Custom «Case Analysis/Scenario: The Best HRM Approaches» Essay Paper Sample

Case Analysis/Scenario: The Best HRM Approaches

Whether you are a director of a small business or a human resource manager of a huge corporation, it is essential to devise the best human resource management (HRM) approach. Since modern business environment is changing rapidly, it is critical to follow the most innovative practices and take advantages of the best options. Human resource management is a broad term that includes a number of processes. The core areas of HRM interest are the recruitment practices, training and development applications, relations between employees and an employer, performance assessment, and compensation mechanisms. This report discusses the best HRM approaches in each area that are practiced by the Fortune 500 companies (Fortune, 2014).

Recruitment

Every company has its own recruitment strategy. However, there are certain practices that could be prioritized as positive examples. The technical giant Google has been ranked number one in a Fortune Top 100 Best Companies to Work For several years in a row (Fortune, 2014). Google pays acute attention to the hiring process, constantly amends and reviews its practices. The distinguishing feature of the Google’s selecting process is that the company engages all team members into the process. Contrary to this, in most of the companies the selection process is solely the responsibility of the HR team. Google tried to transform recruitment into the integral process that would include opinions of various parties of the team and would not be limited to the views of the management. What is more, candidates who apply for a position at Google undergo an additional mandatory interview with an employee from an entirely different department in order to ascertain the candidate’s correspondence to the company’s standards, norms, and goals. The practice of including various branches of organization into the selecting process is a wise solution that allows to combat bias and make selection process more transparent (Google, n.d.).

Besides, Google has an interesting policy regarding employee referrals. Every worker of the company who invites effective candidates is paid a bonus of $5,000 per referral. This practice has several benefits. First, it simplifies the selecting process. A person who is a friend of Google employee has the insider information regarding the conditions of work, tasks, and responsibilities. Therefore, a person who does not fit the company’s requirements will not try to obtain a position as a referral. Second, an employee of Google would not put at stake his/her good reputation by recommending an irresponsible candidate. Alternatively, people try to engage serious, smart, and responsible partners who may be valuable merits to a company. Therefore, the selecting committee could be more confident in qualification and suitability of referrals than in any other candidate. Statistics shows that the discussed practice is very effective as almost half of Google’s recruited employees are other employees’ referrals.

Besides, one may appreciate and use Google’s recruitment tools. Any company wants to employ the best professionals, the most curious and bright candidates in the industry, who are passionate about their job and do their best for the company’s development. However, here arises the question of what the best platform to attract the best workers is. Google has its own ideas regarding the recruitment tools. A part of the Googlers (employees of Google Inc.) is attracted through the Google Games. This is a contest for students where teams compete in solving difficult technical puzzles. Another tool that targets smart students is the on-campus Tech Talks and seminars, including Google Ambassador Program. Students are invited to take part in specialized conferences, where the best minds in science share their experience regarding certain issues in programming, engineering, and technical solutions. Particular tech talks are also available online. In order to attract talented programmers, Google organizes a competition called Google Cod Jam. This is an online contest where the best programmers try to solve complex coding problems within a limited time. This is a global contest that distinguishes the best programmers all over the world.

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Training and Development

Training and development is important for every organization. The main benefits of training and development (T&D) are enhancing of the quality of labor force, helping new workers with adaptation, enriching employees’ growth, and improving health and safety within the organization. Many companies incorporate training departments that offer various kinds of training programs for the staff, including orientation programs, soft skills development, quality training (available mainly at production companies), professional and legal training, team-building, etc. However, some companies offer innovative approaches to T&D.

Walmart, which is the biggest employer in the USA, has valuable accomplishments in the area of T&D. Walmart developed the sustainable training and development organization called Walmart University. The university deals with training and education of personnel through various means, including on-site instructors, simulation games, and e-learning toolkits. Walmart has developed a comprehensive Associate Investment Model that offers three phases of training depending on the length of work: onboarding, foundational, and advanced. Each phase is equally important and needs distinct approach. Walmart University can be accessed through the company’s intranet. An employee can track his/her record through the system and access the higher levels. Every store has its own e-learning lab with instructors, which serves the training needs of employees. According to the ATD (2007), Walmart has the biggest e-learning module in the world that incorporates thousands learning modules.

 
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Besides, Walmart offers interesting approach to the educational support of its employees. All associates of the company (both full-time and part-time) are eligible for tuition waiver at the partner educational institution, American Public University. This is an online university that is affordable and convenient for those who want to improve their education without leaving their job. Thus, Walmart promotes lifelong learning for its employees and allows to combine work and education (WalmartOne, n. d.). 

Another significant example is the development system of Samsung Company (Samsung). Its educational process is divided into three functional areas: Leadership Development Center, Samsung Institute of Global Marketing, and Samsung Advanced Technology Training Institute. The aim of the Leadership Center is to develop the corporate culture and empower the leading potential at all levels of business structure. The purpose of the Institute of Global Marketing is to provide additional education in marketing. Finally, the Advanced Technology Training Institute provides training in certain technology areas that are available at Samsung Company, including high-end technology, core and basic technology, and the research and development division. Additionally, the company offers professional training courses for various types of jobs available at the company: HR, finance and bookkeeping, marketing and design, management, technology, etc. Such functional approach to training of personnel is a reasonable idea for global corporations.

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The advantage of Walmart’s approach to training is an emphasis on work experience. Therefore, a person is able to go the path from the part-time staff to managerial placement through the efficient work and active training. Besides, the company has convenient system of e-learning and professional online education.

The main advantage of Samsung’s approach is the functional diversification. Consequently, an employee has a chance to improve his/her skills and knowledge in a functional area he/she works in (finance, marketing, technology).

Employee/Labor Relations

Employee and Labor Relations is one of the most important areas of HRM. This area is a link between managerial board and employees. In small companies, such linkage is absent. However, in large corporations, big organizations, and educational institutions, there is usually a separate division responsible for employee/labor relations.

The benefit of Samsung’s employee relations is a proportional representativeness. Samsung created the separate body called Labor Management Council, which consists of labor and management representatives elected on a public basis. The council holds planned meetings, where representatives discuss the ongoing problems happening during the working process, seek the ways to solve particular issues and improve the system for better working conditions. The council could also be convened unplanned in emergency cases. The aim of the council is to promote the Great Workplace (GWP) through discussions, amendments, various events, and meetings. For instance, Samsung organizes annual GWP meetings where workers of different divisions, positions, and status communicate in informal atmosphere by playing games, having fun, partying, and partaking in contests. Such corporate events could be a significant merit to promote personal care and help overcome barriers between the management and labor (Samsung, n. d.). 

Another positive example of labor relations is Procter and Gamble Company (P&G). The company is devoted to diversity and well-being of its employees. Every year P&G’s employees are required to conclude the Employee Satisfaction Survey that includes assessment of relations with management, personal well-being and growth, development possibilities, empowerment, etc. In order to build a sustainable work environment, P&G utilized the results of 2004 survey to develop the well-being program. The program was designed by representatives of management board, employees, and HR department of the company. Under this program, employees are provided with a number of physical activity choices (running, walking, yoga, step) and mental assistance (psychological care in case of personal troubles, meditation). Besides, employees are offered a concept of flexible schedule. This approach is easily implemented for office workers who can better plan their time and combine work hours and personal needs. P&G is still in active development of the flexibility approach for factory workers who are dependent on shifts. Particular way of treating employees as the highest value of the company is the favorable example (Procter & Gamble, n. d.).

In addition, it is important to look at ineffective labor relations. For example, one of the largest coffee retailers, Starbucks, was blamed for unfair labor practices. Employees of the company created a separate organization, the Starbucks Workers Union, which tries to draw attention of company’s management to the unfairness of labor practices (IWW, n. d.). Through this union, employees communicate the ongoing problems that they have: relatively low wages, the absence of guaranteed hours, insufficient number of workers in the shops, unsafety at workplace, etc. The fact of constant protests held by SWU is the sign of inefficient labor relations system within the company. If Starbucks had an effective employee relations division that reacted to the needs of workers, the latter would not have created the union.     

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Performance Management

The ultimate aim of performance management is to link employee’s actions with the goals of a company. Therefore, HR department should have effective tools to measure the compliance of employees’ performance with organizational vision.

This report offers one of the most efficient approaches in performance management practices, the experience of P&G. The distinguishing feature of their practice is a balanced performance management. The concept implies that all parties are involved in the process. Both managers and employees work together to develop the most effective conditions, where employees can boost their potential and improve performance. The flexibility approach to work, which allows employees to plan working time according to their preferences, required special approach to performance assessment. Therefore, P&G devised the system when a performance of an employee is assessed in accordance to realization of company’s goals. Some employees need more time to work in office to complete a particular project, some need less time and prefer working from home. Regardless of the time spent in the office, P&G evaluates the performance of an employee based on the quality of work and the contribution to the development of the company. P&G believes that stimulating working environment allows to enrich people’s potential. When workers feel that their opinion is valued and counted, they try to perform better.

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Besides, a balanced approach implies placing evaluation controls at all levels of organizational structure. Firstly, the performance data is collected and analyzed. Further, employees are provided with reasonable feedback on their performance and explanations for the ongoing assessment. What is more, a balanced performance management includes constant self-assessment that allows to explore the perception of the working process through employees’ experience. Such assessment is crucial for both management and employees. The latter have a chance to assess critically the results of work, personal development, and knowledge. Managers, in their turn, have a possibility to evaluate the clarity and sustainability of the goal-setting.

Compensation & Benefits Incentives/Practices

One of the core questions in any company is what sustainable reward and compensation system to choose. There is a harsh discussion among managers and researchers regarding the appropriateness of various approaches to compensation. The final point leads to a question of motivation. It is significant to investigate the primary sources of employees’ motivation in order to devise the efficient reward system. First of all, the base compensation for a worker should comply with the descent living standard in a particular geographical area. For instance, within the same company that has international divisions in different countris, the wage rate in the USA is higher than in India or Pakistan. The issue of the adequacy of wages to the economic realm was raised by the Starbucks Workers Union, which blamed the company for inadequate wages in NYC.

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Companies are interested in maximizing profits; thus, they strive to maximize the contribution of every employee to the common result. In this light, every worker should receive excellent motivation to work better. Some researchers consider money the largest motivating tool. Consequently, the effective approach implies higher reward for the better performance. The more an employee contributes to the development of the company, the higher is the compensation. This is the traditional view on motivation. However, the innovative research concludes that performance rewarding scheme works only for mechanical skills (Pink, 2012). Contrary to this, the assumption that money is the best motivator does not come true when the work is connected with cognitive skills. In such spheres, people are inspired by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Employees need more autonomy than pressure to fulfill their potential and offer better and creative solutions. This is the case with Procter & Gamble, where people are motivated by flexible schedule that creates perfect working environment for every employee. What is more, people show better results when they see the value of perfection. Accomplishment is not to work more time but to reach a better quality. Finally, people need to strive for some sustainable positive purpose. For example, many well-paid IT workers do complicated creative tasks for free because they want to contribute or volunteer their skills and knowledge to some big task, which has high social value.

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Particular research findings suggest that successful compensation and benefits system should combine the money reward with non-material motivation as well as performance-related bonuses with non-performance-related rewards. One of the most interesting examples is the recognition system of Apple. For instance, employees are engaged with certain pleasant things (discounts on Apple products, presents in a form of iPhones or iPads) that Apple provides to its workers regardless of the performance. Thus, an employee of Apple can receive a new model of iPhone only because he/she belongs to a certain community, employees of Apple. Besides, Apple offers performance-related bonuses to its workers. However, particular bonuses are paid in a form of company’s stock. Thus, a rewarded employee will receive something more than just money. He/she will get a sense of Apple’s identity that is a lasting merit for the company.

Many researchers conclude that cash bonuses have no long-term effect on employees’ motivation (Savkin, 2015). Alternatively, people value experiences. This idea could be treated as the key success factor in choosing the right incentive program. For instance, a just-married employee would appreciate the present in a form of a wedding trip opportunity. The trip is a memorable experience that would be valued for the whole life. Female employees on maternity leaves will be thankful for additional month of paid leave as particular experience is important in the life of every woman. The general idea is that people value money only at the moment when they receive it. Thus, only few workers would remember the amount of cash bonus that they received a year or two ago. However, every employee would remember a trip, a non-cash present that corresponded to his/her interests, or any other non-cash motivation. This type of rewards cultivates employees’ loyalty and improves engagement. Thus, a worker is motivated to contribute to the company that values his/her interests, needs, and personal mastery.

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Conclusions and Recommendations

This report analyzed the best approaches to Human Resource Management practiced by the Fortune 500 companies. Specifically, the report discussed the best practices in recruiting personnel, training and development, employee relations, performance management, and compensation/reward incentives.

It is recommended to take into consideration Google’s recruitment practices. Any candidate who aims to obtain a position at Google should pass a number of interviews with HR department, a representative from executive branch, and an employee from different department than that to which the candidate applies. Such interviewing stages allow to avoid bias and assess a candidate from various perspectives. Besides, Google effectively recruits people through employee referral bonuses. Another important approach to recruiting personnel is organizing specialized recruitment events, like student contests, open-rooms, global online championships for professional programmers, etc.

Another core area of HRM interest, training and development of staff, should follow an example of Samsung and Walmart. It is important to create effective e-training possibilities with developed intranet system where any worker can attain training materials, testing, and assessment. Moreover, it is recommended to use the functional approach of Samsung, when the training is offered in core areas of company’s structure. For instance, employees can improve their skills in spheres like leadership, technical knowledge, sales, etc.

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Labor/employee relations practices could use the positive experience of Samsung and P&G. Samsung company initiated the development of a representative body, where both management and employees have chance to discuss ongoing concerns and problems. P&G is also devoted to establishing sustainable working environment. The company developed the well-being strategy for employees. The program is based on the results of employees’ survey and includes flexible schedule, strong emphasis on health issues, and psychological assistance.

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