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CHANGING THE HR FUNCTION AT BELLA’S: A CASE STUDY
Bobby Medlin, USC Upstate
Lynne’s day had started at 7:00 this morning with a meeting with the disgruntled store manager of location number two—and things hadn’t slowed down since. Her “to-do” list was already full, but she had barely had time to glance at it. She was too busy with her “other stuff” (as she liked to call it)—things that kept her from being able to focus on what she really should be doing in her role at Bella’s. “Tough day, huh,” said Illa. Lynne and Illa, the two key players in the management of Bella’s, were meeting for drinks after work, like they had done every other Thursday (her ex husband’s night with her kids) for the past twelve years, to discuss business and life. These gettogethers used to start around 5:30. Lynne glanced at her watch as she handed the wine list back to the waitress. It was 9:25. “It’ll get better,” said Illa. “Illa, it’s 9:30—and believe me, this is a regular thing now. It’s costing me a fortune in babysitting, my kids never see me anymore, and it’s just wearing me out. And you know as well as I do that it’s not going to get better; it’s going to keep getting worse. We’ve gone over and over this,” said Lynne. “We decided that we’ve got to do something. Let’s don’t start rehashing or questioning our decision again now.” “You’re right. But you know I have reservations about whichever way we decide to go” said Illa. “I know, and I have concerns, too,” Lynne replied. “But you know things can’t stay as they are now. I keep telling you this, and I know you don’t want to hear it, but I can’t keep this up. I’ve got two full time jobs—three if you count my kids. I’m the general manager AND the HR director—and not just the director—I handle ALL the HR issues. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Not to mention the fact that I’m simply not running the place the way I always have, the way it should be run, because I’m constantly having to play human resource manager. We have five stores now—we probably should have changed things when we opened number 4. It’s not like it used to be. You’ve been gone so much this last year that I don’t think you really see how difficult this has become.” Two years ago, Illa had made a conscious decision to focus more on her personal life. She had turned 55 and decided it was time to do some of the things that she’d wanted to do but had never been able to find the time. She’d never been very involved in the day-to-day operations of the firm, but during the past two years, she essentially ignored the everyday operations in exchange for enjoying life for awhile. Her projects included building a new home, taking two cruises, and spending months at the beach in Florida. She trusted Lynne implicitly to run Bella’s, so Illa had no concerns about this basic lifestyle change—after all, she kept reminding herself, it’s not forever. But she had to admit that she probably didn’t recognize or truly feel the impact of the changes in Bella’s that had been occurring gradually since she’d been “away”. “OK,” said Illa. “You’re right. So, one more time—what are our options?” “You know the options; we’ve discussed them all many times,” said Lynne. “But one more time, here they are:

A. We hire an HR manager that will handle all our HR, from A to Z. B. We turn our HR over to someone else--outsource all our HR to a human resource firm; there are several in the city. C. We keep some of our HR activities in-house and outsource the other things—whatever we decide.” THE COMPANY Bella's is a full service day spa and hair salon featuring a wide variety of spa treatments including full body massages, body scrubs and wraps, European facials, specialty manicures and pedicures, skin treatments, waxing, and complete variety of cuts, conditioning treatments and chemical services for the hair. Exclusive lines of hair and body products are also available. Bella’s also features a retail department which specializes in unique custom jewelry....
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