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School of Education and Humanities

Question: Identify one ecotourism operation in existence


and discuss its
development & strategies in relation to Human
Resource.

Lecturer: Mrs. Tameca Sukhdeo-Singh


Course Title: Operations Management in Ecotourism
Course No. TST 323
Due Date: 7th May, 2007

ABSTRACT

This paper seeks to discuss the developments and strategies employed by the
Arrowpoint Nature Resort in relation to human resource. In so doing, key
concepts such as human resource, human resource development and human
resource strategy will be defined. Following this, we will outline and discuss what
strategies and development mechanisms Arrowpoint Nature Resort employ in
recruitment, development and management of their employees.

1.0 INTRODUCTION
Managing human resources effectively has become vital to organisations within
the modern and fast-paced business environment. The business world seems to
become ever increasingly multifaceted and intricate. It is therefore critical that
every organization big or small streamlines its functionalities and plan to the
smallest level for profit as well as survival.

This is where human resources come into play. Human resource management is
important for any business to survive in today’s high tech fast-paced world. It not
only helps an organisation to manage its employees but it also ensures that work
is done effectively and efficiently so that the employees, management and the
customers are all equally satisfied.

The Tourism Industry covers various sectors, all of which deal with delivering a
quality and satisfying experience to the customer. The success of this industry is
heavily dependant on its human resource base for delivering the product in such
a way that customer satisfaction is ensured. To ensure quality service, human
resource development acts as the mentor to the employees1, guiding, training
and educating them in the way of the industry, whether it is transportation or food
and beverage.

In the tourism industry well trained and competent employees are better
equipped to showcase themselves and their product as well as attend to visitors
effectively. This can only lead to customer satisfaction and loyalty, guaranteeing
increase in clientele and repeat guests and boost the credibility and reputation of
businesses. With effective human resource development, comes quality and
loyal workers who wish to see success in the industry and are willing to go the
extra mile to satisfy guests’ needs even though it may not be within their job
description.
2.0 KEY CONCEPTS

2.1 Human Resource

1
Hax, Arnoldo C. Planning Strategies That Work. Oxford University Press: New York, 1987.
William R. Tracey, defines Human Resources as “The people that staff and
operate an organization or business.2 Human Resource is concerned primarily
with attracting applicants, retaining desirable employees, motivating employees,
development and management of employees, dealing with resignations,
providing references and maintaining personal records of all employees. Human
resource consists of people in an organization, their skills and the way they are
organized. A company’s distinctive effectiveness is therefore based on the skills
of its employees. 3

2.2 Human Resource Development

Human Resource Development is the framework that is set up or implemented


by organisations/businesses and involves the integrated use of training and
development to improve individual, group, and organisational effectiveness. It
uses training and development to identify, assure, and help develop the key
competencies - personal and organisational skills, knowledge, and abilities that
enable individuals to perform current or future jobs with planned individual
learning accomplished through training, on-the-job learning, coaching, employee
career development, performance management and development or other
means.4

The focus of all aspects of Human Resource Development is on developing the


most superior workforce so that the organisation and individual employees can
accomplish their work goals in service to customers.

2.3 Human Resource Strategies


In the business context, a strategy is the vehicle that takes us from our current
position to where we want to be.5 In dealing with human resource, human

2
http://humanresources.about.com/od/glossaryh/f/what_hr.htm
3
Hatten, Kenneth, J. Strategic Management - Analysis and Action. 1987. P 41.
4
http://www.usm.edu/wtd/resources.html
5
Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Human Resource Strategy. January, 2003
resource strategy is about co-coordinating and developing the people
management elements of an organisation or business in order to meet the
requirements and provide a high quality of service. It is also essential for
achieving continuous improvement and encourages the involvement of all staff
so as to resolve problems taking processes forward and securing better services
for the people

3.0 ARROWPOINT NATURE RESORT


Arrowpoint Nature Resort can be found approximately 35 minutes by boat up the
Kamuni creek in the heart of the Amerindian reservation of Santa Mission. The
resort derived its named from the arrow trees that can be found abundantly in the
area, and which are used by the Amerindians to make arrows for hunting.

The resort was constructed by local Amerindians from the village of Santa
Mission using the manicole palm for the walls and the troolie leaves for the roof.
According to Captain Gerry Gouveia, the owner and manager “This resort was
designed and is operated as an expression of the Amerindian culture.”

The resort itself, with its white sandy beach of the Pokerero Creek is set against
the backdrop of the jungle. The area boasts approximately 350 species of birds
and an abundance of wildlife. They offer a variety of activities including kayaking,
canoeing, bird watching, mountain biking, night spotting, Night trekking along the
jungle trails and a number of aquatic and beach activities.

3.1 ARROWPOINT NATURE RESORT – HUMAN RESOURCE

Captain Gerry Gouveia is the Managing Director and owner of the Arrowpoint
Nature Resort. He is the primary decision maker and visionary for the resort.
The Arrowpoint Resort presently has on staff a total of twelve (12) persons - Mrs.
Sonia Khan, the supervisor on site, one Chef, a kitchen attendant, two room
attendants, a maintenance personnel, two safety officers, one boat captain, three
tour guides. The operation is managed in a major way from its Georgetown
based office located at Roraima Residence Inn. Planning, organizing, staffing
and control of operations is an integral function of this Georgetown office.
It can be said that the majority of better educated, highly skilled and trained staff
is located within the Georgetown office which provides the steering role for the
whole operation. With the exception of Mrs. Sonia Khan, the supervisor on site,
all the other employees were recruited from the nearby villages of Santa Mission
and Arataka.

3.2 ARROWPOINT NATURE RESORT – HUMAN RESOURCE STRATEGY


AND DEVELOPMENT

3.2.1 Attracting Applicants, Recruitment and Retention


While the general principles of staff recruitment, development, training and
incentives packages are the normal characteristics of any business and the same
for Arrowpoint Nature Resort, the resort does employ some additional
mechanisms/strategies in pursuit of their business operations and goals. The
resort which is based within the Amerindian Community of Santa Mission has
established a strong linkage with the Community by providing and guaranteeing
work and a steady source of income to its inhabitants. In several ways work is
directly guaranteed through direct employment of persons. But, as a result of the
service being offered by the Nature Resort other business opportunities have
also been created which offer employment in various ways to other persons in
the village. For example, various families within the village have established craft
making as a means of providing an income. As well, whenever there is a need to
build anything for the resort all the labour that is needed is derived from the
nearby communities.
The resort has also actually ‘adopted’ the community school. This adoption has
been able to strengthen the business relationship with the community, the
product being offered by the business and the other potential products,
possessed by the village. The adoption and the other linkages forged by the
resort has realised many positive benefits. The community with the assistance of
external financing and development resources is now able to provide better
education, guaranteed employment, a source of income as well as to bring direct
development to the community itself. In return, the resort is able to realise a
benefit from the community through its direct involvement in its development
initiatives. As the community grows the potential for other services to be offered
by both parties also grows.
The resort has been able to attract many individuals willing to work from the
community through its direct relationship and involvement in community affairs.
Persons are able to visually see that the community as a whole benefits as a
result of the services that are offered and can be offered.

This recruitment policy is a plus for the resort in several ways. Labour is cheap,
relatively easy to find and includes an important aspect of the cultural feature of
the resort. The resort itself while certainly requiring trained staff in the kitchen and
in some aspects of its services like tour guiding, is in essence a small operation.
As such highly trained and specialised staff is not an absolute necessity. This
enables the operation to adequately seek reasonably qualified and skilled labour
from the surrounding communities as well as in Georgetown as need be. As a
result of the size of the operation and the kind of services offered the resort does
not have any international staff in its employ.

Even though persons may be employed to work at the resort they are not
considered to be permanently attached there. They usually alternate between
locations, that is, staff from Roraima Residence Inn, the Georgetown Head
Office, also work at the resort while some at the resort work at the hotel. The
resort employs a strategy such that, during the low seasons, rather than
releasing employees at the resort most of them are reassigned other duties at
the offices in Georgetown and Ogle, Timehri. This strategy offers employees
experience and knowledge in every aspect of the business making them well
rounded and flexible. In addition, it helps to relieve the monotony and stress that
can be associated or can result from having to do one job all the time.

The basic criteria for recruitment of employees of the immediate location (nearby
communities) are a good knowledge of the area and a hospitable attitude. Some
aspect of tour guiding would of course be considered a plus in relation to its tour
service. For employees that are recruited from Georgetown, it varies but usually
includes a minimal of six (6) CXC subjects including Maths and English, or a
degree in a specific subject area, for example Tourism Studies, Management,
Marketing, etc.

Like most businesses the resort faces recruitment and retention challenges. The
target pool is relatively small from the nearby communities that service the resort
staff. From a cultural standpoint, labour from the nearby communities can be a
challenge as workers are more prone to working on a ‘need money’ basis. That is
they work to satisfy their immediate needs and once that is fulfilled they quit or
move on. The challenge is to be able to provide not only an attractive recruitment
package but a retention one as well.

3.22 On the Job Training


Currently, continuous on the job training is being provided for employees at the
resort location. Besides the supervisor on site, and the Chef there are no other
professionally trained employee at the establishment. The company utilises this
method for developing and improving its human resource capacity as part of its
strategy when required. It must be stressed at this point that this is one of many
tools used for providing key staff improvement and capacity building. Additionally,
the organisational benefits are realised in improved effectiveness and efficiency
by virtue of better trained staff.
As part of their continued improvement of staff, a form of training can include
initiating scenarios whereby employees are put into situations and asked to role
play, to see how they would deal with these in their day to day operations at the
Resort.
On the job training is one of the inexpensive and effective ways that
organisations can benefit while improving the skills of their employees.

3.2.3 Academic Improvement


Employees at Arrowpoint nature resort are mostly local individuals from the
nearby Amerindian communities of Santa Mission and Aratak. Some of these
jobs were offered to them because of their knowledge of the area and its
surrounding environment. Further, recruitment of other staff who live closer to the
work environment is considered a benefit to the business.

In the event that employees would want to further their education, it had been
proposed by the Human Resource Department Manager that a package be
offered to them, whereby a percentage of their tuition costs could be paid for to
any institution that they would want to go. However, this was not pursued further
from the proposal stage because of the lack of adequate funds. However, other
forms of educational incentives are currently offered to the resort’s employees
and these include: access to external training courses offered by the Guyana
Tourism Authority; as well as other courses directly relevant to the industry which
may be provided by other sources.

It can be noted that providing educational incentives to employees can not only
improve their knowledge base and performance, but also encourage and build
better relationship with management since employees see themselves as being
important, which in turn can foster commitment and loyalty to the company.

3.2.4 Monitoring and Appraisal Mechanisms


The resort does have a well defined monitoring and evaluation mechanism for
staff evaluations and appraisal which they very stringently follow. The resort’s
evaluation scheme which they use is done on a quarterly basis. Staff‘s
performance are monitored and evaluated during the quarterly period after which
a performance appraisal report is done. Based on this they are compensated
financially or with upward mobility within the company.

It must be noted that monitoring and appraisal is one of many key mechanisms
used by top level organisations/companies for staff improvement and
development. It is also used for measuring employees’ performance. Being able
to measure performance is critical to any business operation as it helps
managers to assert whether an employee is suitable for a position he/she holds.
If an employee has been identified as being more apt at another position, he/she
can be reassigned to that position based on the appraisal scheme. It is also used
to identify and select specific areas for training and development of employees.

3.2.5 Motivation Schemes (Direct incentives)


Group health insurance plans and life insurance plans are being provided for all
employees at Arrowpoint Nature Resort. All employees subscribe to the National
Insurance Scheme (NIS) and benefit from health insurance and social security.
While employees are given their normal remuneration packages, a bonus is also
given on a monthly basis based on performance. This is usually recognised
through an ‘Employee of the month’, or a service performance bonus. A bonus is
also given at the end of every year. As well, wages and salaries are increased
annually depending on job performance and other economic factors.

While it is true that motivation of oneself comes from within, it is the result of a
person’s individual perceptions, needs and desires. The basic principal of
motivation is that people do what they do because they are looking for something
6
called “positive reinforcement” - that is praise or recognition that demonstrates
that their efforts are appreciated by those in charge. In other words if a person’s
actions have resulted in positive consequences, then he or she is more likely to
repeat those actions, thus enforcing positive behaviour for that person. The types
of motivational techniques and benefits schemes employed by Arrow Point
Resort all have the potential to contribute to enforcing positive behaviour among
the employees. Especially the ‘Employee of the month’ and service performance
bonus, these two strategies creates and atmosphere of healthy competition
among employees and at the same time motivate them to improve and better
their performance on the job. This can only lead to enhanced efficiency and
quality in the services provided.

Other motivational techniques that the resort can apply are the star rating system
for employee. This system involves setting up a chart that is visible with
employees’ names and depending on the level of performance they are given a
star. At the end of the month the employees with the most stars are rewarded.
Another motivation technique is the displaying of photographs at the place of
work of recognised workers. Additionally at the end of the year employees who
were recognised through out the year for outstanding performance could further
be rewarded either monetarily or by offering them gift packages in the form of
vacations. These techniques can build pride and confidence in employees which
in turn can enhance job performance.

CONCLUSION

The tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. One of
the most important assets of this industry is its human resource capital. This

6 Mosley, Megginson et al. Supervisory Management – The Art of Empowering and Developing People. Third Edition.
South-Western Publishing Company.: Cincinnati, Ohio, 1993. P 243.
human resource capital is necessary for ensuring that the product is delivered so
that customer satisfaction is guaranteed.
The importance of human resources in this present day and age can be seen
from the fact that without proper human resource management most
organisations go bust within a few years of being set up. Human resource
management is imperative as it helps a business get the best from its employees
while at the same time realising profits and growth.
In the case of Arrowpoint Nature Resort we have seen that the policies and
strategies adopted by the resort in relation to establishing strong linkages with
the human resource capital within the business area has been able to realise
growth in several forms. Personal growth has been realised as a result of direct
employment in a business. Opportunities have been created for knowledge
expansion and lifestyle changes.
As well, the community as a whole has also benefited with the growth of the
business. The business has re-invested into the community by ensuring the
creation, development and support of other business initiatives. It has also
invested in the delivery and quality of education of the young people of the
community. This re-investment has been able to forge a strong affiliation and
commitment on the part of the community to something that works and is within
their best interest.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Anderson, Carl R. Management - Skills, Functions and Organization


Performance. Allyn & Bacon Inc.: Boston, 1998.
Bamberger, Alan Peter. Human Resource Strategy Formulation,
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Cohen, Allan R. The Portable MBA in Management. John Wiley and Sons Inc.:
New York, 1993.

Hax, Arnoldo C. Planning Strategies That Work. Oxford University Press: New
York, 1987.

Hatten, Kenneth J. et al. Strategic Management - Analysis and Action.


Prentice Hall Inc.: New Jersey, 1987.

Hill, Charles W.L. et al. Strategic Management Theory - An Integrated


Approach. Houghton Mifflin Company: USA, 1995.

Mosley, Megginson et al. Supervisory Management – The Art of Empowering and


Developing People. Third Edition. South-Western Publishing Company.:
Cincinnati, Ohio, 1993.

Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Human Resource Strategy. January, 2003

Pearce, John A. et al. Formulation, Implementation and Control of


Competitive Strategy. Richard D. Irwin Inc.: Illinois, 1994.

Starke, Frederick A. et al. Management Concepts - A Canadian Practice.


Allyn & Bacon: Canada, 1985

Wickert, F. The Famous JIT Card - A Basic Way to Improve It. “Training and
Development Journal” American Society for Training and Development. February
1974.

REFERENCE
http://www.humanresources.about.com/od/glossaryh/f/hr_development.htm

http://www.policy.org.za/html/govdocs/white_papers/social97gloss.html

http://www.psacbc.com/stewards_dictionary

http://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c021230a.asp

Interview with Mr. McKenzie, Human Resource Manager