mondy, R W, & Martocchio, J J 2016. Human resource management. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Thacker, R A 2012 “Introduction to special issue on Human Resource Management certification”. Human Resource Management Review, 22(4), 245. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2012.07.00
Vodafone performance data summary retrieved at https://www.vodafone.co.uk/our-responsibilities/performance-data-summary/
Job Title: Human resource analyst
Organizational Information: Telecommunications company, United Kingdom
Job Description (Full Time).
• Report to Human Resource Director
• Collect Human resource data
• Analyze Human resource data
• Prepare Human resource research reports
• Design a variety of human resource strategies to address organizational issues
• Provide recommendations on strategies to enhance human resource performance, morale, and loyalty
Skills required: A bachelor’s degree in Human resource management, strong analytical skills, and strong communication skills.