December 11, 2006

HR Simulation Final Report

Once again, we had the opportunity to reflect on our decisions and results from the HR Simulation. Our second fiscal year was quite different from the first. For various reasons, we had a substantial budget that allowed us to run each program, spend money on incidents, and raise wages and benefits every quarter. One of the main things that we were forced to learn during the second fiscal year was that deciding what to do with excess employees could not have a positive result. When we terminated excess level one employees, morale dropped considerably. When we decided to leave the additional employees on the payroll, productivity was severely affected. This result is a very unfortunate one for companies that have varying levels of production each quarter. Overall, the simulation provided many such insights that I am sure will be beneficial for me to have learned in the future.

Discipline and Termination

The last topic that we discussed in class this semester was discipline and termination. I can imagine that it is very difficult for a manager to have to discipline an employee, and even more difficult to terminate an employee. Such a situation can be upsetting in many different ways. For the employee, losing one’s job is clearly demoralizing and can have emotional and financial consequences. For the manager, it is difficult to have to experience the employee’s grief, to know that the employee may suffer emotionally and financially from the experience, and also to realize that hiring the individual may have been a bad decision in the first place. I can only hope that my career in management will see few such situations.

Performance Management

Performance management was one of the more interesting topics of the semester, which we read about and discussed in class for several days. In today’s business world, it is clear that companies must have detailed and effective performance management systems in order to ensure maximum performance from employees. Each step is vitally important; from setting goals, to training, to rewarding employees for their hard work. If even one of these steps is executed properly, then employee performance will suffer. My first job did not have any type of performance management system, and while I worked there I experienced first hand that employee performance was far worse than it should have been. Not too long after I left, I was not surprised to find out that the store had been shut down.

Feedback

In the last several weeks of class, we frequently discussed feedback. At first, we talked a lot about people’s fear of feedback. I can understand why people are afraid to be critiqued, but it is still a very important mechanism of the learning process that cannot be ignored. Receiving feedback is one of the primary ways that people learn from their actions. Without proper and timely feedback, people will continue to make the same mistakes, and that is unacceptable on a personal and professional level. Perhaps the most important aspect of feedback is its timeliness. For example, if a professor neglects to return a graded exam in a timely manner, students may not remember the exam well enough to learn anything from the results.

Goal Setting

Throughout the semester, this class has strongly stressed the importance of goal setting and career planning. We were introduced to the SMART and START NOW goal frameworks for use in our learning plans. Each of these frameworks forced me to further specify the details of my goals and the actions I would take to attain them. This specification helped me to truly understand my goals, and I believe that I am better prepared to work towards them now. I intend to make use of these strategic frameworks in the future whenever possible, and I am sure that doing so will always be beneficial.

November 10, 2006

Ethics in Business

In a recent MGMT 250 session, we discussed ethics and corporate governance in business. This topic was also the focus of my SAGES seminar last semester. What angers me the most about instances of fraud and deception in corporations is not the fact that they occur, but the fact that it is possible for them to occur. People are greedy and are always looking to get more money. When companies are struggling, many executives do not want to accept failure, so they alter financials to mask the truth. I believe that those are the two most frequent reasons for fraud in corporations. Recent years have seen attempts to improve corporate governance through the SEC, the PCAOB, the FASB, and acts of congress, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Hopefully new regulations and procedures will continue to be established to reduce the ability of individuals to commit acts of fraud in businesses, since they always result in such terrible losses for everyone with any ties to the company.

HR Simulation Annual Report

The annual report for our human resources simulation was just completed last week. It provided a chance to reflect on our team’s performance in the first fiscal year and redefine our goals and strategies. We immediately learned the importance of the programs in the simulation after failing to implement any of them in the first quarter. We did not realize that increased wages was not the highest concern of the employees. In fact, morale decreased after the first quarter despite the fact that we significantly raised wages and benefits. Morale only increased after we dedicated significant amounts of money to improve safety and training procedures. While wages are certainly an important factor in selecting a job, they clearly are not the most important.