Human Resources Management

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Rob Steates

Describe Mount Ridge’s business strategy. What is the relationship between its business strategy and its human resource practices? Mount Ridge is a utility company specializing in energy production. Four years ago the company’s founder, Garret Levinson, believed that coal would be both the primary fuel for electricity as well as serve as a standardization of efficiency and cost control in the future. He decided to create his company around this idea, and produce energy using coal as a fuel source. Since steam is a byproduct of using coal to create power, Mount Ridge sells the electricity produced to the local utility, and is able to recycle energy by selling the steam to a nearby industrial plant. Not only is this recycling healthier for the environment (as opposed to letting the excess steam go to waste), but it also allows Mount Ridge to cut energy costs in order to gain a competitive advantage in the energy field, a business strategy known as cost leadership. This strategy resulted in commercial success very quickly, and though Mount Ridge is centralized in Kentucky, it has ambitiously chosen to pursue building plants across the Northeast where the demand for cogeneration plants is strong.

Joyce Newcome was hired as Director of Human Resources in the company’s infancy, and had to find ways to maximize the personnel aspect of the company’s rapid growth. This was not an easy task, as the size of the workforce increased from four employees to 650 in less than a decade. The extreme level of productivity necessary to sustain this growth would not have been possible without strong Human Resource Management policies in place to keep the employees happy with their jobs and, thus, maintain loyalty and productivity in the workforce. One way this is achieved is by holding annual employee appreciation dinners to let the employees know that their work is valued. However, with such a large number of employees it is inevitable that some...
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