1. E-Tronics is a well-established, publicly traded manufacturing company that has been in business for over 50 years. E-Tronics is reviewing a potential acquisition of a manufacturing plant of 120 employees in India. This would be E-Tronics’ first time having a physical operation in India. As part of the review of labor, the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) recommends an environmental scan as part of the long-term planning for the operation. Why is this the best approach to recommend?
- Environmental scanning allows the company to evaluate what environmental, health, and safety protocols need to be implemented at the new plant.
- Environmental scanning allows the company to review both the domestic laws and foreign laws of the new country to understand what changes need to be made to the employee handbook.
- Environmental scanning allows the company to assess the tax advantages of the new business to see how favorable the stock will respond as part of this new acquisition.
- Environmental scanning allows the company to examine both the demographic and social factors of the labor force to understand how the future of employment looks.
2. A new Operations Manager at E-Tronics would like to get a head start on recruiting for an upcoming role that will have key oversight of the new assembly line. He already has one person in mind that he feels will be perfect for the role based on his past experience. As the HR Manager asks more about the candidate, she learns that both the Operations Manager and the candidate went to college together and have been best friends since college. She also learns that they have never worked together before. What is the appropriate guidance the HR Manager should consider?
- Research indicates that people are more likely to quit because of a manager than because of any other variable. Considering the candidate and hiring manager already have a good relationship, this candidate already has a great chance of success and should be allowed to continue on in the process.
- The HR Manager is responsible for all recruitment initiatives and should step in and take the place of the hiring manager. The Operations Manager is already too biased to make the appropriate decision.
- In order for an organization to meet its long-term goals, it must have the proper mix of employees with the right knowledge, skills, and abilities. The HR Manager should stress this importance while looking closely at all candidates.
- If the candidate is selected, the HR manager keep a close eye on the relationship as the candidate progresses through onboarding and orientation. If feedback is provided down the road that things aren’t working, the HR Manager will have all the documentation needed.
3. E-Tronics is pursuing the India plant acquisition and is working with current plant management to review all operational details. As part of the process, the plant management that is being acquired is asking for solutions for a way to track all employee data and transactions. What recommendations should the new HR department make?
- The HR department should recommend a new HRIS that is built for businesses that have between 50–250 employees. As the site has 120 employees, this will fit perfectly for the plant.
- The HR department should leverage the currently existing HRIS platform, which has the scalability to provide specific features for a plant as little as 120.
- The HR department should recommend a partnership with the IT department to build from scratch a homegrown system that fits the criteria of the current environment. This allows for a unique cross-functional project and will highlight how the parent company can work with the newly acquired plant.
- The HR department should allow plant management to keep personal records and notes and postpone the solution 1–2 years until the post-integration phase is completed.
4. The Global Vice President of Operations prefers to keep a close eye on things and ultimately have his hand in all processes. He has asked not only to have visibility into all HRIS transactions for the company but that he has approvals on every transaction as well. The complexity of this request is quite high. How should the HRIS team handle the situation?
- The team should caution the leader on the time waste it may be for him but provide an alternative option in which access is given to his executive assistant. The leader can then receive updates on what transactions are taking place with the filtering done by the assistant.
- The team should provide the leader with visibility and approval chain access because the company believes in honesty and transparency. The leader is one of the main advocates of this value statement.
- The team should advise the leader who should have access and in what transactions having visibility and approvals make sense. HR can help minimize stress for business leaders, not make it worse.
- The team should provide an alternative option of having daily reports sent to the leader with the data aggregated and summarized because HRIS systems enable countless transactions to be processed on a daily basis. This will be the most efficient use of the leader’s time.
5. The Assembly Manager, who has been with the company for only three months, previously came from a small specialty fabrication shop of 20 people. He has commented on doing the upcoming fiscal year’s strategic planning for his department on his own because that was the process he was used to at his previous company. What are the risks of this business leader conducting this review without the HR department’s influence?
- The process doesn’t actually need HR advice at the department level. HR provides the best value when looking at entire businesses, not departments.
- The process would lack the strategic value provided by HR professionals in understanding the employment landscape, walking business leaders through human capital forecasting, and executing the day-to-day staffing requirements.
- The process would lack the legal knowledge required to ensure the Assembly department doesn’t break employment laws.
- The process would miss out on accurate employee engagement activities such as parties and community service days, which need to be built into the plan for next year.
6. At a recent roundtable discussion, the HR Manager heard several employees talk about their goals for internal promotions, further professional development, and the desire to reach higher career milestones. As the HR Manager goes through this feedback, what is the best action she can recommend?
- She can begin processing their transfers to the roles they have identified and ensure each employee knows that E-Tronics takes action when employees speak.
- She can ask the respective managers to follow up with each employee and ensure that they work out a plan. Managers are in the best position to help their employees with career goals.
- She can write up an individual development plan (IDP) for each employee and provide it to them so that they can begin their path to the next opportunity.
- She can analyze succession planning as part of a short-range plan to see how many of these employees are ready for the next role up, need further development, or still need more time to develop in their current role.
7. E-Tronics is now in place in the India plant. During the job analysis discussion, the Plant Manager recommended to the interim HR Manager that each person be evaluated in their roles because each of their tasks and skills is very different. The Plant Manager feels this will have a personal touch for each employee, which is important. What is important to consider as the interim HR Manager determines how best to support this process?
- Cultural trends at the plant have indicated Indian culture thrives on individuality. It is important for company processes to honor this and therefore have specific job levels and roles for each individual.
- Appropriate categorization requires a thorough review of all jobs throughout the company worldwide. The interim HR Manager needs to work with the Global HR leadership team to review all profiles.
- Appropriate categorization requires looking at broader job levels, rather than individual people and consequently assigning a role to several people within a job level.
- In order to save time on the process, the HR Manager can have other team leads and managers help out by asking each of their team members for these job details. They can then summarize and send this data to the HR Manager for record keeping.
8. As part of the process for understanding the current profile of employees, the HR Manager develops a questionnaire for each employee to fill out. The survey asks an array of questions, including items such as language skills, educational background, job history, and personal interests and hobbies. Some concerns have been brought up by employees indicating that they don’t want to share anything personal because they don’t fully understand how the information will be used. How can the HR Manager best respond to concerns of this nature?
- The HR manager can communicate that because the company wants to attract and retain the best employees, it needs to understand the current group of employees to know what profiles to hire in the future.
- The HR manager can show how a skills inventory is actually a great tool for employees so they can evaluate on a peer-to-peer basis what everyone else is doing and how effective they are in their roles.
- The HR manager can communicate openly that a skills inventory is intended to provide the company a clear snapshot of which employees are performing well, and which ones are not. While intrusive, it will help the company succeed in the long run.
- The HR manager can describe how a skills inventory allows the company to understand the knowledge and skills of everyone to help facilitate greater development for each person. It may also highlight untapped potential in employees that haven’t been identified.
9. As part of the manufacturing site’s Annual Operating Plan (AOP), the business announces a new venture with a sister plant that will bring in approximately 25% more raw materials with the specific task of machining the material in the plant. The senior leadership team is reviewing production and machine capacity over the course of three years as part of increased demand. How can the HR Director best support this new business initiative?
- The HR Director can rely on the operation line managers to understand unit demand and what capacity the current machines have. This information is then correlated with human capital and a plan is put in place.
- The HR Director can hire 25% more temporary workers. This is shorter term work and the demand will only last three years.
- The HR Director can hire 25% more employees in response to the increase in raw materials. The increase in production needs to have a 1:1 ratio of human capital.
- The HR Director can leverage human capital at the sister plant to ensure this increase in production hits the daily targets. One of the most effective ways to make a process efficient is to leverage shared human capital.
10. One of the core HR strengths at E-Tronics is the ability to utilize HR analytics and apply them to operational scenarios. One of the most frequent requests is for help in forecasting employment needs. Why is work-load analysis the most accurate way of forecasting employment needs?
- Work-load analysis utilizes key information such as actual work content and productivity ratios.
- Work-load analysis utilizes key information such as probabilistic forecasting and past movement.
- Work-load analysis utilizes key information such as statistical relationships amongst employment related data.
- Work-load analysis utilizes key information such as quantitative relationships between critical variables.
11. The newly appointed plant HR Manager officially starts in India. Her first objective is to complete a thorough HR audit and review details at the site-specific level. While many details are missing, her review reveals that historical turnover trends show over 80% of turnover was caused by involuntary separation. How should the HR Manager proceed?
- The HR Manager should review the selection procedures as well as specific knowledge and skills currently held by management to evaluate if better training and supervision is required.
- The HR Manager should contact all former employees who left within the last 12 months and conduct an exit interview. This will help her best understand the actual reasons for their exit.
- The HR Manager should prepare a site-wide presentation reviewing company benefits and really encourage the new site to consider what great benefits are offered to them if they remain employed with E-Tronics.
- The HR Manager should contact local competitors for a market analysis and determine if 80% involuntary turnover is common in the local market.
12. In E-Tronics’ competitive business landscape, business leaders expect innovative, strategic guidance by knowledgeable experts. The Plant Manager in Michigan has requested that either the HR Manager (whom he trusts deeply) or an outside analyst he knows as an expert provide guidance on the operation’s long-term staffing plan. Why is this approach one of the least effective for planning?
- Experts rely too much on subjective and anecdotal experiences that don’t provide the most clear guidance.
- Expert consulting fees are so high that it takes years to break-even after receiving consultation services and actually forecasting a better headcount.
- Experts collaborate too much with other subject matters experts and ultimately cannot agree on a single path forward.
- Experts that can perfectly understand the context for the business and its specific operations are very difficult to find.
13. A year into the India acquisition, line leaders highlight concerns regarding the staffing levels and the quality output of certain machines. Some machines are running near 98% capacity with many quality issues while others are running at only 63% with barely any quality issues. The HR Manager feels confident there is enough historical data to start highlighting relationships between staffing, machine utilization, and quality control. Why is a regression analysis an effective tool for this problem?
- Regression analysis removes the need for short- and middle-range planning because of its high levels of long-term accuracy.
- Regression analysis enables the business to look at how specific variables interact and gives a high degree of confidence in projecting future needs.
- Regression analysis evaluates the line operator job description details to make sure they are both valid and reliable to what the job is supposed to be.
- Regression analysis helps identify which operators are the most productive employees and therefore provides information on how to model future training.
14. E-Tronics has a small plant of only 120 employees in Oregon that has gone through quite a bit of unrest within the last year. There have been three restructures and a lot of turnover due to local competitive pressure. Now that the pressure and the company landscape have normalized, the plant leadership is attempting to forecast staffing requirements for the following year. Among many methods to use, why should the HR Manager be hesitant to recommend the Markov Analysis?
- Markov analysis requires a fairly stable situation with many people in each job category.
- Markov analysis requires cross-functional collaboration with key stakeholders and departments such as Finance to review budgetary considerations.
- Markov analysis requires a highly complex statistical review of three or more variables for the most effective output.
- Markov analysis requires multiple sources of experts utilizing the Delphi technique.
15. Business leaders often look to HR for specific guidance on how to staff a business and avoid unhealthy levels of turnover. HR has an increasingly important role in mitigating employee movement during economic downturns, such as in 2008 and 2020, when global markets are in flux and labor markets are directly impacted. How can HR professionals add the most value economic downturns?
- Periods of low and/or high unemployment result in inverse turnover rates as employees either find more suitable options for employment or stay put until markets normalize. HR professionals can advise and strategize a business’s plans accordingly.
- Spikes in unemployment may make employees panic and cause them to leave for a more stable company. HR professionals are well positioned to decrease turnover rates by persuading employees not to leave.
- While HR professionals aren’t equipped to look at micro and macro economic data, it is paramount for HR professionals to have a strong network to tap into and through which to understand workforce implications.
- HR professionals can advise employees looking to leave of the types of government assistance programs that are available to them. It is critical for HR professionals to keep up-to-date on federal and state programs.
16. Alliance Data is a new start-up looking to rival E-Tronics in a highly competitive market. While the company only has 150 employees, business leaders would like to use some of the most recent high tech solutions as a way to get ahead of the game. They recommend to HR to go all in and invest in the best and most sophisticated planning systems available. How can HR best respond to business leaders in this scenario?
- If Operations is willing to pay for sophisticated human resource planning systems and the necessary resources to manage the process, HR will agree to the new implementation.
- Although technology and tools are useful for a more robust process, simple stage I modeling that reduces cost and hassle can be just as effective for a small company looking to grow. HR will stick with stage I modeling.
- The only way to bring in better talent and manage systems more effectively is through sophisticated human resource planning systems. HR will invest heavily in systems used by large, successful corporations.
- Rather than using sophisticated systems, HR will adopt quick rules of thumb based on the past experiences of each employee. Given the maturity of the business, a stage II model will provide the most success.