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Exercise Human Resource Management

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This case study talks about the Bandag`s Automotive which is based in Illinois and employs 300 people and distributes auto supplies ( replacement, mufflers, bulbs, engine parts etc.) through two divisions, one that supplies service stations and repair shops and the second that sells retail auto supplies through 5 Bandag’s Automotive auto supplies stores.

Jim Bandag who took over his family`s business in 2005 which was earlier handled by his father. Company outsources most HR activities through employment agencies that do the recruitment and screening. And a benefit firm that administers their 401 (K) plan, a payroll service that handles their paychecks.

Jim`s father took a fairly paternal approach to the business. He spent time dealing with the problems faced by employees and giving them solutions to their problems. Moreover, he used to give occasional loans to the employees when he used to discover that one of their children was sick or they needed money for house loan. On the other hand, Jim was very practical in his approach. He didn’t share the same warm relationship with the employees as his father did. He is very focused on improving Bandag`s financial performance and so all his decisions , including HR related decisions generally comes down to cutting costs. Its therefore perhaps not surprising that over past few years Bandag`s sales and profits have increases markedly, but the firm has found itself increasingly enmeshed in HR/ equal employment type issues.

There have been many cases of EEO type issues in recent 4-5 years. Jim`s father who is semi-retired is troubled with this sudden uptick in the frequency of such EEO type issues troubled him, particularly after so many years of Labor peace. He is not sure what to do about it. He is afraid that these issues are going to drain a great deal of Jim`s time and resources and they would hamper the image of Bandag Auto. We, known to deal with Human Resource Management have answered the questions that were asked by Jim`s Father.

Q.1. Given Bandag Auto`s size, and anything else you know about it, should we reorganize the human resource management function, and if so why and how?
Ans. Yes, Human resource management should definitely be reorganized as the current approach is based on increasing the financial performance and it focuses on cutting costs. It does not focus on employee needs and demands. Reorganizing Human Resource management function will not only be growth oriented step but also ensure the maximum utilization of human resources. It will also help in increasing productivity, improving quality, improving organizational climate and ensuring personnel growth etc.

It will help in adopting a proactive approach for managing people and will focus on employee development and delight. It will also help in hiring the right talent, providing the ample opportunities for career growth and creating job satisfaction.

Q.2.What, if anything, would you do to change and / or improve upon the current HR systems, forms, and practices that we use now?
Ans. Your company has remarkably improved in terms of sales and profits but on the same time it has found itself increasingly enmeshed in HR/ equal employment type issues. To cope in today`s turbulent times, it has become increasingly important for both company and employees to better re-address employees problems and needs. The end result should be career resilient workforce. It is necessary to have employee growth programs to increase employee productivity, prevent job burnout and obsolescence, and improve the quality of employee`s work lives.

Q.3. Do you think that the employee that Jim fired for creating what the manager called a poisonous relationship has legitimate claim against us, and If so why and what should we do about it?
Ans . Jim fired an employee who was supposed to be suffering from mental illness and he felt sorry for his dismissal. But the employee was very efficient in his work and did pretty well in terms of technical aspects. But he had been creating a problem with his coworkers. He was continually arguing with executive assistant and complaining about the working atmosphere to the manager. Jim could have tried to know about his issues and problems and he could have opted for change in his work place ( a transfer from one unit to another unit) or could have helped him in providing medical treatment for his illness if he had any.

Q.4. Is it true that we really had to put Gavin back into an equivalent position, or was it adequate to bring him back into a job at the same salary, bonuses and benefits as he had before his leave?

Ans. Yes, you could have put him back into an equivalent position as there was no formal notice given to him prior to his elimination and change of his position. Earlier it was a managerial position (store manager of five stores) and later he was given a non-managerial position (counter salesperson) with the same salary and benefits but it did not hold the same prestige and reputation. And according to Family and Medical leave act, he was given approved leave by Jim for his hip surgery. Company should bring him back at same position.

Q.5. Miriam, the controller is basically claiming that company is retaliating against her for being pregnant, and that the fact that we raised the performance issue was just a smokescreen. Do you think the EEOC and/ or courts would agree with her and, in any case, What should we do now? Ans. Miriam had been with the company for about 6 years went on pregnancy leave for 12 weeks in 2005 and received an additional three weeks leave under Bandag`s extended illness days program. Jim could have been little more flexible in adjusting the working days and timings and could have resolved the conflict arising at the early stage only. The necessary steps could have been taken to ensure that both the issues are solved ie. Miriam`s and Company issues. And moreover she could have been given a prior notice or warning of being fired as her problem was genuine and it is not advisable to lose a loyal employee.

Q.6. An employee who is deaf has asked us to be one of our delivery people and we turned him down. He`s now threatening to sue. What should we do and why?
Ans. It was correct to turn him down as he had applied for a job driving one of Bandag`s distribution department trucks and according to U.S. court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had recently decided that UPS had violated that the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to consider deaf workers for jobs driving the company`s smaller vehicles only. He cannot sue as his request was against the laws. Q.7. In the Previous ten years we have had only one equal employment complaint, and now in the last few years we have had four or five. What should I do about it and why?

Ans. When you were handling the business, you took the paternal approach to the business. You were concerned about employee`s welfare and development. You used to spend time in knowing about the problems faced by employees and providing them solutions. You used to enjoy a warm relationship with employees. On other hand, Jim tends to be more abrupt and does not enjoy dealing with employees. He is just very focused on improving Bandag`s financial performance and reducing costs.

There is hardly any organization or company where the employees do not have some or the other sort of grievance. These grievances may be real or imaginary, valid or invalid, genuine or false. But it is common that the grievance of the employees produce unhappiness, frustration, discontent, indifference, and poor morale and ultimately it has an adverse effect on the efficiency and productivity of an employee. It is necessary to address the problems of employees at an early stage and help in finding a solution to a problem which is in favor of both employee and the company.

Jim should try to talk and spend some time to understand the problems faced by employees so that there is no scope of misunderstanding between them and they can come to a feasible solution.

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