Oregon State University|blogs.oregonstate.edu

Week 1 Blog Assignment  September 27th, 2022

By: Weslee Kersey

September 27, 2022

Being a manager is more than just being the person in charge, it is about inspiring, guiding, and supporting your team to success. A company’s success greatly depends on its employees work output, and if employees are unhappy, unsafe, or unwilling to work, it is a human resource manager’s worst nightmare. Based on my personal experiences as a shift supervisor at Starbucks and a Sergeant in the Army, the type of manager I tend to be is adaptable, competitive, and fair. The organizational culture between the positions that I have held are all very different and by being able to adapt to these different cultures, expectations, and standards, I have been able to learn more about myself and my team.

From The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2020 article, I chose to discuss Cisco, CarMax, and USAA. All companies have been able to produce effective and successful portfolios based on their companies’ growth and financial gains, but most importantly, they have managed to do this while simultaneously fulfilling employee needs.

Cisco is located in San Jose, CA (near where I am from), and is ranked 4th overall. Their employee stated, “I am given complete autonomy to do what’s best and if I need help, I have a strong support system.” This highlights a key aspect of HRM, which is that people matter. Employees should feel safe and be encouraged to be creative and also ask for help.

CarMax in Richmond, VA, is ranked 20th overall and their employee stated, “I love our ability to change, while maintaining our mission and core values, in an environment where our customers’ needs are changing rapidly.” This brings me back to my point of adaptability in management. Being able to be flexible, yet still maintain structure is crucial from an employee perspective, especially for competitive organizational cultures like this one.

USAA in San Antonio, TX, is ranked 55th overall. Their employee stated, “I feel that leadership wants their employees to succeed and puts in the effort to help them reach their goals.” This type of management demonstrates how HRM directly influences employees’ desire to work hard.

Based on the research and testimonies provided above, I think one of the greatest challenges facing HRM is being able to be flexible, supportive, and structured while maintaining company goals. Employees need to feel supported and have freedom to work as they see fit, but also must meet benchmarks to maintain success. All levels of organizations must follow the same standards and meet expectations within the workplace to maintain fairness and respect, but also must recognize when systems are failing and implement change.

References

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

Great Place to Work. (n.d.). Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, 2020. https://www.greatplacetowork.com/best-workplaces/100-best/2020


Week 10 Blog Assignment  December 3rd, 2022

International HRM

As a nuclear science and engineering student, I would assume that an international career opportunity would arise from one of the European countries. With France being the world leader in nuclear power production, I would choose this country to pursue a career. France is remarkably smaller than the United States and their politics are much simpler, so nuclear power has been broadly accepted and produced nearly 70% of France’s electricity. In France, there are many opportunities to grow within my career field, but there are things I need to consider as well.

According to Hofstede’s theory, below are the comparisons between France and the U.S.:

  1. Power Distance:
    • France: 68
    • U.S.: 40
  2. Individualism:
    • France: 71
    • U.S.: 91
  3. Masculinity:
    • France: 43
    • U.S.: 62
  4. Uncertainty Avoidance:
    • France: 86
    • U.S.: 46
  5. Long Term Orientation:
    • France: 63
    • U.S.: 26
  6. Indulgence:
    • France: 48
    • U.S.: 68

The French working culture is structured and well planned. They like to have all available information ready, and they follow very hierarchical structures of power. They are not super indulgent people, and have a more feminine score on the outlook of life and competition. The French are known to be blunt and talkative, yet are able to adapt to different scenarios. The U.S. on the other hand, is the highest scoring for individualism in the entire world and are less formal in term of communication. They also follow hierarchical structures of power, but are less traditional in recent years. The U.S. is very indulgent compared to France, and follow a very masculine culture of competition. Americans are more open to new ideas and new ways of life, yet are simultaneously more judgmental than other countries.

I would take this opportunity in a heart beat, as long as the wage was worth the level of work that I would be doing. I have always wanted to live abroad and develop new skills in my field. I would take into consideration the location, wage, benefits, the job itself, and the long term goals.

References

Country comparison. Hofstede Insights. (2021, June 21). Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/france,the-usa/

Javascript required! Nuclear Power in France | French Nuclear Energy – World Nuclear Association. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/france.aspx


Week 9 Blog Assignment  November 23rd, 2022

Health and Wellness

I am pretty self aware when it comes to my workaholism and type A personality, so the results for the three tests were not really surprising. On average, I tend to work 36-42 hours a week on top of being a full time Nuclear Science and Engineering student and Army Reservist. I wake up between 0430 and 0530 every day, and finish my day around 1900 (7pm), so my days are long and my responsibilities are demanding. I know I can be impatient or critical of others, but it is never uncalled for or unprovoked.

The first test was the stress inventory regarding events within the last 12 months. I got a score of 305, which indicates that I am at 80% increased change of a stress induced breakdown. I got a score of 71 on the second test, which was the coping and stress management test. I actually manage my stress very well, mainly because I have had this intense schedule for roughly 5 years now and it seems regular to me. I workout regularly as my main coping mechanism, and have a healthy group of friends to support me. My last score was 49, which was on the type A personality test. This score says that I am generally warm and tolerant, but experience times of impatience and hostility, which is pretty true. I am very patient, but when it comes to work or rudeness, I do not have patience and am quick to point out issues. I disagree with the last sentence regarding poor diet, lack of exercise, or smoking, because my health is very important to me so I make sure I have a healthy diet, do not smoke, and work our 4-5 times a week.

I genuinely believe that I have healthy coping mechanisms, which has not always been the case. The steps I took to develop these healthy mechanisms was cut out negative influences in my life, such as people and nicotine, and I also developed a healthy habit of using agendas and budgeting. i will continue to do this in my professional life.

As for organizational stress concerns, Forbes highlights a few strategies that companies are taking to decrease workplace stress. They are using information and awareness tactics to provide employees with local resources to seek help if they need it. They are also implementing collaborative and interactive break rooms to alleviate the stress of work. These rooms have games or snacks, and encourage employees to take break during the workday to allow them to mentally, emotionally, and physically reset. Companies are also using greater sensory stimulation, in addition to yoga and exercise to help alleviate stress. Many leaders will implement open door policies that allow for comfortable pathways for leaders and subordinates to talk, with the additional flexibility for mental health excusals from work.

References

Alton, L. (2016, December 7). How today’s young businesses are helping employees cope with stress. Forbes. Retrieved November 23, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/larryalton/2016/12/07/how-todays-young-businesses-are-helping-employees-cope-with-stress/


Week 8 Blog Assignment  November 15th, 2022

Compensation

In customer service jobs, customer surveys are very common methods of evaluations that HR uses to assess the employee day-to-day performance. At Starbucks, these scores are gathered to provide a customer connection score to each manager to see how they service compares to that of other stores. My store, in particular, scores pretty well and are normally in the top 3 stores in the district for connection and service scores. Recently, our stores started to decrease, so my manager held pod meetings, in which every partner was scheduled a 30 minute group session with our manager to discuss ways to fix the environment.

One of the outcomes of these meetings was compensating partners who were mentioned by name in customer surveys for positive interactions. For example, a customer mentioned me in a survey regarding my kindness for giving them a free drink due to them having a really bad day. In return of that positive interaction, my manager gave me a $15 Amazon gift card. This reward system became the new normal for any partner who go mentioned for a good reason!

This type of compensation is both intrinsic and extrinsic, because it hold monetary value while simultaneously provided partners with a sense of accomplishment and reassurance for the hard work they do at the store. My manager is also hosting a store holiday party to thank her store employees for their work and to build strong relations with her team. As the lecture states “Compensation is a powerful tool for influencing employee behavior” (Swift, 2022). The store environment is productive and positive, and her compensation methods are proving to be effective for the store. Our performance and connection scores are increasing.

Swift, M. (2022, November). Lecture 1: Introduction to Compensation. [PowerPoint slides].


Week 6 Blog Assignment  November 1st, 2022

Training Effectiveness

The training I want to discuss is my military training. I have been in the Army for 3 years and will be using my experience at L6 (Lima 6), which is a 42 day ASI (Additional Skill Identifier) training held at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. This training is specifically for the NBCRV (Nuclear Biological Radiological Reconnaissance Vehicle), which is a 21-ton armored vehicle that houses various detection and sampling systems, as well as a remote weapon system, all of which is controlled by the operators. In order to be awarded the ASI of L6 and be certified as an NBCRV operator, you must pass each test with an 80% or higher. The other training was a 3 day medical training that I did to refresh my knowledge, because I have a few first aid certifications.

L6 training catered to every type of learner by the use of visual PowerPoints associated with readings, verbal discussions, and hands-on exercises with each component. It also has actual missions that teams must complete in order to pass, which demonstrates the importance of group-building in this training. The instructors did a great job at fostering a healthy learning environment with the mixture of teaching styles and actual practice exercises. They provided detailed feedback, and related the content to real-life applications that demonstrated the importance of the course material. This training was very effective, because the schoolhouse provided resources for students to use after the training. The schoolhouse also used a pre/post measure of effectiveness by a survey and a test. They gave us a basic knowledge test and survey on day two of the training, then during the last week gave us the same test and survey and assessed our score differences. The first test average was roughly 40%, whereas the second test was roughly 95%, which further demonstrates the effectiveness of this training.

The medical training on the other hand did not have PowerPoints, nor did they provide resources for students to refer back to post-training. They did have hands-on trainings, but they were short and they really did not provide solid feedback to the audience. We did not conduct missions or hypothetical scenarios, just basic practice. Also, myself and another Sergeant noticed a few incorrect items being taught and corrected them during the hands-on portions. I would say this training was not very effective based on the above, and they had no measure of success.

References

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

Swift, M. (2022, November). Developing Training Program. [PowerPoint slides].

Swift, M. (2022, November). Evaluating Training Effectiveness. [PowerPoint slides].


Week 5 Blog Assignment  October 25th, 2022

Effective vs Ineffective Interviews

Personally, the interviews I have participated in have all been very similar. Between Starbucks, Trader Joes, Fidelity Investments, the Army, and a few national labs, the interview process had the same setup. All of them followed the structured interview as shown:

  • Personal information
  • Work experience
  • Reason for applying
  • Situational and behavioral based questioning
  • Educational background
  • Short-term/long-term goals internally and externally

Each interview was slightly different regarding the line of questioning, for example the national labs focused more on educational and safety situations, whereas Starbucks and Trader Joes focused on customer service related questions. When I applied to join the military, I had to take an ASVAB (aptitude test), which determines your eligibility for different jobs. I also had to take a physical test and a psychological evaluation to determine my physical and mental eligibility for service.

To determine the effectiveness of an interview, we must reflect upon the interviewers preparedness, interview structure, types of questioning, reliability, validity, utility, and follow up. Each interview, the interviewer came prepared with a set of questions, and the questions they asked came from the list of questions they had. They followed a very structured interview style, and wrote down paraphrases of answers to each question, and also had a score associated. Every interview had 2 or more interviewers asking situational and behavioral questions, to gather different perspectives of body language, consistency, and well rounded thoughts on candidates. They used the same system for each candidate with the same types of questioning and testing, demonstrating the reliability of this system. This system is based on criterion-related validity using the current employees success within the job and shows the predictive nature of this line of questioning. This criterion shows that the selection utility is worth the cost due to the success of employees from the past. The follow up for interviews is very important, because it shows candidates that you listened and were attentive to their responses, and on the employer side, it allows us to reflect on the effectiveness of the interview.

Weslee Kersey

References

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

Swift, M. (2022, October). Selection. [PowerPoint slides].


Week 4 Blog Assignment  October 19th, 2022

Job Analysis and Job Descriptions

“Job analysis is an essential task of HR, because it sets a foundation for all other functions in HR” (Swift, 2022). Without job analysis, there is no job description, which is necessary to set a standard of qualities and work expectations for employees and new applicants. A thorough job analysis uses KSAOs (Knowledge, Skill, Anility, and Other Characteristics) to determine the qualities that employees will need to possess to successfully complete this job, but this does not mean others will not succeed, it just means these KSAOs are preferred.

There are many challenges facing the implementation of job descriptions. The first one is clearly and concisely presenting an appealing, yet realistic description of the duties performed. This description serves as a first impression for a position and can easily deter candidates from applying if it is too long, too short, too wordy, etc. Another challenge is making the description stand out from competitor descriptions of similar positions, because if your company and a competitor have the same description, why should someone choose your company? The last big challenge I want to discuss is the job design approach. Every company seeks motivation and efficiency, but which one plays a greater importance for the job description and analysis is dependent upon your company’s needs. Maintaining a balance between these two approaches requires time, analysis, and effective communication in HR.

Personally, to overcome these challenges, I would suggest gathering experienced employees in each job category and have them assist in the analysis and description process. This provides clear insight into the daily duties of the job, ways it can be improved, and shows that HR is attempting to be transparent with new and seasoned employees. Also, I suggest reviewing old descriptions or pull competitor descriptions of similar jobs and discuss the shortcomings to avoid in your own descriptions. Highlight key aspects of the duties without neglecting the truth about some unfavorable duties within the job.

Weslee Kersey

References:

Buckingham, M. & Coffman, C. 2016. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently.Links to an external site. 2016 edition (print pages 71-98; ebook – available through OSU Library – pages 55-77); 1999 print edition (pages 69-92)

Swift, M. (2022, October). Job Analysis. [PowerPoint slides].