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    Strategies of Human Resource Management: three problems

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    1. Ten years ago Albert Phillips opened his own retail store and sold unpainted furniture. His store was located in Lakeside, a small city in the southeastern part of the United States. Although his business was somewhat slow first, it grew steadily.

    Many more sales, stock, and clerical personnel were hired. However, it soon became evident that Mr. Phillips was not able to effectively service all potential customers. Warehouse space was also badly needed.

    Phillips Furniture Store was situated in a central location, and Mr. Phillips was hesitant about relocating. As an alternative to relocating, Mr. Phillips opened a satellite store in an outlying district to attract a new source of customers, as well as to provide better service to his current customers. Mr. Phillip eventually expanded his business into several neighboring towns until he had a total of six stores. When Martin Furniture, a small manufacturing firm that supplied some of the furniture for Phillips, became financially unstable, Mr. Phillips was able to gain control of the manufacturing plant.

    At the end of last week, you were called into Mr. Phillips' office, and Mr. Phillips said, to you, 'I have been pleased with your progress with us as a management trainee since you graduated six months ago.' He explained that he felt that the company had gotten large enough to need a personnel manager. Previously, all managers handled most of their own personnel activities, usually on a 'casual' basis. Mr. Phillips told you that with the acquisition of the manufacturing firm, 'It's time for us to get our personnel activities organized, and you're the person to do it.'

    When asked why, he said, 'I reviewed your personal file and noticed you had some courses in human resource management listed on your transcript.' Also you have good people skills. Faced with both the challenge and the promotion, you accepted. Now you are trying to decide, 'What am I to do now that I'm the HR manager?'

    1. On what activities would you tell Mr. Phillips you intend to focus? Why?

    2. What would be your first action? Why?

    3. What elements might be part of your strategic HR plan?

    2. Milt Konrath has just received an assignment of questionable excitement. Milt is a management trainee for a large retail store chain. After graduation from college his first assignment was as assistant manager in the Automobile 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.

    The Auto Service Center is normally staffed with three mechanics, two 'grease monkeys' who do less skilled work, and three tire changer/clean-up persons. The wages paid these people are dictated from corporate headquarters in an effort to maintain common rates between stores.

    Unfortunately the wages offered (although very competitive elsewhere) are well below what people can make in either the coal mines or with the exploration companies. The last mechanic (who made $24,000 a year) quit, Wednesday to go to work repairing diesel earth-moving equipment at $42,000 a year plus overtime. The store had also been unable to replace the grease monkeys and clean-up persons. The last one quit a $7.80/hour job two weeks ago to work in the mines at $16.52/hour.

    Milt's boss, the Automotive Manager, has just given him the assignment of recruiting and filling the vacant positions. The service department has almost ground to a halt without employees and the manager would like the problem fixed quickly.

    1. How does this case illustrate a lack of HR planning?

    2. What approaches could be used to recruit mechanics?

    7. According to a recent article in HR Magazine (Statistically Speaking - HR Mag June 2007.pdf), HR departments most frequently use indicators as a:

    Part of a modeling exercise to assess the potential impact of a strategic decision.

    Forecasting factor to support workforce planning issues.

    Means to provide perspective to business decisions that affect workforce engagement factors.

    Means to model potential impact of acquisitions and mergers.

    Means to communicate internal workforce issues in the context of a broader market perspective.

    Where do you find some of the data? Review the attached article. Pick one of the situations above an offer some data sources to help management forecast or evaluate their decision options. You might consider such elegant places as the Census Bureau, Department of Labor, Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Also your Wayland Library has many article and database search capabilities - see "Web Resources" for information on the Library's EZProxy capability

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    Solution Preview

    1. 1 I would do many things to help the matter. Then inside those files, I would acquire copies of all of their formal and informal reviews. Included in these files would be their information on wages, benefits (the same standard HMO health plan would be acquired for all of these employees to save costs (No sense having the Martin plant having a different company), as well as same dental, 401k provider and small life and disability insurance programs). After they were all on board, I would design a standard computerized review form for all supervisors (including himself) to be made standard and to be on every boss' computer hard drive. I would also have organized disks of all of this as well as extra forms of everything. Related to this,

    2. 1. I would inform my boss, Mr. Phillips, that the first thing I would do is after acquiring my office, is put everyone's personnel file both in my office and these would be organized alphabetically. These would also be scanned onto both my and his and his secretary's computer as well. These would also be burned onto CD ROMs (which would be locked in three different safes as well) This would be done so that everything would be in one central location, alphabetized, back up information would be available in a total of six different locations to. This is important information that we need. This would also be done, to help show Martin Furniture which company was in charge.

    3.1 What elements might be part of my strategic HR plan? They would include the following; best suited to assist our blue collar and the couple of white collar employees we have (secretaries). Recruiting-I would have a lot of research on this and a strategic plan (In case we have to start hiring, once the economy picks up some more). For hiring, I would develop a specific procedure and forms for each job and job descriptions. For organizational development, I would provide every supervisor and manager a copy of phone numbers as well as update the internal email system. This and the twice monthly scheduled ...

    Solution Summary

    The strategies of human resource management are examined.