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Taglewood case: Workforce Management

CASE THREE:
RECRUITING

Case requirements:

1. Generate a recruiting guide for the store associate job.

2. Describe the relative advantages of open versus targeted recruiting for Tanglewood.

3. Evaluate data related to Tanglewood's historical recruiting methods to determine the effectiveness for each method.

4. Using the information obtained from steps one and two, provide recommendations for how Tanglewood should recruit employees in the future.

Case Objectives

Recruiting is the first stage in which organizational plans for staffing come into contact with the labor market for employees. Before making any new recruiting effort, an organization needs to carefully consider the methods available and balance out the costs of each method with the organization's needs.

The recruiting case provides an opportunity to see how staffing managers develop plans for recruiting efforts. You will develop a recruiting strategy and a recruiting guide for the store associate job. The case also demonstrates how you can use organizational data to determine what the best methods for recruiting are. Finally, you will have an opportunity to develop various forms of recruiting messages that will encourage individuals to apply for jobs as sales associates at Tanglewood.

Primary Concerns Regarding Recruiting

Like any retail organization, there is a constant need for new employees at Tanglewood because of turnover. In a typical year, approximately 50% of the sales associates will turnover. The process of recruiting is therefore of great concern for managers in the field. However, up to this point, the organization has not had any centralized method for recruiting new employees. As part of the consolidation across stores, Tanglewood is now encouraging a systematic review of their recruiting policies that will ultimately result in a better recruiting system for store associates.

Staffing services has made very few decisions regarding how recruiting should proceed. Each store has been encouraged to ensure that their recruiting methods attract a culturally diverse group of applicants. Beyond this general directive from the corporate offices, however, there is not very much direction for stores regarding how they should be recruiting new store associates. Regional managers occasionally discuss ideas for how to recruit new employees, but as you will see, they have some very distinct methods for recruiting in practice.

Methods of Recruiting Available

There are five primary methods of recruiting store associates used at Tanglewood in Washington and Oregon. For additional information regarding these sources of recruiting check your textbook, where advantages and disadvantages of each method are described in greater detail.

Media
The most traditional method for recruiting used by Tanglewood is media advertising, such as print, radio, and television advertising sources, coupled with respondents filling out a standardized job application. This process is accessible through either the internet or an automated telephone application process. This allows interested individuals to apply without actually having to go into the stores. Paper applications are still available at stores. Media expenses are a combination of initially setting up a contact with a media outlet, developing an advertisement, and the price of processing materials and interviews for each applicant.

Referrals
Employees are encouraged to refer their friends to apply for work at Tanglewood as well. The referral process is enhanced by providing current employees with $100 for each friend they refer who is hired. Referral expenses are a combination of creating and maintaining records, the price of processing materials and interviews for each applicant, and the payment for each individual who is hired.

Kiosk
An alternative method of recruiting that minimizes processing costs is to have a computerized kiosk in the main entrance to the stores. The kiosks look somewhat like ATM machines, and feature a fully functioning keyboard and touch-screens. Unlike media advertisements and internet applications (which are limited by the speed of internet connections and the fact that not all potential applicants have ready internet access), the kiosks provide opportunities for applicants to watch short videos explaining what the job entails. Because the entire application process is completed electronically and scored automatically, there is no material cost, although there is still an initial processing and interview cost. Each kiosk costs approximately $40,000.

State Job Services
In urban markets with higher pools of availability of unemployed individuals, state job services have also been used occasionally to find new applicants. The employment service is provided with a set of qualifications required for work, and the employment services agency assists in providing initial screening and hiring recommendations. Training is partially subsidized through tax incentives. In areas which have less centralized population, the job service option is less feasible. Essentially, the cost of the job service is for creating and maintaining an initial contact, with other costs being roughly half of those for traditional media sites.

Staffing Agency
One method that has been explored recently is the use of an external staffing agency. Essentially, this is outsourcing the actual selection of candidates to StoreStaff, which is a large organization that specializes in locating workers for the retail industry. Many organizations use StoreStaff to find temporary employees, or provide trial employment to StoreStaff employees as part of a temporary-to-permanent arrangement, but for Tanglewood, individuals recruited through StoreStaff are directly hired as part of the core workforce. Because StoreStaff provides some training to their pool of candidates, they are less expensive to train, but the overhead costs of providing money to StoreStaff for locating and screening these candidates does make this method quite costly.

The Situation at Tanglewood - Four Regions, Four Recruitment Policies

As noted in the introduction, decision making for staffing activities has recently become centralized within the staffing services division. A major question that arises as a result of this consolidation is how to determine which HR policies should be left in the hands of each individual location, and how much should be taken over by corporate HR. The recruiting function is of particular interest since there is such wide dispersion in how individuals are recruited. Data is available from the divisions in the form of numerical estimates of costs per individual processed, employee retention, performance on a pre-hire work-sample test which is given to all employees, and some informal interview data.

Tanglewood Department stores were first established in the western area of Washington and then moved southwards into Oregon, then spread eastwards into the Rocky Mountain States. Many of the policies implemented in the Western Washington locations were applied directly in the Rocky Mountain States. However, because the initial expansion was less well-coordinated, there is substantial variety in the staffing policies being followed in the stores in Washington and Oregon.

Western Washington (Region 1)
It has historically been the largest and most profitable area, with a total of 25 stores in the region centered around Seattle. In fitting with the organization's founding philosophy, the stores in Western Washington are run largely autonomously. The current head of the Western Washington division advocates a philosophy of individual autonomy and empowerment. Generally this division has been viewed as highly committed to the core corporate culture, although this passion for the mission has sometimes meant paying less attention to careful management of financial concerns. Because of its size and the large amounts of financial resources available, leadership of this division has been one of the most powerful positions within the organization.

Western Washington uses a variety of recruiting methods. The primary methods of recruiting are referrals from current employees. In the Seattle area, the division also makes heavy use of job services. Over time traditional media methods of recruiting have been reduced, but are still used occasionally. Finally, to fill in those positions that are not met with the other three methods, the kiosk method is used.

Eastern Washington (Region 2)
This was where the company began. The split of Washington into Eastern and Western divisions came early in the store's history, but their physical proximity and high overlap between management across the areas has lead to very similar management styles. The Eastern Washington division is approximately the same size as Western Washington, with 25 total stores. However, with the exception of the area around Spokane, the majority of this area is much more rural.

To a large extent, the Eastern Washington division pioneered all the policies used by Western Washington, although the overall policies have been tempered by geographical differences. The job service method has not been successfully implemented on a wide scale. Instead of using this method, this division uses more traditional media advertising.

Northern Oregon (Region 3)
Unlike Western Washington, there is a very different philosophy of operations in Northern Oregon. Northern Oregon has been run very "professionally" for years, with most decisions carefully weighted against their financial consequences. Administrative decision making is hierarchical, with specific tasks assigned at each level of the organization's structure. The current top administrator for this area, Steven McDougal, has a reputation for being a technocrat, and has largely worked to maintain the system he inherited when he first took over five years ago. There are 18 stores in this region.

The recruiting methods of the Northern Oregon division fall into three major categories. The main methods are media and in-store kiosks. This division has also used staffing agencies lately. The division explicitly rejects the use of employee referrals, claiming that the use of signing bonuses leads to the hiring of unqualified individuals who are selected without sufficient qualifications due to favoritism.

Southern Oregon (Region 4)
Southern Oregon is unique among the areas within the Pacific Northwest in that it has remained relatively small, with only 16 stores in the division mostly concentrated in the Eugene area. However, there is also a growing push to increase concentration in Southern Oregon as a first step to establishing more stores in Northern California. This area is very innovative across the board in its human resources practices.

The innovative character of Southern Oregon is reflected in their recruiting practices. They have relied primarily on a combination of staffing agencies, referrals, and kiosk advertising. All three of these methods were first tried in this region.

Quantitative data

Data are available from the four divisions of the organization on the number of individuals who applied for work, the number of individuals who are qualified for the position, the number who actually receive job offers and accept them, and the number of number of individuals who remain with the organization at the 6 and 12 month point after hire.

Complete data on the recruiting yields for the four divisions is contained in Appendix B.

Table 2.1 Estimated costs for recruiting methods

Fixed costs Media Referrals Kiosk Job service Agency
Cost of setup (per site) $ 10,000.00 $ 10,000.00 $ 40,000.00 $ 10,000.00 $ 50,000

Variable costs
Materials cost per applicant $ 10.00 $ 10.00 $ 1.00 $ 5.00 $ 10
Processing cost per applicant $ 30.00 $ 30.00 $ 30.00 $ 15.00 $ 30
Additional pre-hire costs $ 20.00 $ 120.00 $ 20.00 $ - $ 20.00
Orientation and training $ 2,000.00 $ 2,000.00 $ 2,000.00 $ 1,000 $ 1,000.00

Another Angle on Recruitment: Manager Focus Groups

As part of the information gathering process, large scale focus groups have been conducted with department managers. Tanglewood contacted a market research firm to conduct the focus groups, and Tanglewood provided a detailed summary of the major findings. While managers differed considerably in their perceptions of the effectiveness of the different methods, their core concerns were generally quite similar, and can be grouped into four major categories:

1. The most pressing concern for many managers is reducing employee turnover. Although Tanglewood has typical retention rates for a retail chain, the importance of culture and cooperation in the Tanglewood philosophy means that new employees often are not fully integrated into the company's culture until several months have passed. In short, typical retail turnover is not acceptable for Tanglewood. This is seen as an especially dangerous situation as the company expands, since it threatens to undermine the unique elements of the company's approach to retail.

2. There is an excessive lag between the initial contact between many applicants and the actual hiring decision, leading many qualified individuals to drop out of the process. A few managers have suggested that finding a way to concentrate on methods that do not have this problem would be beneficial. The issue of lags in initial contacts and hiring is discussed in your textbook.

3. The recruiting process is administratively cumbersome. Managers want to find ways to reduce the amount of time they have to spend with assessing new candidates. This was partially a point of contention between managers, because some argued that using more computerized applications would be a good idea, while others felt this might give applicants the wrong impression about the organization and its methods.

4. Many new hires without retail work experience do not recognize the importance of positive customer service for sales, and training is often does not solve the problem. Several managers noted that they had discharged new hires for providing inappropriate customer service. A particularly frequent problem is new employees becoming frustrated with customers and refusing to assist them or behaving in a hostile manner. Some managers specifically suggested that new employees needed a more realistic introduction to the difficulties of the customer service role. Other managers suggest that a more positive message would be helpful, since it will draw in more qualified individuals.

5. Many managers also report that they would like to see messages more specifically targeted to the types of people who are likely to fit in with the Tanglewood stores culture. Managers note several elements of the organization's culture (which you read about in the introductory case) that they think should be part of the recruiting strategy.

Specific Assignment Details

Analyze the information from the recruiting data and prepare a report showing the results of the analysis for your director.

1. Start by developing a recruitment guide like that shown in Exhibit 5.3 in the textbook. Note that the current situation differs from the example provided in the book because there is no specific timeline for hiring; this is a continuous recruiting effort because even as positions are being filled, new positions are becoming available. It is also different because Tanglewood does not have a specific list of minimal educational requirements as qualifications.

2. Describe the best "targets" for your recruiting efforts by considering the job and organizational context. Evaluate the various methods of recruiting in terms of whether they seem more like "open" or "targeted" recruiting, using the information in the book to help you make this decision. If some methods seem more "targeted," whom do you think they target?

3. For each division use the data tables provided in Appendix B to estimate how each method fares in terms of yields and costs. Provide a one-page summary of the essential results of the various data tables you have been provided.

4. Northern Oregon has suggested that the other divisions of the company use a policy of using kiosks and staffing agencies rather than using the more "touchy-feely" method of relying on referrals. Does this division have a point? What would the effect of other regions increasing their use of external hiring be?

5. Tanglewood's top management is highly committed to improving customer service quality, and proposes that simply finding the cheapest way to hire is not sufficient. Besides costs and retention, what other measures of employee performance would be good "bottom line" metrics for the quality of a recruiting method? How might the managerial focus groups' concerns fit with these alternative considerations?

6. The question of realism in the recruitment policy has been raised in focus groups. Write one paragraph proposals for targeted, realistic, and branded recruiting messages for Tanglewood's customer store associate positions. What are the traditional arguments for and against using realistic recruiting policies?

Attachments

Solution Preview

Recruitment Guide for Tanglewood
Positions: Store Associates, Retail Department
Reports to: Director Tanglewood
Qualification: School or College graduates
Experience in retail 0-1 year
Strong interpersonal skills
Relevant labor market: Washington & Oregon
Timeline: No timeline as it is continuous process within the organization.

Activities to undertake to source qualified candidates:
? Regional newspaper and television advertising
? Request employee referrals
? Facilitate kiosks for candidate data
? Ask state job services to find new applicants
? Contact with staffing agencies

Staff members involved:
? HR Recruiting Manager
? Director, Tanglewood from all regions
? Store managers
? VP Human Resource
? Potential peers and direct reports

Budget: $2500 to $4500 per hire

Open and Targeted Methods of Recruiting
There are several methods of recruiting, which can be used to recruit the vacant position in an organization. The open and targeted recruiting methods are the important methods, which are used for the recruitment process within the organization.

Targets of the Tanglewood -
After considering the job and organization context the best targets of the Tanglewood are the job seekers and relative of the employees. It is because; the different divisions of the company use the medial and employee referral for recruiting process. The best target for the company would be school and college graduates as after completing their study they seek for a good job. The position of store associates would be helpful to accomplish their job requirement in an effective manner. The college or school graduates would also be beneficial for the organization as per its job requirements as college graduates would easily understand the culture of the Tanglewood, which would cause an increase in the customer service effectiveness of the business (Tanglewood, 2010).

Methods of recruiting -
The different divisions of Tanglewood use different types of the recruiting methods in order to enhance the recruiting efforts of the organization. Following are the methods of recruiting, which are used in Tanglewood -

1. Media - This is the most traditional method, which is used by Tanglewood. It can be explained as the open method of recruiting. It is because; the media advertising uses various sources such as print, radio and television advertising sources. The advertising from these sources are open for all the people, who wants to join a company (Marchington & Wilkinson, 2005). Through this source of recruiting Tanglewood may find a number of applicants for the position of store associates.
2. Referrals - Referrals method seems more targeted source for the recruiting efforts of the Tanglewood. It is because; employees know the actual requirement of the business to handle the position of store associates and they provide references according to the job and organization context. From this method, management of Tanglewood mainly targets the people, who have experience in the retail industry or have some capabilities to perform well in retail industry. But at the same time it is also open method as sometimes employees gives referrals to earn money, which are received for each hire.
3. Kiosk - It is also the open source of recruitment as every potential applicant can apply for the job. The kiosk gives all the information to the candidates about the job and the candidate, who meets the requirement, may apply for the job.
4. State job services - This method seems more targeted as the services required a set of qualifications, which are essential for the job. The employment services to the company are provided on the basis of these qualifications after finding capable candidates. Through this ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines workforce management for Taglewood case.

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