HRM at New City Sports and Leisure Centre

After getting a good University degree you have just been given an exciting job as the Human Resources Management Business Partner (HRBP) at New City Sports and Leisure Centre. You were appointed by the local council to make suggestions and deliver important HRM improvements to a longstanding UK inner- city sports and leisure centre. The centre reopened in July 2021 after being closed during the COVID 19 crisis.


You want to take forward what you learnt at University regarding HRM strategy and the role of HRM in contributing to organisational success. You are keen to make a difference. You are required to work with the manager of the New City Sports and Leisure centre. The manager has worked at the centre since he left school 20 years ago and has worked his way up the structure where he started as a gym instructor. He does not know anything about the role of HRM. How could you persuade him that there is an important role to be played by HRM? You need to be able to explain the role of the HRBP in your report.



There has been major refurbishment by the council and the centre has very good facilities but is costly to run and has been receiving very poor customer feedback and declining membership numbers. Common complaints include limited opening hours, long queues at reception, unfriendly staff and frequent cancellations due to staff availability and sickness. Are there any ideas that you might offer here? Could you draw upon the lectures related to flexibility? You may wish to reflect on how HR has made a difference in improving workplace efficiency by drawing upon case study examples from credible sources.



The council considered closing New City, but Management Consultants argued that both potential market demand and local social need remained strong They felt that .many socially excluded groups would not be able to afford the more expensive private alternatives. They viewed that the main problem was “inflexible and old-fashioned HRM”.  The issues particularly seem to be lack of workforce planning and attracting talented staff.

What might you say in your report about these two areas? You should draw upon your learning in lectures/seminars and additional reading.



The centre is open from 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm at weekends. The existing workforce of about 35 employees are mainly employed on a full-time Monday to Friday, 9-5 basis – with overtime payments for weekend and evening work – and are represented by a trade union for collective-bargaining purposes. Most staff are trade union members. There are opportunities for developing staff with a new appraisal scheme but staff are fearful that it might be wrongly used as a disciplinary tool and are refusing to engage with the managers. What could you do to change their views?



While many staff have worked for the centre for over 10 years, existing staff are believed to be very demotivated, while the facility struggles to attract and retain new staff.  Currently there is no clear strategy to replace leavers. Practice has been to put up a card in the reception area saying that CVs can be left with the receptionist. Once recruited there is no induction plan for incoming staff as they are expected to shadow existing staff. The latest employee survey confirmed morale of current employees is low, and that staff are worried about potential changes and feel uncared for by the council. Several issues here that you might wish to consider in your report.



In particular, a majority of staff feared the impact of any HRM change on their job role and security, while 60% of women (who constitute half the work force) found existing working arrangements ‘inflexible and difficult to combine with family life’.   A particular concern in this respect was the emergence of private low cost rivals which employ very few permanent staff, favouring highly flexible staffing arrangements including zero hour contracts and self-employed/freelance staff. There are no black or disabled staff at all at New City sports centre although the complex is within a diverse neighbourhood. The women at the centre tend to be in the low paid jobs at the bottom of the structure. There does not seem to be any equal opportunities policy or training. How might you address the issues of equality and diversity?



HRM at New City Sports and Leisure Centre


Assignment task

Drawing on your knowledge of HRM, you are required to research and write a 1800 word at least report for the Council who have asked you develop a strategy to help overcome the existing challenges, and recommend improvements in their approach to HRM.

Please note that a report is different in layout to an essay. You should access the guidance sources in the reading list or seek advice from the University Academic skills centre if you are uncertain. Examples of previous reports can be found on Canvas.


Suggested Report structure

  • Contents page.
  • 1. Introduction – outlining the structure and scope of the report and identifying some key academic/research literatures and HR theories that inform your report. If you are making any assumptions about the case, you should state these assumptions here.
  • 2. Recommendations: Identification of the main areas you would address. This section will include your analysis of the case study and the areas you have chosen to focus on. You should identify what your new strategy would be and how it would overcome previous problems.  This should draw upon both relevant HR theories, and examples of real – world practice in other relevant organisations. You do not need to attempt to cover every possible issue or theory, but should focus upon those you believe to be most important based on your analysis of the case.
  • 3. Challenges – identify the problems and obstacles you might encounter in implementing your recommendations, and what could be done to overcome these.
  • 4. Conclusion – A conclusive summary of key points and recommendations, including what your strategy would be and how it would overcome the problems identified

. • 5 References – a full list of all material cited in the report.



Some points to note

You are only expected to address areas covered in semester 1 of the module.

You must adopt the Harvard referencing style.

Footnotes and appendices are not required and should not be used.

Your report should be presented in a clearly legible font (e.g. Arial or Times New Roman) in 12pt and have 1.5 line spacing.

Your report should be 1800 word at least

Your report should be submitted via Canvas


Hand in date: Thursday 6 January 2022 at 4pm UK time (1600 hours)



Formative feedback

You will gain opportunities from both peers and tutors in seminars. The final seminar in this semester will be dedicated to the assessment to support you.


Post assessment Feedback

Once your assessment is marked you will be able to view tutor feedback on Canvas. This will include advice on how to improve your work and where to gain more support.