HRM Assignment: Role Of Human Resources In Sands Corporation
MANAGERS AND HR PROFESSIONALS AT SANDS CORPORATION: FRIENDS OR FOES?
Sands Corporation is a medium-sized company located in the Midwest. It manufactures specialized computer equipment used in cars, serving as a subcontractor to several automobile manufacturers as well as to the military? Federal contracts are an important part of Sands? total sales? In ?? 65 the firm had 130 employees.
At that time, the personnel department had a full-time director (who was a high school graduate) and a part-time clerk. The department was responsible for maintaining files, placing recruitment ads in the newspaper at managements request, processing employment applications and payroll, answering phones, and handling other routine administrative tasks.
Managers and supervisors were responsible for most personnel matters, including whom to hire, whom to promote, whom to fire, and whom to train. Today Sands employs 700 people. Personnel, now called the human resources department, has a full-time director with a masters degree in industrial relations, three specialists (with appropriate college degrees and certifications: one in compensation, one in staffing, and one in training and development), and four personnel assistants.
Sands? top management believes that a strong HR department with a highly qualified staff can do a better job of handling most personnel matters than line supervisors can. It is also convinced that a good HR department can keep line managers from inadvertently creating costly legal problems? One of Sands? competitors recently lost a $5 million sex discrimination suit, which has only strengthened Sands resolve to maintain a strong HR department. Some of the key responsibilities the company assigns to its HR department are:
Hiring: The HR department approves all ads, screens all applicants, tests and interviews candidates, and so forth. Line supervisors are given a limited list of candidates (usually no more than three) per position from which to choose.
Workforce diversity: The HR department ensures that the composition of Sands? work force meets the governments diversity guidelines for federal contractors.
Compensation: The HR department sets the pay range for each job based on its own compensation studies and survey data of salaries at similar companies. The department must approve all pay decisions.
Employee appraisal: The HR department requires all supervisors to complete annual appraisal forms on their subordinates. The department scrutinizes these appraisals of employees? performance closely? it is not uncommon for supervisors to be called on the carpet to justify performance ratings that are unusually high or low.
Training: The HR department conducts several training programs for employees, including programs in improving human relations, quality management, and the use of computer packages.
Attitude surveys: The HR department conducts an in-depth attitude survey of all employees each year, asking them how they feel about various facets of their job, such as satisfaction with supervisor and working conditions.
Over the past few weeks several supervisors have complained to top executives that the HR department has taken away many of their management rights. Some of their gripes are:
- The HR department ranks applicants based on test scores or other formal criteria (for example, years of experience). Often the people they pick do not fit well in the department and/or do not get along with the supervisor and coworkers.
- Excellent performers are leaving because the HR department will not approve pay raises exceeding a fixed limit for the job title held, even when a person is able to perform duties beyond those specified in the job description.
- It takes so long to process the paperwork to hire new employees that the unit loses good candidates to competitors.
- Much of the training required of employees is not focused on the job itself. These «canned» programs waste valuable employee time and provide few benefits to the company.
- Supervisors are afraid to be truthful in their performance ratings for fear of being investigated by the HR department.
- Attitude survey data are broken down by department. The HR department then scrutinizes departments with low scores. Some supervisors feel that the attitude survey has become a popularity contest that penalizes managers who are willing to make necessary (but unpopular) decisions.
The HR department director rejects all these accusations, arguing that supervisors «just want to do things their way, not taking into account what is best for the company. »
Critical Thinking Questions to be answered in this HRM assignment
- What seems to be the main source of conflict between supervisors and the HR department at Sands Corporation? Explain.
- Do you believe that managers should be given more autonomy to make personnel decisions such as hiring, appraising, and compensating subordinates? If so, what are some potential drawbacks to granting them this authority? Explain.
- How should Sands top executives deal with the complaints expressed by supervisors? Explain.
- How should the director of the HR department deal with the situation? Explain.
“Financial Resources may be the lifeblood of a company, but human resources are the brains”. Thus, the current HRM assignment presents how the human resource of a company plays an important role in the success of an organization. Therefore, the present report aims at understanding the role of the human resource management department in an organization. The present essay aims at studying the case study of the Sands Corporation, where the research studies the key issues faced by the Sands Corporation. Furthermore, the study aims at defining the main sources of conflicts between the supervisors and the HR department of the company. The study also suggests if the supervisors shall be given the responsibility of the HR department and what could be the potential drawbacks of granting this authority and responsibilities. The study highlights how the top executives of the company shall deal with complaints expressed by the supervisors and how the director of the HR department responds to the situations, followed by recommendations with specific solutions which the company can implement. Lastly, the study also highlights the key learnings from the case study.
Summary of the case
Sands Corporation is a medium-sized company offering specialized computer equipment for the car manufacturing industry and the military. The company has generated its revenue from federal contracts since 1965 and currently has around 700 employees. The company believes that a strong HR management system can handle personnel matters more efficiently than supervisors. Thus, the department fulfils various responsibilities like hiring, compensation, training, and development, maintaining workforce diversity, conducting attitude surveys, taking employee appraisal decisions, and many more such decisions. However, the line supervisors are not satisfied with the decisions and responsibilities are given to the HR department and have raised several concerns regarding the management of employees. These concerns include issues related to the training of employees, concerns related to performance and appraisal, the concept of the attitude survey in the organization, administration system concerns, and so on.
Analyzation of key issues faced by the Sands Corporation
The key issues faced by the organization are among the HR department and the line managers of the company. These issues are as follows-
Complaints of Line Managers against the HR department-
Unfit candidates- Supervisors often complain that the HR department tends to rank and conduct segmentation among the employees based on the scores which they have scored in examination or other formal criteria. However, at times these candidates are not suitable for the company due to the lack of soft skills like communication, becoming a team player with the supervisors and co-workers, and various other informal criteria which are required in an individual to work efficiently in the company.
Loss of talented resources- Supervisors has noticed that the talented employees of the company are leaving the company due to inadequate job appraisals. It is so because the supervisors believe that there are employees who are working beyond their specific job roles and titles, however, are not compensated as per the value delivered to the company. Thus, losing motivation from the company, these employees tend to leave the company.
Hiring Process- As reported by Mira et al., (2019, p. 381), the hiring process of the company involves designing a job description, creating advertisements accordingly, short listing the candidates, selecting through one-to-one interviews and training as per the role. In such a long process with the inefficiency of the managers, the company tends to lose talented candidates to the competitors which further create inefficiencies in the working process of the company. Furthermore, long paperwork procedures also tend to create inefficiency in the hiring process of candidates.
Training procedure- Employees are given training that is predesigned based on various factors such as leadership, management, and so on. However, the supervisors believe that the employees must be given customized training as per the role of the employees. This will not only improve their effectiveness in the organization but also save them a lot of time by not attending training which is not valuable to their life and thus improve their efficiency in the Sands Corporation.
Supervisors tend to be fearful while rating the employee's performance in the company. As highlighted by Armstrong et al., (2018, p. 162), it is so because if the supervisors rate them low, they might be under the scrutiny of the HR department as the department shall investigate what is reducing the productivity of the employees and are there any changes that need to be made by the supervisors. Furthermore, if the supervisor’s rate them high and positively then also the HR department might investigate the supervisor, that is why the employee's performance was rated high and what the contribution is made by the employees. Thus, again it might lead to investigation from the supervisor as to why the employee was rated highly (Nazarian et al., 2021, p. 230).
Attitude Survey data- The primary task that this activity fulfils is scrutinizing the departments with low scores. However, there are times when the managers need to make difficult but necessary decisions for the growth of the company. However, these managers are penalized as they are not so popular among the employees for the decisions taken for the department which further generates an emotion of fear among these employees (Tuan et al., 2019, p. 550).
What seems to be the main source of conflict between supervisors and the HR department of Sands Corporation? Explain.
As evidenced by Kim et al., (2018, p. 5), the main source of conflict between the supervisors and the HR department seems to be the communication gap between these two departments. There are certain requirements of the supervisors from the HR department which must be met to maintain and improve the productivity of the organization. These requirements are having a robust hiring process to ensure that the company doesn’t lose any talented employees to the competitors, pay the employees as per their performance or design a system where the employees working extra are being rewarded through an incentive program which is not based on the job title of the employees and are awarded based on their performance in the organization. As mentioned by Jager et al., (2021, p. 133), this will help the supervisors to retain talented employees for the company. Furthermore, post-pandemic the world has gone digital and are adopting and designing new ways to use this technology to improve the system the company, thus the supervisors need to communicate with the HR department on how it can also use this digital system instead of engaging the other departments in the long paperwork process. Here the major complaint of the supervisors is that the employees are selected on the basis of certain formal criteria like test scores which leads to hiring unfit candidates, thus the supervisors need to communicate what type of soft skills is required in candidates to ensure that these employees coordinate well with the supervisors and other co-workers of the department. Moreover, the supervisors need to address what kind of customization they require in the training process of employees so that they become more suitable for the job role. In which the supervisors can also suggest all training which is not required for the employee to save the time of the employee and the department too. However, the HR department needs to ensure that the supervisors must not feel fearful while rating the performance of employees to ensure effective decisions are taken by the management on the basis of real reports. As observed by Börger et al., (2020, p. 35), the HR department needs to communicate this message to the supervisors that these performance rating reports are just to make effective training module decisions that will not only help the managers but the employees too. Lastly, the HR department and the supervisors need to have group discussions and define the purpose of this attitude survey, where the HR department shall communicate all the behavioral needs which are required from the managers and the supervisors can also have a platform to justify their attitude and their reason for being not so popular in the company, and hence justify their decisions and attitude in the company towards the employees (Good et al., 2019, p. 107).
Do you believe that managers should be given more autonomy to make personnel decisions such as hiring, appraising, and compensating subordinates? If so, what are some potential drawbacks to granting them this authority? Explain.
As reported by Sarip et al., (2018, p. 508), No, the managers should not be given more autonomy to make personnel decisions such as hiring, appraising, and compensating the subordinates. It is so because there are some potential drawbacks associated with this decision because both the departments the HR and the supervisor have different roles to be played in the organization. As highlighted by Rehman et al., (2019, p. 525), the HR department is responsible mainly for developing the human resources of the company, through training, by making them feel motivated to do work in the company. On the other hand, the supervisor's primary responsibility is the growth and development of the company, by making the best use of employees and acquiring maximum productivity from these employees. The potential drawbacks which are associated with this decision of authority and responsibility sharing are as follows-
As evidenced by Papageorgiou et al., (2018, p. 27), the primary role of the supervisor is to manage the workflow and simultaneously focusing upon the human resource management would become stressful for the supervisor. Furthermore, the supervisor is also responsible for creating and managing different teams. Sands Corporation tends to deploy only 3 candidates for team selection, thus making so many decisions can lead to ineffective team management and at the same time ineffectiveness in the choice of hiring candidates. As mentioned by Freitas et al., (2018, p. 36), the supervisor is also responsible for evaluating the performance of employees and providing feedback accordingly. The supervisor might get overburdened with the number of responsibilities that are given to the manager. Furthermore, the manager is also responsible for helping and resolving employees' issues, and favouring one employee’s perspective and belief can demotivate the other employees as an issue of favouritism might occur in the organization. Moreover, the demands from both of these responsibilities are different from each other. As observed by Stefano et al., (2018, p. 550), the HR department is focused on improving employee satisfaction, by offering them various incentives, bonuses, and other perks, however, the supervisors are responsible for improving the productivity of the organization, for which at times the supervisor needs to make difficult decisions that are not acceptable by the employees and thus it can create a conflict of interest while taking decisions for the company and the employees.
How should Sand’s top executives deal with the complaints expressed by the supervisors? Explain.
Figure 1: Aspects of Behavioral Theory
(Source: TechnoFunc, 2022)
As reported by Mazurchenko et al., (2019, p. 72), various strategies can be applied by the top-level executives to deal with the complaints expressed by the supervisors. They can take actions against the HR department of the company, they can penalize the supervisors who are complaining, they can ignore the accusations made or can apply any other strategy. However, the best strategy that the company can apply to deal with the complaints is to apply the behavioral theory (TechnoFunc, 2022).
As highlighted by Luu et al., (2018, p. 1308), this theory consists of four major components which are environment, cognition, emotion, and biology. The theory suggests that management should work upon these four aspects to make a healthy workplace. Furthermore, this theory also reveals how all the behaviours are adopted by creating interpersonal communication among people which takes place with preconditioning of mind with experiences, beliefs, and the situation with which an individual goes through. As evidenced by Chadwick et al., (2018, p. 1415), thus the management shall consider all the factors mentioned above while dealing with supervisors and their complaints. The management shall consider emotions, behavior, cognition, and the environment of supervisors before taking strict decisions. Moreover, as the study had discovered above, the major source and reasons for the conflicts are the communication gap between the HR department and the supervisors of the Sands Corporation. By using the behavioral theory the company can apply the following strategies-
As mentioned by Talukder et al., (2019, p. 98), encouraging direct communication is one of the solutions which can be applied in the company. If the supervisors tend to express their concerns to HR management directly it won’t sound like a complaint and both the departments can thus resolve the problems by collaborating and understanding the perspectives and challenges faced by both of the departments while fulfilling their responsibilities. The management can also introduce a guided practice where the management can clearly state how the concerns shall be addressed and the steps which are required to come to a solution, to remove any bias or any negative environment from the organization. The Sands Corporation’s major revenue is generated by the federal contracts; thus, these orders are needed to be dealt with the highest level of accuracy and delicacy to avoid any mistakes, and thus the supervisors are dealing with a lot of pressure at times of fulfilling these orders. As observed by Bibi et al., (2018, p. 113), the management can conduct a drill session to observe the behavior of the employees, supervisors, and HR department during these situations, thus after finding the gap of communication, the company can take the necessary actions to resolve all the problems of the supervisors, employees, and the HR department of the company as well (Khalifa et al., 2019, p. 47).
How should the director of the HR department deal with the situation? Explain.
The HR department should deal with this with the utmost importance as the supervisors are the ones who are responsible for candidates selected by the HR department of the company. Thus, these candidates are also responsible for the HR department of the company. Thus, the HR department can also apply the behavioral theory and can conduct the following practices in the company. The company can begin with a question-answer session where both departments can formulate a list of questions and concerns to be addressed to the other departments. Preparing this will help the departments to express their concerns in a more structured way, where no one shall be allowed to play a blame game upon each other, rather express their emotions and problems which are faced due to the decisions taken by the other departments (Yaghi et al., 2020, p. 89). While communicating, the supervisor should also express all better strategies and methods which can be followed by the HR department to cater solutions to the problems which were identified above. This way by having a better communication process the company can develop a positive working relationship among the employees of different departments. However, while working collaboratively, the chances of difference of opinions, perspectives, and knowledge can always be there since not every person is unique and has their way of seeing the world due to his life experiences and different belief systems due to the kind of knowledge gained from the world. Thus, the HR department can conduct a weekly review with the supervisors where both the departments conduct the same communication process and address all the concerns, requirements, and support required from the other departments. This way a better understanding shall be developed among the employees of both departments as one will get to know each other well addressing all the concerns and expectations which one is having from the other department. Lastly, the company can apply the positive reinforcement method to diminish all complaints raised by the supervisors, which is by listening and understanding all the problems faced by the supervisors and taking all the necessary steps to resolve these issues (Huggins et al., 2019, p. 121).
Recommendations and Learnings from the case study
The key recommendation to the management and the HR department of the company is to reduce the communication gap among each department by implementing various strategies like weekly review, positive reinforcement, and concerns sharing. This will help the company to address the key issues which are faced by the employees to each other and thus by applying a collaborative approach at work all of these concerns will be eliminated. Furthermore, several learnings were derived from the case study. The key learning was that all the departments have their roles, responsibilities, and challenges which must be communicated to each other properly to make the operations of the organization effective and efficient and thus help the organization to reach the organizational goals faster. Lastly, the study also taught how not communicating properly and directly can lead to so many differences among employees and decrease the motivation and productivity of the employees working in an organization.
The above study concludes by stating the key issues faced by the Sands Corporation which was majorly faced by the supervisors of the company against the HR department decisions on several aspects like the hiring process, employee appraisal decisions, training procedure of employees, and many more such issues. Furthermore, the study defined the main sources of conflicts between the supervisors and the HR department of the company which was the communication gap between both departments. The study also suggested that the supervisors shall not be given the responsibility of the HR department as it could lead to potential drawbacks like the burden of work pressure on the supervisor, conflicting roles and responsibilities and confusion in the decision-making process, and so on. The study also highlighted how the top executives of the company shall deal with complaints expressed by the supervisors which were by applying the behavioral management theory which can also be adopted by the director of the HR department to respond to the concerns raised by the supervisors, followed by recommendations with specific solutions like designing communication processes and so on to mitigate such issues in the future and certain which the company can implement in such situations. Lastly, the study also highlighted the key learnings from the case study which was majorly on the difference of roles among the two departments and such issues can be dealt with by the company.
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