Case: Where Do You Find the Bodies?
The case study is a good example of mismanagement at a company regarding dealing with its human resources. In the details of the case study, it is stated that Milt Konrath is an assistant manager at an automobile service center in Boomtown, Colorado. The situation he is facing is a problem of employee retention. Different job positions are available at the service center but employees are not paid competitive salaries according to the local market where high salaries are offered. This is a policy of the headquarters to pay same salaries to all its employees irrespective of the location. Milt Konrath is tasked to recruit mechanics and other employees due to previous employees leaving the job for a better salary package. The situation is tricky because Boomtown is a place where the unemployment rate is only 3%. There are also enough jobs for the 3% but they would just not do any job. Even after the recent recession, Boomtown had the lowest unemployment rate in the US (Soergel, 2016). In the following discussion I would be providing answers to the questions posed at the end of the case study. I have studied the case study several times and tried to find out different angles to the HR issues and their solutions.
- How does this case illustrate the lack of HR planning?
This case illustrates the lack of HP planning at different levels. We must know that HR planning, if done appropriately, can be a source of a great success, but if it is mismanaged, it could be an invitation to a disaster. The first lack of planning that I can see is the fact that a fresh management trainee has been assigned to a working site where it requires an experience person to handle the situation. I think that the top management should have known the fact that the situation in the Boomtown service center is different than other service centers. Therefore, they should have sent an experience person who have had an experience of such a situation before and could have handled the situation differently.
I also see another HR management failure in this case. That is on the part of the headquarters which is trying to establish the same salary package across all its business points. The situation in Boomtown is totally different from other towns as there are many jobs available and the salaries are much higher. The employees who are leaving the jobs at Boomtown are getting good jobs at other organizations with much higher salaries than they are getting here. For example the last manager who used to make 20 thousand dollars a year here, is making 38 dollars an year at another organization. It is almost double. Businesses must strive to remain in competition. A proper strategic competitive analysis is necessary for a business to remain in a market (Fleisher & Bensoussan, 2003). Unfortunately we do not see such an attempt in this case. The headquarters seems to be unaware of the competition in Boomtown. This is the responsibility of the top management to be able to make market specific decisions in time of need. In this case, market decisions are not made which is adding to the HR problems the company is facing.
The fact that the top management seems to be unaware of the ground situation points in two directions. First is that they may have a communication gap with the local management and therefore, they are unaware of the actual situation. In such a case, there is a need to establish proper communication channel between the headquarters and its national subsidiaries so that there is less chance for miscommunication and HR issues are minimized. Emails, video conferences, telephone calls and many other communication tools can be utilized for this purpose in my opinion.
Secondly, if there is a proper communication channel already in place, I think that there might be a resistance in the top management to agree to the point of view of the Boomtown management. Boomtown might have already communicated to the headquarters that there is a need for rise in pay of the mechanics and other supporting staff but they might not want to change their existing equal salaries policy. I think that this policy is not in the best interest of the business and needs to be revised sooner than it’s too late. The headquarters may think of delegating some of its powers to the local management and give them flexibility in making business decisions that are in line with the local business needs.
I also see that the morale of the different employees at Boomtown is too low. That is why there is an issue of employee retention. Due to lack of motivation, I think, even if the employees remain working for the organization, they would not be productive.
- What approaches could be used to recruit mechanics?
Before we look at the external factors that would help recruit the mechanics, I think that we need to assess the internal situation as well. The organization needs to provide its employees safe working environment. Research has indicated that providing safe and healthy working environment to the workers can increase productivity and contribute positively to the financial gains of a business (Oxenburgh, Marlow & Oxenburgh, 2004). So, when there are mechanics coming for an interview or other selection processes, they can observe the working environment and not be worried about their physical or mental health.
There is also need to offer flexible working hours to the mechanics. If needed, the number of mechanics should be increased so that they are able to work at flexible working hours. This would provide them a peace of mind and feel valued as compared to other competitors.
Quality training opportunities should be offered to the mechanics which would let them learn new techniques about their job and add to their technical skill inventory. This offer should be included in the job advertisement to attract more people to apply to the job positions.
Salary packages are a big concern in this case study. I think that without increasing the salary package, it would be hard to employee quality mechanics. If there is a success in getting experienced mechanics to work, without a salary increase, it would be challenging to retain them for a long time. Therefore, I would suggest that there is a need for an increase in salaries. Overwork opportunities are also necessary so that the employees in need can work more than the usual working hours and make some extra cash adding to their motivation towards their work.
Other job benefits like medical and health insurance can also be offered to the prospective mechanics. This can work as a motivator too as the finances of a household may get exhausted due to medical expenditure due to health issues.
Job announcement can be made in the local and national newspapers or in the electronic media. Also, recruitment agencies can be called to help. These recruitment agencies have databases of people who are working to find or change jobs. With their help, specific people who are eligible for the job can be contacted and called in for an interview.
In all the recruitment process, the headquarters and the local management must be on the same page. There should be a proper communication channel during the communication process so that there is less opportunity for any misunderstanding which could jeopardize the recruitment process. The headquarters should delegate some of its powers to the local management to make calculated decisions in recruiting the mechanics. This would contribute to an increased trust level between the local management and the top management.
This case study was beneficial to study as it helped my brainstorm different HR related issues that might arise in a company. I was able to research online to find different sources related to HR issues. I think that HR planning is very important and its success is the business success. The situation in the local market should always be analyzed before making decisions that would affect the operations of the business. The needs of the employees are really necessary to be recognized. There is also a need to make an accurate assessment of what the competitors are offering to the consumers as well their employees. Anything less on offer than the competitors could be devastating for a company.