Subject: General Questions / General General Questions
QuestionModule 1 Discussion: How Do You Find the Bodies?Read the case study below, and answer ONE of the questions in your initial post. (This case study is adapted from a Supplemental Case in Chapter 2 of your textbook.)Ms. K. is an assistant manager for an AutoServe service center in Boomtown, Colorado. Boomtown sits in the middle of a huge, newly developed coal field and a great deal of oil and gas exploration is going on as well. Boomtown has grown from 30,000 to 60,000 in three years and the unemployment rate in town is less than 3%. Those not working simply would rather not.Ms. K.’s AutoServe store is normally staffed with three mechanics, two “grease monkeys” who do the less skilled work, and three tire changer/clean-up persons. The wages paid for these job titles are dictated from corporate headquarters in an effort to maintain common rates between all stores nationwide.Unfortunately, the wages offered (although very competitive elsewhere) are well below what people can make in either the coal mines or with the oil exploration companies. The last mechanic (who made $35,000 a year) quit on Wednesday to go to work repairing diesel earth-moving equipment at $48,000 a year plus overtime. The store had also been unable to replace the grease monkeys and tire changer/clean-up persons. The last one quit a $9.00/hour job two weeks ago to work in the mines at $17.25/hour.Ms. K’s boss, the store manager, has just given her the assignment of recruiting and filling the vacant positions. The store is losing business without employees and the manager would like the problem fixed quickly.Respond to ONE of the following by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Thursday:How does this case illustrate the lack of HR planning?What strategic approaches could be used to recruit for the store?Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Sunday.Specifically:What would you have done differently from your peers?What did your peers suggest that seemed strategic?What did they neglect to consider?Do you agree with your peers’ suggestions? Why or why not?In lieu of one of your response posts, you may answer the other question in the case studyModule 2 Discussion: Diversity TrainingDiversity Training is widely prevalent in the U.S. Whether it is legal awareness, cultural awareness, or sensitivity training, many organizations require some form of diversity training. However, there is no clear evidence that diversity training works – it may even create animosity toward diverse groups. Some organizations see diversity training as necessary to “cover their assets” – to demonstrate they are doing their due diligence even if the trainings are not effective.Discuss diversity training from a strategic perspective. Suggest 1-2 ways to make diversity trainings more effective (if you wish, you may frame your discussion within a particular organization or industry).Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Sunday.Specifically:What are the strengths and/or opportunities in the ways their suggested diversity training could be made more effective?What did they neglect to consider?Do you agree with your peers’ suggestions? Why or why not?How does the type of organization or industry impact the way diversity training is implemented?Module 3 Discussion: The Reluctant ReceptionistRead the texts from your friend Ginny below, and answer ONE of the questions in your initial post (this case study is adapted from a Supplemental Case in Chapter 4 of your textbook)Your Friend Ginny: Hey, I need your advice! Did I tell you that Superior Products Company hired me as their new HR assistant a few months ago? That BA in HR Management really paid off, right?!You: Great news, congrats! Do you like it?Ginny: Thanks! It’s good and bad. Mrs. Mills, the HR Director, said she was really glad to find someone who had a background in HRM because she was basically the entire HR department until I got there. She said I would be her second in command and that I’d primarily do recruiting, some interviewing and be responsible for maintaining employee records. Because Superior has ~300 employees, Mrs. Mills was too busy to give me an up-to-date job description (I think she just rewrote her own old job description). First warning sign!You: Oh no! TGTBT?Ginny: Well, it gets worse! Everything was great the first two weeks. Then about a month ago, Mrs. Mills tells me that there was another “minor” duty that she forgot about. She said that to get approval to hire me she had to agree that the new HR assistant would cover for the receptionist from 11:30 to 12:30 every day when the receptionist takes lunch. I wasn’t thrilled about that being sprung on me, but I agreed I’d try it for a while. That whole “other duties as assigned…” thing!You: So is it working out? Why do you need my advice?Ginny: (sigh) I am hating working the switchboard and front desk every day! Plus, the receptionist often comes back late, and I can’t leave the desk until she relieves me. Then I found out I’m also expected to cover when she’s sick or takes personal time (which already happened FOUR TIMES)! I’m considering quitting.You: No way! Do you really hate it that badly?Ginny: I don’t know…I really like the HR parts of the job and I know I’m doing well, but being a relief receptionist is taking up way too much of my time – and it’s definitely not what I spent 4 years in school to do! I mean, Mrs. Mills basically misrepresented the job to me, right? She never said anything about the receptionist duties until after I was hired. If she had, I probably wouldn’t have taken the job! What should I do?Respond to ONE of the following by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Thursday:As Ginny’s friend, what would you advise her to do instead of quitting? Think strategically and offer solutions (Note: “Suck it up, girlfriend!” is not a solution).What should Mrs. Mills have done to more accurately portray the position responsibilities? Was it enough that the job description included a “miscellaneous clause” (other duties as assigned)? Why or why not? What could Mrs. Mills do to alleviate some of Ginny’s stress (and better motivate her new employee)?Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Sunday.Specifically:What would you have suggested differently from your peers?What did your peers suggest that seemed strategic?What did they neglect to consider?Do you agree with your peers’ suggestions? Why or why not?In lieu of one of your response posts, you may answer the other question in the case study.Module 4 Discussion: A Review of Two CompaniesRead the case study below, and answer ONE of the questions in your initial post. (This case study is adapted from a Supplemental Case in Chapter 7 of your textbook.)A Review of Two CompaniesStrategic Staffing can focus on improving the quality of the individuals who apply for work, as well as those individuals who are actually hired into the organization. It can also focus on improving the selection process itself by streamlining the various activities involved in proper hiring.Hallmark Cards recently developed a recruiting metric called a “staffing index.” This enables management to track how well newly hired employees are performing on the job. Evaluations are conducted over time, and scores are compared to learn more about the quality of past hiring decisions – and plan for future ones.United Health Group decided to modify hiring procedures within the organization by splitting job candidates into two groups. One group is high-level professionals who are recruited by internal staffing specialists, while the second group is staff and line employees who are acquired through outsourced recruitment. This “two-pronged” strategy enables the company to save money through increased control and efficiency.Respond to ONE of the following by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Thursday:Provide an example of how you think Hallmark might use their staffing index to evaluate hiring quality or to help hire better employees in the future. How does understanding employee performance enhance the selection process?What do you think of United Health’s decision to outsource recruiting for staff and line level employees? What are the pros and cons of this decision?Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Sunday.Specifically:What did your peers neglect to consider in their responses?Do you agree with your peers’ opinions? Why or why not?What other strategies could help organizations better utilize and manage selection?In lieu of one of your response posts, you may answer the other question in the case study.Module 5 Discussion: Keep on Truckin?Read the case study below, and answer ONE of the questions in your initial post (this case study is adapted from a supplemental case in Chapter 15 of your textbook).You were just hired as the new Transportation Department Supervisor at the Stevenson Company. You have 45 employees. Job descriptions and department policies were established by your predecessor and haven’t really been reviewed in the last 8 years.Right before you were hired, the former supervisor placed Laverna, a female Latina driver, on unpaid suspension for several policy violations: taking improperly requested vacation leave, excessive absenteeism, and neglecting her job duties.Laverna filed a grievance with the Personnel Department against the supervisor stating that she was unfairly singled out because of her gender and minority status. The company lawyer is concerned that Laverna may file EEOC claim against the company and wants your advice on whether the suspension should stand or be rescinded.Respond to ONE of the following by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Thursday:What are your concerns about this situation and what will you want to know/investigate before giving your input to the legal department? What will your recommendation be?How could better HR policies and processes have kept this situation from happening, and what will you do to prevent this type of situation from happening in the future?Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Sunday. Specifically:What did your peers neglect to mention in their responses?Are their recommendations practical and realistic? Why or why not?In lieu of one of your response posts, you may answer the other question in the case study.Module 6 Discussion: Developed Out the Door…Read the case study below, and answer ONE of the questions in your initial post. (This case study is adapted from a supplemental case in Chapter 9 of your textbook.)Compuwave, Inc. is all about employee development. They offer generous allowances for tuition reimbursement and other educational expenses. Compuwave’s Programming/Software Development department also has its own set of training courses, and pays 100% for trainings and certification exams for its employees. Obviously, all these programs are expected to make the employee more valuable to the department and the company.Recently a problem has come up: Zeb, a very strong programmer for whom management had high hopes, just quit. Zeb found that the extensive training and development, including completing his MBA in Computer Information Systems (which Compuwave paid for) has resulted in making him very marketable to other companies. In his exit interview, Zeb said he is going to a competitor where he can make more money in a position of more responsibility. He said he was happy at Compuwave but he was told that there were no promotions currently available and he feels there was not much opportunity for advancement. Zeb’s manager is predictably upset. This will set projects Zeb was working on back several months, they’ll have to hire someone to replace Zeb, not to mention all the money and resources spent on developing him. Worst of all, the manager is afraid this is the beginning of a trend, and he fears losing more employees who are being “developed out the door.”Respond to ONE of the following by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Thursday:As an HRM Consultant to Compuwave, what would you suggest to help retain Zeb and similar employees?What changes, if any, would you recommend to Compuwave’s development programs?Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Sunday. Specifically:What did your peers neglect to mention in their responses?Are their recommendations practical and realistic? Why or why not?In lieu of one of your response posts, you may answer the other question in the case study.Module 7 Discussion: Coming Soon in “Total Rewards”U.S. News and World Report* featured five pay and benefits trends to watch for in the near future:Wellness programs – 80% of surveyed employers offer some kind of health or fitness program, and financial incentives to be healthier – 11% offered on-site massage therapy!Financial advising – providing resources to help employees invest wisely – inviting spouses to participate in financial seminars, offering customized programs to specific groups (e.g. employees nearing retirement).High-deductible health plans – lower costs for the employer by offering higher deductible plans (average deductibles before care is covered by insurance have nearly doubled from $584 to $1318 in 10 years), or by including surcharges for a spouse who may have access to his or her own insurance via work.Retirement account fees – new regulations mean that administrative fees on retirement accounts are more visible to employees; luckily, fees are lower than in the past and for work-based accounts now tend to be a flat fee instead of a percentage of your retirement balance.Automation – integrating and further automating HR systems – the strategy is to move as much as possible under one umbrella.Respond to the following by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Thursday:These trends barely scratch the surface of what’s happening in the function of compensation and rewards. Think about some other recent changes or trends that are occurring. Propose what you believe is one of the most important trends in recent years or directions for employee rewards in the future. Discuss why you believe it is important.Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Sunday.Specifically:Do you agree with what your peers thought was an important trend? Why or why not?What are the downsides or challenges for employees or employers because of this trend?*Source: Retrieved on February 8, 2016 from: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015-12-15/5-employee-benefit-trends-to-watch-in-2016Module 8 Discussion: “Save Money. Live Better. Stay Out of the Union.”(This case study is adapted from a supplemental case in Chapter 16 of your textbook.)Wal-Mart has a reputation for working hard to avoid unionization. The company says it does not need unions because it takes care of its employees. It surveys employees regularly, and many workers have been promoted from cashier and stocker jobs to management jobs. A company-wide stock ownership program has generated significant long-term returns for employees.Unions counter that Wal-Mart uses an aggressive union prevention program and even unfair labor practices to prevent unionization. When unions have won elections in some Wal-Mart locations, the firm has outsourced jobs to independent contractors and even closed stores. Even in Canada, Wal-Mart has been aggressive at resisting unionization despite more union-friendly Canadian laws.Regardless of the why, virtually no workers are unionized at Wal-Mart in the U.S. To put more pressure on Wal-Mart, unions have formed a coalition called Wal-Mart Watch (http://walmartwatch.com), which targets Wal-Mart’s organizational practices. For instance, bad publicity about deficiencies in health benefits offered by Wal-Mart have led to the firm revising its plans. It has also has encouraged workers to file legal complaints that Wal-Mart has violated anti-discrimination laws.The ultimate goal of the Watch is to be able to unionize employees at Wal-Mart because of its huge number of workers. As Wal-Mart grows and adds more stores, its growth also results in the decline or closing of other retailers, which often employ a significant number of unionized workers.Respond to ONE of the following by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Thursday:Do you agree or disagree with Wal-Mart’s desire to keep unions out of their stores? Why or why not?Navigate to http://walmartwatch.com and review some of the articles and blogs. Do you believe that Wal-Mart’s actions have violated the provisions of the Wagner Act or other organized labor laws? Why or why not?Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Sunday.Specifically:How strong were your peers’ positions?What did your peers neglect to mention or consider in their responses?In lieu of one of your response posts, you may answer the other question in the case study.