Manpower Planning & Forecasting: Aarong

Table of Content

Exceutive Summary

The word “Aarong” means “village fair-it” that symbolizes fairness in the global village. Aarong helps the artisans to support themselves by reviving their pride and self-esteem, preserving Bangladesh’s traditional Art and Craft. In the process Aarong contributes greatly to BRAC’s goal of poverty alleviation and empowered of the poor. Aarong currently provides services to more than 65,000 artisans, 85% of whom are women. Marketing support and Aarong also plays the role of protector and promoter of traditional Bangladeshi products and designs. Today, Aarong’s reach has spread beyond Manikganj to the rest of the country. Aarong symbolizes fairness in the global village.

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Aarong uses export as the mode for international business. As they are the leading exporter of handicraft and designer ware in Bangladesh they maintain superior quality and they carefully deal with dealers. Their strengths are revival of traditional product, spot payment on product delivery to encourage efficiency and productivity, training & Education in skills development to raise product quality and marketability, product Design and Support in Product Development. Though they face little competition in home but India and china are their international rivals who have some competitive edge over them.

Aarong is creating marketing opportunity for rural artisans, and they empower them financially and peruse the vision of BRAC. Aarong has turned a member of IFAT since June 2007. As the leading name brand in Bangladesh Aarong represents bangle heritage to the world, without proper patronization Aarong may lose market to India and china. Government must revise their export policy and create the factors that will help organizations like Aarong to enter international business and sustain their growth.


Aarong is a renowned brand name in Bangladesh. According to the available information it was established in 1978 as a wing of BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) which is a non-government development organization. Since its beginning till today Aarong has been playing a vital role in preserving and promoting Bangladeshi handicrafts. It endeavored to build up a sustainable a market for innovative and trendy products through its nationwide network of lifestyle stores and worldwide exports. Some time in 1986 Aarong obtained the qualification to export after a group of foreigners certified the quality of its products. Aarong is known today as one of the finest rural craft producers and marketer both home and abroad.

It is a renowned exporter of handicraft Europe, US and North America. Aarong products ranging from leather, jute, wood, terracotta, bamboo, cane, jewelry to readymade garments from hand woven fabrics and Knit fabrics Aarong offers an enormous array of products made by skilled artisans across the country. Aarong is appreciated as a successful international enterprise for its commitment to high quality and well-designed products.

Aarong helps the artisans to support themselves by reviving their pride and self-esteem, preserving Bangladesh’s traditional Art and Craft. In the process Aarong contributes greatly to BRAC’s goal of poverty alleviation and empowered of the poor. Aarong currently provides services to more than 65,000 artisans, 85% of whom are women. Aarong has identified three main reasons for the lack of effective employment of the low income and under privileged people in the rural areas. These are:

  • low levels of working capital,
  • marketing support
  • opportunity for skills development.

Aarong’s product designs has brought consumer attention back to the products and styles that are indigenous to Bangladesh, its designers blending the traditional with the contemporary in a manner that has won instant consumer appeal, starting a revolution in trends that has now been taken up by countless other boutiques and stores. Aarong’s product designs focus on the diverse types and textures of crafts and patterns that have been passed along from generation to generation among weavers and artisans in craft hubs around the country. Aarong also plays the role of protector and promoter of traditional Bangladeshi products and designs.

It houses an extensive design library where remnants of our rich craft heritage, such as Nakshikantha art and Jamdani patterns, have been widely researched and archived for present as well as future use. In 1976, when BRAC- a Bangladeshi NGO dedicated to alleviating poverty and empowering the poor, first began encouraging sericulture for women in Manikganj, their only buyers were a few scattered retailers in Dhaka.

Weeks, even months would pass between supply and payment, until BRAC intervened. Aarong was born out of a need to ensure that the penniless silk farmers of Manikganj were paid for their goods upon delivery, so that they could feed their families. Today, Aarong’s reach has spread beyond Manikganj to the rest of the country. It has grown into a thriving international enterprise showcasing ethnic wear to beautiful crafts from silks, handloom cotton, endi to terracotta, bamboo, jute and much more.

From a single shop, Aarong has grown into one of Bangladesh’s biggest retail chains, with eight stores spread across the major metropolitan areas of the country – in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet and one in London, UK. Staffing Strategy The Strategic HR decision can be referred to such decision which actually deals with the development of the organization’s workforce. So in order to drive the organization towards achieving the goal, it should build up a strong workforce and for that to happen the organization should make fruitful decisions.

Such decision can only be made if the organization pays attention towards the following strategies. The strategies are:

Acquire or develop talent: The reason behind hiring new employees is to fulfill staffing needs. New employees not only fill up a vacant but also add up new ways of working throughout the whole goal achieving process. Such new employees would bring their talents with them to the job. In this case their working skills or talents are already been acquired. But in some cases of talented employees are needed to be trained to utilize their talent at ultimate level.

But while making any decision on hiring new employees for Aarong, the controversy of whether the talent should be acquired or developed shows up. Such controversy can only be dealt with if we relate the acquired or developed talent to the type of job. The administrative should be developed in accordance to the objective of the organization but in case of productive job which are basically done by rural people, should have acquired talent, because they will not be able to perform their job effectively unless they have basic knowledge over crafting, sewing etc. But later on they might be given further training to develop their talent.

Staffing as a lag or lead system: According to the text book, in case of staffing as a lag system, strategic organization objectives and plans are developed first and staffing system are then developed to deliver the numbers and types of employees needed. On the other hand staffing as a lead system involves the acquisition of people and their accompanying skills without a formal blueprint for how many are needed or when.

From the information that we have gathered from Aarong it is obvious that it makes the staffing work as a lag system. Because Aarong comes up with their objectives and plans on how to make the projects successful that it decides on at the beginning of the year. After developing the objectives and plan, Aarong decides on the numbers and types of employees needed to make the staffing successful.

Specific or general competencies: Specific competency can be referred to the specific talent or skill that an employee should posses to perform his or her job, such as being expertised in particular sector. On the other hand general competency is used in general sense. It focuses on the KSAO’s which are applicable across a variety of jobs. Such KSAO includes flexibility, adaptability, ability to learn, written and oral communication skill and statistics skills. Like any other organization Aarong is driven through both administrative and productive workforce. Specific competencies are heavily required by the productive workers, because they are assigned for specific jobs.

In Aarong the employees who are involved in production sectors, have to be specialized n technical side. But in case of general competency, it is required by more or less every level of employees. Such competencies are specially required by Administrative workers, because they are assigned to co-ordinate every work activities within and outside the organization. Productive workers also need to have general competencies because they should have the ability to learn new things and communicate with their superiors.

Exceptional or acceptable Workforce Quality: The workforce which posses exceptional quality are expected to deliver superior performance. But hiring such workforce with such quality is not easy and cheap. On the other hand there are some workforces who possess qualities that make them less efficient then the exceptional workforce and they are just expected to perform whatever is needed to be done to achieve the goals. In Aarong the requirement for Exceptional or acceptable workforce quality depends on the conplexity of the job. The employees who are involved in the production sector required to have Exceptional quality, because Aarongs success depends on their efficiency.

Administrative workforces, especially managers are also required to have exceptional quality, as they are assigned to co-ordinate everything that falls under their responsibilities. But on the other hand , sub-ordinates are not necessarily needed to exceptional qualities, because they work under their superiors guidance and they have very less responsibility to bear.

External or Internal Hiring: The occurrence of job vacancy or the creation of new job is a very common aspect for every organization and for that they rely either on Internal or external hiring. Aarong is not exceptional from it. But its decisions on whether to hire from external source or internal source depends on the level of jobs and availability of employees.

For administrative sector Aarong prefer to rely on internal source rather than external source, because it believes that existing employees are more committed towards the organization and they know the organization better than anyone else. But if Aarong’s HR fails to hire anyone from the organization, it goes for external hiring. For that Aarong draw the attention of potential applicants through different media and among the applicants it chooses the suitable employees. But in case of the Productive or the outlet sectors, Aarong goes for external hiring. For such hiring, recruitment and selection procedure is same as the procedure of Administrative sector.

Active or passive pursuit of diversity: As we all know Aarong is a NGO and it focuses on human welfare especially on rural people and women. Aarong has been established to make job opportunities for rural people and women. For that purpose it has actively diversified its workforce. According to Aarong’s HR policy 30% of the total workforces should be women. Aarong also creat job opportunities for disable people who are capable enough make their living.

Core or flexible workforce: Core workforce consists of those workers who are considered as regular workers, they can be either full time or part time workers. On the other hand flexible workforce involves those workers who are not viewed as regular and are used on an as- needed, just-in-time basis. Aarong hire employees as core workers, either as full time or part time workers. But it hires flexible workers as well, but it depends on the situation. For example: During Eid or other occasions, Aarong hires employees for both production sector and outlet sector, in order to meet the excessive demand during these events.

These employees are hired for temporary period, just 2-3 months before the events start. HRP initial decision Before HRP is given an actual state, some decisions are to be made initially. These decisions give a shape to the HRP process and influence the output of the process. Like any other large organization, Aarong also make these decisions initially.

Roles and responsibilities Job Analysis Job analysis can be defined as an examination of the jobs in an organization with a view to documenting the knowledge, skills and abilities associated with successful performance of those jobs. The written outcomes of this process are referred to either as job description or job specification. Job Analysis refers to various methodologies for analyzing the requirements of a job. Purpose The main purpose of conducting job analysis is to prepare job description and job specification which in turn helps to hire the right quality of workforce into the organization.

The general purpose of job analysis is to document the requirements of a job and the work performed. Job and task analysis is performed as a basis for later improvements, including: definition of a job domain, describing a job, developing performance appraisals, selection systems, promotion criteria, and training needs assessment, and compensation plans. Method There are several ways to conduct a job analysis. These could be:

  • Interviews with incumbents and supervisors
  • Questionnaires (structured, open-ended or both)
  • Observation Critical incident investigations
  • Gathering background information such as duty statements or classification specifications.

In job analysis conducted by HR professionals, it is common to use more than one of these methods. For example, the job analysts may tour the job site and observe workers performing their jobs. During the tour the analyst may collect materials that directly or indirectly indicate required skills (duty statements, instructions, safety manuals, quality charts, etc. The analyst may then meet with a group of workers or incumbents.

And finally, a survey may be administered. In these cases, job analysts typically are industrial/organizational psychologists or Human Resource Officers who have been trained by, and are acting under the supervision of an industrial psychologist. In the context of vocational rehabilitation, the primary method is direct observation and may even include video recordings of incumbents involved in the work. It is common for such job analysts to use scales and other apparatus to collect precise measures of the amount of strength or force required for various tasks.

Accurate, factual evidence of the degree of strength required for job performance is needed to justify that a disabled worker is legitimately qualified for disability status. In the United States, billions of dollars are paid to disabled workers by private insurers and the federal government (primarily through the Social Security Administration). Questionnaires are the most common methodology employed by certification test developers, although the content of the questionnaires are gathered through interviews or focus groups. Job analysts can at times operate under the supervision of a psychometrician.

Process of Job Analysis at Aarong The process of job analysis at Aarong involves following steps to maximize the potential for success. The actions required are:

Determine the Job or Process: There are 2 possible ways by which it is possible to determine the job or process. These 2 are:

  • Concurrent (all jobs are analyzed approximately the same time)
  • Sequential (job analysis conducted in different stages over time) Aarong basically focuses on the sequential steps for determining the job or process.

What they basically do is they call for a meeting where the high level executives will be present. High level executive includes the Head of each department available at Aarong and also the Head of Human Resource Department. They all will sit together in a particular time and all the job analysis will be done at a time in a group discussion.

Methods of Job Analysis used by Aarong: There are many methods available to use for Job Analysis. But Aarong focuses on two methods for job analysis. These 2 are:

  • Interview: Interview is the most common form of Job Analysis method at Aarong. It is also the official method used by this organization.
  • Observation: Observation is another used by Aarong.

In this observation method there are some techniques used by the authority. There will be supervisors assigned for observation. Although it is legal to use close circuit camera in these observation system, but Aarong doesn’t use any close circuit camera to observe the employees. There is many field work or duties which takes place at Aarong. It is more applicable in a sense that in field works it is very much possible to watch the employees. How are the employees working, their commitment toward work, their interpersonal behavior; all these attitudes can be checked in the field work.

That is why for field work observation method is more applicable. One important thing to notice is that the employees don’t know that they are being observed by the authority. They are kept unaware of this fact. Recruitment Recruitment refers to the process of screening, and selecting qualified people for a job at an organization or firm, or for a vacancy in a volunteer-based some components of the recruitment process, mid- and large-size organizations and companies often retain professional recruiters or outsource some of the process to recruitment agencies.

Alternatives to Recruitment

In the corporate office of Aarong, they don’t need to recruit much people throughout the time. Because, the turnover rate is really low which means the employees are satisfied with their job. But in Aarong house/outlets there are some alternatives to recruitment.

These are:

  • Contractual: Aarong sometimes comes with the idea of establishing contract with the human resource. They establish the contract for a certain period of time and in this time the worker will work under Aarong. After the end of the time, the contract will also expire. For instance, suppose Aarong has a big supply to make to a customer and they need quality worker for a certain time. They look for freelancers. These freelancers would work with Aarong on a contract for a certain time of period. When the contract time is over they will leave the organization.
  • Temporary: Other than recruiting employees, Aarong goes for temporary recruitment where the employee or the worker is being selected on a temporary basis. For instance, when there is a special season going on in Aarong like the Eid time, then Aarong makes contractual deal with people. In this way, their works are done and they don’t need to recruit people for that short time.
  • Overtime: Aarong also go for overtime system. Rather than recruiting workers they stay with the current workers and ask them to work overtime. The workers are getting paid for this overtime.

The objective of the internal recruitment process is to identify and attracts applicants from among individuals already holding jobs within the organization. Internal recruitment is done to minimize the cost and time. When a position is vacant in the organization first they to fill it by hiring people within the organization.

Aarong first try to fill it vacancies by hiring employee within the organization. If it is possible they try to recruit within the organization. Aarong recruit people according to their project. They recruit people on their project based. As their turnover rate is very low so they are not always bother about hiring people. They just give circular when they need people. Internal recruitment is less expensive than external recruitment. Aarong’s view about internal recruitment is very clear. They said if it is possible to recruit people internally than we do it.

If we see that internal employee is capable of doing the job or he has the qualification or experience then we do not have any problem. The first step in the internal recruitment planning is recruitment planning, which addresses both organizational and administrative issues. Organizational issues include mobility paths and mobility paths policies. Administrative policies include requisition, number and types of contacts, budget and recruitment guide. Organizational Issues Organization must create a structured set of jobs for their employees and paths of mobility for them to follow as they advance in their careers.

To do this organizations create internal labor markets. Each internal labor market has two components: mobility path and mobility policies. Mobility paths depict the paths of mobility between jobs. Mobility policies cover the operational requirement needed to move people between jobs. Mobility Paths A mobility path consists of possible employee movements within the internal labor market structure. Mobility paths are determined by many factors including work force, organization, labor union and labor market characteristics. Mobility paths are of two types: traditional and innovative.

Both types of mobility paths determine who is eligible for a new job in the organization. Aarong follows traditional mobility paths. The emphasis is primarily on upward mobility path. Due to the upward nature of traditional mobility paths they are often labeled promotion ladders. This label implies that each job is a step toward the top of the organization. Upward promotions are an organization are often seen by the employees as prizes because of the promotions desirable characteristics.

So, Aarong follows traditional mobility path as their promotional ladders. Traditional mobility path is always upward trend. Employees compete for the immediate top position. For Aarong traditional mobility paths make it very easy, from an administrative vantage point, to identify where to look for applicants in the organization. For promotion they look one next level down in the organization hierarchy. Such a system is very straightforward to administer and flexible enough. Mobility Policies Mobility paths show the relationship among jobs, but they do not show the rules by which people move between jobs.

These rules are specified in written policies which must be developed and should specify eligibility criteria. In brief, mobility policies show the rules by which people move between jobs. Development: A well defined mobility path policy is needed for both traditional and innovative mobility path. Aarong has a well defined mobility path policy. The intent of the policy is clearly communicated. The policy is consistent with the top management philosophy and values of top management. Employees’ responsibility and duties for developments are clearly defined and supervisors’ responsibility is clearly stated.

They have a clearly defined compensation and advancement rules. Rules regarding benefits and benefit charges as they relate to advancement are included. A well articulated and well executed mobility path policy is likely to be seen by employees as being fair. A poorly developed or nonexistent policy is likely to lead to employee claims of favoritism and discrimination. Eligibility Criteria An important component of an effective mobility policy is a listing of the criteria by which the organization will decide who is eligible to be considered for an open vacancy in a mobility path.

Aarong did not have any eligibility criteria as who is eligible for an open vacancy in a mobility path. But they made these eligibility criteria in two years before. Usually these criteria are based on the amount of seniority, level of experience, KSAO and job duties required for the job. Suppose Aarong recently expand their business in U. S. A and U. K for an international assignment the applicant may be required to have been with the organization a certain length of time, have experience in functional area, proficient in a foreign language and be interested in performing new duties.

Mobility paths and mobility policies must be established as part of the palnning process and so, too must administrative matters. Those administrative matters include requisition, coordination, the budget and the recruitment guide.  A requisition or authorization to fill a position by higher level management is essential to the internal recruitment process. First the requisition comes from the respective department or unit to the HR that how many people they need. They send their proposal to the Human Resource Department (HR). In Aarong when they need new people first they get approval from the top management.

Without a formal requisition they can not recruit any people. Thus, formal requisition should always be used in internal recruitment. Coordination In Aarong there is coordination in internal recruitment and external recruitment. First human resource department get a requrition from the respective unit or department. Then the HRD department evaluates the requisition whether actually they need this people or not. After evaluating they send it to the top level management. Without permission of the top levlel management they can not start their recruitment.

After getting the approval then they give advertsemnet in print media or internet and in the interview board there will someone from respective department and one must from the HR department. Recruitment Budget Aarong has a recruitment budget for hiring people internally. There is also a coordination of in internal recruitment budget and external recruitment budget. They advertise and recruit within their budget. They cannot overlap their budget. Recruitment Guide Internal recruitment activities involve the development of a recruitment guide, a formal document that details the process to be followed to attract applicants to a vacant job.

Aarong has a well defined recruitment guide. It is clearly defined that what steps to be taken to fill the vacancy. In open internal recruitment system employees are made aware of job vacancies. Employees get a chance to measure their qualification against those required for advancement. It is a lengthy process and sometimes it decrease employee morale. Sometimes it creates unwanted competition also.

Open internal recruitment system: Department or unit notifies HR of vacancy HR post job opening Receives application from interested applicant HR call interview Manager of selective department interviews applicant Manager, HR selects the best candidate Open system provides more candidates decreasing the chance of potential candidates to be overlooked. Open system may motivate employees to migrate creating new recruitment problems.

As per the company’s rules Job Location Dhaka External Recruitment The objective of the external recruitment process is to identify and attract job applicants from the outside the organization. From among these applicants hiring decisions are to be made. The recruitment process begins with a planning phase during which both organizational and administrative issues regarding the identification and attraction of applicants are addressed.

Organizational issues include in-house versus external recruitment location, individual versus cooperative recruitment alliances and centralized versus decentralized recruitment functions. Administrative issues include requisition, number and types of contacts, the recruitment budget, development of a recruitment guide, and the selection, training and rewarding of recruiters. As we said earlier that Aarong has a very low turnover rate of employee in the head office. Most of the time they recruit people project based. They recruit people according to their project.

Suppose in Eid they recruit lots of employee as temporary basis. The respective outlet informs that we need this much of sales people in our outlet and then the HR department justify whether they really need this amount of employee or not. They have criteria for every outlet. Suppose they recruit sales people according to their outlet size. They have a standard that for every square feet how many employees I need. In external recruitment the applicant pool is very large. So, organization has to give advertisement on the print media or internet which is very costly.

Most organization recruiting is done in house. Smaller organization may rely on external recruitment agencies rather than in house function to coordinate their recruitment efforts as smaller organization may not have the staff or budget to run their own recruitment function. Organization with low turnover rates may also prefer to use external recruitment agencies because they recruit so infrequently that it would not make sense to have a recruitment of their own. In Aarong most of the recruitment is done in house though they have a very low turnover rate.

Most of the recruitment is done in house. But sometimes they go for external recruitment agency. When the post is very sensitive or top level post then they go for external recruitment agency. Authority to recruit is decentralized because most of the work is coordinated by individual business units or individual managers. Requisition comes from the respective department and in the interview board they will the department head and must one person from the HR department to justify the interview fairness. Recruitment efforts are done in a more timely manner.

In the planning stage of recruitment, attention must be given to administrative issues as well as organizational issues. A requisition is a formal document that authorizes the filling of a job opening indicated by the signatures of top management. Supervisors are not given discretion to authorize the filling of job openings. In Aarong Top managers rather than supervisors, are more likely to be familiar with staffing planning information for the entire organization and their approval is needed instead to ensure that recruitment activities are coordinated with staffing planning activities.

Number of Contacts The pool of applicant to be selected almost always need to larger than the number of applicants that will be hired eventually. Some applicants who are contacted may not be interested in the position and others may not be qualified. It is very difficult to identify the want number of contacts needed to fill a particular contact position. However historical data is useful in establishing the targeted number of contacts. If careful records are kept then yield ratio can be calculated to summarize the historical data and to guide decision about the number contacts to make.

A yield ratio expresses the relationship of the inputs to outputs at various decision points. For example in Aarong for 30 posts nearly 3000 applicants’ contacted to fill those positions. Then the yield ration would be 100:1. Types of Contacts The types of contact to be made depend on two factors; First it is essential that the qualifications needed to perform the job are clearly established. This is done through the process of job analysis. Aarong did not have their job analysis two years before. But recently they made their job analysis for every post.

Second consideration must be given to the job search and choice process used by applicants. Aarong is aware of where likely applicants search for employment opportunity and what it will take to attract them to the organization. Recruitment Budget The recruitment process is very expensive component of organizational staffing. As a result of the high costs many organization are currently using cost containment programs in their recruitment efforts. In Aarong they follow the top down or bottom up approach to recruitment to fill up vacancies.

The budget for recruitment activities is set up by top management on the basis of the projected revenues. With a bottom-up approach, the budget for recruitment activities is set up on the basis of the specific needs of each business unit. A second issue that needs to address in establishing a well developed recruitment budget is to decide whether to charge recruitment cost to business unit user or HR department.

A recruitment guide is a formal document that details the process to be followed to attract the applicants to a job. It should be based on the organizations staffing flowcharts if available. Included in the guide are details such as the time, money and staff required to fill the job as well as the steps to be taken to do so. Aarong has a well developed recruitment guide.

This approach is very passive in that anyone can apply. The advantage of the open recruitment method is that it is often seen as being fair by applicants. One disadvantage is that potential employees may be overlooked. Recruitment Sources A critical factor in narrowing down the applicant pool is an organization’s previous success and failures with alternative recruitment sources. Aarong find that the yield of high quality candidates is best when applicants from colleges and universities rather technical and vocational schools.

Recruitment Methods An analysis of recruitment sources enables organization to determine where potential job applicants are likely to be found. Recruitment methods are then used to encourage potential candidates to seek employment with the company. Aarong mostly used the advertisement and internet method to attract potential employees.

A realistic recruitment message portrays the organization and the job as it rally is, rather than describing what the organization thinks job applicants want to hear. Several recruitment practices work well with this approach. It shows both pros and cons of the job. May chase away some applicants but is beneficial in the long run. Applicants tend to be more committed.

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