understanding of the organization and its environment. Figure 17.1 shows a ‘systems
thinking’ diagram – how an organization’s plan can be affected by its environment.
At the operational level, management needs to know precisely what staffing ratios
are necessary. Each organization and each establishment will have its own, such as
one waiter for ten covers and one room attendant for fourteen rooms (Figure 17.2).
At the strategic level, management needs accurate statistics in order to develop the
undertaking’s long-term plans. This is best illustrated by a real example with which
one of the authors of this article was associated. A brewery company wanted to expand
its number of managed public houses by 100. It needed to recruit at least 100 new
husband-and-wife teams to run these public houses. In addition, if it had 100 managed
houses already it would have to anticipate finding replacements for some of these existing
100 managers. If wastage rates are unknown, it is not possible to calculate accurately
what numbers to recruit and train. On the other hand the company had kept records
and these showed that wastage among established managers was 20% per annum and
among trainees 30%. It was then simple to determine how many to recruit in a year.
Since 100 couples were required for new houses and 20 couples were required for
existing houses, this indicated that a total of 120 couples were needed to complete
training. However, as wastage during training is 30%, the number to be recruited
had to be increased to compensate for this loss.
The brewery, therefore, knew on the basis of past experience that it would need to
recruit about 172 couples to fill 120 vacancies likely to occur. The actual phasing of
this recruitment depended on other factors such as the length of training, the availability
of new public houses, the policy for retiring or replacing tenants, etc. This
illustrates that plans for the future are difficult to implement effectively without
adequate records and statistics. However, as was said much earlier, the individual’s
needs, as well as the employer’s, have to be recognized – consequently any records
and statistical data must serve the individual as well as the employer.
Personnel information and records are required for several reasons:
1 To provide detailed operational information such as monthly strength returns
and payroll analyses.
2 To provide ratios or data such as wastage rates, age analyses and service analyses
for planning purposes.
3 To provide information on individuals for administration purposes such as salaries
and pensions and to provide information for career development purposes.
4 To provide information for statutory purposes such as National Insurance, redundancy
payment, minimum wage, maximum hours, etc.
5 To provide information for re-employment and reference purposes.
6 To provide information for discipline and possible employment litigation purposes.