Final Exam – Human Resource Management
Information: This exam is comprised of five essay questions (20 points each) that coincide with the five course learning outcomes and one BONUS question (10 points). The maximum possible score is 110 points. Name the file by replacing “Lname” with your last name and upload completed exam in your Webtycho assignment folder by the deadline.
ESSAY QUESTION INSTRUCTIONS: Answer each essay question as completely as possible; be comprehensive and discuss all relevant and related aspects to answer the question thoroughly. Type your response in the grey text box provided (just click on the grey box and begin typing). NOTE: Size of the grey text box does not represent size of expected response; the box will expand as you type. The box is intentionally formatted for single spaced responses. Make sure responses are commensurate with point values, 20 point responses range from 1-2 pages and 10 point responses range from .25 to .5 of a page.
1. Describe specific methods, processes, or tools HR Professionals may use to produce a working environment that is safe, fair, compliant with applicable regulations, and where all employees are motivated and valued. Several specific methods are available to ensure that HR professionals create a productive, safe, fair, and compliant working environment. By properly training and developing employees, employers can increase productivity, reduce turnover, decrease need for supervision, increase adaptability, increase job safety, increase morale and improve risk management. Training covers several main categories including: Required and Regular Training, Interpersonal/Problem-Solving, Job and Technical, and Developmental and Career. By assessing training needs, analyzing necessary training requirements, establishing training priorities and objectives, and properly delivering training; HR professionals can specifically develop training programs that are beneficial to both employee and employer. Periodically evaluating training results through cost-benefit analysis and return-on-investment analysis provides HR professionals with invaluable information in continuing, modifying, or eliminating specific training. Also, by conducting periodic feedbacks and appraisals, employees can be informed of their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement. Performance appraisals can serve several purposes: to establish compensation guidelines, give feedback, properly identify personnel for promotion, make employees feel valued, and to track strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, “Employee performance evaluation provides legal, ethical, and visible evidence that employees were actively involved in understanding the requirements of their jobs and their performance” (Humanresources, 2014). By providing a fair, uniform, unbiased appraisal system that incorporates 360-degree feedback organizations can ensure that their employees are well informed of their current performance standing. Adherence to local, state, and federal equal employment opportunity laws and statutes ensures that organizations are protected from unlawful discrimination penalties and lawsuits. Abiding by Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII and Civil Rights Act of 1991 guidelines makes sure that organizations are employing fair equal employment opportunity practices. Following equal employment opportunity guidelines establishes that individuals will have the ability to be hired, compete, and receive promotion regardless of race, age, national origin, religion, color, sexual orientation, or disability. Applying an equal employment opportunity management plan helps develop policies and procedures, embrace diversity, and practice fair treatment. Additionally, adopting and applying an Affirmative Action Plan using outreach programs and targeted recruiting can help an organization embrace diversity and increase opportunities. Maintaining competitive reward and compensation packages will ensure employees stay motivated and feel valued within the organization. Furthermore, working within the regulations and laws of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; companies can prevent employee underpayment, maltreatment, and exploitation. Implementing a good risk management program will ensure the safety, health, and security of both individuals and organization. By performing a risk analysis the HR function can identify certain risks within the company and take appropriate measures to alleviate these risks. Following and abiding by safety and health legal requirements will also benefit and protect employees and employers. Establishing qualified safety management teams and security management teams will help reduce accidents, security breaches, and the associated costs involved with each. Disaster preparedness and disaster planning teams will further increase safety and reduce unnecessary risks. Finally, implementing well-designed wellness and health promotion programs; such as substance abuse programs, mental health programs, and tobacco cessation programs, a corporation can ensure that its employees are physical as well as psychologically healthy. Finally, protecting individual employee rights and privacy will produce a working environment that is safe and fair. Protecting an employee’s personal and medical information is guaranteed under the Privacy Act of 1974, Privacy Protection Act of 1988, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Having well-defined and documented protocol regarding telephone, computer, and electronic monitoring will erase any questions regarding company policy. Likewise, having well-defined and documented guidelines regarding drug and alcohol testing will eliminate confusion in regards to company regulations.
2. Describe specific practices, principles, or methodologies HR Professionals may use to capitalize on diversity within an organization (or recruit diversity into an organization) to successfully position the organization in the global marketplace. Diversity is extremely important within an organization because it attracts and retains new talent, helps build synergy, increases productivity, ensures a more qualified workforce, and helps avoid turnover costs. With the constantly changing demographic in the workplace, incorporating diversity brings fresh ideas, new perspectives, and varying viewpoints. For employees and job-hunters, finding an organization that promotes diversity and has policies and procedures in place is a primary motivator for job retention and company loyalty. Abiding by and adhering to equal employment opportunity laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 ensures that corporations are inclusive, non-discriminatory, and actively promoting diversity. Furthermore, abiding by regulations set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the United States Department of Labor (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) will equally prevent costly legal battles. Providing diversity (including cultural and legal awareness) training and sensitivity training to employees advocates education, awareness, inclusion, knowledge, and acceptance amongst a disparate workforce in the global marketplace. Having a zero tolerance policy for any type of discriminatory, prejudicial, or belittling behavior will set the standard that no such conduct will be allowed. In doing so, organizations will establish a workplace of respect and consideration. Knowing and accepting one another’s differences in the workplace with build synergy, rapport, and camaraderie amongst co-workers and help employee/labor relations. Affirmative action plans utilizing outreach programs and targeted recruitment procedures pinpoint certain demographics who have been historically discriminated against as well as increasing diversity within an organization. Having a well-defined, specific, and meaningful affirmative action plan established a moral commitment to workplace inclusion and diversity embracement. Also, the United States Department of Labor has found that when an affirmative action program is approached from a powerful management tool perspective, there is a positive correlation between the affirmative action program and the absence of discrimination (OFCCP, n.d.). However, it is vitally important that employees understand and realize that they are being hired because they are the best candidate and not simply to meet quotas. Time flexible work scheduling to include but not limited to; shift work, part-time schedules, job sharing, and flextime working arrangements provides a greater means for achieving gender diversity in an organization. And organization can further promote gender diversity in the workplace by possibly providing on-site childcare and/or childcare subsidies. Women are becoming more and more prevalent in the corporate workplace and instituting these inclusion practices will decrease any chance of discrimination. Preventing any type of sexual harassment, quid pro quo or hostile environment, is an absolute necessity in an organization. Any type of sexual harassment can make the workplace hostile, uncomfortable, or unpleasant. It can cause demoralization and increased stress on the victim and has no place in a company. Establishing a strict sexual harassment policy, documenting the policy, and educating employees on the policy is a priority. Proper training on sexual harassment and prevention will decrease the possibility of any type of harassment occurring. Inclusion of disabled persons in the workplace and non-discriminatory practices will not only benefit and help advancement of disabled individuals but will help the company as well. Preventing undue hardship on these individuals and giving reasonable accommodation will ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Moreover, it is also extremely important to prevent discrimination against an employee due to their age; defined by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Older Worker’s Benefit Protection Act. With the increasing age in the workforce, it is imperative to accept and embrace these workers. Not only are these employees a vital part of the workforce, they also bring unparalleled experience and skills. The bottom line is that promoting a workplace of diversity, inclusiveness, and non-discriminatory practices will benefit an organization by successfully positioning themselves in a cross-cultural, global marketplace.
3. Describe an effective and efficient total rewards program for a fictional organization and discuss how an efficient and effective total rewards program contributes to the success of an organization. A quality, effective, and efficient total rewards program allows an organization to stay competitive in employee recruitment and retention. It provides employee incentive to stay with the organization which helps avoid high turnover costs. Offering health benefits, as well as wellness and health promotion incentives will ensure the workforce is competent physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually. The first factor to consider when deciding an organizational total rewards program is compliance with federal laws and/or regulations. A primary federal law concerning employee compensation programs is the Fair Labor Standards Act which focuses on minimum wage, child labor provisions, exempt/nonexempt statuses, and overtime (Mathis, Jackson, Valentine, 2014). Other regulations pertaining to employee rewards and incentives include: the Immigration and Naturalization Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Comprehensive Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Knowing and adhering to all federal and state compensation laws will prevent an organization from becoming involved in costly legal and ethical battles. Through combined implementation of both entitlement and performance philosophies, an organization can offer the most efficient compensation policy. Entitlement raises and pay should increase equally throughout the organization based on inflation and industry comparison. However, a pay-for-performance policy rewards certain employees for outstanding performance and excellent work. There are two methods that employers use to gauge which employees are performing exceptionally: targeting high performers and a pay adjustment matrix. When implementing a pay-for-performance policy, it is vital that employees are continually given effective feedback and progression updates. Utilizing both philosophies will ensure a fair and equal compensation policy which effectively rewards high performing employees but does not punish underperforming employees. Additionally, employees may earn rewards correlating with increased skills and/or knowledge. “These plans can lead to greater workforce flexibility and productivity” (Mathis, Jackson, Valentine, 2014, p. 385). Providing incentive pays including individual incentives, team incentives, and organizational incentives can provide incentive, reduce turnover, and increase production. Individual incentives may consist of bonuses, commissions, time-off, or performance/recognition awards. Team incentives are much the same as individual incentives but are instead awarded to a group or branch. Finally, organizational incentives may include profit sharing or stock options. Many employees find incentive pays one of the greatest benefits to working within certain companies or organizations. A separate, highly important aspect of a total rewards program is a competitive benefits package which may include: health-care benefits (with dental option), family benefits, time-off benefits, financial benefits, security benefits, and retirement benefits. Additionally, providing wellness care and preventative healthcare options are invaluable. There are also legally mandated benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, worker’s compensation, and unemployment. A carefully designed, cost-effective benefits plan will attract and retain a proficient labor pool and increase morale while at the same time providing valuable protection for both employees and their families. A final benefit that is extremely important in today’s aging workforce are retirement plans. By employing a defined benefit pension plan, an organization ensures that their retired employees receive a specific amount of money per month. These types of retirement plans are guaranteed and protected. As with compensation plans, retirement plans must comply with several legal regulations including: the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (Mathis, Jackson, Valentine, 2014, p. 461). An effective and efficient total rewards program benefits the employee as well as the organization. A quality rewards program benefits the employee because it provides protection, motivation, incentive, security, and financial stability. Furthermore, it is advantageous to the company because it allows for improved recruiting and retainment of qualified employees and accomplishes a moral commitment to its workforce.
4. Describe an effective and efficient training and development program for a fictional organization and discuss how an efficient and effective training and development program creates competitive advantage? An effective training and development program provides numerous benefits to employee and organization: increased morale, decreased turnover, more efficient and effective employees, increased work safety, increased emergency preparedness, and increased job satisfaction. By increasing its pool of talented and qualified employees, an organization can fill employment gaps when needed as well as increase productivity. By educating and training employees on job skills, specifications, goals, and expectations an organization can set up their workforce for success. As with any company program, adhering to legal issues is first and foremost. Providing employees with the same, fair, and equal opportunities for training and development will ensure that equal employment opportunity laws are being complied with, and will guarantee that the company is not participating in any discriminatory behavior. Compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and Federal Workforce Flexibility Act of 2004 is also extremely important. By setting employee performance standards; and measuring/diagnosing employee performance an organization can start determining the best course of action to take for a practical training and development program. Holding employees accountable for maintaining performance standards through appraisals will help communication, productivity, and employee development. Appraisals based on a 360-degree feedback approach will ensure a well-rounded, uniform, and fair system. New employee training and orientation is the cornerstone for almost any training program. It introduces new employees to their new environment, job, coworkers, management, and organization. An orientation program helps a new employee feel welcome and incorporates them into the company. An effective training program consists of four separate but equal branches of training: Required and Regular, Interpersonal/Problem Solving, Job and Technical, and Developmental/Career. Each branch is equally important and should be addressed based on company, employee, and job requirements. Before any formal training is established, several things need to occur. An organizational analysis needs to be achieved to identify problems and improvement areas. A descriptive job analysis needs to be completed to identify the skills, knowledge, and abilities to complete the job. Finally, an individual analysis needs to be accomplished to identify specific training needs for each employee. After careful analysis, the HR function can then establish training objectives, goals, and priorities. And finally, the HR team can then implement training design, delivery, and application. Through careful review of the organizational analysis, the HR function can then conclude which delivery method is optimum for the company; internal training, external training, online training, or a combination. A quality, effective training program is continually evaluated to determine competence, effectiveness, and efficiency. Training evaluations can be obtained through cost-benefit analysis and/or return-on-investment analysis. Evaluations should be clear, concise, fair, detailed, and indiscriminate in nature. Similar to training, an employee development program can benefit both employer and employee. However, development is viewed more as a long-term goal whereas training is viewed as more in the short-term time frame. A quality development program is best developed after thorough analysis of development needs. A development program can be accomplished via on-the-job development or off-site. An efficient development program will help shape supervisors, managers, and leaders. In conclusion, a quality, effective, and efficient training and development program is of extreme importance within an organization. It can help the company increase production, increase moral, reduce turnover, and broaden the talent pool. It can benefit the employees through productive career development, increased KSAs, and increase work flexibility. It trains, plans, and prepares employees on legal and ethical regulations. Throughout many studies, employees have consistently stated that training and development is high on the list of what they desire from their job (Mathis, Jackson, Valentine, 2014, p. 316).
5. Describe how the HR function fulfills its role as a strategic partner within an organization and why it is important for HR to be part of strategy formulation and implementation processes? The HR function is an invaluable role as a strategic partner within an organization. The HR function helps develop and implement the company business plan, establish rewards and compensation programs, monitor risk management and worker protection, perform job and organizational analyses, ensure compliance with legislation, and organize talent management programs. The HR function performs the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis which aids with organizational strategic planning based on the organizational mission. The HR function, with management, then determines both long-term and short-term goals and objectives. After this is all complete then an organizational strategy plan and implementation plan are formed. A HR function must meet several distinct requirements to fulfill its role as a strategic partner; it must understand the business and the business’ goals, how and what to measure, and how to prepare for the organization’s future. An additional way in which the HR function is valuable as a strategic partner is the fact that they forecast expected future work conditions. This allows the HR function to accurately predict workforce supply and demand. The HR function determines how an organization will manage a talent surplus as well as how to manage talent shortages. The HR function ensures that workforce reductions are conducted in a legal manner following the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Adherence to federal legislation prevents costly legal battles. The HR function also generates plans for internal and external workforce staffing availability. External workforce planning composes of several factors: Economic and government, geographic and competitive, and changing workforce considerations. Internal workforce planning is also composed of several components: job audits and employee/organizational capability inventory. The HR function, through company philosophy, helps establish a competitive and reasonable total rewards and compensation program including incentive pays, benefits, and retirement plans. These programs aid in employment retention, recruitment, transition, and wellness which in turn allows the organization to stay profitable and healthy. The HR function also ensures that total rewards programs are adhering and complying with federal and state laws and regulations. The HR function is responsible for protecting both the employees and the organization. Ensuring legal compliance of safety and health requirements guarantees safety and protection for individuals and the company. Employing a quality safety management plan establishes safety policies, safety training, and safety committees. Additionally a security management team performs security audits and access controls to protect employees and the organization. Disaster preparation and planning is an added HR function that increases safety and reduces risk. They guide, define, and protect worker’s rights and responsibilities while also determining and detailing organizational discipline and termination policies. The HR function also conducts job and organization analyses to help strategically plan and implement valuable training and development programs. They decide the best course of action for training and evaluate the benefits, outcomes, and helpfulness of training and development programs. They devise and implement orientation programs to help new employees and alleviate unnecessary stress. They provide the guidance for performance expectations, feedback, appraisals, and evaluations. The HR function fulfills its role as a strategic partner in an organization in a multitude of ways; from employee appraisals, to disaster planning, to equal employment opportunity. It is an extremely important aspect of an organization and helps utilize human capital. A quality HR function benefits the organization through recruitment, training/development, employee satisfaction, employee and company health and safety, conflict and grievance management, public relations, and overall morale. A good HR function allows the company to stay competitive and profitable in an increasingly competitive and complex business environment.
6. BONUS: Out of all the HRM concepts, principles, and tools covered in this course, which SINGLE tool, concept, or principle did you find most useful and why? How will you use this tool, concept, or principle in the future (in your current organization or personal/home environment)? Out of all the HRM concepts in the course I have found the appraisal concept the most useful as well as the most interesting. I enjoyed reading and learning about how appraisals are decided, conducted, and developed in a corporate organization. Being in the Air Force for over 12 years I’ve become somewhat “institutionalized” into the Enlisted Performance Review type feedback/appraisal. Seeing the different uses for performance appraisals; administrative vs development helped me better understand the whole concept. Understanding who and how different appraisals are accomplished gave me a better comprehension of the entire appraisal concept. I was knowledgeable about the supervisory rating of subordinates but was fairly ignorant when it came to team/peer rating and self-appraisals. I had also never heard of the 360-degree feedback rating system which I find to be efficient, accurate, and conclusive. I will definitely adopt and incorporate the 360-degree feedback policy in my AF career as well as when I move on to a new career. I also enjoyed learning about the proper way to conduct an appraisal interview; how to make it a positive, productive experience and not leave the employee feeling targeted and resentful. I learned that feedback and appraisal is an invaluable tool, not just for the organization but also for the employee and their career development. I think viewing an appraisal as more of a “want to do” is much more beneficial and productive than seeing it as a “have to do”. Overall, I think the appraisal concept was the most interesting as well as the one concept that I will use the most often in my current and future organizations. Currently, to benefit the Air Force to have the strongest, most productive force; and also for the enlisted member to have a rewarding, satisfying career.
1. Mathis, R. L., Jackson, J. H., & Valentine. (2014). Human resource management (14th ed.). Stamford: Cengage. 2. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. (n.d.). GPO.gov. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-1999-title41-vol1/pdf/CFR-1999-title41-vol1-sec60-2-10.pdf 3. Why Organizations Do Employee Performance Evaluation. (2014). About.com Human Resources. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from http://humanresources.about.com/od/perf