Scenario: You have just started work as the new Human Resources Manager for Acme Manufacturing, a Fortune 1,000 company. The job has been vacant for six months now. You’ve been wondering about this, especially since reading about employee harassment incidents and fights recently in the news.
The General Manager (GM) calls you into his office the minute you arrive. He shuts the door after saying a quick word of welcome, and begins to tell you about an incident that happened last week that needs your immediate attention. The company’s manufacturing operations runs three shifts of production workers so the plant is operating 24/7. Over the past six months hostilities have arisen between employees on the third and first shifts. What started out as jeering and criticisms by the first shift, claiming they have to clean up the mess and complete all of the work left undone by the third shift, has escalated to physical confrontations and altercations. Although the GM said that aggressive bantering back-and-forth is common for shift workers in manufacturing, he admitted he was worried after seeing a gun on one of the employees last week that was concealed, or so the employee thought, in a shoulder holster under this jacket. The GM said he needs your help. Specifically, he asked that you:
- Determine and explain the appropriate disciplinary action for the employees involved in this situation and identify motivational alternatives that can help turn the situation around;
- Draft policies and procedures that could be used in the guidance and performance management of the shift workers; and
- Develop performance standards for the shift workers, identify appropriate methods of performance appraisal, and develop appropriate training to help get them back on track.
Feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation, you go back to your office and begin devising a plan to help get employee relations back on track, realizing that human resource policies and practices may help avert potentially dangerous situations in the future if implemented correctly.
Write a 3-5 page memo to the GM responding to the three concerns listed above. Be sure to cite any references used in proper APA format.
Appropriate disciplinary action for the employees and motivational alternatives
The management has the right to take disciplinary action against errant employees. In a workplace environment, it is important for the management to establish a set of rules or guidelines that can regulate the behavior of all employees (Bohlander & Snell, 2010). The management should ensure that such rules are enforced for the company to function properly. There are a number of disciplinary actions that may be taken against errant employees in Acme manufacturing. Common disciplinary measures used by organizations include verbal warnings, written warnings, suspension without pay, final written warnings, and dismissal.
Verbal warnings would be the first form of disciplinary action to take in such a situation (Bohlander & Snell, 2010). Verbal warning is often the first type of disciplinary action taken against employees who fail to meet expectations or break the company rules. Verbal warnings are often given immediately the employee commits the offence. If the offence committed by the employee is serious, verbal warnings may be followed by more concrete disciplinary action. Written warnings would also be appropriate in this case. This involves recording the offence committed in writing and issuing the employees concerned with a copy to sign. The employee keeps one copy of the letter while the other copy is kept in the employee(s) personnel file for further reference. If any employee repeats the offence within a period of 6 months, suspension without pay will apply to such an employee, for a specific period.
There are two alternatives that can reverse the bad situation at Acme Manufacturing. First as a Human Resource Manager (HRM), it is important to restate job expectations or responsibilities of the various shifts. For instance, the third shift would only be allowed to leave upon completing all the tasks assigned to them, including clearing any mess they create while working. Another alternative would be to provided compensation based on work performance. This means that any shift that fails to complete work may be denied certain privileges previously enjoyed such as bonuses.
Policies and procedures that can be used in performance management
Policies are procedures can be critical in regulating discipline of workers in the organization. The following policies and procedures will be used in the guidance and performance management of the shift workers:
- The management reserves the right to take disciplinary action against any employee who commits any offence or fails to meet job requirements during his/her shift.
- A worker has a right to a fair hearing before the board of any issue or concerns raised regarding discipline issues.
- Any disciplinary action taken against employees should not breach the Labor Relations Act. Disciplinary action should conform to the established codes of good practices or be in accordance to the written law guiding companies.
- Employees must complete all work assigned or allotted during their shift, failure to which appropriate disciplinary action will be taken provided there is no worthy reason.
- All employees must report in and out during their respective shifts indicating the respective time the employee reported in or out.
- All employees must keep their equipments clean after work and in the appropriate places before the next shift commences. Failure to this will lead to disciplinary action against any employee who leaves his/her place of work in a mess.
- Supervisors have the power and authority to guide or inform employees about job performance or any other issues. Such guidance will be counted as informal disciplinary action.
- Repeat offences will be considered disregard of the company’s policies and procedures and thus will attract a warning letter. Serious disciplinary issues may lead to more serious action such as suspension without pay or dismissal.
Performance standards, performance appraisal, and training
Performance standards outline the management’s expectations or minimum requirements that employees must meet. The following performance standard will apply:
- Each shift of employees must complete their eight hours of which they are expected to produce at least 1000 units of the product.
- Each shift must ensure that 90 percent of the products pass the quality test. A higher defect level must be reported to the supervisors for review of the cause behind such high defect rate.
- Each shift must ensure effective use of resources by conserving energy, saving on water, turning off equipments not being used, and reducing wastage of raw materials used in production.
- All employees must be in the appropriate gear while conducting their duties.
- Employees must help other employees in accomplishment of certain tasks, and embrace team effort while conducting work.
Appropriate methods of performance appraisal
- Results method or management by objectives. According to Deb (2006), this is one of the best modern methods of appraisal that the management can employ. This method involves the collaboration between an employee and a superior to jointly develop goals and expected outcomes for the employee. The measures established are then used to assess employee performance and award appraisals.
- Balanced scorecard method. The balanced scorecard approach considers the performance of the organization with respect to customers, leaning & innovation, shareholders, and internal and external business process (Deb, 2006).
- 360-degree method. This approach is effective since it considers feedback from coworkers, supervisors, subordinates, and also self-appraisal.
Training will cover a number of areas designed to help the employees get back on track. Off-the-job-training can be best for the employees. This may either be conducted through the lecture or conference method. Training should focus around topics such as communication and conflict & anger management.
Bohlander, G. W., & Snell, S. (2010). Managing human resources. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Deb, T. (2006). Strategic approach to human resource management: Concept, tools and application. New Delhi: Atlantic.