Do HR Practices Affect Service Quality of Frontline Staff?

Dr. Farooq Azam Cheema, Afzal Ahmed Shah, Dr. Iqbal Phanwar, Dr. Faisal Aftab, Sayma Zia


The basic objective of this study was to examine the role of HR practices like recruitment and selection, training, performance appraisal and rewards management in enhancing overall service quality of the frontline staff in the hotel industry in Karachi, Pakistan. Hypothetic deductive approach was used for examining the relationship between independent and dependent variables. Customer service dimensions used in this study were derived from the SERVQUAL model that included frontline staff appearance, reliability of service, responsibility among the staff, assurance of job related knowledge and etiquettes and empathy. For the purpose of study 15 hotels and restaurants of various sizes with minimum 30 frontline employees were chosen. Ten frontline employees from reception staff, waiters/waitresses, housekeeping employees were chosen using quota sampling for data collection. Opinion of the frontline staff was sought through structured questions as how the four HR practices are likely to affect quality of five dimensions of the customer service quality. Data was collected through a structured questionnaire and integrated through SPSS. Results of study showed that the two HR practices; training and rewards management significantly affect the service quality of the frontline staff and this effect is far stronger than the effect of other HR practices. This research will not only bring significant practical implications for better human resource management in hospitality sector but also provide important indicators for future research. The future study may aim at identifying various internal and external factors that affect efficacy of various HR practices and policies and consequently their contribution in enhancing service quality of staff. Studies are also needed to identify further impediments obstructing the positive influence of recruitment and selection and appraisal practices on service behavior and quality of the staff. The role of various intervening or mediating variables such as employee collaboration, organization culture can also be probed further.

Keywords: Hospitality firms, HRM, service quality, recruitment and selection, training and development, performance appraisal, rewards management, frontline staff

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