CaseStudy 1: Zipcar
Zipcaris a particularly attractive company to work for since it is has moregrowth prospects. The company is afast growing innovative company that supports the environment and issocially responsible.  This makes it an ideal place forambitious and enthusiastic employees who are looking for somethingnew and challenging. Zipcar allows customers to share a car for a feeas small as a short cab ride.  The main goal of Zipcar is toreduce the number of cars being driven and thereby reduceenvironmental pollution that is a global concern and emissions fromcars have been found to be a key contributor to global warming. Inthis perspective, the company comes across as futuristic inclinedtowards trends and practices of sustainable development furtherendearing the company to visionary job seekers. Nevertheless, theunique business idea on which the business is founded and operatedreflects the ideals of modernism which each and every person and byextension employees, would like to be associated with.
Justlike in any other company, the interviewers at Zipcar are much moreconcerned about hiring and placement and the panel is complete with aset of values of what would make an ideal employee. When selectingnew employees, Zipcar aims to find people who are passionate aboutthe brand just as much as they are themselves. Additionally, thecompany looks for other important values such as professionalism,courteous and presentable individuals. The panel looks for acandidate who understands the value of the organization and theculture within which the company operates. The potential employee isexpected to display a great extent of intellectual curiosity,exceptional communication skills and demonstrate how they would fitinto the company. The criteria set by Zipcar are aligned to the humanresource best modern practices in which firms ought to assess thecognitive as well as other developmental and situational abilities soas to obtain not only the best but the most suitable employees(Decenzo & Robbins, 2015: Bal & De Lange, 2015).
Behavioraland situational factors are key to examining the potential employeessince their subsequent growth and development can be conceived inthese two constructs (Decenzo & Robbins, 2015). Below are a fewbehavioral and situational questions applicable to the context ofZipcar interview. The situational questions are:
Describe a situation in which you were able to persuade someone to see things your way.
Describe one situation you had to conform to policies with which you did not agree.
Is there any particular point in time you have had to set a goal and achieved it? Please explain briefly
Thesituational questions are:
How would you respond if a client called in and said he was not satisfied with the services of Zipcar?
What would you do if you realized just before deadline hat the report you were asked to present during Zipcar weekly meeting is not at par?
How would you put up with a colleague at work with whom you are unable to build a successful working relationship?
Whileattending an interview at Zipcar, it is important that employeesavoid going negative and never assume that the interview is entirelyabout themselves. A candidate should not be passive and shoulddemonstrate enthusiasm, which has been espoused as a key ingredientfor aggressive employees in the chapter. Moreover, the panel atZipcar considers it important if the employees fail to show interestand activeness.
CaseStudy 2: Joie de Vivre Hospitality
Joiede Vivre Hospitality, which is the world’s second largest chain ofboutique hotels, distinguishes itself from the other boutique hotelsin a ways that are fundamental, just as they are unique. Distinctfrom the norm in other boutique hotels, Joie de Vivre Hospitality isknown for a low price point and is accessible to everyone frombudding celebrities to well established personalities. The hotel hascut out an edge in the industry as a host for famous and loyal guestsin the past few years. In particular, the boutique hotel chaincreates a mystique that adds value to location without necessarilyaltering the fundamental costs incurred. In this sense, the businessis able to capitalize on its location to create additionaldistinctive competitive abilities without incurring additionaloverhead and operating costs. The company additionally has flexiblebusiness strategies that ensure its prosperity even when the odds arehigh.
Thecompany demonstrated this strategic management flexibility during thedot-com crash and during the post 9/11 hospitality industryrecession. During this tough economic period for the industry, Joiede Vivre Hospitality adopted the Maslow theory of needs torestructure human resource practices at the company with anoverriding objective of ensuring that employee needs were cateredfor. To assure employees of job security, the senior management atthe company took a pay 10% pay cut, the management structured a twoand a half year pay freeze to ensure that the employees were assuredof job security despite the uncertainty in the industry. Thispolicies were informed by the fact that fear was the key factor thatinhibited employee performance and therefore productivity in theAmerican hospitality industry. The strategic flexibility was anchoredon stimulating heart-lfelt service, personality and culture.
Joiede Vivre Hospitality has adopted a simplistic but very effectivestrategy of advertising that is founded on building a very impressivefirst impression for customers who then are obliged to disseminateinformation concerning their experience at the hotel chain tofriends. In this strategy the hotel chain banks on high qualityservice delivery to stimulate a “repurchase behavior” and more soa likelihood for recommendation of the hotel to potential clients.The hotel has over time elevated itself on the status of the “mirrorof customer expectations” and this serves to advertise the companythrough its very own clients. This strategy has reduced theadvertisement costs at the organization where it now spends only$50,000 on traditional advertisement that is only a small fraction ofits $250 million annual revenues.
Thecompany can enhance its human resource practices by adopting thefollowing human resource management best practices.
Conducting annual employee performance appraisals and relating that to company productivity.
Recognitions, rewards and offering incentives
Providing a retirement benefits scheme
Outsourcing in areas where Joie de Vivre Hospitality lacks in global expertise
Developing a technology app for routine tasks
CaseStudy 3: Training (Wilson Learning)
The“know, show and do” approach as adopted by Wilson trainingreflects the basic training processes that encompass behavioraldevelopment stages in employee training. In this approach, employeesare trained gradually from seeing other well-established partiesperform a task to performing the tasks themselves in a logicallystructured manner. According to Wilson training, the “Know” partinvolves letting he employees learn the concepts through afacilitator who explains the fundamental concepts to the employees.The “know” part involves demonstrating to employees how it lookslike to perform tasks expected of them while the “do” partentails letting the employees try out the work themselves. This verylast part ensures that when employees get to their first task atwork, they would not really be doing the tasks for the “very firsttime”. This alludes to the lessons in this chapter that find taskfamiliarization as key in training and development of employees.
Therequired training tools and instruments to implement the know, showand do training criteria are as varied as the three steps in theapproach. For the know part, a display screen is required, books,organization’s brochures as well as an administrator who isfamiliar with the operations of the company would be required toimpart required knowledge top the employee. The show part may requirea simulator, documentary and more importantly, a facilitator toactually demonstrate to the employee what it is to perform a task.The do part requires the task itself and a supervisor to ensure theemployee gives the acquired knowledge a practical shape.
Theexperimental design used by Wilson training to assess the call centertraining program is very effective as far as assessing employeeperformance on the basis of expected proceeds is concerned. By askingcall center employees to record the transaction amounts involved inthe specific complaints by customers, Wilson Training was much moreconcerned with ascertaining the business value that was at stake.This approach is effective because it not only determines thepotential loss to the business but also the number of customers whomay switch to other businesses. This makes the outcomes of thisapproach to have a wide strategic management applicability. However,the approach can be improved by focusing on the specificpersonnel-related reasons that led to customer dissatisfaction. Thiscan be facilitated through the use of technology.
Thetechnology that can be applied in delivering training include use ofsimulators,video conferencing, smart boards andAdvanced Microsoft office.Simulators can be used to demonstrate how things work in real worldscenario with minimal risks and costs and are particularly importantfor the “show” section of training. Microsoft office e.g.Microsoft excel can be used to store employee information since itenables evaluation of progress. Video conferencing is used to deliverinformation to multiple employees without need for travel can whilesmart boards is used for demonstrating concepts, show videos, do websearches and display worksheets to work on together.
Useof differentiated methods in training is noted as being importantsince employees are diversely gifted. They are endowed differently inanalytical ability, creativity, expressive ability and endurance.Using a standardized training method may therefore fail to yield thebest outcome as it may disregard the key competencies of someemployees or focus more on areas where an employee is alreadycompetent leading to a deadweight loss.
Identifyingthe intended outcomes of training ensures the training program isfocused on developing the required skills for the tasks to beperformed by the employees. This has two implications for theefficacy of the training program: it ensures that employees areequipped with the relevant skills for the performance of expectedtasks and prevents wastage of resources imparting skills that may notbe required by the organization.
CaseStudy 4: Union-Management Relations
Unionsoften feel that a company is ripe for organization owing to the factthat in an organizational setting an employee’s rights, safety andbenefits are often at stake. In light of this, the unions find thatthere is a case for intervention to fill the void that is createdbetween the company’s management and its employees. The unionbasically exists to provide a structure detailing the scope of amanagers’ and an employees’ functions and responsibilities. Moreaptly, this structure specifies what the two parties can do and whatthey can’t do. But the major disadvantage is that this may set aceiling on an employee’s career advancement.
Dounions stifle creativity? Yes. This is so because unions structure akind of employee-management-union nexus in which the employees arenot able to do certain things on their own. Unions also stiflecreativity by advancing the notion that no employee is any betterthan the other and therefore any marginal remuneration for hard work,special skills and creativity may look unfair when approved by theunion. Additionally, the unions reduce the capability of employers toinstitute certain changes at the work place and react faster tochanges in the respective industries. In this respect, unions do notprovide an opportunity for the employee to make decisions on theirown, negotiate for additional pay based on creativity and in thismanner, the union also limits the company in exploiting creative waysfor enhancing productivity.
Employeeswho excel in non-unionized companies often earn more than they wouldearn working for unionized companies since based on their respectivecompetencies, they are able to negotiate directly with theircompanies for an increased pay without being subjected to a thirdparty (union) approval. Additionally, the companies for which theywork are not limited on the kind of strategies they can employ toboost productivity. As noted in the video case, such companies canemploy strategic management policies like pay cuts and workingovertime which results in additional profits and by extension,increased pay for the employees. Nevertheless, the remuneration towhich workers in the non-unionized companies are subjected to is notset on a ceiling framework, as is the case in a collective bargainingagreement between unionized companies and the unions. Thisnegotiations are anchored on performance and competency implying thatthe more productive an employee, the more their earnings.
Anincreasing trend towards “replacements” of unions has beenobserved which has had an impact of reducing trade union memberships.These replacements take the form of company-specific affiliationgroups and co-working spaces. These alternatives have becomeparticularly attractive as compared to unions for relaxing thestructural bottlenecks in the employee-management-union nexus. Thesealternatives allow for flexibility as regards negotiations betweenspecific companies and their employees.
Bal,P. M., & De Lange, A. H. (2015). From flexibility human resourcemanagement to employee engagement and perceived job performanceacross the lifespan: A multisample study. Journalof Occupational and Organizational Psychology,88(1),126-154.
Decenzo,D. A., & Robbins, S. P. (2015). Fundamentalsof human resource management.John Wiley & Sons.
Stone,D. L., Deadrick, D. L., Lukaszewski, K. M., & Johnson, R. (2015).The influence of technology on the future of human resourcemanagement. HumanResource Management Review,25(2),216-231.