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Strategic Selection, and The Orientation Problem

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Please read the case 'Strategic Selection: A review of two companies' provided in the link below, and answer the 2 questions at the end.


Also read the case 'The Orientation Problem' provided below and answer the following 5 questions:

1. Describe the nature and the causes of the orientation problem
2. What type of orientation for new employees should direct supervisors provide at the work site?
3. What training methods should be used to train the supervisors, assuming approval of the proposal?
4. What written materials should the supervisor provide for new letter carriers in light of what Burgess already provides?
5. In addition to the written materials discussed in the previous question, what else should the supervisor do to orient new letter carriers?

The orientation problem

Carol Burgess is a letter carrier and a part time trainer of letter carriers for the US postal service in a major city on the west coast. She trains all new letter carriers in her service area which encompasses the northern half of her state. Over the past five years, she has trained 318 new letter carriers. Typically, the trainer is offered prior to the new letter carrier's entry onto the job, although sometimes it occurs shortly thereafter.

The training program typically encompasses both the orientation of new employees to the US postal service and the development of specific skills needed by the new letter carriers. The latter involves practice in casing mail (sorting) to appropriate locations in preparation for delivery, reading maps, determining appropriate sequencing of delivery, and customer relations. The total training program takes three full days (1 day orientation and one day training).

The orientation part of the training program encompasses both an orientation packet and a discussion of various postal service policies and procedures. The orientation packet typically includes information about employee's benefits, holidays, copies of certain standards forms, outline of emergency and accidents procedures, key terms used in the postal service, copies of the health and life insurance options, and telephone numbers and locations of personnel department and other important offices. In addition, an explanation of US postal service operation and purposes, the training to be received, the letter carrier's duties and responsibilities, job standards and production level, postal service rules and regulations, and the chain of command for reporting purposes is provided. Burgess concludes her orientation with an offer of help and encouragement for the future.

The assumption built into the orientation is that it will be supplemented at the job site by the direct supervisor who will provide all the necessary information about the particular facility, the personnel at the facility, the area covered by the route or the routes to which the new employee will be assign, and the additional written information such as the employee handbook and the union contract. According to postal service policy, each new letter carrier should get 3 days of on the job training of which one is paid for by the training division and two are charged to the supervisor's production.

Burgess learned from subsequent conversations with her former trainees over the past five years that the orientation provided by the direct supervisor varied from practically nothing to fairly extensive. In some stations, the supervisor greeted the new employee, introduced the person to new employees and explained their own expectations regarding attendance, personal conduct, and productivity. Then the employee was given an assignment and allowed to sink or swim. Several supervisors were known in postal service to be SOBs while 83 percent of new hires have survived their probationary 90-days period over the past 3 years, less than 20 percent survived in certain stations.

Last night, Burgess received a telephone call from Edith Jones, one of her former trainees who finished training 10 weeks ago. Jones is a single parent with two school age children who left her job as a secretary and took the letter carrier job in order to make more money. She was in tears as she described her experience at her station.

Her supervisor had given her no written materials, introduced her to only one other employee, and has shifted her from route over the 10 weeks she worked at the facility. No help or support of any kind has been offered, but the supervisor has continually berated her for the number of hours she has taken to case and deliver routes. She tried to study maps during her days off in order to learn the areas covered by various routes, but this only helped a little. Each route had to be delivered in a particular order and it took time to learn the sequence. The other letter carriers were all stressed out and working overtime themselves. Consequently they ignored her and offered no assistance. Jones told burgess that she was on the verge of quitting. Burgess told her, hang in there. It does get easier with time.

As a result of all complaints she had received from former trainees (some of whom survived the 90 day probationary period) Burgess decided to recommend to the area post master a program to train supervisors n how to orient new letter carriers. However, she wasn't sure what specific items the supervisors should include in their new employee orientation and how to train them to do it.

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Case 1:

1. The two selection strategies are first in Hallmark Cards in which a metric called the "staffing index" is used to evaluate the performance of newly recruited employees by using metrics. The scores of the candidates' performance over a period of time are compared and the quality of recruitment decisions is evaluated. On the other hand United Health Group uses two different methods of recruiting job candidates. The two methods are used simultaneously. For high level professional position, internal recruitment is used whereas for recruiting staff and line personnel outsourcing contacts are used. The fundamental difference is that in case of Hallmark Cards the recruitment process is improved through study of employee performance. On the other hand the United uses the strategy of outsourcing part of its recruitment to get improved recruitment results.

2. Other strategies that might help better use and manage selection activities are well developed specifications to be used for recruitment. In addition, giving well developed criteria and questions for personal interviews also improves selection activities. Tests that directly evaluate the suitability of candidates for particular positions are helpful for improving the selection process. Automatic screening of ...

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