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Upgrading an HR plan

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Case 1

TeleSouth

Location: Birmingham
Employees: Approximately 400
Industry: Cellular and land-based telecommunications

Background

TeleSouth was established in Birmingham in March 2002 and began commercial operations in mid-2003. TeleSouth operates a cellular telephone network based on digital technology in competition with Telecom Cellular and Telecom land-based systems. The parent company is TeleSouth Corporation of Atlanta. The company has grown rapidly since start-up and by mid-2006 employed 383 people, mostly at its prominently located Birmingham headquarters. Further growth was planned to around 400 employees.

Like many start-up and Greenfield site companies, TeleSouth placed a great deal of emphasis on its recruitment and selection process. Staff were recruited to a number of different functions - sales, marketing, information technology, finance, engineering, customer services, human resources, and legal. Recruitment was rapid; 227 people were recruited during 2005. Sixty per cent of those recruited were aged under 30 and for many of them TeleSouth was their first employer. The average length of service of the whole work force is less than two years. Fifty-five per cent of employees are female and the proportion of female mangers is 43 per cent.

Approach to HRM

The following is a summary of the company's approach in the HRM areas shown.

Recruitment/Selection Induction/Orientation Socialization
 Company's public image
 Job advertisement
 Word of mouth
 Telephone interview
 Observations in reception
 1st and 2nd interview
 Psychological assessment
 Medical
 Verbal references
 Verbal offer  Formal orientation course
 First days on job -- Mechanics/ housekeeping, desk, phone, introduction to department  Integration into work group
- Assimilation into culture of department/organization
- Development of task skills
- Understanding of role/ responsibilities and fit with organization goals
- Career anchor
- Organizational loyalty

The Selection Process

TeleSouth had no difficulty in attracting a large number of applicants for the vacancies. It had a progressive dynamic image and was in a leading new product market area. As the company was growing rapidly, management structures were loose. TeleSouth therefore sought employees who did not require detailed day-to-day supervision, but who would be able to work in an uncertain, ambiguous fluid environment. In the selection process the employee characteristics being sought included intelligence, flexibility and energy.

Survey work done by the company revealed that employees had a high regard for the selection process. Through it they were made to feel special individuals on whom a lot of time and effort was being expended. Coming through the extensive rigorous process successfully, confirmed them as special people coming to work for a special company. The formal two-day orientation course also treated new employees as special people. However, in the socialization phase employees reported that they received much less individual attention and support and had the sense of being thrown in at the deep end. They felt that their managers were so busy doing their jobs that they could not deal with the individual concerns of the new employees.

Results

TeleSouth found that despite their carefully structured recruitment and selection process, their well organized and presented orientation course, and their attempts at socialization, they suffered what they considered a rather high turnover rate. Moreover, analysis of turnover revealed that it was rising and that it particularly applied to people who had only been in the company a short time. Nearly a quarter of the turnover was in the first six months and 50 per cent in the first year. People who stayed beyond those early months tended to fulfill two years' service before there was another peak of turnover. Analysis of reasons for leaving revealed that the main reasons were for career advancement, to travel and work elsewhere, for a complete career change, and because of dissatisfaction with the job role. Career advancement was not for higher pay for the same job, but to move on to a similar job at a higher level. TeleSouth employees were highly regarded in the labor market. Mobility and travel was seen as an almost inevitable part of the lifestyle of younger employees seeking to experience a bit more of the country. The reasons for career change were varied, but such changes could suggest a lack of good fit in the first place. Dissatisfaction with their role meant that the actual job did not turn out as the employees expected. More conventional reasons for leaving, such as dissatisfaction with pay, family, or dismissal, were not significant in this case.

The Human Resource Manager was rather concerned with these findings. It was estimated that, at a minimum, the combined direct and indirect cost of this turnover was $20,000 per person.

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Attachments

Solution Preview

I have outlined a response here with the sections. I have made notes about what I see as the issues and solutions. You will want to add your own thoughts and apply the class information as well. I did not include visuals since they do not translate into the assignment box. Using Word or other documents program will easily allow you to create the requested graphics. For the issues/causes section, I outlined the causes to make it easier to apply to a visual, using a fishbone type of thought process. If you have any further questions, please ask.

MUST HAVE THESE FIVE SECTIONS:
Issue/ Consequences
The company was hiring people at a rapid rate with a plan for HR that focused on finding people to work with certain attributes that reflect in behaviors. The plan was to hire employees that could be flexible. Working for this company would be dynamic according to the image the company as part of its marketing and hiring process. There was a considerable vetting during the hiring process and more time and close supervision during the orientation period. None of this gave the company a good reading on other needs and led to people leaving for reasons that were non-traditional, in great numbers, and with high costs to the company to replace.

Underlying Causes
People were hired based on flexibility and intelligence. There were no indications that talent and skills were a major part of the hiring process.
The company focused on new hiring procedures. There seemed to be no emphasis on retention procedures.
The company hired rapidly. There were no seeming considerations for what happens after the person was hired and orientation occurred. The process shows that understanding the ...

Solution Summary

Using the scenario presented, an outline of how to upgrade to a more successful HR plan for hiring and orienting employee for long term is presented. 1000+ words provided, including references.

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Project Planning, Execution and Closure

Scenario:

Your company, Rick Auto Enterprises (RAE), is upgrading its legacy billing system. The system was installed originally over ten years ago, and has been upgraded according to the vendor's schedule, each one taking 9-12 weeks in duration with a team of 2 full time employees (FTE's).

RAE will be doing a major upgrade now for the new web-based version of the system, in addition to the mainframe legacy system update. It is anticipated that this upgrade will take 16-20 weeks in duration; however, everyone has agreed that a more formal scheduling process should be completed which may change the duration estimate. The project will involve significant changes to existing business processes, changes to existing jobs, as well as the creation of several new positions. Customers as well as auto brokers will be able to view and pay their bills on-line, accessing a billing customer service agent when needed. This change, which will affect the billing, sales, and customer service departments, is expected to reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce the number of days for outstanding accounts receivable. The existing customer service staff has some proficiency with web applications, but the billing and sales staff does not.

To date, the Billing Department has owned the applications, and the director of the department has been the sponsor for all upgrade projects. For this upgrade, however, the chief operations officer has indicated that the Customer Service Department also needs to play a major role. It will be up to you to determine the project sponsor and steering committee structure and participants. You will do this during the initiation phase.

Congratulations, you have been chosen to be the project manager; you will be on the project 30 hours a week and your rate is $150 per hour. You have significant experience with the system and have managed previous upgrade projects. You have acted as a business analyst, developer, and tester for projects on this package in the past. You will select your team, which will consist of several IT staff, supplemented by staff from the vendor. You have been told you can have up to 2.5 RAE FTEs, in addition to yourself, for the duration of the project. (The list of available people is described in the Phase Two task.)

The vendor's role is to be determined by you; their consultants cost $165 an hour for business analysts, $135 an hour for technical architects, $110 an hour for programmers or testers, and $100 an hour for instructional designers, trainers, or technical writers. You have a budget of $125000.00 for vendor resources. You may supplement your team with vendors based on the holes in your RAE team. For example, you may choose to have the vendor provide programmers if you choose not to have any of the internal staff provide programming resources, if your budget permits.

You will follow your organization's standard methodology for a package upgrade. Part of that process includes the development and delivery of documentation and training materials--a responsibility generally filled by the RAE IT training group. You have access to .5 FTE for the duration of the project to develop and deliver the materials. The person with the most experience on the package and current training/documentation will be unavailable to the project due to other projects; however, the vendor has adequate materials that can be purchased for an additional $8,500. You will need to determine the training needs, analyze the costs associated with each option, and determine the project's scope.

With this version, the vendor also has another software add-on that supports the integration of your existing customer service system with the billing system's customer service functions. There is not a decision yet as to which customer service system will be used, whether or not they will be integrated, and the extent to which customer databases will be integrated (if at all). According to the vendor, the installation of the add-on will cost $45,000 and take an additional four weeks.

Assignment

Deliverable Length: 7-10 slides w/200-250 word speaker notes per slide
Details: The Customer Service (CS) Department is going to play a major role in the upgrade, but they are not at all familiar with how projects like this are conducted. Prepare a presentation to familiarize the CS team with the project management Process Groups and the Knowledge Areas. The purpose of your presentation is to prepare the Customer Service team for what is to come in the days ahead and the activities they will participate in and observe.

7-10 slides (with 200-250 word speaker notes per slide) are required for your presentation. Additionally, include a title and reference slide. The title slide (includes topic title, your name, etc.) makes your presentation look and appear professional. The reference slide (at the end, if used) ensures credit is acknowledged for other's work.

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