December 11, 2005

SUBHEADINGS

The Harrah’s Casino and Jonah Creighton cases taught me a valuable lesson indirectly through the analyses we were assigned to perform on them. After receiving poor grades on both of them, I approached our TA, Meredith, to help me get my subheading problem under control so that I might avoid the same mistakes on the final draft of my Learning Plan. To my surprise, and embarrassment, subheadings were intuitive and a useful tool for organizing the papers I turned in for management. In addition, I found that they were a simple way to eliminate the fluff and challenge of eloquent transition sentences and a handy method to keep paragraphs succinct, detailed, and organized. Similarly, subheadings make reading other people’s work easier and more productive, specifically when we had to review our classmates Learning Plan Part II drafts a few weeks ago. After revising my Learning Plan to include subheadings, I found that I was able to elaborate more on areas I thought were complete, ultimately furthering my understanding of myself and what I want to accomplish with my life.

There is sometimes an “one” in team

This semester, everyone on my HR simulation team was constantly overburdened with work. Despite this, all of the work got done and at that, it was of decent quality. We all contributed to every assignment and all of our opinions were taken into account when making decisions. While most of the team neglected to acknowledge it, there was one of us who persistently devoted extra time and effort to everything that the team received credit for, the team leader. In class we have been enlightened on the functioning and importance of teams, but not much has been said about the team member that holds the team together and ensures that everything is completed and polished. When this person contributes the way he or she does, without want of reward or recognition, any group of people can be augmented into a team and any team could be made stronger. Whether or not this is merely the role/description of a true leader, I believe that this person’s presence and influence on the success of the team should be recognized mentally, if not audibly.

A good example of a team sticking out for each other

The quarter seven output from the HR simulation brought my team a very unpleasant surprise. The fourteen point increase in quality we had earned in the sixth quarter, to a quality index of 74, had been reduced to a 63, our morale had dropped seven points, and our grievances had gone up by over 100. The weekly meeting was depressed and the team was confused with why the quarter had gone so badly. After a few minutes of complaining and blaming various outside sources, we got down to business and began compiling the numbers and making decisions. As we progressed down the list, one of our team members made the observation that our safety budget was over $50,000 below the allocation we had agreed on the previous week. Every member of the group was certain of this and so we found relief in the fact that our poor performance was due merely to input error. The importance of the whole situation is that the team was able to put the bad news aside and finish the work we knew we had to do. It was after moments like these that I realized how well we all worked together.

Skeptical about the presentations…

I was always a little skeptical about the presentations that we had to attend outside of the regular class period. Before the last one that we had, the one on 360 Degree Evaluation, I promised myself that I would try and have a good time because I was convinced it would be the only thing I got out of it. When the speaker announced that he was going to have a few of my management classmates teach us about the “abc’s”, I knew I was going to be able to keep my promise. To my surprise, it wasn’t until the actual class period that I gained the appreciation for the presentation that I was meant to take away. I thought that the tie-in to the HR simulation and the second annual report was an intriguing was to incorporate what we were learning both in and out of the class. It felt good and reassuring to know that my evaluation of myself and my team members was on the form we had created.

HR Simulation was FUN

93 end of year two Morale Index...you read that correctly.

Continue reading "HR Simulation was FUN"

November 06, 2005

Training Day

While I thought that the training exercise day was a fun alternative to our usual class discussion, I felt that it was a little anti-productive. My biggest criticism is that creativity was stressed and I think that was interpreted by the class as permission to implement any sort of ridiculous ideas into their plan. While it was a breath of fresh air to hear some of the humorous plans by the other groups in the class, I couldn’t help but feel bored by the more serious plans presented by some of the groups, which were in my opinion all terrific. My problem with this is that in reality, a creative training program would get the job done, and by that I mean provide adequate training to employees, and be cost efficient at the same time; many of the presentations that I enjoyed were neither of these things. What I am trying to say is that while I appreciated the entertaining ideas that my classmates came up with, I enjoyed, as well as appreciated, the realistic ideas that my classmates presented even more.

Human Resources Simulation

After preparing some analyses to use in our annual report, I found it fascinating to compare our results to the industry average. One of the most interesting observations was made by the team leader, who pointed out that our quality index was very close to the industry average while our budget for quality was almost 50% of the industry average. This is interesting because it shows that the quality of output is not completely dependant on the amount of money that is spent on improving quality. This highlights the importance of other factors on quality, for instance wages, which is what my team focused on. My team increased wages more than the industry on average every quarter; while this didn’t prove to increase our quality index as much as the industry average, we were able to accomplish nearly the same results while improving other things like turnover and morale without spending as much money. If any other groups have not check out this strategy, they should consider it.