BU7039 – Understanding and Managing People


University of Chester



Module Code

BU7039 - Understanding and Managing People

Assessment Task:

The new leadership team at C&C (case study) have asked for your assistance to conduct thorough analysis of the challenges that the business is facing.  They would like you to provide an evidenced-based essay to help them to prepare for discussions at the next Board Meeting.

Case study:

Coffee and Cake (C&C) is a privately owned company that runs an established chain of cafes in sixty locations around the UK. Most are located on high streets and in shopping centres, but there are also units located in large railway stations and some airports. The company sells a wide variety of speciality coffees, cakes, sandwiches and other beverages. It markets itself as a sustainable business with high standards of business ethics, which the business is committed to.

Throughout the Twentieth Century there was a single C&C coffee house located prominently in Central London. This was then taken over by a by a company that was keen to profit from the fast growth in the UK’s coffee shop market. Much money was invested in building the chain and for several years good profits were made. After 2015 though, problems started to arise. Sales began to slump in a number of locations as competition from ambitious independents and other coffee shop chains became more intense. Issues arose concerning unpaid debts and the company started to struggle financially. By the time of the Covid pandemic it was in serious financial difficulty and

in danger of becoming insolvent. In 2021 the company was sold to a consortium of four former C&C managers with finance largely provided by a venture capital fund.   In 2022 the aim of the new leadership and management team is to expand and open more stores nationwide.  However, they first need to ensure that C&C meets stakeholder expectations, reclaims its reputation and returns to profitability in the next two years.

To enable these aims the leadership have made the following commitments to be achieved over the next 3 years:

  • Pay greater consideration to diversity and inclusion in everything they do, at all levels of the business and across departments.
  • Grow and develop employees at all levels and provide opportunities for progression.
  • Role model an inclusive work environment in our stores, a place where every employee feels empowered and consideration of every person’s wellbeing is demonstrated.
  • Listen, check in with teams and act on feedback with the key objective of making C&C a more collaborative, open minded and inspiring place to work.

“A policy or written statement in itself is not enough and we know that engaging with all levels of our business is absolutely critical if we are to deliver on our promises and have an positive and lasting intrinsic impact on our teams and employees of the future.”

The leadership team recognise that to achieve their aims, they first need to:

  • Assess the current situation and the challenges in the hospitality labour market
  • Examine the current approach to leading and managing people and the impact this has had on employees
  • Establish a preferred approach to leading and managing people and the benefits this will have
  • Identify the learning and development needs to enable the new approach to managing people

To do this, the leaders particularly want to address the poor management of people which has been a major problem for some time. Their main concerns are that staff turnover was running at over 100% in 2019 and employee engagement levels have been very poor in several coffee shops for some years.  Both ‘employee turnover’ and ‘employee engagement’ have significant implications for the business which is causing considerable concern for the leaders, and if not addressed their ambitions for the next 3 years are at risk.  Evidence of these matters is found on the Glassdoor website where hundreds of current and former employees have written troubling reviews of their experiences working for the company. Overall ratings have been below 3 out of 5, which is considerably lower than the scores typically achieved by C&C’s major competitors.

The following are a representative sample of some of the recent comments that have been left in the Pros and Cons section on Glassdoor:

“Lovely regular customers. Met some good friends”

“Friendly and supportive staff who were happy to swap shifts. Tips”

“Staff discount on cakes and food”

“The only good thing was that it was located only three minutes walking from the place that I used to live.”

“You learn basic management tasks and can improve your communication skills. Free lunch and cakes.”

“I guess it pays your bills if you’re single and live in shared accommodation”

“If you want a culture where the quality of the product, the customer, the brand and the staff are key to how the business works, avoid C&C.”

“Nothing at all was positive”

“No real opportunities for advancement”

“Never put enough staff on shift. Bad at giving breaks, you can work an 8-9 hour shift and not be given a 30-minute break. Never know when your shift will end.”

“Every unit is understaffed, always.”

“It was soul-destroying, you’re taken advantage of and paid very little and you are spoken to by management like you’re a child (in front of customers)”

“No gratitude for anything, lazy people get paid the same as hard working employees”

Assessment Questions:

Question 1:Construct an evidenced-based discussion to demonstrate how the approach to leading and managing people in the current world of work, affects people’s performance and as such the performance of the organisation.  The answer should reflect the challenges in the sector in which C&C operates.

Question 2: Using your analysis in question 1, critically evaluate the existing and a potentially new approach to leading and managing people at C&C, the impact on the retention and performance of employees, and as a result the performance of the business.

Question 3:Using your analysis in question 2,identify the key learning and development requirements for the managers at C&C.  Then, critically assess a range of learning and development interventions to help leaders and managers to retain and engage valuable employees and drive business success.

Question 4:Reflecting on your learning and experience throughout this module, and using a reflective model, critically assess your response which should include the following,this is the template for question 4 of your assessment:

  • Which session was of particular interest to you? How did this session challenge your thinking?
  • How did this session and/or any other concept help you to develop the discussion in your assessment?
  • Discuss your engagement with study skills support (for example,Draft Coach, LIS, ASK, your PAT). include the content of the session, how you responded,and how you applied this to your assignment, provide evidence.
  • From your reflection and performance in this module, identify what you will do differently in the next module to continuously develop your academic performance.