Effects of human resource management practices and KFC code implementation on workers' welfare on cut-flower firms : case of Thika District
The study aimed at analyzing the effect of Human Resource Practices and KFC code implementation on employees within the cut-flower firms. The objectives of the study were to determine the status of human resource practices within the cut-flower firms after KFC code implementation; to find out whether the working conditions of workers have improved due to the new code implernentation; and, to find out what more need to be done to enhance proper management of human resources in the cutflower firms. The study was exploratory research since it was studying many variables and their relationships in order to further the researcher's understanding of the phenomena. The researcher adopted both the qualitative and quantitative research design. The study population consisted of 19 cut-flower farms. A complete list of these firms was obtained from the County Council of Thika, Permit Office which had a total of 19 registered cut-flower firms by November 2007. The nineteen firms were the target population. The study used both simple random sampling and stratified random sampling to arrive at the study sample. Simple random sampling was used to select 5 out of 19 cut-flower firms. From the selected firms, employees were then sampled out using stratified random sampling. They were categorized in respect to gender and terms of employment. Data were collected by the use of a questionnaire. Questions included both open ended and closed ended questions. The questionnaires were delivered to the specific respondents with assistance of two research assistants for three weeks to give all the respondents enough time to go through the questionnaires and answer the questions. This period of time also allowed the researcher to go back to the potential respondents who had not yet responded. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics - mean, mode, frequencies and percentages with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The nominal data were analyzed using qualitative approach where detailed descriptions were given. The study established that Kenya Flower Council code has not been fully implemented in cut-flower firms in Thika District. As a result of this, the working conditions in these firms are poor especially in relation to provision of protective clothing, employee harassment, unfair dismissals and provision of safe and reliable mode of transport for employees. The main goal of the introduction of the KFC code was to safeguard the working conditions and welfare of workers in cut-flower firms. Employees still feel that more can be done to improve their working conditions, giving rise to the recommendations that follow. Therefore, the researcher recommends that the Government should ensure that there is a government body - Common Code for all cut-flower growers. The Common Code will ensure that there is harmonization in the work conditions in cut-flower firms; the management of cut-flower firms should enhance the social welfare of its workers in terms of better remuneration, ensuring good health and safety, and job security of the worker; and, the employees should be given opportunity for further training and career development in order for them to fit even in other industries and also be able to cope with new changes in technology.