Instructor Note: The following scenarios are actual cases from HR professionals taken from an online discussion forum. Use the resources found in your modules in addition to outside research to provide your answers and recommendations. Some hints are provided! Your answers should be well thought out and supported by materials in the modules and outside research.
Employee Rights and Discipline Module
- “Got promoted and it’s not working out.”
“We have an employee who has been with the company for 5 years. About 6 months ago she was promoted from a housekeeper into more of an office/customer service role. She is really struggling in the position, missing key details. We have provided time management training, sent her to two other locations to train with employees in the same position and it’s not improving. She was written up a couple of weeks ago and put on a 90 day probation. She made a big mistake again today. How would you handle this situation….a good employee in the wrong position. It’s not an option to put her back in her old job.”
Hint: Use the Employee Rights PowerPoint and Employee Rights Video as a resource.
- How can this employer avoid a wrongful discharge lawsuit? Provide specific steps supported by readings and research.
- What are the steps in the progressive discipline approach? Should punitive or progressive discipline be used in this instance?
- What steps did the employer take to help the employee be successful? Is there something else they could have done?
- How would you handle this situation?
- “Can’t get passed the nose ring”.
“I have an applicant for an Administrative Assistant position who is a dynamic individual with qualifications that would benefit our company. Her personality and demeanor were great… she dressed appropriately for such an interview except she was wearing a nose ring. This is not something that is spelled out in our policy per se, but is frowned upon by upper management as this position is the face of our organization. How can I approach this?”
Hint: Use the sample employee handbook as a resource.
- Does this employee have the right to wear a nose ring if no policy specifically prohibits it?
- What should the employer do if they do not want employees to wear facial piercings? State very clearly what you would say to the employee.
- Is the “Attire and Grooming” policy in the sample employee handbook sufficient in explaining that nose rings are not acceptable? If not, what would you change?
- “Help, cell phones are taking over the production floor!”
I’m inquiring if anyone has policies regarding cell phones on their production floor. We currently allow staff to listen to music with one ear bud and this has been causing a lot of distraction as staff are now using their phones to text, watch movies, etc. As much as I don’t want to become a stickler about this, we are starting to have no choice but to implement some sort of policy regarding cell phones on the floor and music. I’m open to any and all suggestions!!
Hint: Use sample employee handbook and outside research as a resource.
- The company has a policy on company owned electronic communication, however, we see that personal cell phones are the problem. What specific policy would you suggest to deal with this situation? State the policy in your answer.
- What other problems are possible when employees are using their phones while working?
Employee Selection Module
- “ Interviewing College Interns-Need Help Selecting the Best Candidates”
“Looking for some insight/tools in regards to interviewing college age interns. I am new at this and haven’t worked with or interviewed intern candidates before. My CEO would like me to create an interview scorecard that focused on 5 key parts of the interview, such as skills (tactile, operations, strategic) and culture. This is a little more tricky because we don’t have a current scorecard in place for employees that I could at least pull from. We’re a young start up, growing fast, so I need to build out both. Note we currently have 7 full time employees and I’ve only been with the company 3 months, so there isn’t a process already in place that I can draw from, I’m building everything from the ground up.”
Hint: This person wants to create a scorecard to use for college intern applicants. It would be used to evaluate the results of the interview. Presumably the higher the score the better chance the applicant has to be hired.
- Use the list below of 20 sample non-negotiable traits and behaviors and select your 5 key items to be used to score the applicants. Explain why you have chosen the traits and behaviors for your scorecard.
Here is a list of 20 sample non-negotiable traits and behaviors that should be red flags for most jobs. This list will help you start creating a list of your own, using warning signs for behaviors that clash with your company culture.
- Could not look me in the eye.
- Could not answer the most rudimentary questions succinctly and directly, but instead provided a wandering and vague “answer.”
- Did not show up to the interview on time and appeared not to have a legitimate excuse.
- During the first conversation/interview, asked about how many vacation days or work breaks were allowed.
- Did not know what the organization does and/or what my job function was.
- Bad-mouthed their current or last boss/employer.
- Exhibited a high degree of drama when discussing their current or past employment experiences.
- Moved very slowly and showed very little energy.
- Could not share an honest and candid response to the great interview question, “Please share the single greatest mistake you have made in your job in the last three years.” (According to a national SHRM poll, 43% of Chief HR Officers believe that the number one reason new employees do not work out is that they cannot take feedback. [e.g., they are perfect people and do not make any mistakes.] Fielding answers to this interview question is quite entertaining, as nine out of 10 people will either: share a mistake and promptly blame others for it; sit silently for minutes on end, not being able to think of anything they have done wrong–in three years!)
- Had inappropriate language or dress.
- Chewed gum during the interview.
- Displayed behavior that showed a lack of politeness, disrespect, or messiness. For example, when accepting a glass or bottle of water at the beginning of the interview, they left the used cup or bottle on the table, instead of offering to throw it out or bring it to the break room. One recruiter told me one of her candidates had the audacity to come into the interview with a “Big Gulp” from 7/11, only to leave it on her desk, condensation and all.
- Provided inconsistent and/or conflicting information or answers.
- Looked at their cell phone, fielded a phone call or responded to a text during the interview.
- Did not ask probing questions about the job or organization when afforded the opportunity and/or exhibited a general lack of curiosity about both.
- Expressed weaknesses that clearly did not bode well for the job position (e.g. an introvert who prefers to work alone interviewing for a customer service position).
- Clearly interviewed for “a job,” as opposed to showing passion for wanting to do THIS job.
- Did not send a post-interview thank you letter or follow-up in a timely manner. (If you don’t receive an email right away, wait for a card to come in the mail.)
- Sent a post-interview message to follow up, but: it was generic and likely used for all job interviews; names were misspelled; grammar and writing skills showed cause for concern.
- Was invited for a second interview or asked to provide follow up information, but did not respond in a timely manner.
Training and Development Module
5. “Where do I start?’
“What is HR’s role in training and development? It seems that the management group and my CFO have different ideas. My CFO wants me to recommend training to the group (as in construction-related training) whereas I would rather listen to the needs of the group and go from there. Basically, I am sort of at a loss as to how to tackle the training aspect of my job. Any thoughts? I work for a construction company with approx. 130 employees.”
Hint: Use the Training and Development video as a resource. OSHA.gov might provide ideas for question #4.
- What is the definition of training? How does it differ from development?
- What are the steps in the Training Process? List and explain each step.
- At what step in the Training Process would the HR professional determine what the training needs are?
- What do you think some of the training needs might be for this construction company?