Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 30th Class Reflection

Since we are now done with the book for the class, these will be the only post I do going forward. I reviewed what I was supposed to be doing on these and realized I may have been doing them a bit wrong in the past. It is supposed to be more of a reflection on what I got out of the class rather than a recap of what we went over in the class. I will try and personalize the rest of these post.

The thing that stuck out to me the most in the last class was the Hofsteads Five Dimensions of Culture. I thought it was interesting to be able to do an accurate comparison of different cultures based on these five somewhat simple dimensions. With my experience with different cultures I tried to uses these dimensions to see if I could see the differences. The culture that I feel I am most familiar with other than my own would be the latin culture. I think there are may differences between the American culture and the Latin culture on these five dimensions.

The other topic that we discussed that really stuck out to me was the criteria for selecting an employe for a foreign assignment. A lot of it was common sense but when you put it all together you realize how many potential issues can come up if you do not pick the right person for the assignment. Not only that but you also need to make sure you prepare the person you select properly for the assignment.

Monday, March 29, 2010

March 16th Class Reflection

In class today we talked about the research paper and when it was due. Then went on to Chapter 14 discussion and talk about unions. One of the main things that we discussed was how organizations can discourage the formation of unions. Here are some of the points that I found interesting:
What to do
  • Be consistent in the treatment of employees.
  • Ensure due process in performance management
  • Protect employees from harassment or humiliation
  • Treat all employees with dignity and respect
What to Avoid
  • Threatening employees with harsher terms of employment or employment loss.
  • Promising anything if they don't form a union
We then went into Chapter 15 and talked about HRM in a global environment. Which I felt was more like a review chapter. It showed how everything we have talked about so far can apply to the global environment.

Chapter 16 Discussion Topics

Chapter 16 Discussion Topics

Concept and Brief Description

High Performance Work Systems is a combination of people, technology, and organizational structure to use all the resources available and achieve the goals (definition from the book). For this to be successful HRM can play a crucial role. They do this by properly designing Jobs, recruiting the right employees, focusing the training and development on high performance systems, and proper performance management. They can also help set-up the proper compensation to promote this.

Technology can also play a big role for HRM in setting up high performance work systems. There are 3 applications that are widely used:

1. Transaction Processing

2. Decision Support Systems

3. Expert Systems

Along with these applications the HRM can also use information systems such as an HR dashboard or other online options.

Emotional Hook

There are many conditions that contribute to high performance. The most important condition however is support by the whole company, especially the owners and management.

Key Points to Elicit in Discussion

Teamwork and empowerment are a crucial part of a high performance team, however the teams must have the proper resources to accomplish what they need or they will not be effective.

Facilitative Questions

How is continuous learning used in developing high performance teams?

Why are ethics so important when implementing high performance work systems?

Monday, March 15, 2010

March 11th Class Reflection

In class today we discussed the Optional Benefits Programs and how companies can use them to improve the performance and loyalty of its employees. The most important thing to consider in any benefits program is to understand what the total compensation package is and communicate it appropriately. This was the last part of Chapter 13 and then we moved into Chapter 14 which was on unions and why and how they came about. The class consensus was that unions were needed when they first came out and had a good affect on helping workplaces become safer and employes to be treated more fairly. We then did an exercise to demonstrate the way that management and unions come to agreements. It was a fun exercise and it helped me understand the how it all would work.

Chapter 15 Discussion Topics

Concept and Brief Description

This chapter was all about the concepts we have learned all semester and how to apply them to the global marketplace. There are many issues that surround HRM when dealing with other countries and government. From laying off employees to compensation, there are many things that need to be considered. The factors that affect how to deal with international markets are:

· Culture

· Education

· Economic Systems

· Political-Legal Systems

The other part of the chapter talked about selecting the right people to go oversees to work for the company and how to pick the right people called expatriates. The following things should be considered; Motivation, Health, Language Ability, Family Considerations, Resourcefulness and Initiative, Adaptability, Career Planning, and Financial.

Emotional Hook

Companies need to look to internationally if they want to be able to continue to expand their company. However if they do not do it properly the opposite may happen and the company could make mistakes that could put them out of business.

Key Points to Elicit in Discussion

Not only do you need to focus on training the employee for the move to another country but often their family also to make the transition.

Individualism, Uncertainty Avoidance, Masculinity, Power Distance, and Time Orientation are all things that affect the design of training design for other cultures.

Facilitative Questions

What is cross cultural preparation mean for an employee and how does a company go about doing this?

How are parent country, host country, and third country all related in reference to an organization?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 9th Class Reflection

Today in class we finished up the talk on Chapter 12 and then went into Chapter 13. On Chapter 12 we talked about the process that make incentives work. Here are some of the things that must be considered for this:
  • Participation in Decisions
  • Communication fairness and paint a picture for your employees
  • Get input from employees
In Chapter 13 we went over employee benefits and the role they play in the organization. Many employees do not appreciate the value the benefits have for them and often will look at the pay and not realize that they may actually make more somewhere else with the added benefits even of the pay itself is less. There are also certain benefits that are required by law. These are:
  1. Social Security
  2. Unemployment Insurance
  3. Workers Compensation Insurance
  4. Family and Medical Leave- 12 weeks unpaid

Chapter 14 Discussion Topics

Concept and Brief Description

Labor unions are a way for employees to join together and create a group that gains power in numbers. Unions strive for fair pay and safe working conditions for all members of the union. Companies that use unions as their workforce usually pay more than ones that don’t but can also benefit from potentially more productivity and consistency. Labor unions are on the decline in the public sector and have been for a while, except in government work.

Emotional Hook

Labor Unions have had a bad reputation in some peoples mind because of the ties they used to have with the mob. Unions now are very organized and structured in the way they handle their relationship with companies.

Key Points to Elicit in Discussion

Unions need to be approved by 50% or more of the employees for it to be considered. Unless they get 30% to 50% they can do a secret ballot. What do you think about this process?

Unions make it better for employees to voice their concerns and have support to be heard. How can employers do this even if they don’t use unions?

Facilitative Questions

Why are so many government employees in Unions?

What happens in collective bargaining? Who is involved in these discussion?

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 4th Class Reflection

In this class we discussed incentive pay and how it can be used. There are three different options to base the pay: individual performance, group performance, and company performance. There are certain requirements that effective incentive pay plans should follow:
  1. Measures are limited to the organizational goals
  2. Employee's believe they can meet performance standards
  3. Organization gives employee the resources they need to meet their goals
  4. Employee value the reward given
  5. Employee believe the reward system in fair
  6. Pay Plan takes into account that employees may ignore any goals that are not rewarded

Chapter 13 Discussion Topics

Concept and Brief Description

This chapter is all about employee benefit options, which are vast. Companies can offer nearly anything as a benefit but need to be conscious of the cost of all of the benefits that they offer. Companies must also communicate to their employees what the values of their benefits are so they are appreciated. There are certain benefits that all employers must offer including social security, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, and family and medical leave (unpaid). Even though this seems like quite a bit that must be given, it is very small compared to what other countries require of companies, especially in parts of Europe.

Emotional Hook

Benefits are such a tricky thing, offer to little and you will not be able to compete with other companies in recruiting. Offer to many and you may spend to much and go out of business.

Key Points to Elicit in Discussion

There are many options with health insurance, how do companies choose what is best for them?

Retirement plans can be very complex and get very expensive.

Facilitative Questions

What are some of the legal issues surrounding benefits?

If you were an employer what would be the benefits you would offer?

What is the coolest benefit you could think of to offer?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March 2 Class Reflection

We spent the entire class today in the library learning about finding articles for our research paper and how to develop our topic. It was very helpful for me and I feel a lot better about the paper now after going through this. I learned a lot of tricks that will help me put my paper together and find articles that will be relevant and applicable to the research paper. I am still a bit nervous that about the project but I have confidence that I can get it done and am actually excited to learn more about the subject that I picked. There is a lot of work ahead and a challenge that I am better prepared for now.

chapter 12 Discussion Topics

Concept and Brief Description

Chapter 12 continued the discussion on pay more in regards to incentive and bonus pay. Setting pay is often very complicated for HRM and owners but setting incentives and bonuses is often much harder. They must always weigh the pros and cons of using this type of pay as motivation while managing cost as well as ensuring the motivation is in the best interest of the company. Often incentive pay can encourage workers to get work done quickly and efficiently but the focus on customer service and quality may suffer. Along with bonus and incentive pay there are options for group bonuses, profit sharing, and stock options. Again with these options there are many pros and cons. The biggest thing is to consider how to get this type of pay to motivate employees to perform better in a way that will improve the profitability of the company as a whole. There are also concerns with ethics with executive bonus pay since they have the ability to manipulate the earnings and accounting documents to tell a story that could be better than it really was.

Emotional Hook

Every level of employee can be motivated by incentive pay but the same type pay will not work for every level of employee. Bonus pay that employees feel they have no control of is often viewed as not motivating and can actually be a waste of a company’s money since it does not lead to more productivity or efficiency.

Key Points to Elicit in Discussion

Stock options can be good since it ties the employee to the performance of the company. However the profit is not realized for the employee until the stock it sold and that is often after they leave the company not while they are their contributing to the performance of it.

Pay for group performance can be good for rewarding a group for working together but it can also frustrate members of the group that feel that they did more or that a member of the group that did not participate gets the same bonus.

Although the balance scorecard often the most effective, it can also be the most work.

Facilitative Questions

What are some potential ethical issues with performance pay or stock options?

Who does a sales commissions pay structure work best for?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Feb 25th Class Reflection

In class today we went over chapter 11. This chapter was one of the most interesting for me because I am responsible for coming up with the pay for my entire department. I know how complicated of an issue it can be. Here are all of the sections that we discussed:
  1. Pay and all the facets surrounding it.
  2. Legal Requirements
  3. Market Forces
  4. Organizational Goals
  5. Pay Level, Job Structure, Pay Structure Decisions
One of the other important factors to consider is equity (fairness). There are many dimensions to this, you need to consider what is fair in the industry, area, and for the person.
After the discussion we had Jeff Weber come in and talk about pay and setting up a proper pay program.