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Human Resources Case Study: Browns Fashion

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Resources
Wordcount: 3859 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Equality and Diversity 












Appendix 1

Appendix 2


At the time when there were no many multi-brand boutiques, the iconic Browns fashion boutique was established in 1970 by Joan Burstein and her late husband Sidney Burstein (Brownsfashion.com, 2018). It was bold and overstated era in fashion industry, providing the fashion world with hippie chic and glam rock. Within the ten-year timeframe it became one of the most famous iconic fashion retailers and devoted to delivering the best edit of global design talent. The quest for creativity, innovation and originality defines the rowns fashion spirit (Culture, 2018). 

Browns fashion has always been and is the leader and innovator in the fashion industry. It is recognised as having discovered designer talents such as alexander Mcqeen, John Galliano and Hussein Chalayan, along with new generation of innovators, including Christopher Kane, Roksanda Ilincic and Simon Rocha (Brownsfashion.com, 2018).

In order to keep up with global high-tech platforms, Browns fashion was sold to Farfetch in May 2015. With this transition, Browns fashion was allowed to maintain its strong DNA, but leverage Farfetch’s resources and world class international technology platform. The following year, in November 2016, Browns fashion revealed a new visual identity with all offline and online elements simplified with new and modern labelling (Brownsfashion.com, 2018). The contemporary insignia and packaging remain true to Browns fashion’s heritage and at the same time offers a new and modern take for Browns fashion’s exciting future. (Brownsfashion.com, 2018). By introducing Brownsfashion.com, the company has returned to its revolutionary origins and was relaunched with new approach to editorial, social integration and functionality (Culture, 2018). 

By leveraging the Farfetch resources, Browns fashion has entered a new era with the objective of re-establishing Browns fashion as the most fashionable boutique brand in world wide.

Social integration and functionality can be easily recognised in every store by unique family atmosphere, but also the incredible Browns fashion’s sale executives who are trained to provide nothing less then a personal shopping experience to every customer. Purchasing goods online or in store, whether is delivering purchased goods to customers home or hotel, sourcing a particular piece or using the in-house atelier to get a perfect fit to every individual, Browns fashion always ensure unparallel service and opportunity to work with inspirational and innovative teams, defining the future of luxury (Brownsfashion.com, 2018).

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Browns fashion has established and verified new uprisings in omni-channel retail technology, before rolling them across the online platform’s full network of over three hundred boutiques (Abnett, 2015). In the interview for the magazine Business of Fashion, Joan Burstein (known also as Mrs B.) has stressed that … “Browns has always been forward-thinking; we (Browns fashion CEO and management) launched the website relatively early and have always recognised the importance and power of omni-channel shopping. As such, as we (Browns fashion CEO and management) reviewed our loner-term objectives and growth strategy, we felt it was the right time for the business to make next step in its evolution” (Abnett, 2015).

In creating the overall Browns fashion Nomad concept and opening Browns fashion East, the company aligned its own strategic objectives – semi-permanent roaming retail concept, tailored to the city (London) and its neighbourhood (Morris, 2017). 

Relaying on strong heritage in innovation, creativity and originality, Browns fashion showcased pioneering designers and diversity of workforce. The company accomplished to balance its affinity for fashion with incredible in-store experience where management always make sure to implement the change and evolve with their customers (United, 2017).


Human Resource (HR) policies are a composed foundation of direction on how a varied range of topics should be operated within an employing organisation. That includes an account of principles, rights and responsibilities for executives and employees and should start from HR strategies and balance HR procedures (CIPD, 2018).

An HR strategy is a framework defining how HR can encourage business or organisational objectives, focusing on long-term workforce issues and macro-concerns about structure, values, commitment and matching resources to future needs (CIPD, 2018). Therefore, HR policies stipulate general and practical advice and direction for managers and employees on range of employment problems (CIPD, 2018).

Rather then following the “best practice” approach – which may be unsuitable for the diverse range of organisational framework – an emphasis on why there’s a need for a specific policy and how it is aligned with the business strategy, agrees on appropriate policy to be applied for the specific context.

HR practitioners need solid professional ruling to create policies that encourage two-way relationship between their employee and the organisation (CIPD, 2018).

Browns fashion has considered and implemented type of policies that are pertinent to the organisation and their workforce throughout the progression of the employment life cycle:

-          Beginning of the employment

-          During employment and

-          Leaving employment.

Code of conduct of Browns fashion is introduced at the beginning of employment as a set up of definite settings and contains criteria for selection, combined with other associated polices for new joiners, such as induction. The purpose of this policy is to promise a professional approach and the highest standards throughout the recruitment and selection process. Moreover, this policy and procedure are set out to warrant a practical and lawful approach to equality and diversity throughout the process. It also serves as a guideline for employee relations and general HR issues addressing disciplinary and grievances policies, such as time off and leave for Trade Union activities, holidays, secondment, volunteering, parental or caring duties such as maternity or paternity leave, communication, involvement and other employee behaviours, including employee voice and harassment and bullying (ACAS, 2015).

During employment – reward and performance polices which are outlined in the Contract of Employment – addressing areas such as how jobs are categorised and how performance is rewarded. It also accentuates provisions for outlooks of compensation packages, such as pension and additional voluntary contributions and other benefits and allowances. 

Leaning and development highlights all questions that might be covered by policies in this area and would include courses and opportunities, talent development and payment of professional fees.

Staff retention may be outlines as an employer’s strategy to oversee the staff turnover and retain their valuable employees. There are substantial benefits to Browns fashion in search to minimise their staff turnover. In the past, Browns fashion has difficulties retaining staff. By introducing Staff Retention Policy, Browns fashion managed to minimise the staff turnover by addressing an issue with employee morale and the cost of recruiting and training new staff. This policy covered introduction, staff development, flexible working hours, performance reviews, renumeration and benefits, communication and exit interviews.

TUPE refers to he “Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006” as revised by the “Collective redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment – Amendment) Regulations 2014” (ACAS, 2014). “The TUPE directives apply to organisations of all sizes and protect employees’ rights when the organisation or service they work for transfer to a new employer” (ACAS, 2014). 

TUPE hasn’t been introduced to the Browns fashion employees during 2015 transition to Farfetch. The side effects of this transition affected all the employees who were working under enormous stress and uncertainty of their future employment in general, resulting in abnormal usage of absent days (sick days).

Ending employment is natural course of work circle of any individual employed by a company. There are number of reasons why employment concludes, starting from voluntary resignation to dismissal, redundancy or retirement (CIPD, 2018). Some or all of the named reasons are covered by formal written policies and outlined in employee Contract of Employment, including for example information of notice period or the nature of redundancy consultation.

Selfridges (Selfridges, 2018) and Harrods (Harrods, 2017) have implemented the same approach to Equality and Diversity Policies, outlined in their Code of Conduct policies.


Equality and Diversity stream throughout all parts of an organisation’s policies. Discrimination on many individual characteristics such, as sexual orientation, gender or race is unlawful at all stages of the employment life cycle, while managing inclusion and valuing diversity is vital for good people management and makes good business sense. Good practice advocates that a ultimate equality and diversity policy should specifically inform the organisation’s vision and values. The topic might then also be incorporated into many other policies, for example recruitment and selection and reward (CIPD, 2018).

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Browns fashion wants to draw and retain the very best people from talent pool. In order to preserve the best employees, HR department promote an ethos that is helpful and comprehensive, values openness, fairness and transparency. It makes good business sense to regard all applicants and employees equally, fairly and consistently, based on their ability. Recruitment and selection criteria are based on previous relevant experience, skills and competencies.  Equally, decisions on promotions and transfers are made on the same impartial standards with addition of appraisal ratings from previous roles with the company.

Browns fashion do not discriminate against people based on their skin colour, ethnic origin or nationality, disability, their age, their religion of beliefs, their gender, their sexual orientation, their work status or martial or civil partnership status – or any other aspect that does not have significance to performing their job.

Browns fashion age and gender statistics illustrate that the company is predominantly female organisation, which is in keeping with the retail sector as a whole (Appendix 1). In Browns fashion, 84% of the employees are female while tat head office 73% of the population is female (Appendix 2).

In terms of age, 77% of the retail workforce is under 35 years old, while at the head office 70% of the workforce is under 40 years old (Appendix 1). 

The most current investigation of employee ethnic diversity in rowns fashion was conducted in the last year. Overall, the analysis indicates a positive correlation between ethnic backgrounds of the company employees with ethnic make up of the UK (Please refer to Appendix 1).

4.     HR ROLE

Encouraging and underpinning diversity in the workplace is a central aspect of effective people management. It is about valuing every person in the organisation as an individual. However, in order to insure the advantages of diverse workforce it is vital to have comprehensive setting where every individual feels and are able to contribute and accomplish their potential (CIPD, 2018). While UK legislation, which covers age, disability, race, religion and beliefs, gender and sexual orientation among others, sets minimum standards, an effective diversity and inclusion strategy goes further than legal compliance and pursues to add value to an organisation, enhancing employee well-being and engagement (CIPD, 2018).

He moral case for creating impartial and more inclusive labour markets and workplaces is unquestionable because every individual is of substance and organisations must warrant their people management methods to not put any group at a disadvantage. Regardless of an individual identity or background, everyone deserves a prospect to develop their skills and talents to their full potential, work in safe, supportive and inclusive environment, be fairly rewarded and recognised for their work and have a meaningful voice on matters that affect all (CIPD, 2018).

Inequality is still extensive in the workplace and professional individuals are in an exceptional place to defend the importance of diversity and inclusion. It also shows that the evidence based on diversity is complex, with context playing a significant role.  In other words, organisational context must support individuals and teams for good outcomes (CIPD, 2018).

HR professionals should consider the potential positive outcomes of diversity for individuals such as impact on well-being. Any business case for diversity must take these human outcomes into deliberation and equalize them with business outcomes. 


In order to be competitive, organisations need every individual who work for them to make their best contribution and be valued. Seeing diversity and inclusion in its comprehensive sense helps the companies to develop an open and inclusive working culture (CIPD, 2018).

Browns fashion ensures that initiatives and policies have the support of the board and senior management but also needs to remember that managing diversity and developing a culture of inclusion is continuous process of improvement, not a one-off initiative.

Browns fashion also stresses on fairness and inclusion, ensuring that merit, competence and potential are the basis for all decision about recruitment and development and is paying special attention to the influence of deliberate and unintentional biases.

Creating strategies and providing training for line managers to help them respond fittingly to diversity needs as the company’s vital change mediators, will give Browns fashion an opportunity for flexible decision-making.

Browns needs to link diversity management to other initiatives such as Investors in People (IIP) (People, 2018), BSI 76000 valuing People and ISO 9001 Quality Management. 

As the organisation which operates internationally, Browns fashion needs to be conscious that the method to managing diversity will need to take in to an account way that individual working styles and personal preferences are influenced by national cultures.

The company must reflect on respect and dignity for all in the organisation’s values and insures these are specifies in the way the organisation and employees operate on daily basis, such as to aim to describe the desirable behaviours to gain positive commitment.

Introducing mechanisms to deal with all forms of harassment, bullying and intimidating behaviour, Browns fashion makes clear that such actions will not  be tolerated and need to set out the consequences of braking the organisation’s behaviour code.


Browns fashion increasingly recognise the benefits of a diverse workforce, but still face challenges in applying recruitment strategies that will achieve this. Employing staff from varied backgrounds can and will improve innovation, increase productivity and grant new market insights. By accepting new strategies and tools to widen the search from widespread talent pools they can gain an edge over their competitors.

There is a general misconception where the responsibilities lie for developing a diverse recruitment strategy. Senior managers, HR and marketing departments will need to collaborate to ensure that any strategy is effective with clearly defined goals and desired outcomes to measure success (Khatoon, 2017).


Achieving diversity at senior levels is generally perceived to be more challenging than sourcing diverse candidates for junior roles. Many employers regard a lack of suitably qualified candidates for senior roles as the most significant hurdle to achieving diverse business leadership.

This highlights the importance of creating a talent pipeline which is inclusive of professionals from all backgrounds, as well as considering professionals from overseas for high level positions and those with a background in other industries who posses transferable skills.

In order to reap the benefits of diverse workforce, Browns fashion must ensure that the management is abele to achieve and maintain collaboration within their team. This means providing opportunities from diverse background to work together as as ensuring that all members of staff feel that their voices and opinions are tskrninto consideration by senior management.


  • Abnett, K., 2015. Business of fashion. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/browns-acquired-by-farfetch-as-part-of-omni-channel-growth-strategy
    [Accessed 20 08 2018].
  • ACAS, 2014. ACAS. [Online]
    Available at: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1655
    [Accessed 20 08 2018].
  • ACAS, 2015. ACAS. [Online]
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    [Accessed 12 12 2018].
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    Available at: https://www.brownsfashion.com/uk/history
    [Accessed 20 08 2018].
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    Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/people/hr/policies-factsheet#7702
    [Accessed 20 08 2018].
  • CIPD, 2018. CIPD. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/diversity/factsheet
    [Accessed 20 08 2018].
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    [Accessed 12 12 2018].
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    Available at: https://www.robertwalters.co.uk/content/dam/robert-walters/country/united-kingdom/files/whitepapers/Diversity-In-Recruitment-Whitepaper-web.pdf
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  • Morris, A., 2017. Wallpaper. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.wallpaper.com/fashion/browns-opens-a-nomadic-concept-store-in-londons-shoreditch
    [Accessed 12 012 2018].
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    Available at: https://www.investorsinpeople.com/
    [Accessed 12 12 2018].
  • Selfridges, 2018. Selfridges. [Online]
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    [Accessed 20 08 2018].
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    Available at: https://fashionunited.uk/news/retail/browns-opens-browns-east-its-first-new-store-in-20-years-in-shoreditch/2017102026382
    [Accessed 20 08 2018].
  • Walters, R., 2017. R. Walters Whitepaper. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.robertwalters.co.uk/content/dam/robert-walters/country/united-kingdom/files/whitepapers/Diversity-In-Recruitment-Whitepaper-web.pdf
    [Accessed 20 08 2018].


Appendix 1


Ethnic group     UK  Browns

Appendix 2



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