What could be holding hr professionals back from serving

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Reference no: EM131194070

Human Solutions Software, Inc. (FOR DISCUSSION TWO)

You have just received exciting news. You have been appointed to be the new human resources manager for Human Solutions Software, Inc. (HSS).

Located in Maryland, HSS is a fairly new firm that started two years ago when several software developers and business people got together to develop simplified software for organizations to keep track of their human resource functions. Initially there were five part-time employee/owners, but HSS soon secured several government contracts that had a cumulative worth of over $10 million, and a number of corporate contracts also are pending. By the end of the first year HSS had 35 employees and in the next year added another 30, plus several individuals they contract with to do specific tasks during high-demand periods.

During these first two years, the human resource functions have been handled primarily by one of the original founders, who has a degree in accounting and management. He has consulted at times about human resource functions with a general-practice attorney whom the company keeps on retainer to answer legal questions. Almost all of the company's founders agree that the company needs a human resource professional to manage their human resource functions.

About half of the company's employees are computer professionals and about half are clerical, management, and marketing people. The organization is run by the five founders and is incorporated with those five comprising the board of directors. Although there is an officially designated president, management decisions are usually made by consensus of the five founders.

HSS has been projected to grow quickly in the next few years, with a total of 100 employees in the next year and more than 200 employees in five years. These figures are not backed up by anything concrete, however; they are merely guesses. Most of the founders are beginning to realize that they need a strategic plan and a more formal decision-making structure. Hiring you as the human resources manager is one of the first steps to a more formally organized company.

In-Depth Scenario 1

There is debate among the founders at HSS as to the role the new HR department should play in decision-making and in strategic-plan development. The founder who has been taking care of human resources functions says that HR needs only to keep track of pay and benefits, so there is no need for HR to be involved in decisions about the future of HSS. Another of the founders says she thinks that HR should play a big role in future planning for HSS and that HR should also be providing support for training and motivation of employees as well as a way to evaluate employees' performance.

At the end of your first week at HSS, the founder who wants an expanded role for HR comes into your office and closes the door behind her. She asks you to draft a memo justifying why HR should be involved in the strategic-planning efforts and outlining the different roles HR can play in the management of HSS. She also tells you about how the founder who managed HR in the past fought against hiring you because he thought you were overqualified to manage the "limited" HR needs of HSS.

Part 1

Write a report in which you justify HR's role in drafting a strategic plan. The report should be clear enough so people will read it, but complete enough to convince the founders of the importance of a professional HR function being part of the strategic plan at HSS.

The founder who wants an expanded role for HR is concerned that the other founders might see your report as self-serving, so she sees it as important for you to find and use other sources that support what you say in the memo. You must show the founders that what you say is accepted practice at other companies.

Part 2

The founder also wants you to make a presentation to the board based on the above report, so you must prepare PowerPoint slides and any appropriate charts and graphs to support HR's role in strategic planning.

In-Depth Scenario 2

HSS has made contact with a large German firm that is interested in using HSS software. This would be a major contract and would include having a branch in Germany for HSS with 8 to 10 employees. It is hoped that this branch will provide the opportunity for HSS to market its software to other European companies.

Part 1

This potential contract is in the early stages, but the founders want you to draft a working paper in which you will outline the possible ways to staff the German office. They also want you to address the different organizational structures that could be used in an international expansion. It would be good if you pointed out any potential HR problems HSS could face in this possible expansion.

Part 2

If they award the contract to HSS, the German client's main concern is whether HSS can function in an international environment. The German clients are visiting HSS headquarters in Maryland to evaluate whether HSS can handle an international branch effectively enough to serve the client's needs. You are assigned to put together a briefing for presentation to the German clients and the founders, convincing everyone that HSS is capable of effectively managing the expansion to Germany. Be sure to have good data, relevant to both Germans and Americans, and to present the material in a way that both groups can relate to and understand. Use slides and charts to support your presentation.

In-Depth Scenario 3

Eldridge Computer Support, a company that provides help-desk support for users of software applications, has approached HSS. They want to contract with HSS to provide help-desk support for users of HSS software. The present help-desk function at HSS is run 12 hours a day at almost twice the cost that Eldridge has proposed for providing 24-hour support. Eldridge provides the software support from its call center location in Bangalore, India, where their workers receive approximately one-tenth the pay that U.S. workers receive at HSS.

One of the founders has investigated Eldridge and found that they have a good reputation, but that the number of complaints about the support provided has increased by 30 percent when companies have switched from their own help-desk support to Eldridge's contracted help-desk support.

The founders want to know what specific human resource problems HSS may encounter if they contract with Eldridge for the help-desk functions. The founders have asked you to write a three- to five-page report concerning the HR aspects of contracting with Eldridge. They are especially concerned about how a contract with a company that does business from India may affect the HR aspects of HSS and if there may be any legal or moral issues that may have to be addressed. The founders also want you to address the potential costs in providing training materials for Eldridge to acquaint their help-desk personnel. They are also concerned about the personnel costs of dealing with the increase in complaints.

The three- to five-page report should have a one-paragraph summary at the beginning and to have at least five sources to back up what you report.

Quick Scenario 1

There is disagreement among the founders as to where in the organizational hierarchy the human resources department should be placed. Develop a flowchart that shows where the HR department should be placed in the organizational structure of HSS. Write an accompanying memo that outlines your reasoning for placing HR where you did in the organizational structure of HSS.

Quick Scenario 2

One of the founders is concerned about whether there will be enough high-tech workers available to HSS for future expansion. He has asked you to write a memo in which you address the potential availability of workers to HSS, given the major trends that will affect HR efforts in the future. Be sure to address employee retention as well as employee availability and to point out HR policies that will decrease employee turnover. You must use several sources to back up your memo.

Quick Scenario 3

There is some talk about HSS expanding to several foreign countries. The founders want some information about the options for hiring people to work in divisions of HSS that would be overseas. They are also wondering about whether there would be human resource advantages to subcontracting any overseas functions to host-country companies. Write a memo in which you address these concerns.

Discussion One: Describe, in your own words (but using the course material provided):

1. Generally, what has influenced the Human Resource Management function over the past ten years toward serving in the role of a strategic partner or leader in the organization? See in item three you will provide more specific influences that will continue to impact the function.

2. What could be holding HR professionals back from serving in the strategic HR role?

3. List at least two items for the positive contextual influences and two items for the negative contextual influences that will impact the HR function from today forward.

In addition to the course material, you may want to share an additional outside source that has informed your answers. Be sure to provide the references for the sources of the information you used to inform your comments including the material provided in the classroom.

Discussion Two: Application: After reading the case study about the organization HSS in the module included in this course for this week, do the following:

Write a memo to the CEO of HSS in which you justify HR's role in drafting a strategic plan. The report should be written using language the CEO will understand and can relate. The document should be complete enough to convince the CEO of the importance of a professional HR function being part of the strategic plan at HSS.

It is important for you to locate and include academic sources (at least two) that support the content in the memo. You must show the reader that what you assert is accepted practice at other companies or organizations. You may use a word document if you like or provide your proposal in the content of your response window.

200 words for Each Discussion in separate word documents.
Also, each Discussion Question has to have a Title page and a References page.

Reference no: EM131194070

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