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Utility Company Case Study

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Managing Human Resources


The following outline will serve as a guide of topics that are discusses with in the evaluation of the case study related to the given utility company. A literature review of related articles as well as textbook review was used to determine topics of discussion as well as help with the formulation of possible solutions. In summary the idea of downsizing is not uncommon with in the current business and economic climate. As companies look to reduce cost and cut back with out completely reengineering business strategies downsizing offers a less radical approach however it can still have a big impact on the organizational culture and its employees.

I. Basic Company Introduction and Problem Statement

a. Service Provided

b. Employee and Customer Base

c. Senior Management Problem Solving Strategy

i. Defining the importance of job analysis and job design

II. Human Resource Strategy

a. Purpose Statement and Plan Of Action

b. Getting to Know the Organizational Business

c. Equal Opportunity

d. Employee Wellbeing And Morale

III. Conclusion

a. Recommendations to Senior Management

Company Introduction and Problem Statement

Senior management, of a utilities company which provides vital energy services to a largely urban customer base, is faced with maintaining a profitable business within the current volatile economic climate. The diverse customer base is a reflection of the equally diverse workforce that makes up the company employees. The current economic climate has forced the company to continue the downsizing efforts in an attempt to reduce overall company cost in order to remain profitable. The downsizing efforts have included a reduction of management positions as well as non management employees. Some employees have been able to transfer in to positions that have allowed then to remain employed with the company (Byars & Rue, 2006). The gradual downsizing strategy has proven to show decreased overhead spending and increased business unit cost (Heerwagen, 2007). Downsizing has also shown improved customer service and business competitiveness (Yeung, 1995). Based on the positive results seen with the downsizing strategy, senior management as decided that there is no immediate need to completely restructure or reengineer current organizational process, but rather evaluate existing strategies and implement continuous process improvement initiatives on a day to day basis to ensure long term company growth (Lee, 1996).

Senior management has also made it clear that the company is large enough, even with the downsized workforce that the company can and must continue to provide quality services and maintain superior customer satisfaction. Areas related to internal employee relations, which includes maintenance of a diverse workforce, compliance with equal employment practices and insuring increased moral, need to be evaluated promote and further company success. The importance of good employee relations in terms of maintaining a strong and diverse group of employees is needed to ensure that the corresponding diverse customer base continues to be well served. It is in the best interest of the company to follow management advice offered by Denise Larosee in his interview with Karen Klein (2003) promoting the focus of individual management on those employees that are left behind to pick up the work after the lay off. Designing individual action plans for employees to match skills with available positions is essential for employee and organizational success (Klein, 2003). The human resource department, which functions to support and serve as liaison between employees and management, will implement in depth evaluations of specific job analysis and provide advice to senior and upper management regarding the employee utilization and job assignments with in the company.

Human Resource Strategy

The fact that the company has undergone downsizing has not spared the HR (Human Resource) Department, and in an attempt to save cost a job sharing program, which is part of the downsizing strategy, has been implemented. Due to the job sharing, a team of three HR managers will form a taskforce to evaluate, plan and coordinate employee talent utilization. The HR team will methodically evaluate three broad areas of employee relations; these areas are getting to know the specifics of the organizational business, assuring the maintenance of diverse workforce, and finally evaluating the overall organizational culture and any possible impact due to the downsizing efforts. The results of the evaluation of each of these areas along with recommendations and implementation strategies will be presented to senior management. The recommendations offered from thorough human resource evaluations help shape business strategies and can clearly define the vision for the future, contribution to the success of the organization (Walker, 2001). The first area of interest will focus on getting to know specific organizational business which will include familiarizing the team with organizational processes to include specific job analysis with the utilization of human resource information system (HRIS). The importance and maintenance of workforce diversity will be evaluated. Specifically equal employment initiatives will be evaluated. Finally the task force will focus on employee moral, how downsizing has impacted, and how to improve morale if needed.

Getting to know the Business

As the responsibilities and expectations of the HR department have become more involved in both overall company management and strategic planning HR professionals must also become well rounded business professionals (Byars & Rue, 2006). A deep knowledge of the general industry must be gained, as well as, understanding the basis for specific company strategies. The development of a reasonable business plan according to Strassman (1995) can be supported only by those who know the business which then can help in making lasting business improvements. Venturi, Troost, and Jokela (2006) propose a user-centered system, which uses customer evaluations to determine company effectiveness, however since the service provided is vital, little will be gained from customer product



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