Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reflections from 4/20/10 Class

Today was the last day of class. This semester has been interesting, because in my naivety, I never realized how much HR encompassed. I honestly never realized the history behind the laws and regulations that we have in our workforce today.
Our presentations ended, and then we were given an opportunity to ask open questions about the exam. I must admit that the freebies are a big help. With 4 answers already, that gives 16 points to start with. (Thanks!)
Always good to reach the end of a semester, but definitely a class to remember.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Reflections from 4/15/10 Class

Class presentations resumed today. I actually got up to do my part on offshoring. The hardest part of the presentation was limiting my information within the time allowed. I'm glad I practiced over and over because when I was practicing I started at over 10 minutes and then went down to 8 minutes. I cut out 4 slides to get it to 5 minutes. I'm glad I practiced.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reflections from 4/13/10 Class

Research Project Presentations

Today was the start of our Research Presentations. I don't remember the names of the presenters, but there proved to be some good work put into their research. There was one presentation about building a positive workplace. There were good stats on what a company can save on turnover alone.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reflections from 4/1/10 Class

I liked the video about Johnson & Johnson. I was interested in how their credo was a reflection of more than just their business practices. There was a lot of positive outcomes from there business style and it demonstrated an effective form of implementing positive objectives that will increase morale.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chapter 16

There was a survey in the book that asked high school students if they would be willing to do something unethical just to get ahead if they knew they wouldn't get caught. The results were that 22% of those surveyed said yes, they would act unethically to get ahead. That means that 1 out 5 people are willing to cheat to get ahead.

There are some companies that include an ethical culture training, but this doesn't always prevent unethical behavior. Ethical decisions will be based more on a person's own moral compass than training.

I think that this training provides more of a sense of awareness than a sense of decision making. I think it makes employees more aware of the companies expectations. It sends a message that choosing to do the right thing is important to the company, so if there are any ideas of unethical behavior, it is clear that the behavior is unacceptable and will be handled according to company policy.

Is it just enough for an HR department to train on procedures, policies, and laws or should they incorporate an ethical framework into their training system?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chapter 15

Managing Human Resources Globally

With the rise of offshoring practices within companies there are bound to be ethical dilemmas within labor practices and regulation. When a company utilizes the human resources of an outside country, there is always a question of who is ultimately responsible for the treatment of the employees. Although the US may have standards and laws that govern the work place, is it justified for them to enforce their practices on a foreign country?
The issue of "sweatshops" always comes up in conversation when speaking of offshoring. As a parent company, is there really a way for them to control the labor practices on foreign soil? There can be multiple inspections and numerous reprimands, but if there is no legal ramifications for the wrongful labor practices, then would the ultimate threat be to pull their company from that country? If they do, are they then imposing their beliefs on another country's age old practices?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chapter 14

I've never really had any experience working with or for a union. It seems like it has a division as clear as political parties. Because I have never really been involved in unions, I see questions that can rise from both sides. I appreciate what unions intend to accomplish. I like that the unions try to ensure that workers have a voice and that their treatment by employers is closely monitored.
The main unions that I am familiar is within the automotive industry.

What role did the unions play in the big picture of the recent automotive financial fiasco?

Were the unions a contributing factor to the downside, and if so, could they have done anything different that could have possibly saved the industry?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chapter 13

Family and Medical Leave Act

I've heard of the FMLA, but never really had a clear understanding. First off, I never knew that you were entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and that time is not required to be consecutive. The FMLA act suggests that a majority of those opting for this benefit fail to take the full 12 weeks.

Although the company is not required to pay an employee that is out on FMLA, can an employee still be paid through a paid time off account? Also, what if your company offers an Extended Leave Benefit bank of hours? Can an employee choose to use these two pools of available hours during the FMLA leave?

If a woman has a child employers would have to comply with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, but then would her spouse be entitled to take advantage of FMLA to take care of his wife and perhaps maybe even their other children?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Reflections from 3/4/10 class

Commission pay offers a bonus based on a percentage of sales. Some companies will offer their employees a commission on top of their salaries. Straight commission plans offer pay based only on sales. This plan would require an extremely committed and driven employee because their pay is based on their efforts. Some straight commissioned employees also must be good at self supervision. These employees can lose track and focus on the close and not the customer. When this happens, it can lead to unethical scenarios.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chapter 12

The term incentive pay has a positive connotation to it, but I view it as vague and open to interpretation. The interpretation that it allows is the interpretation of your work performance. Incentive pay is tied to an individuals performance. There are various ways that the performance is measured, it can be measured through profits or earnings, or it can be measured through reviews and evaluations.

What if the standards for incentive pay are not equal?

I have worked in environments where various managers will conduct performance reviews on their perspective employees. I have seen a rating process that is not clearly defined and therefore employees from different shifts are rated with different interpretations and therefor there are fluctuating scores among staff within same positions. Some average employees from one shift will receive similar scores to high achievers on another shift.

When the incentive is a pay increase and this is the standard for the pay increase, then where is the incentive?

I know that there are some companies out there that reward their employees with an incentive laden contract, and when it is practiced effectively I think it maximizes an employees potential. I think by creating a contract laden with incentives, it lays out a framework that motivates an employee to strive for excellence and it rewards the employees in their progression.

Reflections from class 3/2/2010

Today we met in the library and received instruction on more effective search methods for research papers. I left the library extremely frustrated. I was frustrated because this paper is the last research paper I will have to do. I graduate this April, and I have been doing research papers since I've enrolled and this was the first time that I received this instruction. I wish so much that I would have known about these research tools a few years ago. Maybe it's just my bad luck that I missed out on this instruction, but for whatever reasons, it never made it to me. I'm not saying that I'm excited about my research paper, but I''m not as apprehensive.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chapter 11

Pay differential applies to an extra or incentive pay to compensate for more difficult working conditions or to adjust to pay toward locations with high living expenses.
It is required by law for a company to maintain a soldiers position if they are called to duty.
What if these two things combine. There are several companies that will make up the employee/soldier's income with a differential. If the job salary is greater than their military salary, then the company will make up the difference. Some companies will go so far as to continue the full pay as well as continue the full coverage of benefits.
Although this is a very noble act, it can also prove to be very costly. In essence, the organization is paying a salary without the work. What if temporary help is needed? This would turn out to be even more costly.
Can there be a sense of discrimination between higher and lower positions? What if an employees position makes less as a civilian than in the military? If differential is used, then what benefits is he affored to?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chapter 10

Separating and Retaining Employees

In this chapter, there was one main element that stood out to me. There was a concept that stated that organizations should develop a standardized form of discipline and that these decisions should not be left up to just managers and supervisors. I liked this concept because I've worked in places where the company morale was damaged by a lack of consistency involving disciplinary action. There were employees that were disciplined that were so contrastingly different for similar actions that it caused a clear sense of confusion concerning policy.

Should someone expect clear cut consequences for specific actions? If so, how can management derail employee gossip without violating the privacy of the employee disciplined?

Sometimes there is a double edged sword. What employees discuss and what managers handle are usually completely different. A disciplined employee that doesn't want the truth to be known may in fact embellish a story to create a belief of innocence amongst coworkers, but management has to respect the employees privacy and might have a hard time defending openly what the employee alleges.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chapter 9

This was actually the basis of the interviews that I did for my paper. Employee development has always interested me because it demonstrates an investment in the employee. When a corporation is willing to dedicate funds and efforts into improving their staff it proves to me a direction that the company is headed in.
What are some of the differences between companies that focus on employee development and companies that don't? Are turnover rates related to employee development?
I think that employee development is connected to employee satisfaction. I also believe that employee satisfaction is a leading factor in turnover rates. If a company demonstrates to an employee that they want to carry in them into the future, chances are that loyalty will be returned.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chapter 7

Training Employees

The main thing that stood out to me with training employees was the orientation piece. The initial training an employee goes through before beginning a job. I went through an orientation with a job once that lasted almost one full week. The training would last approximately 8 hours a day, and all new employees to the company would be in the same training. It was grueling and very difficult to stay focused. It seemed as though the trainer would come in each morning with the company policies in a binder and read page to page. There was no interaction, no participation, and for me, no understanding. I went through the whole orientation process and ended up leaving the company very early into my employment there. It seemed to me that that orientation set the tempo for the demeanor of the employees. No one seemed to be enthusiastic or even interested in the company, in fact, the company's employees were very distant from each other.
I compare that to another orientation that lasted the same amount of time, but took on a very different approach. In this orientation, we worked in groups, participated in activities, and were involved in many different training tactics. The orientation was much more engaging and easy to follow. There was much more camaraderie when the orientation was over, and therefor much more commitment when starting the job. I enjoyed working there and made many great friends while being there.
If orientation sets the tone for an employees experience with a company, then what is more important with orientation training, ensuring that policies and practices are taught, or generating interest and loyalty to prevent high turnover. If there should be a balance, where is it found and how is taught to not lighten any information that should be taken seriously?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reflections from 2/2/10 class

I liked the clip from Oceans 11. I thought the correlation between putting the team of thieves together was interesting in its resemblance to putting together a team for a legitimate legal business. Finding specific talents and abilities in people that will help them accomplish a specific goal within a company can help progress move along. Being able to evaluate talent and place them in positions where they can perform best is not only good for the employee, but it will pay out greatly for the employee

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chapter 6

Selecting Employees and placing them in jobs.

This chapter was interesting to me because most anytime I am trained about employee selection and job placement, it usually pertains to me as the applicant. This topic as like all other topics discussed was interesting because it provides the perspective from the other side of the conversation. I have the responsibility of performing interviews in my current position, and I can honestly say that I have never received formal training on employee selection until just as recently as in the past few weeks. In looking at the employees that I have, I think that I have done well in not only selecting employees, but also in placing them in a position and with a coworker that will maximize their potential.
In reading the chapter, there was a chart that really stood out to me. Under Legal Standards for selection there was a chart that was divided between permissible questions and impermissible questions. I understand from other chapters that there are discrimination laws in place. It seems as though the permissible questions are only word adjustments. I guess I'm more of a direct shooter, and struggle at the difference between asking someone if they are at least 18 years old and just asking directly how old they are. If the job opening requires someone to be able to perform a specific task that you as an employer are fully aware that the applicant can not accomplish, is it fair to the employer to carry out the interview? Can it come across as sarcastic when an employer asks "Do you understand the job requirements?" If certain attributes are required to select and place employees appropriately, shouldn't an employer be direct about those expectations? If they teeter on the line of legal standards for selection, shouldn't the main judgement criteria be based on their ability to fulfill an employers needed task without fear of prejudiced judgement?
I still believe that unethical prejudices are wrong and should be viewed strongly, I just pose the concern that perhaps the fear of falling into this category prevents employers from being willing to ask more poignant questions. I think for an employer, selecting employees are an investment in the company, perhaps there should be some emphasis on what they can do instead of what they can not do.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reflections from 1/26 class

Anytime race issues are brought to the forefront, there will always be a significant divide in opinion. I understand that there are issues that can be used to defend either side of the argument. With rulings of reverse discrimination it comes across to me that there are efforts to recognize and correct "loopholes." I believe that there were reasons that justified laws such as affirmative action, but I also believe that those laws should continuously be a work in progress. I don't think I am an active supporter of either side, but I try to measure my judgements with honesty and intent. The disservice occurs when people find ways to manipulate the system. I applaud those that benefit from the intended purposes of these laws, but I also cringe at the thought of those that benefit from its unintended purposes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chapter 4

Concept and Brief Description

Analyzing Work and Designing Jobs

It’s interesting to learn that there is actual strategy in designing job descriptions, job analysis, and job designs. These things are essential in workflow for an organization. There is so much creativity needed to maximize employee production and satisfaction. If a company fails to connect with the employees prior to starting, there can be many discrepancies in job duties. There are many employees that lose satisfaction because they don’t always know what they’re getting into. There are also many employees that lose satisfaction because they lose interest. Being creative in structuring standard job details such as work hours and breaks allows for staff to be more satisfied and committed.

Emotional hook

(provocative question/ claim/real-life problem):

Thinking of your current job or previous jobs, what could have been done by administration that would have created more interest and loyalty without sacrificing your job output?

Key points to elicit in discussion.

It’s important to maintain focus on the company’s purpose and what they hope to accomplish, but that purpose can be achieved if employees can also become an important focus. Job satisfaction is has a strong ability to create loyalty.

Facilitative questions

Is job output directly correlated to job satisfaction?

Reflections from 1/21 class

It was interesting to go through each of the different equal employment opportunities. I have always been worried about hiring the wrong person and being stuck with that person. The thing that stood out most to me was the importance of documentation. It was interesting to read and learn that job performance outweighs EEO. It is important to note that there is no compensation for poor work. EEO protects people from improper judgement and unfair treatment, but it does not provide a protective clause for any group.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My introduction

My name is Ron Albert. I moved to Utah from a small town in Louisiana in 1995. I grew up in Hawaii until I was eight years old prior to moving to Louisiana. My father is a physician and he did his internship and residency at Tulane University in New Orleans. After making the big adjustment between Hawaii and Louisiana, I figured the transition between Louisiana and Utah would be a piece of cake.

I lived in SLC for a couple years before moving to Provo in 1998 upon an invite from a cousin that was played football for Brigham Young University. I tested it out here, and the rest is history.

My first job in Provo was at Provo Canyon School, a residential treatment center, and I have been there ever since. I started as a counselor, and am now the program manager of the boy’s facility.

I met my wife here in Provo, and we have been married for 7 ½ years and have 3 daughters. Our daughters range in age from 6 to 1. They definitely keep us on our toes, and ensure that there is never a dull moment.

I love sports, especially LSU football. I try to go home to Louisiana once a year for a big game. I also love to fish. I will fish anywhere that I possibly can, but I love to go deep-sea fishing. I also love to hunt waterfowl in the winter. I’ve become more appreciative of the outdoors since I’ve moved to Utah.

I am currently a communications major with a public relations emphasis. I am currently in my last semester and look forward to graduation this spring. I have intentions of applying to an MPA program, and thought that maybe this class would be beneficial if that route came to fruition.