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International HRM - Designing a Selection Process

I need help in designing a selection process for a car rental company in Belize.

Part I


As the chair of the board for Calidad Coches brought the gavel down, Adelia Adolfo was struck by the excitement of the decision just made. As she looked about the table to the rest of her executive team, who were all looking toward her with smiles beaming, she knew it was a moment to celebrate their hard work, a major company milestone and her first major achievement as President and CEO for Calidad Coches. They would have that well-earned celebration.

However, the enormity of the task was not lost on President Adolfo. Making the decision to take the company international would be easy compared to the task of being successful in that endeavor. While she was familiar with international operations from her previous experience as VP of operations for a regional hotel chain, she knew her team was not. She could rely on the 30-year history of her company in the car rental business but would need to augment this industry experience with international expertise to inform a cross-border expansion of company operations.

And she would need to move fast! The board had just approved her recommendation to acquire Belizean Auto Rentals in a timely leveraged buy-out. Getting up to speed with operations and generating positive cash flow would be critical to maintaining the company's financial stability. President Adolfo knew that not all members of the board welcomed being put in this vulnerable position.

Company Background:

Calidad Coches, Inc. (Quality Cars) operates 14 car rental sites throughout the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Juan Carlos Mendez, a local political leader and businessman, started the company in 1981 and sold it in 1996 to an investment group. Holdings included an inventory of 58 vehicles, company operations and valuable rental sites located in tourist centers. The growth of his entrepreneurial venture coincided with a coordinated move by the federal government of Mexico and regional governments within the Yucatan to establish a tourist destination. Infrastructure was developed to draw tourists toward the pristine beaches of the Gulf of Mexico as well as the nearby historical ruins of Mayan civilization - a match perfect for a car rental business where road travel between sites is required.

Since the sale, Calidad has expanded along with tourism throughout the region under the leadership of two different CEOs. Until 2005, Mendez's successor was aggressive with expansion, sometimes at the detriment of company financial stability, establishing a corporate headquarters, adding five sites (some owned and some rented property), creating a call center nurturing repeat business and growing the fleet to 180 vehicles. However, he had difficult relations with the board due to poor cash flow planning. The next CEO halted expansion and restored fiscal stability during his short tenure, regaining trust of the board but losing faith with his staff before having to step aside. A fiscally driven hard-nose, he did not recognize human capital value or the subsequent impact that lack of appreciation would have on customer relations and sales.

Calidad's current CEO, Adelia Adolfo, was brought onboard in 2007 to move the company to its next level of operation. She formerly served as a vice president of operations for a mid-size hotel chain operating in Mexico and is quite familiar with the tourism industry generally. Since joining Calidad, she has successfully added another four rental sites to the 10 she inherited and increased Calidad's brand recognition and profit margin through a strategy-driven, team-based corporate culture focused on quality customer service. Adolfo enjoys the support of her executive team and was featured on the June 2010 cover of the Yucatan's leading tourism industry publication, Yucatan Today. She spent much of her article interview lauding the accomplishments of her leadership team with statements like, "No one of us can create the success that together we generate every day. That's the secret of Calidad, a unified focus on quality customer service - while cars are what we rent, our customers return because of experiences with our people." Calidad enjoys a high rate of repeat rentals and referrals now, key benchmarks in the industry.

Last month Adolfo announced her decision to take the company international with the purchase of a car rental agency operating in the neighboring country of Belize. Belize, like the Yucatan, is rich with great beach recreation and Mayan history but currently lacks the recognition enjoyed by the Yucatan from U.S. travelers, a primary market. Belizean Auto Rentals (BAR) operates seven properties with a similar market focus and placement as Calidad. It seemed a well matched acquisition for Calidad and may position the company for entry into the steadily growing Belizean travel market.

Adolfo's announcement of the BAR acquisition foreshadowed her long-term vision. When making the announcement of the acquisition she was clear on her intent for Calidad to become a regional player in the car rental business. "Expanding our service area is not only a strategic move for Calidad, it is what our clients demand," Adolfo stated, "and with more service territory we can offer our clients the exceptional service they've come to expect, a frequent user program to retain their business and a market position to increase our bargain power with respect to growing our fleet." While Adolfo did not specify future acquisition or expansion targets, she has directed her leadership team to include in the strategic planning process, now underway as a result of the action taken by the board, a review of the potential for growth in the Central American and Caribbean regions.

The Situation:

Following the board meeting, you have been contracted by Adolfo's office to provide tactical direction and support for this initial international move for blending the cultures and company practices of the acquired Belizean company. Adolfo knows that success for the long-range vision for the company is contingent on success with this initial venture. A lot is at stake! Moreover, investors are watching this move closely since they are concerned with maintenance of Calidad's brand value and financial stability. Adolfo also understands that an international expansion is not simply replicating current operations in a new country; international expansion involves careful planning and appropriate investment, but she is not quite clear on how to balance the demands of a differing national and cultural setting with the preservation of organizational values and practices. Fortunately, this is the expertise of your firm!

First Task:

Calidad's expansion into Belize has excited the site management team, especially with the recognition that Adolfo has built considerable good will and trust through promotional opportunities and careful succession planning. Site managers oversee operations at various Calidad locations where customers pick-up and return vehicles. Because of advancement opportunities, a majority of the site managers indicate a desire to play a role in the international expansion, but all confess to knowing little about the diverse cultures and languages of Belize. Adolfo has a short turn-around period of four weeks for the management staffing, re-branding and operational retooling of the former BAR sites before the tourist season kicks into high gear. Further, it is critical that a positive cash flow is generated quickly to offset the debt service on the newly acquired fleet. She wants Calidad to be ready with a management presence in Belize soon!

Based on what you know at this point, you are being asked to recommend a strategy for filling the Belize site management positions with internal employees now working in Mexico (parent country nationals). As company loyalty at BAR was not high and the impending sale of the company was leaked well in advance, over 75% of the staff and five site managers left for employment elsewhere. The remaining two managers desired to leave but were simply unable to secure employment before the change.

Given the need to act quickly to fill the seven positions, the recruitment and selection of candidates has been outsourced by Calidad to your firm.

1. You are asked to prepare a recruitment advertisement for the site manager position that echoes the company ethos and reflects the main and location specific tasks, duties and responsibilities (TDRs) as well as the knowledge skills and abilities (KSAs) for the job. Your advertisement should be constructed so that it can be sent to current managers at the varying sites through email distribution, and then;

2. Assume your advertisement was effective and generated 10 current site managers at Calidad submitting letters of interest for the 7 vacancies. [The two current Belize managers are among the 10 applicants submitting interest.] The Calidad management team knows the five candidates from Mexico quite well but it is important to Adolfo that the process be viewed as fair and objective so that rejected candidates maintain a commitment to the company. You are to design a selection process through which all ten candidates are to be considered for placement at the Belizean sites. While Calidad has no constraints on selection costs other than they be reasonable, time remains a key issue so the selection time frame is kept to a minimum when bringing managers in from varying sites.

Using what you know about Calidad and the role of the site manager position, design a selection process for Calidad to use in the effort to fill the ten site manager vacancies in Belize.

President Adolfo reminds you that people have always been the key to her organization, for which linking of the human capital contributions to firm success is very much a part of the organizational culture she cultivates. On this she makes clear there can be no mistake; she expects excellence from you.

Part II

You have recently learned that your employer will be expanding into the United Kingdom. A facility has been purchased in London and needs to be staffed with HR professionals within six months. The business plan is for 70 full-time IT professionals and 50 part-time IT professionals to have offices in the London facility within 2 years, working with employers located exclusively in the U.K. (This would be a major change for your organization - since your organization now provides IT expertise to employers in the U.S. and Canada only.)

Your boss--the CEO--has asked you for your insights and recommendations. He has asked you to report back to his top staff with the following information:

-What HR staff will you need in London? Will your HR employees be expatriate employees, host country nationals, and/or third country nationals?

-For the IT employees needed, will you employ expatriate employees, host country nationals, and/or third country nationals?

Justify all decisions you make. Provide as much detail as possible.

Solution Preview

Part 1:


Calidad invites applications for the post of site managers at various locations throughout the country of Belize. The main duties of the site managers include overseeing the entire operations of the site including, but not limited to:

1) Managing entire process of pick-up and return of vehicles
2) Handling customer queries and complaints
3) Generating new business in the area
4) Managing human resources for the location

As this is a newly acquired division in a new foreign market, the selected candidates are expected to display strong leadership and communication skills, ability to adapt to the Belize's culture, customs, business practices, ability to communicate in local language, display empathy towards local culture and handle local employees in an effective manner. The selected candidate should display strong cross cultural working skills to become successful in this position.

The selected candidates will undergo an extensive training program prior to their assignment in Belize. All relocation assistance will be provided to the selected candidates. Remuneration and incentives will be on par with the best in the industry.

Selection process:

The selection process for selecting the 7 candidates out of the 10 candidates including 2 Belize managers will comprise of an extensive interview with each of the candidates. The preliminary selection steps are not required as the organization already knows these employees and thus, the best and time saving approach will be to have personal interview session with each of the ...

Solution Summary

Explains the designing of selection process for a car rental company in Belize.