Business Functions: HRM Tutorial Exercises Application Case: Jack Nelson’s Problem As a new member of the board of directors for a local bank, jack Nelson was being introduced to all the employees in the home office. When he was introduced to Ruth Johnson, he was curious about her work and asked her what the machine she was using did. Johnson replied tat she really did not know what the machine was called or what it did. She explained that she had only been working there for 2 months. However, she did know precisely how to operate the machine. According to her supervisor, she was an excellent employee.
At one of the branch offices, the supervisor in charge spoke to Nelson confidentially, telling him that “something was wrong,” but she didn’t know what. For one thing, she explained, employee turnover was too high, and no sooner had one employee been put on the job than another one resigned. With customers to see and loans to be made, she continued, she had little time to work with the new employees as they came and went. All branch supervisors hired their own employees without communication with the home office or other branches. When an opening developed, the supervisor tried to find a suitable employee to replace the worker who had quit.
After touring the 22 branches and finding similar problems in many of them, Nelson wondered what the home office should do or what action he should take. The banking firm generally was regarded as being a well-run institution that had grown from 27 to 191 employees during the past 8 years. The more he thought about the matter, the more puzzled Nelson became. He couldn’t quite put his finger on the problem, and he didn’t know whether to report his findings to the president. 1. What do you think was causing some of the problems in the bank home office and branches? 2.
Do you think setting up a HR unit in the main office would help? 3. What specific functions should it carry out? What HR functions would then be carried out by supervisors and other line managers? Continuing Case: Carter Cleaning Company Jennifer Carter graduated from State University in June 2005, and, after considering several job offers, decided to do what she always planned to do – go into business with her father, Jack Carter. Jack Carter opened his first Laundromat in 1995 and his second in 1998. The main attraction of these coin laundry businesses for him was that they were capital – rather than labour-intensive.
Thus, once the investment in machinery was made, the stores could be run with just one unskilled attendant and none of the labour problems one normally expects from being in the retail service business. The attractiveness of operating with virtually no skilled labour notwithstanding, Jack had decided by 1999 to expand the services in each of his stores to include the dry cleaning and pressing of clothes. He embarked, in other words, on a strategy of “related diversification” by adding new services that were related to and consistent with his existing coin laundry activities.
He added for several reasons. He wanted to better utilise the unused space in the rather large store he currently had under lease. Furthermore, he was, as he put it, “tired of sending out dry cleaning and pressing work that came in from oor coin laundry clients to a dry cleaner 5 miles away, who then took most of what should have been out profits. ” To reflect the new, expanded line of services, he renamed each of his two stores Carter Cleaning Centers and was sufficiently satisfied with their performance to open four more of the same type of stores over the next 5 years.
Each store had its own on-site manager, and on average, about seven employees and annual revenues of about $500,000. It was this six-store chain that Jeniffer joined after graduating. Her understanding with her father was that she would serve as a trouble-shooter/ consultant to the elder Carter with the aim of both learning the business and bringing to it modern management concepts and techniques for solving the business’s problems and facilitating its growth. 1.
Make a list of 5 specific HR problems you think Carter Cleaning will have to grapple with? 2. What would you do first if you were Jennifer? Video Case Title: Blackbird Guitars: Managing Human Resources in Entrepreneurial Firms Link:http://media. pearsoncmg. com/ph/streaming/bp/2013/MGMT/HRM/BLKB-VID3WEB640. html Synopsis: With ten or fewer employees, Blackbird Guitars must rely on cross-training and job rotation. Founder Joe Luttwack pays close attention to California labor laws, the company’s home state.
An interesting question is raised about how the company will manage growth in production and workforce. 1. Compare and contrast the human resources function at large corporations and very small companies like Blackbird Guitars. 2. Blackbird Guitars uses an outsourcing strategy involving hiring contractors on an as-needed basis. What are the advantages of this strategy? 3. Evaluate Joe Luttwack’s attitude toward worker safety. 4. How can Blackbird expand its production and workforce without changing its culture?