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Strategic HRM and the HR Scorecard

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1. Would you recommend that the company expand its quality program? If so, specifically what form should it take?

Ans: Most students will agree that there are opportunities to expand the quality program. The employee meeting approach is a good start in terms of utilizing high involvement organizational practices. There are opportunities to maximize the overall quality of their human capital. For example, training seems to be an obvious area to focus in terms of educating and building awareness about basic standards and procedures.

2. Assume the company wants to institute a high performance work system as a test program in one of its stores. Write a one-page outline summarizing what such a program would consist of.

Ans: Students should include some of the following ideas in their outline: Identify the types of HR practices it would implement to improve quality, productivity, financial performance; methods for job enrichment; strategies for implement and leverage a team-based organization; ways to implement and facilitate high commitment work practices; employee development and skill building to foster increased competency and capability in the workforce; a compensation program which provides incentives (for example profit sharing; pay for performance) for achieving major goals and financial targets.

Chapter 4: Job Analysis

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: The job description 1. What should be the format and final form of the store manager’s job description? Ans: The format noted in figure 4-6 could be a reasonable format to use. Students may recommend that Jen should include a “standards of performance” section in the job description. This lists the standards the employee is expected to achieve under each of the job description’s main duties and responsibilities, and would address the problem of employees not understanding company policies, procedures, and expectations. In addition, students may recommend that Jennifer instead take a competency-based approach which describes the job in terms of the measurable, observable, behavioral competencies that an employee doing that job must exhibit. Because competency analysis focuses more on “how” the worker meets the job’s objectives or actually accomplishes the work, it is more worker focused.

2.Was it practical to specify standards and procedures in the body of the job description, or should these be kept separately? Ans: They do not need to be kept separately, and in fact both Jen and the employees would be better served by incorporating standards and procedures into the body of the description. The exception to this would be if the standards and procedures are so complex or involved that it becomes more pragmatic to maintain a separate procedures manual.

3.How should Jen go about collecting the information required for the standards, procedures, and job description?

Ans: She should first go about conducting the job analysis, collecting information about the work activities, human behaviors, machines, tools, equipment, and work aids, performance standards, job context, and human requirements. The best methods for collecting this information in this case are through interview, questionnaires, observation, diaries/logs maintained by employees. In addition, she should ensure that she is identifying the essential functions of the job, and that the descriptions comply with the law.

Chapter 5: Human resource planning and recruiting

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: Getting better applicants

1. First, how would you recommend we go about reducing the turnover in our stores? Ans: The students should base their responses on the information presented in the advertising section of the chapter, and their response should include placing and constructing ads that will attract candidates who will find the job attractive.

Jennifer can do a quick analysis on what it costs her to recruit and train a new employee (including the cost of lower productivity as a person learns a new job). Every reduction in employee turnover can be translated to dollars. In fact, Jennifer can improve working conditions without any change in her profit if she pays for improvements from savings in employee turnover costs. The best source of ideas from improvement may come from exit interviews (what would we have done to our work environment that would have made you more likely to stay?), and from existing employees. Students are also likely to suggest some of the following; air-conditioned work space, more employees (so workers work fewer hours), longer or more frequent breaks. Other students will consider more complicate solutions like job rotation. Still others might suggest the use of deferred compensation or profit sharing to keep employees a full year (e.g., $8.50 per hour, $7.50 now, one dollar per hour paid at year end to the remaining employees).

2.Provide a detailed list of recommendations concerning how we should go about increasing our pool of acceptable job applicants, so we no longer have to hire almost anyone who walks in the door. (Your recommendations regarding the latter should include completely worded advertisements and recommendations regarding any other recruiting strategies you would suggest we use.)

Ans: The students should review the section on external sources of candidates, and their responses should include advertising and the possible use of employment and/or temp agencies.


Specifically, my recommendations should include:

a. Completely worded classified ads. Students will vary in their creative approaches. A good teaching method is to have them email their ads to each other and have the students rank order which ad they would apply to. Determine what made the ad attractive and ask the other students to modify the ad according to what they just learned.

b. Recommendations concerning any other recruiting strategies you suggest they use. Students will offer a wide variety of suggestions. Among the likely responses are: radio ads, flyers/handbills, and direct mail to former employees (we miss you—maybe the grass didn’t turn out to be greener on the other side). Some students will consider target marketing. For example, Jennifer could re-engineer the job to fewer hours and recruit part time workers, greatly increasing the pool of potential employees.

Chapter 6: Employee testing and selection

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: Honesty testing

Jennifer and her father are considering methods for screening applicants for their dry cleaning business. In particular, the Carter management team is considering honesty tests, especially for employees who handle cash.

3. What would be the advantages and disadvantages to Jennifer’s company of routinely administering honest tests to all its employees?

Ans: Polygraph testing raises a large number of legal and moral issues; issues Carter Cleaning would best avoid. Use some of the available “paper and pencil” honesty tests may be a possibility. In general, these have been shown to be reasonably reliable and valid. They are still controversial. The costs associated with these tests may also make them prohibitive to a small operation like Jennifer’s.

4. Specifically, what other screening techniques could the company use to screen out theft-prone employees? How exactly could these techniques be used?

Ans: More thorough make background checks are a recommend technique to eliminate potential thieves. Some firms chose to contract this out to a private security agency (Cost may be an issue to Jennifer. However, the company can quickly check to see if savings from reduced theft would offset the cost of an outside agency. As part of the job preview, Carter must communicate that jobs in her company are worth keeping; dishonesty and theft will not be tolerated. Further company policies regarding theft should be clearly communicated to new and existing employees.

5. How should her company terminate employees caught stealing and what kind of procedure should be set up for handling reference calls about these employees when they go to other companies looking for jobs?

Ans: Terminating employees for theft should include the involvement of proper authorities and should only be done when there is absolute proof of the theft and who committed it. Such an action will also send a message to the other employees that you will not tolerate theft of company resources . While many employers are reluctant to prosecute employees for theft , developing evidence with police and through the courts can be beneficial in providing future employers of the individual with truthful and factual information.

Chapter 7: Interviewing Candidates

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: The better interview

1. In general, what can Jen do to improve her employee interviewing practices? Should she develop interview forms that list questions for management and non-management jobs, and if so what form should these take and what questions should be included? Should she initiate a computer-based interview approach, and if so why and specifically, how?

Ans: The company has an inadequate, unstructured way of interviewing and hiring.. One solution students could suggest is to utilize a structured interview guide as a tool that managers could use to improve their interviewing practices. Have students brainstorm a list of questions to be included in the structured interview guide. A computer-based approach is also a possibility, students should explore the pros and cons of this given the nature of the organization and weigh the cost/benefit of utilization of this technology.

2. If she implements a training program for her managers, and if so, specifically what should be the content of such an interview training program? In other words, if she did decide to start training her management people to be better interviewers, what should she tell them and how should she tell it to them?

Ans: The obvious answer to this question is yes, a training program should be designed and delivered. Students should include suggestions from the section on designing and conducting interview effective interviews, including training in preparation, utilization of a structured interview process, and interviewing techniques discussed in this chapter. She should educate managers in the potential pitfalls that come up in the interviewing process as outlined in the text, and provide opportunity for practice with mock interviews in the training session so that managers get an opportunity to use the skills they learn and become comfortable with the process.

Chapter 8: Training and Developing Employees

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: The new Training program

1. Specifically, what should the company cover in its new employee orientation program, and how should it convey this information?

Ans: The students should refer to the orientation checklist in Figure 7.1 and the section on orienting employees in the chapter.

2. In the HR management course Jen took, the book suggested using a task analysis record form to identify tasks performed by an employee. Should we use a form like this for the counterperson’s job, and if so what would the filled-in form look like?

Ans: The students should refer to the section on the training needs of new employees. This section discusses a task analysis form, which includes: task analysis record form can also be used. It contains the following information: task list; when and how often performed; quantity, quality performance standards; conditions under which performed; skills or knowledge required; and where best learned (refer them to Table 8.1).

3. Which specific training techniques should the company use to train its pressers, cleaner-spotters, managers, and counterpeople, and why?

Ans: The students should review the training techniques discussed in chapter and conduct research on the Internet to review the various training resources offered for each of these positions.

Chapter 9: Performance Management And Appraisal

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: The Performance Appraisal

1. Is Jen right about the need to evaluate the workers formally? The managers? Why or why not?

Ans: Based on the information presented in the chapter, the students need to determine if the workers and managers should be evaluated formally or informally, and the need to provided reasons for their decision.

2. Develop a performance appraisal method for the workers and managers in each store.

Ans: The students need to be familiar with different appraisal methods discussed in the chapter. They should use the sample appraisal forms given in the chapter as guides.

Chapter 10: Managing Careers

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: The Career Planning program

1. What will be the advantages to the company of setting up such a career planning program? Ans: Some examples of the advantages of setting up a career planning program for employees include: increasing their job satisfaction, helping them navigate through the company, and helping them think about and plan their careers.

2. Who should participate in the program, and why? All employees? Selected employees? Ans: Students should justify why they think certain employees should or should not participate in the program.

3. Outline and describe the program you would propose for the cleaners, pressers, counterpeople and managers at the company. Ans: Based on the career planning activities discussed in the chapter, students should design a tailored career planning and development program for the employees.

Chapter 12: Pay for Performance And Financial Incentives

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: The Incentive Plan

1. Should this plan in its present form be extended to pressers in the other stores?

Ans: No, not in its present form. While the piece-rate plan does make more effective use of Wan’s time and save the company energy money, the quality control issue is a problem. There needs to be an included incentive for quality.

3. Should other employees (cleaner-spotters, counter people) be put on a similar plan? Why? Why not? If so, how, exactly?

Ans: It makes sense for some positions but not for others. Cleaner-spotters are production employees who could also benefits from a similar plan. It would have to have a quality incentive that makes sure they actually get the garments cleaned correctly! An incentive plan that focuses on customer satisfaction makes more sense for the counter people.

4. Is there another incentive plan you think that may work better for the pressers?

Ans: Some ideas might include combination plans (salary plus piece-rate), profit-sharing, or merit pay (higher pay for those who produce more.

5. A store manager’s job is to keep total wages to no more than 30% of sales and to maintain the fuel bill and the supply bill at about 9% of sales each. Managers can also directly affect sales by ensuring courteous customer service and by ensuring that the work is done properly. What suggestions will you make to the company for an incentive plan for store managers?

Ans: Profit-sharing, gainsharing, performance plans, annual bonus, recognition, and merit pay are all options.

Chapter 13: Benefits And Services

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: The New Benefit Plan

1. Draw up a policy statement regarding vacations, sick leave, and paid days off for the company.

Ans: The students are likely to create different policy statements, which will reflect their different preferences for benefits. You should get the students to discuss how LearnInMotion.com might allow for flexibility in their pay for time not worked.

2. What would you tell Jen are the advantages and disadvantages to the company of providing its employees with health, hospitalization, and life insurance programs?

Ans: The student should refer to the hospitalization, medical, and disability insurance section of the chapter to develop their lists of advantages and disadvantages.

3. Would you advise establishing some type of day care center for the company’s employees? Why or why not? Ans: A better approach for a small company such as KK Laundry would be to locate a licensed day care provider that would be willing to give a discount to the employees. From that starting point, the company could then consider whether to subsidize childcare.

Chapter 15: Labor Relations And Collective Bergaining

Continuing Case: The carter cleaning company: The Grievance

1. Do you think it is important for the company to have a formal grievance process? Why or why not?

Ans: Certainly it is important for many reasons. First, it is important from a standpoint of justice and fair treatment. Second, the lack of justice and fair treatment is a prime catalyst for union activity.

2. Based on what you know about the company, outline the steps in what you think would be the ideal grievance process for this company.

Ans: Because it is a small company, it should be simple and short. One suggestion is a two-step process that begins with a written appeal to the store manager. The second step is to send that appeal to Jen and her father for review.

3. In addition to the grievance process, can you think anything else that the company might make sure that grievances and gripes like this one expressed and also get heard by top management?

Ans: The grievance procedure is critical. Students may identify many things from the previous chapter’s sections on justice and fair treatment.

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