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1.4 Cases and Problems

Chapter Summary

  • Human resource management is the process of employing people, training them, compensating them, developing policies relating to the workplace, and developing strategies to retain employees. Three certification exams, which are offered by the Human Resource Certification Institute, can be taken to show HRM skills and become more marketable.
  • Human resource management involves seven main areas: (1) staffing, (2) workplace policies, (3) benefits and compensation, (4) retention, (5) training, (6) employment laws, and (7) employee protection.
  • Human resource managers need many different types of skills. Being able to organize, multitask, and communicate effectively, as well as having specific job skills, such as how to run a particular computer program, and a sense of fairness and ethics, is crucial to a successful career in HRM.
  • There are many contemporary challenges associated with HRM. First, it is up to everyone in the organization to contain costs. HR managers need to look at their individual departments and demonstrate the necessity and value of their functions to the organization. HR managers can also help contain costs in several ways, such as managing benefits plans and compensation and providing training.
  • The fast-changing nature of technology is also a challenge in HRM. As new technologies are developed, employees may be able to implement innovative ways of working such as flextime. HR managers are also responsible for developing policies dealing with cyberloafing and other workplace time wasters revolving around technology. Employee stress and lack of work-life balance are also greatly influenced by technology.
  • Awareness of the changes in the economy allows the human resource manager to adequately plan for reductions and additions to the workforce.
  • The aging and changing workforce is our final factor. As baby boomers retire, there likely will not be enough people to replace them, and many of the skills the baby boomers have may be lost. In addition, having to work with multiple generations at once can create challenges as different expectations and needs arise from multigenerational workforces.

Chapter Summary

(click to see video)

The author provides a video summary of the chapter.

Chapter Case

Changes, Changes

Jennifer, the owner and manager of a company with ten employees, has hired you to take over the HRM function so she can focus on other areas of her business. During your first two weeks, you find out that the company has been greatly affected by the up economy and is expected to experience overall revenue growth by 10 percent over the next three years, with some quarters seeing growth as high as 30 percent. However, five of the ten workers are expected to retire within three years. These workers have been with the organization since the beginning and provide a unique historical perspective of the company. The other five workers are of diverse ages.

In addition to these changes, Jennifer believes they may be able to save costs by allowing employees to telecommute one to two days per week. She has some concerns about productivity if she allows employees to work from home. Despite these concerns, Jennifer has even considered closing down the physical office and making her company a virtual organization, but she wonders how such a major change will affect the ability to communicate and worker motivation.

Jennifer shares with you her thoughts about the costs of health care on the organization. She has considered cutting benefits entirely and having her employees work for her on a contract basis, instead of being full-time employees. She isn’t sure if this would be a good choice.

Jennifer schedules a meeting with you to discuss some of her thoughts. To prepare for the meeting, you perform research so you can impress your new boss with recommendations on the challenges presented.

  1. Point out which changes are occurring in the business that affect HRM.
  2. What are some considerations the company and HR should be aware of when making changes related to this case study?
  3. What would the initial steps be to start planning for these changes?
  4. What would your role be in implementing these changes? What would Jennifer’s role be?

Team Activities

  1. In a group of two to three people, research possible career paths in HRM and prepare a PowerPoint presentation to discuss your findings.
  2. Interview an HR manager and discuss his or her career path, skills, and daily tasks. Present your findings to your class.