Best of HR Management

HR management has become more crucial to have good comradery within the workplace. After looking at the Fortunes 100 best companies to work for list, it has given me a lot of insight about how companies should prioritize HR strategies for there employees. The companies that stood out to me the most are Adobe Systems Incorporated (35), Capital One (24), American Express (9). What caught my eye about these companies is that over 90% of employees say that there company is a great place to work and are proud to say that they work there.

Some of the keywords that employees chose for these companies were support, benefits, balance, and care. These words directly are associated with the main HR Functional Areas from the lecture which include workforce planning, employee benefits, health & safety, and managing ethics. If I were a manager I would want to be implementing an HR management like these companies. After reading through  First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently this stood out to me, “…every great manager and every great company realizes how important it is, they still haven’t devised an accurate way to measure a manager’s or a company’s ability to find, focus, and keep talented people (pg. 11).” I think as a manager it is your responsibility to develop relationships and systems in order to keep employees happy. Apart of being a good manager is leading with practices and principles and having characteristics like transparency and understanding. Everyone on the team should feel supported and valued even when people don’t have the same viewpoints.

It is not always easy to be a manager. The way that managers handle challenges really goes to show what kind of leader they are. Keeping the comradery within the team I think would be one of the hardest things about being a manager. I know that being a manager is all about learning and you aren’t going to be perfect at everything but you should be able to move on and do better the next time.

Buckingham, M. & Coffman, C. 2016. Buckingham, M. & Coffman, C. 2016. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. 2016 edition

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Pros and Cons of Labor Unions

Labor unions have been a significant force in shaping industries across America. It provides workers with a unionized voice to negotiate better wages, benefits, and job security. Unions aren’t loved by everyone, they are very divided because they revolve around personal livelihoods and job security.

The pros of unions from an employee’s point of view are they are given increased bargaining power, they provide safer workplace conditions, and union members have greater legal representation. According to the University of Utah, “Research suggests that unions are associated with more favorable wages (~ 15% higher) and benefits (retirement and employer-sponsored health plans), as well as greater job security. Unionized workplaces tend to be safer than their non-unionized counterparts.” Moving into the pros for employers, it allows for a single contact point for negotiations which can streamline the process. Lastly, another big pro would be higher employee productivity and morale. In my experience working for a company who hires ironworkers in a union, there is a greater guarantee that the workers will be experienced. From the viewpoint of society, it is important to note that unions reduce income inequality, advocating for fair wages. The most important benefit to society that I have seen is the advocacy that unions provide. People across the U.S. have been able to support social justice movements that push for fair treatment and better working conditions.

Looking at the negatives of unions starting out for employees, there are union dues that can be a financial burden, along with strikes, they aren’t always successful and can in some circumstances risk job security. Next, for employers, the negatives can be higher labor costs along with a skewed relationship between management and laborers. Something that I have heard from my dad who is in a construction union is that the rules in the unions sometimes make him feel limited.  

Overall everyone has their own opinions of unions and there are pros and cons from every viewpoint.


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Working Through Stress

Based on the results, what did you learn about yourself? 

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory: 358 points (300 points or more , 80% chance of health breakdown in the next 2 years, according to the Holmes-Rahe statistical prediction model)

The rating I got from the “Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory Test” gives me a high chance of having a health breakdown. This year has been considerably the hardest years of my life and I do agree that my chances of having issues mentally could stem from certain events that occurred. After looking at the rating scale sheet I realized just how many there even though it didn’t seem like I would have that many.

Coping & Stress Management Skills Test: 48/100 Problem-Focused Coping

The score that I got from the “Coping & Stress Management Skills Test” showed me that I am not as effective when dealing with situations that cannot be controlled. I tend to be someone who festers in my own problems letting them take up my mind. I am the type of person who likes to fix problems upon them happening and when I can’t it makes me a little frustrated. The results showed me that I can better deal with stress by finding ways to cope that are healthy.

Type A Personality Test: 40

The last test, “Type A Personality Test” wasn’t as much of a shocker to me considering I do need to work on being more patient. I am someone with more of an intense personality and it partially has to do with the way I grew up. Over the past year I have definitely become someone that has more tolerance and warmth. I am glad that I have found a balance and that I don’t want to be someone who is impatient or upset. The test also reminded me that healthy relationships include being more open with your friends and family, that I can’t just always be there for them I can also rely on them. I am stubborn but opening up emotionally will allow me to trust people better.

What steps can you take as you progress through your professional career to help you manage stress?

I think that ways I can take to help manage stress is by making sure I get into jobs that make me happy. The jobs where employers want you to have a work-life balance. Before I signed with a company I made sure that I wanted it to be one that prioritized the right things so that I would be able to manage my own stressors better. Another way I can help manage my stress is by making sure to have a good support system around me if that means coworkers, friends, or family.

Conduct internet research on stress and other health conditions of current concern to organizations. What are organizations doing to help their employees manage their health and cope with stress? 

After doing research I learned that organizations are focusing a lot more on the mental health of there employees. Even in the workplace that I was in before, they gave ways to reach out for help if you needed it. In an article I read by the “The Alternative Board” says “You and your executive team should also encourage employees to take PTO to “recharge their batteries” on a regular basis.” I think giving a great PTO policy and encouraging employees will only benefit them and the company. Along with that, making sure that addressing stress levels in the work place will make it easier for workers to not burn out and be able to speak out sooner. Overall having healthy communication in the workplace is positive and creates better habits.


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How Compensation Shapes Job Choices

An experience that I had that a lot of people go through is being unappreciated within a job. If there are no clear set boundaries from the beginning then people get taken advantage of. The scenario I was in was leaving a job because of the compensation I was getting or not getting. I was being given a lot of work and my pay was not enough for how much I had to do. I became the person that they counted on because I took pride in my work and always got it done in a timely manner. It was unfortunate that they used that to delegate more work to me because they knew I would get it done. I realized while working there that the compensation was not enough for the work I was given and the amount of time.

After working there for a few months and realizing this challenge I started to not get as much work done as I used too. Although I am not proud of doing that, I was getting upset and tired with the way that I was being treated. Not only was it difficult to be happy going to work, my boss was also not the nicest and didn’t seem grateful for the work I did. Compensation was the pushing factor because there is no way I could be getting paid minimum wage for the work I was doing. According to an article by “Harvard Business Review” says, “60% of employees who perceived they were underpaid said they intended to leave.” When I finally decided to leave it was such a relief and I was not stressed which made my days easier.

From that experience I learned that it is important to be compensated and cared for. I don’t appreciate companies and managers who think it is appropriate to be working people to death without compensation. In the future I will set boundaries and make sure that I am working for a company that only gives me what is in my scope of work.


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Training Effectiveness

At some point in your life you will go through training. Every job has some sort of training whether it is formal or informal. After reflecting on a training courses that I have taken there have been negatives and positives. Something that I took away from this weeks lecture states, “A challenge with measuring training effectiveness is knowing what part of the increase in performance is due to the training and what part is due to other factors.” I thought this is important because unless you measure the performance before and after how are you supposed to know if the training was effective.

A training that was effective for me was hands on training. I was able to actively practice what I was learning for a job and this made it easier to understand what was going on. I especially liked this training because I was able to be corrected in my training so that I didn’t learn anything the wrong way and it didn’t get lost in training. Personally I feel like training needs to be something that is organized but nonconventional in the way that people are just learning in an order without repetition. The reason I saw nonconventional is because when I think of training I assume people are just watching and understanding how someone else does a task. Then, they would have to go repeat it on there own, after training.

My negative training experienced was one that was done over the computer. It was the same for everyone taking the training and it didn’t allow you to try to do it yourself. Although it was very organized, it didn’t cater to the watchers best way of learning. I feel like the was to improve this is to not just make a training solely on the computer and allow there to also be an activity with it.

I believe hands-on training, from the lecture this week is the best form for someone learning a new task or subject. This optimizes the most learning because there able to di the task themselves while learning.

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How to Interview: Effective and Ineffective

There are many opinions on what an effective interview looks like. After reading “How to Take the Bias Out of Interviews” by Iris Bohnet and using my own experience, I definitely feel there are important takeaways to note. The most important factor within an interview is having structure, this includes methods like tests, work-sample tests and organized interviews. Within the article by Iris she noted some research that concluded these methods of interviews are better predictors of performance.

Looking into the negatives of unstructured interviews we see that most of it comes from managers are overconfident about about what they know and have experienced. According to “How to Take the Bias Out of Interviews”, these people usually don’t feel like they should be outsourced by human judgement. These bias’s lead to people being hired based off first impression instead of what they can offer to the company.

The personal experiences I have had with interviews I noticed has also related a lot to the text I spoke about above. Only two of the ten interviews I have had also included a test to answer situational questions along with describing my personality. I did think it was important to take those test because it was able to share more about how I would be in the workplace. I do still see the effectiveness of in person interview because it is good to see how possible candidates are in person. What isn’t helpful is when you are interviewing with someone who is on HR and they are not able to properly describe the job you applied for. I had an experience with an HR person and I was not able to ask many questions about the job because they didn’t know. If I could go back and advise the companies I have interviewed with I would say offer more personality test in the application process. I would also make sure there is a strategic way of interviewing with people who actually have done the job you are applying for.


Article: Take the Bias out of Interviews

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The Vital Role of Job Descriptions

In a world full of HR, job descriptions play a behind-the-scenes role that quietly guide everything, from recruitment to performance evaluations. With this noted, their importance can’t be overstated. As Jill Bidwell, a senior HR generalist at Sauer-Danfoss, puts it, job descriptions are the “mother of all HR Processes.” Yet lots of companies struggle with developing and/or maintaining them.

A personal experience I had with job descriptions that lots of people experience is where the job description is not updated. This resulted in me doing a lot more than I should be doing because people kept delegating work to me which wasn’t within my job description. While I know this doesn’t always have to do with the problem of job descriptions but also with the management there are relations between the two.

To overcome these challenges there are some approaches that I feel would benefit organizations short and long term. First, companies need to recognize the value of job descriptions by using them to inform recruitment, performance management and how to successfully compensate employees. In “Job Worth Doing: Update Descriptions” Bidwell adds that “is important to review the job description and not just match the description to the person currently doing the job.” Secondly, they need to be reviewed so that they are able to be updated. Annually is a a good standard and can be done during the employee yearly reviews so that they can give helpful insight to update the descriptions.

Overall job descriptions that drive success within a company. Organizations can empower employees to thrive in there roles and feel successful at what they are doing. Not only does it keep companies organized but it enhances efficiency.

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