Human Resources Case Studies
Case Study #1…"I need them now and I want to keep them!"

Due to a new major long term contract, a company needed to quickly hire several people from the outside. The general manager of the firm wanted to ensure the correct people were sourced, screened, hired and, over the long term, retained.

The processes was review and several proactive changes and new approaches were outlined. An Employment Policy was developed outlining the total hiring process to be followed by the recruiting supervisors, managers and the administrative support staff. A new application was adopted that met both federal and state legal requirements. Recommended company policies related to at-will employment, pre-employment drug testing, post-offer physical examinations and background checks (including criminal background checks) were discussed with management, adopted and implemented. Interview skills training was provided to all persons involved in the recruiting process.

Within two weeks the process was up and running effectively. Six supervisors and managers were trained to properly interview candidates. Qualified applicants were then sourced, screened, thoroughly interviewed, reference and background checks completed, formal written offers were made, and physical examinations (including testing for alcohol and drugs) were completed.

Twenty-two well qualified new hires started their employment within 12 weeks from when the process was first started. Three years later, 18 of the 22 remain with the company. Of the four who left, one started her own company, two found "a better opportunity" and one, unfortunately, died.

Case Study #2…"I have never allowed them access to such information!"

The founder of a well established manufacturing company decided he wanted to retire within the next 3 to 5 years. His business partner was a minority stock holder in this closely held company. The two of them only shared information between themselves. Fortunately, he realized it was critically important to pass on years of closely held information to his senior and middle management staff. While he counted on them to run the business with him day-to-day, neither he nor his partner had ever shared specific company financial information with them or asked for their input regarding the direction of the company.

A plan was developed bring the senior and middle management staff "on board." This particular group of two owners and 15 managers, supervisors and professionals participated in a two-day retreat process. They all discussed the historical, current and projected financials of the company as well as the personal impact they had each had on those "numbers" and in the growth of the company. This now enlightened group then participated in various results-based activities to develop a bottom-up plan to achieve identified goals and objectives for each of their work groups. These plans were based on the owner's 3 to 5 year personal retirement goals.

The owner has since retired and these employees, most of which are still with the company today, are now owners of the company themselves. They are committed to a team-process of including their employees in full disclosure of pertinent information and participation so they can all grow the business together.

Case Study #3…"I just want him to leave me alone!"

A professional employee in a service industry was accused of sexual harassment by one of his employees.

The attorney for the employer recommended they ask for a confidential third-party investigation of the allegations to be conducted. An informational meeting was held with the employer. Employment related documents were reviewed, e.g., employee handbook, polices, etc. The two primary parties were interviewed. Identified witnesses were also interviewed. All appropriate notifications were provided and the necessary authorizations obtained. A summary report was provided to the employer in the format requested.

The accused employee was found to have not participated in sexual harassment or, for that matter, any type of harassment. The employee making the false allegations was subsequently terminated by the employer.

Case Study #4…"I would like an incentive plan to retain my key employees."

A family owned business had several management employees who would not have the opportunity to move up within the company due to the fact there were several siblings working with them that would eventually get the "nod" from the "parent-owners." However, the parents realized, along with the siblings, that they needed to retain these non-family members for the long term. The industry was close knit and opportunities to move on would surely present themselves sometime down the road.

The project was to design and recommend an incentive plan for these non-family members that would provided them with the opportunity, based on performance, to make substantially more than the current company-wide discretionary bonus program. In this case, all the members of management were interviewed to determine their individual interest in plan design and potential payout. A three-tier structure was designed based on individual performance, work unit performance and long term company-wide performance. Individual and work unit performance paid off annually if specific performance metrics were achieved. A company-wide performance bonus was to be paid after three years (and annually thereafter) if rolling three-year goals were achieved and/or exceeded.

The parents have retired, the siblings own the business and all the non-family members are still employed.

Case Study #5… "I just want them to all get along. I am tired of all the conflict!"

A President of a company was at the end of his rope in dealing with two employees who seemed to constantly march to their own drummer. These two employees would go around their bosses and create problems in other departments. The managers lacked the skills to address the issues with these problem employees. By the time the President asked for help to discuss the situation, he wanted to fire all four of them!

A plan was developed to identify the work related needs of the President, the managers and the employees. It was clear what the President wanted! It was not so clear what the managers and employees wanted. One-on-one meetings with each person identified what each needed from the other. These needs were outlined to identify what each need would look like when it was satisfactorily achieved and what the resulting benefit would be to the person and the company. Once the initial needs were addressed and achieved, additional needs were identified. This process continued until the parties involved could conduct the process themselves and report the achievements up the chain of command.

Today, the President, one manager and the two lower level employees remain and are achieving or exceeding performance expectations. The other manager decided on his own he did not enjoy being a manager and obtained a new position as an individual contributor within the same industry.
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