Case assignment outline
The final assignment for SHRM was to write a five page paper analyzing a case study about making a hiring decision. This was the big crescendo to the class, a chance to take all of the information and tie it together into this analysis. As such, I went back to the beginning of class and took the outlines here on the blog, distilled them down to sets of points which were applicable to the case study, then distilled those down further to lists of points related to each question in the assignment.
Ultimately, I used very few of these citations in the actual paper I wrote. However I did allude to many of the concepts, and this process was a good exercise to think through the material. It informed my writing and helped me reflect on what was learned.
Course materials outline
Class notes - week 1
- Critical thinking skills are a priority, they transfer to the business world.
- Strategic Human Resources goes back to 1985. Core concept = HR should be more transformational than transactional
- HR should take the lead in knowledge and change management
Week 1 readings
- importance of a need for a “fit” between HR strategy and overall business strategy
- HR professionals should look to develop additional skill sets such as critical thinking, strategic planning, project management, organizational analysis, consulting, and change management
- HR professionals should take the initiative to add value to the organization over and above their transactional and administrative functions.
Class notes - week 2
- People quit bosses, they don’t quit organizations
- Core contract = you help me develop, and I help the org progress
- To have a really effective strategy, there needs to be a shared strategy.
- People need to be trained to accept change. Preparing employees for change means fostering buy in.
- Leadership isn’t about positional equity or authority, it’s about developing people and creating more leaders
Week 2 readings
- Managers, not HR, should define, live, and develop the company’s leadership
- Employees, not HR, should “manage up” and take responsibility for solving problems directly with their managers.
- leadership development should always be a top priority for HR
- philosophy that leadership skills are critical for everyone in the company
- we look for very smart people with an interest in the field and a desire to enhance the company’s performance from a people perspective
Bidwell, et al
- HR professionals well-positioned to reframe diversity and work-family practices in terms of the former’s interests
Class notes - week 3
- The point is not to become a leader, point is to become yourself in order to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing, become the person you started out to be and enjoy the process of becoming
- Behavior is a by-product of the interplay of situation, responses, and innate preferences
- To call up on the best from others, you need to understand them
- “We all have biases. The challenge is to realize them and not turn them into prejudice.”
- Think about comments on Myers-Briggs types, about how Prof Jay talked about trying to predict what the person’s type was and how it would fit with the dynamics of the team.
- Think back to comments about how the hiring interview was about trying to determine fit
Week 3 readings
- individuals who self-select into government service are motivated be a more intrinsically motivated set of factors
- Distinction between employee motives and work motivation. Motives are the rewards workers would like to receive. Motivation is defined as the drive workers have to perform their jobs well
- knowledge workers are not subordinates; they are ‘associates.’ For, once beyond the apprentice stage, knowledge workers must know more about their job than their boss does—or else they are no good at all.
- Salary (base pay) has a short motivational time span
- Attraction to policy making, commitment to the public interest, compassion, and self-sacrifice are all identified as key components
- factors that are most influential are intangible, emotion-based, and intrinsic
- Leaders cannot force motivation. Leaders can mold an environment that allows workers to motivate themselves
- Job satisfaction means different things to different people depending upon their age, gender or other demographic differences
- Job security for older workers, work/life balance for women and others
- Four generations now working side-by-side - Traditionalists (greatest generation), Boomers, Gen X, Millenials
- non-generational group, sometimes referred to as “Generation C,” which has embraced technology as the solution to most work process issues
Class notes - week 4
- Leadership word that Professor Jay would use is “enhance.” Everyone has some intrinsic leadership skills
- Absolutely critical not only that you’re self aware, but that you’re open to feedback
- We oftentimes try to turn people into saviors when we shouldn’t. It’s not possible to be people’s greatest hopes.
- McGregor Theory X vs Theory Y
- “Transformational leadership” - If you really want change leadership, both the leader and the follower need to be elevated to a higher moral plane. Everyone needs to feel that they can influence the group.
- Humility is a key trait of successful leaders
- Make leadership more process-centered than executive-centered
Week 4 readings
- leadership as partnership. Basic concept of two or more people sharing power and joining forces
- understanding that leadership is an activity that happens in and comes from a collective. In this view leadership is not something that one individual provides to another, but rather results from the reciprocity of relationships.
- In partnerships, leadership is understood more as a verb than a noun
Heil, et al
- Douglas McGregor’s most important legacy was neither Theory X nor Theory Y. It was his insistence that managers question their core assumptions about human nature
- “At the core of any theory of human resources sources are assumptions about human motivation,”
- People change how they lead and manage only by changing who they are and how they think
- Comfortable managers, set in their stuck patterns, will not risk the switching costs of rethinking their thinking without a, clear, demonstrable return
- Anything that lowers people’s feeling of control will almost universally create pushback
- McGregor emphasized that work was a process for creating opportunities, unlocking potential, encouraging growth, and offering guidance.
- The biggest problem with a mindset is that once we’ve developed one, we tend not to challenge it, particularly when it seems effective
Class Notes - week 5
- Asked an employee engagement group what they need in a new hire
- When finalists came in, met with dozens of people over nearly two full days
- Tons of feedback being gathered on strengths and gaps. Didn’t ask for rankings, but many people put that in their feedback anyway
- Good leadership does not require subject matter expertise. Need to know what questions to ask, who to ask them of. People on the team know the answers, need to be given the opportunity to bring them to bear.
- Build a “talent management mindset”
- Have an interview plan that is thorough
- Develop and value candidate relationships
- Regarding psych assessment: What you want to find out is about a person’s weaknesses, and determine if their weaknesses are going to be debilitating in a given position
- Onboarding process - how do you lose talent in that? If you throw somebody into a job without teaching them, training them, setting them up for success - they may walk after a month or so feeling that if the org doesn’t care then no chance for success
- Worry that we sometimes use the words “cultural fit” to be discriminatory, as a code word for people who look like you, have the same religion, etc. So be careful with that.
- In a decision between someone who matches up with organization values versus matches up with position skills, values are more important. Skills can be trained.
Week 5 readings
- Grit - defined as “passion and perseverance, especially for long-term goals”
- Motivating, meaningful work has been found to increase employees’ engagement
- In order to create a high performing team, key areas for improvement need to be addressed in an open and honest way
- Innovation should be included in workplace competencies and assessed from selection to promotion
Class notes - week 6
- Employee objectives and learning - not sure we’ve thought very hard about how, what does what the individual is doing link back to the overall objectives of the organization?
- McKinsey research - identified three best practices for a healthy organization from a study of 115,000 respondents
- Clear roles within a structure matched to needs
- Articulate a compelling vision of the future
- Develop an environment that encourages openness, trust, challenge
- Performance outputs vs. outcomes
- Outputs measure efficiency, outcomes measure effectiveness
Week 6 readings
- if agencies want to prepare for future changes, they must integrate into the job analysis strategic issues that may affect jobs in the future
- Managing the emotional aspects of work, such as displaying sensitivity to culturally different individuals, is important. Emotional stability and other personality attributes have received little attention in conventional job analysis
- Organizations may also want to focus on the level of general characteristics important for success in the organization’s culture and for dealing with change. Focus could be on general categories of competencies important for success, such as adaptabiity self-motivation, and trainability
- Competency model is a set of competencies that are necessary for effective performance and they typically cover a broader range of jobs than traditional job analysis
Becker & Huselid
- Strategic jobs make a disproportionate contribution to the effective implementation of a strategic capability
- “the ability to implement strategies is, by itself, a resource that can be a source of competitive advantage.”
- job design could extend their work to what might be termed “strategic job design.” SHRM could strengthen both our theoretical and empirical work
- The difference between strategic jobs and non-strategic jobs in part reflects the difference between strategic success and operational excellence
- Job design needs to adopt a strategic perspective on the field. It requires a meaningful commitment to interdisciplinary models that can challenge our own disciplinary comfort levels
- considered strategic because the value creation process in their organization relies disproportionately on their contribution
Ployhart, et al
- the nature of interactions between people and corresponding task demands may result in the combination of these individual KSAOs into new, distinct, collective human capital resources that may bear little resemblance to their individual-level origins
- combinations of human capital resources are likely to be more valuable, rare, and inimitable and thus are more likely to generate sustainable value
- The locus of human capital resource-based competitive advantage in complementarity combinations is not the type of resource but rather their interrelationships
- strategic human capital resource combinations represent complex resources while the lower level resources represent commodity resources
Class notes - week 7
- A bad manager is someone who you don’t know where you stand with them
- Ability to learn is a competence, which impacts a person’s ability to grow
- You really need to work to create the right setting if you want to encourage honest employee-to-supervisor feedback
Week 7 readings
Heil, et al
- the single most compelling question raised about performance appraisal systems is whether their primary purpose is evaluative or developmental; that is, are they a grading tool or a learning tool?
- To really learn and develop, people must be able to share weaknesses as well as strengths
- erroneous assumption is made that the performance of an individual can be isolated from the overall performance of the department and organization
- Performance appraisals can undermine organizational vision and values. Too often, evaluations are based on what is easy to measure or has been traditionally measured
- performance appraisal as a developmental tool provides feedback and the opportunity to discuss present performance
- feedback is fundamental to rapid improvement and organizational learning
- The modern emphasis upon the manager as a leader who strives to help his subordinates achieve both their own and the company’s objectives is hardly consistent with the judicial role demanded by most appraisal plans
- money alone does not motivate employee performance nor reinforce loyalty. It is a “satisfier” that enables an employee to meet needs, and to some degree reflect their status.
- Only when time is taken to develop a job model for each employee, with detailed assignments and an opportunity for peer review, will evaluation be worthwhile and provide a sensible basis for personal and professional development
- individual contributions must be based on clear direction. Without such clarity, employees have no such expectations to meet
- By clarifying expectations, goals, and assignments, plus describing the knowledge and skills required for success, an organization can build an enduring foundation for employee performance measurement and for consistent process improvement.
- relationship quality was almost twice as important as the employee’s performance rating
- When you use an approach that involves building high quality relationships, characterized by trust and support, with all of your employees, they will react more favorably to the performance appraisal review.
- managers tend to form high-quality relationships with employees they like more and low-quality relationships with employees they like less.
- Trust and support go hand in hand
- two main types of supportiveness: emotional and instrumental
- building relationships characterized by trust and support with your employees will lead to more positive reactions to the performance appraisal process
- performance data should be an output of a Performance Management process, not as an input or starting-point for developmental activities
- An optimal performance management system that serves both the developmental and administrative functions can be created by carefully combining the approaches of both disciplines
- An effective process will go a long way to improve the poor reactions often associated with performance management and focus managers on management
Class notes - Week 8
- intrinsic factors: Nature of work itself matters most to motivation
- If you don’t train people so that they feel like they’re capable of doing the job, they won’t be happy
- You need a certain amount of tension to get motivated and drive performance, but too much stress and pressure and burnout leads to decreased performance
- the worst kind of compensation is arbitrary. Never a good situation when your pay is dependent on satisfying the whims of your boss
- Salary system is only one component of an integrated people strategy, but it is the lodestone that attracts the attention.
Week 8 readings
- All employees want is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T
- Exciting work
- Security of employment
- Education and career growth
- The simple conclusion from our research is that if you give employees what they want, they will—in return—work harder, stay longer, and help your organization to outperform its competitors
Dewhurst, et al
- Numerous studies have concluded that for people with satisfactory salaries, some nonfinancial motivators are more effective than extra cash in building long-term employee engagement
- A chance to lead projects is a motivator that only half of the companies in our survey use frequently, although this is a particularly powerful way of inspiring employee
- gender gap in earnings has proven both persistent and universal
- Work-life choices are not simply personal, but part of a societal and organizational pattern of power relationships
- Availability of flexible work hours and other family-friendly initiatives predicts retention and reduced turnover among employed mothers
- work cultures in which there is strong pressure to prioritize work over family are associated with increased anxiety, fatigue, and depression for women
Class notes - Week 9
- Wage compensation gap between local/state government and private sector. In mid-1990s state employees were (for a brief time) slightly better compensated than private sector, but the gap has opened up in recent years. Local has traditionally been lower than state govt employees. Both are roughly 10-12% below private sector.
- Family friendly benefits are important because they reduce the pressure on people, and when they carry less stress into the workplace they’re more productive
Week 9 readings
- 88 percent of respondents name human-resources concerns-particularly attracting and retaining talent plus meeting responsibilities to employees-as the main reasons for offering benefits
- Nearly 6 out of 10 who say their companies don’t measure performance admit that they’ve never even considered it
- 50 is a critical age for employees to begin planning their transition
- Compensation policy long has focused on family-oriented values by promising increased capacity to provide for a family in exchange for higher work performance.
- traditional “work–family dichotomy” was a product of male-dominated work environments that were supported by female-dominant home environments
- a positive and significant relationship exists between flexible work schedules and job satisfaction
- older public employees tend to be satisfied with most family-friendly policies—with the exception of alternative work schedules
- This gap between age cohorts is meaningful because equity is a fundamental value in the design and implementation of policies and programs to promote employee well-being
- To better utilize family-friendly policies in the workplace, many scholars have argued that organizational culture is more important to employees motivation than benefits
Class notes - week 10
- Unions can bring on management problems sometimes, stuck in a power dynamic.
- Managers shouldn’t be in it because they want control, should be in it because they want to make things work. Reflection of that in union approach as well.
Week 10 readings
- success is a deceptively simple proposition: a successful labor relations program is one in which management’s goals and informed expectations are met
- Unions have begun to emphasize the need for greater racial, gender, and class equality
Class notes - week 11
- Change starts with your mission, your vision, your values
- Those values should be indicative of the kind of workforce you want to achieve
- People tend to hire people who look like us, who respond like we respond, etc. We have to be intentional to go out and find talented people who are dissimilar
- Hiring managers need to be trained to recognize their biases
- When you recognize your biases then you can manage those biases, and it becomes easier to accept those interactions with people who are different.
- Diversity and inclusion isn’t a standalone thing, shouldn’t even be a department, should be embedded across the organization
- don’t conform, transform. Question things that you see, realize that systems can be antiquated, bring your training and ideas to bear.
- Important to start with the premise that people want to do the right thing, not take an approach where you try to shame people into doing the right thing.
- By 2050% “minorities” will comprise 52% of the US population. California already is today.
- McKinsey study found that companies with more diverse boards of directors have better financial performance.
- Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform, gender diverse companies 15% more likely
- The companies that are doing well are seeing that as an imperative, and that’s helping them do well.
- Two forms of diversity: Human capital diversity, Demographic diversity
- need to recognize and internalize privilege
- Reasons for being an ally: self-interest, altruism, social justice
- Allies for self interest often don’t see their own privilege
- Allies for altruism don’t necessarily how that approach impacts social justice
- Being prejudiced is human. It’s a trait we all share, probably a basic instinct. Those who claim they’re not are either fibbing or deluding themselves.
- Key thought: each person is important, we have a responsibility to insure that no one is made to feel “lesser” and to help reach their potential
Week 11 readings
Thomas & Ely
- transformation requires a fundamental change in the attitudes and behaviors of an organization’s leadership; will come only when senior managers abandon an underlying and flawed assumption about diversity and replace it with a broader understanding
- one of two paths in managing diversity: blending in and setting apart
- Diversity should be understood as the varied perspectives and approaches to work
- new, emerging approach: the learning-and-effectiveness paradigm
- this new model for managing diversity lets the organization internalize differences
- When there is no proactive search to understand, then learning from diversity, if it happens at all, can occur only reactively
- Employees often use their cultural competencies at work, but in a closeted, almost embarrassed, way. The unfortunate result is that the opportunity for collective and organizational learning and improvement is lost.
- Few things are faster at killing a shift to a new way of thinking about diversity than feelings of broken trust
- important to set a tone of honest discourse, by acknowledging tensions, and by resolving them sensitively and swiftly
McKinsey Global Survey Results
- mind-sets and company culture are significant in affecting women’s confidence to achieve their career goals
- notable gap in how men and women regard gender-diversity problems
Week 14 readings
Lavigna and Hays
- today’s pressures for greater efficiency in government often make government service less appealing to the very workers whose contributions are needed most
- Simply filling positions is one issue, but to optimize recruitment results — to attract “the best and the brightest” — requires a more coordinated and proactive approach
- There is no specific model. Every public agency can benefit from incremental changes, and choose from among a rich list of recruitment techniques
- Three broad and overlapping categories:
- Procedural changes
- Improvements to the Recruitment and Selection Process
- Use of Technology
- Ultimately, public organizations must adopt at least some of the recruitment and selection strategies described simply because to do otherwise would be self-defeating.
- The primary challenge for HR professionals is to select the reforms most suitable to their own settings, and to adapt them to local needs
Distilled points to assignment questions
What values guide your decision making? Specifically, what legal, political, managerial, and ethical guidelines?
- Leadership skills are critical for everyone in the company (Allen, week 2)
- In a decision between someone who matches up with organization values versus matches up with position skills, values are more important. Skills can be trained (class notes, week 5)
- Grit - defined as “passion and perseverance, especially for long-term goals” (K@W, week 5)
- Innovation should be included in workplace competencies and assessed from selection to promotion (Maidment, week 5)
- Ability to learn is a competence, which impacts a person’s ability to grow (class notes, week 7)
- To really learn and develop, people must be able to share weaknesses as well as strengths (Heil, week 7)
- Change starts with your mission, your vision, your values. And those values should be indicative of the kind of workforce you want to achieve (class notes, week 11)
- Hiring managers need to be trained to recognize their biases (class notes, week 11)
- Diversity and inclusion should be embedded across the organization (class notes, week 11)
- New paradigm for diversity: learning-and-effectiveness (Thomas & Ely, week 11)
Are there elements of the hiring process that should have been done differently?
- Employee engagement group asked what they need in a new hire (class notes, week 5)
- Have a thorough interview plan (class notes, week 5)
- Develop and value candidate relationships (class notes, week 5)
- Competency model is a set of competencies that are necessary for effective performance and they typically cover a broader range of jobs than traditional job analysis (Pynes, week 6)
- erroneous assumption is made that the performance of an individual can be isolated from the overall performance of the department and organization (Heil, week 7)
- Simply filling positions is one issue, but to optimize recruitment results — to attract “the best and the brightest” — requires a more coordinated and proactive approach to recruitment (Lavigna & Hays, week 14)
What information would you want from the on-site interview, and how would you try to get this information?
- Comments on Myers-Briggs types, using the in person interview to try to suss out a person’s type and how it would fit with the team dynamics (uncited week 3)
- What you want to find out is about a person’s weaknesses, and determine if their weaknesses are going to be debilitating in a given position (class notes, week 5)
- Managing the emotional aspects of work, such as displaying sensitivity to culturally different individuals, is important. Emotional stability and other personality attributes have received little attention in conventional job analysis (Pynes, week 6)
- intrinsic factors: Nature of work itself matters most to motivation (class notes, week 8)
Other points to reference
- People quit bosses, not organizations (class notes, week 2)
- People need to be trained to accept change, there needs to be a shared strategy (class notes, week 2)
- “We all have biases. The challenge is to realize them and not turn them into prejudice.” (class notes, week 3)
- individuals who self-select into government service are motivated be a more intrinsically motivated set of factors (Frick, week 3)
- Salary has a short motivational time span (Frick, week 3)
- Knowledge workers are not subordinates, they’re associates (Frick, week 3)
- Attraction to policy making, commitment to the public interest, compassion, and self-sacrifice are all identified as key components (Frick, week 3)
- Job satisfaction means different things to different people depending upon their age, gender or other demographic differences (Schramm, week 3)
- “Transformational leadership” - If you really want change leadership, both the leader and the follower need to be elevated to a higher moral plane. Everyone needs to feel that they can influence the group. (Class notes, week 4)
- Concept of leadership as partnership (Moxley, week 4)
- Comfortable managers, set in their stuck patterns, will not risk the switching costs of rethinking their thinking without a, clear, demonstrable return (Heil, week 4)
- Good leadership does not require subject matter expertise. Need to know what questions to ask, who to ask of them (class notes, week 5)
- Importance of a strong onboarding process (class notes, week 5)
- Sometimes the words “cultural fit” are used to be discriminatory, code word for homogeneity. Be careful with that. (class notes, week 5)
- In order to create a high performing team, key areas for improvement need to be addressed in an open and honest way (Maidment, week 5)
- Performance outputs (measure of efficiency) versus performance outcomes (measure effectiveness) (class notes, week 6)
- Strategic jobs make a disproportionate contribution to the effective implementation of a strategic capability (Becker & Huselid, week 6)
- The locus of human capital resource-based competitive advantage in complementarity combinations is not the type of resource but rather their interrelationships (Ployhart, week 6)
- You need a certain amount of tension to get motivated and drive performance, but too much stress and pressure and burnout leads to decreased performance (class notes, week 8)
- Numerous studies have concluded that for people with satisfactory salaries, some nonfinancial motivators are more effective than extra cash in building long-term employee engagement (Dewhurst, week 8)
- 50 is a critical age for employees to begin planning their transition (McKinsey, week 9)
- older public employees tend to be satisfied with most family-friendly policies—with the exception of alternative work schedules (Kim, Wiggins, week 9)
- To better utilize family-friendly policies in the workplace, many scholars have argued that organizational culture is more important to employees motivation than benefits (Kim, Wiggins, week 9)
- Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform, gender diverse companies 15% more likely
- transformation requires a fundamental change in the attitudes and behaviors of an organization’s leadership; will come only when senior managers abandon an underlying and flawed assumption about diversity and replace it with a broader understanding (Thomas & Ely, week 11)
- When there is no proactive search to understand, then learning from diversity, if it happens at all, can occur only reactively (Thomas & Ely, week 11)
- Mind-sets and company culture are significant in affecting women’s confidence to achieve their career goals (McKinsey, week 11)