Case analysis: Two Tough Calls (A)

This is a case analysis with my good friend Kristian Jewel Taiño of De La Salle University taking up MBA.

Background and Facts of the Case

The speaker in the case is a woman and currently a program manager of an on-line merchant company selling different products. This company was said to have started by ex-Microsoft people from which explains the company policies and culture. The company has a performance rating system in which when an employee receives a 2.5, as four being the highest, that employee is subjected to performance improvement plan (PIP) which is really a venue for firing off an employee. The company also implements a bell curve system in evaluating employees, where a 30-40-30 sharing is enforced. The manager has a dilemma about the two weakest links in her group, namely Terry and Phil.

Terry is a poor performer and a poor contributor in her group. In addition, Terry does not have any analytic skills as needed in her group. However, Terry was easily hired due to his connections with the company’s top management individuals for being their scuba instructor. The hiring process requires five approvals of different department heads. However, Terry received not a single recommendation to be hired but was still hired. The speaker manager plans to give Terry a 2.5 mark but got a lot of comments from top management for the given score. In addition, she was being questioned for her management skills as a result for Terry’s poor score. The speaker is concerned on the reasons why the top management is questioning her which will result to poor records for hiring a failure employee. Another concern was that the speaker knew that Terry keeps a gun in his car as a sport.

Phil was also a poor performer due to his background as a call center manager from the previous company that was brought in. The speaker’s group is technical in specialization and Phil struggles to perform in the group. However, the speaker feels that Phil was not completely hopeless which she originally plans to give Phil a 2.5 on the next review. In addition, the speaker’s boss has a personal vendetta against Phil, due to a number of times Phil inappropriately challenged the speaker’s boss. In an unforeseen scenario before the review period, Phil was diagnosed with liver cancer. Phil has a family to support with a little girl. Phil was confined to a hospital and was supported by the speaker’s group by visiting and helping Phil in his gardening. By the time Phil recovered and went back to work, his performance just got worse. Then there was this policy in the company that if an employee don’t gets promoted for three years then that employee is fired, but Phil was already six years in the company and does not have any promotions. Phil expects form the speaker that he will be promoted in the next review.

Again, the dilemma is for the speaker of the case to fire Terry and Phil from the company due to their poor performance.

Identification of Symptoms

• Both Terry and Phil are poor performers in the speaker’s group only and not entirely in the whole company.
• Both Terry and Phil are poor performers due to non alignment of skills and job requirements in the speaker’s group even with the supervisions and counseling of the speaker.
• The speaker feels that the only and easy way to address the problem is to fire both Terry and Phil.
• One of the reasons for the non alignment of skills to the job requirement of Terry and Phil was due to flawed hiring policy of HR.
o Terry has gone through to the regular hiring process by interview but was hired due to personal connections with high ranking officers in the company
o Phil was absorbed by the company due to an acquisition
• The speaker is having a hard time in firing Terry and Phil due to the knowledge of their personal life and the possible scenarios for the firing them.
o Terry have connections with top management and the fact that Terry owns a gun which he stores in his car. The speaker fears that Terry might be hysterical for being fired.
o Phil is recommended to be fired by the biased reason of her boss. The speaker also considers that Phil’s unemployment will greatly affect his support to his family and little girl.

Problem Statement

What should the speaker of the case do to Terry and Phil’s current poor performance in her group and what could be done in improving the current flaws in the HR practices of the company?

Ethical Problems

• The company is not fair in the hiring process of employees and is influenced by associations and connections as in the case of Terry.
• The company is not fair in designating employees to their proper job specialization due to company acquisitions; as in the case of Phil.
• The boss of the speaker is not fair in recommending a poor performance only due to personal reasons; as in the case of Phil.
• The speaker is commendable in knowing the personal information and issues of her employees such as Terry and Phil, but must not be completely affected indecision making.

Problem Analysis

The solution of the problem must address the reasons for the poor performances of both Terry and Phil. The solution of the problem must also address the current flawed company policy.

Alternative Courses of Action

ACA # 1: The speaker must review the competence and skills of both Terry and Phil in order to recommend to other departments that matches their competency by job mapping.

Pros:
 The speaker will get rid of the poor performers in her group and be a more efficient group in the company.
 Both Terry and Phil will be assigned in their proper job specialization.

Cons:
 The Company may not have the available position for both Terry and Phil’s competency.
 The company may not have the available opening in the departments and may produce job redundancy.
 Both may be resistant to change.
CASE ON: TWO TOUGH CALLS (A) CASE OCTOBER 18, 2012
BY: Marvin Martinez and Kristian Jewel Taiño

ACA #2: The speaker must give both Terry and Phil the necessary formal trainings in order to develop the necessary skills needed in the speaker’s group.

Pros:

 Both Terry and Phil will gain the required skills and knowledge needed in the group.
 The speaker will not have the cause of delays in her group when the two are in trainings.
 Both Terry and Phil will be able to keep their jobs.

Cons:

 The training will take time and additional resources (budget) for both Terry and Phil.
 The two will require additional time in transition period in order to fully implement their trainings.
 The company may not have the necessary HR policy for training.
 Both may be resistant to change
 May not guarantee effectiveness in the job

ACA # 3: The speaker should fire both Terry and Phil due to the hard facts of poor performances and as hindrances in the group.

Pros:

 The speaker will get rid of the poor performers in her group and be more efficient group in the company.
 The company will get rid of employees that were not hired properly.

Cons:

 The speaker may get in trouble by the officers that hired Terry.
 The company may have legal problems for being biased in firing Phil due to personal reasons of the speaker’s boss.
CASE ON: TWO TOUGH CALLS (A) CASE OCTOBER 18, 2012
BY: Marvin Martinez and Kristian Jewel Taiño

ACA # 4: The speaker should implement and assign a buddy system for both Terry and Phil in order to supervise and counsel the two in their job and performance in the group.

Pros:

 The company will not need additional resources and time in trainings and formal job assessments.
 The speaker will have an effective and efficient group in the future.

Cons:

 The group will compensate and may reduce the efficiency due to the manpower assigned as buddy to both Terry and Phil.
 The transition and learning period for both will take time for the group.

Recommendations

Based on the group’s analysis, it has been agreed that ACA #2 : “The speaker must give both Terry and Phil the necessary formal trainings in order to develop the necessary skills needed in the speaker’s group”, is the appropriate solution for the case problem.

The formal training will be the better performance measure to the flawed systems in hiring both Terry and Phil. The result of the formal training will be documented and can be used as an unbiased reference for the future of the two employees. In addition, the formal training will be considered as a second chance for the two. The formal training will be the compensating and correcting program for the flawed hiring system of the company.

However, a certain amount of time and resources will be needed for the formal training of the two.

Action Plans

• The speaker of the case will present and submit a proposal of formal training for the two employees. This must capture the technical and behavioral KPI’s of the job that must be supported by the training.
• The speaker shall identify the pros and cons of the proposed formal training.
• The speaker will use the results of the formal training to the group and actual performance form for six months to a year as a reference in keeping or terminating the two employees. This will serve as a tracker in order to monitor both of the employees’ performance and improvement. Also, there must be an agreement that if this does not merit their performance, this can be a subject to proper dismissal in accordance to the company’s policy.
• If the said program is successful, the speaker can present to HR the beneficial applications of the formal training of employees to the company.

References

Aquino. (October 23, 1979). A Code of Ethis for Business. In B.-B. C. Development.
Robbins, & Judge. (2009). Essentials of Organizational Behaviour (13th ed.). Prentice-Hall.
Zigarelli, M. A. (1993). Catholic Social Teaching and the Employment Relationship: A Model for Managing Human Resources in Accordance with Vatican Doctrine. Journal of Business Ethics , 12: 75-82
Abela, A. V. (2001). Profit and More: Catholic Social Teaching and the Purpose of the Firm. Journal of Business Ethics , 31: 107-116.

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About marvzmartinez
an Engineer

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