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Issues in HR

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With the advent of the Internet and other modern technologies, employees' rights to privacy are being brought to question on many fronts just what is your right to privacy at work? Does your employer have a right to read your personal e-mail? To place surveillance cameras in the restroom? To track the site that you visit on the Web? Monitor your phone calls?
Discuss with your peers the issue of employee privacy. Consider the following:

What is the employer's interest in monitoring employees, and what rights do employers have?

What right to privacy and protection from monitoring should employees have?

Does one party have a superior right? Why?

If you were an employer, what should you tell employees about your intentions to monitor, that is, what policies for communication of procedures for monitoring should be used?

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Rights to Privacy at Work

A survey by the American Management Association & the policy Institute in 2007 found that 2/3 of US employers monitor the emails and internet use of their employees. 65% of Employers use blocking software to restrict access to websites relevant to the workplace only and to make sure that employees use company time for work alone. The sites that are banned include: adult sites with sexual content, gaming sites, social networking sites, entertainment and gossip sites, shopping and auctions sites, sports sites, and external blogs irrelevant to the workplace. Emails are monitored for a number of reasons - to ensure that official emails are used for company purposes, to protect the name and integrity of the company to ensure that the emails are used properly being that an official company email carries the image of the company with it, to protect company secrets, to ensure that employees are above board. Email monitoring alone according to the survey has led to the firing of thousands of employees. Of those who participated in the survey, 28% fired employees after their emails showed misuse or exposed them as divulging company secrets. Employers also monitor phone calls due to the same reasons behind the email monitoring. Official phone numbers that the company use must be used for the ...

Solution Summary

Issues in human resource management (see above for the questions) are discussed and explored in this solution. references are listed for further exploration of the topic.

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Strategies of Human Resource Management: three problems

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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