Posts Tagged ‘organization’

The Organizational and Societal Functions of PR

August 16, 2009

In 1906, Upton Sinclair’s novel “The Jungle” shook Americans into fervor about their food. The book described the nauseating practices that were commonplace in Chicago’s meatpacking industry, and revealed a picture of where our meat comes from and what happens to it after slaughter and prior to packaging. As a result of the novel, President Theodore Roosevelt passed several food safety laws, one of which established the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Since then, Americans may have felt that their food was now being safely prepared and packaged due to government oversight.Americans are wrong, and have many reasons to be concerned about the foods they consume. (Blackwell, J.; n.d.)

In the following discussion, we will analyze the importance of organizational public relations in the context of recent restaurant food poisoning outbreaks. Further, this author will discuss the societal implications of “Food Poisoning PR”, and elaborate how PR can be an effective tool to mislead the public.

“Three Washington children died and 600 others were sickened due to poisoning from E. coli 0157:H7 served in undercooked Jack In The Box hamburgers.” (Porterfield, E. & Berliant, A.; Jun. 1995. Pg. 1 ¶ 2).

While the 1993 Jack In The Box food poisoning scandal certainly gained notoriety among Americans, many other food poisoning incidences have occurred since. Several years ago, green onions from a particular produce farm were also tainted with E.coli, and the vegetable was pulled from the shelves at groceries and removed from Taco Bell products nationwide.

When prepared foods are the cause of illness or death, and a restaurant is targeted as the origin point of these tainted products, the public begins to fear food. According to Maslov’s hierarchy of needs, being safe and fed are our very basic, primal desires. When our food can kill or injure us, and when we question our ability to make safe choices among food products, this infringes upon our needs for survival. It is safe to say, from a psychological standpoint, that the public has every right to become inflamed, afraid, and angry when we discover our food choices aren’t guaranteed to provide us with basic sustenance.

In the event of a food poisoning scandal, public relations becomes an essential ingredient to maintain a restaurant’s ability to remain in business. As a result of the Jack-In-The-Box E.coli incident, many potential franchisees are still wary of opening up a unit in particular regions of the country – they recognize that the food poisoning outbreak is still recalled by fast food consumers in those areas, who refuse to purchase quick service food items from a Jack-In-The-Box store.

 Jack-In-The-Box had little to base a positive PR campaign upon, however. According to the resulting litigation documented in the The News Tribune, a Tacoma, Washington newspaper, the corporation’s business practices actually contributed to the festering of E. coli in the hamburger meat. The company believed that cooking beef to the recommended 155°F temperature made the meat hard, and often encouraged stores to cook their beef at lower temperatures. (Porterfield, E. & Berliant, A.; Jun. 1995) 

Jack-In-The-Box obviously did not have a talented PR staff to handle the food poisoning scandal, or the company would be more successful and wouldn’t have had so many locations close. During a tragic event such as a food poisoning scare, an effective PR team can assure the public that the company is doing everything possible to locate the cause of the problem; that the company will jointly work with food safety specialists to revise their operations guidelines; that the company will create an extensive employee training program for food safety; and that the company is working diligently to ensure that a food poisoning occurrence is never possible in the future as the company stands for highest-quality foods. 

While this type of PR would have been incredibly effective for the Jack-In-The-Box organization, the PR also has significant societal implications. While a corporation can revise its food preparation guidelines, and tell the public that they are creating a stringent food safety training program for their employees, it seems impossible to avoid food poisoning occurrences. Too many variables are involved in prepared food: its production, its transport, its storage, its preparation, and its packaging.

According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 1999, 76 million Americans contract food poisoning each year. This huge statistic presents the conclusion that while the United States may be one of the World’s superpowers, we can’t effectively control the danger imposed by the food we eat. (Stout, D.; Sep.1999).

From a societal standpoint, it seems almost hazardous for a company to promise they will be able to control future food poisoning epidemics. This PR creates the illusion that corporations and the government are actively involved in efforts to make our food safer, and that these efforts are successful.

Resources

 Blackwell, J. (n.d.). “1906: Rumble over ‘The Jungle’. The Trentonian. Retrieved online August 18, 2007 from http://www.capitalcentury.com/1906.html

OutBreak, Inc. (2005). “Jack In The Box E-Coli Litigation”. Retrieved online August 18, 2007 from http://www.about-ecoli.com/news/jack-in-the-box.htm.

Porterfield, E. & Berliant, A. (Jun. 1995). “Jack In The Box Ignored Safety Rules”. The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA). Article located online, and retrieved August 18, 2007 from http://www.about-ecoli.com/news/jack-in-the-box3.htm.

Stout, D. (Sep.1999). “Study Puts U.S. Food-Poisoning Toll at 76 Million Yearly”. The New York Times. Retrieved online August 19, 2007 from http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9F00E6DF123CF934A2575AC0A96F958260

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Total Quality Management: A Multiple Industry Perspective

August 16, 2009

In the following analysis, this author will compare three organizations from different industries. Motorola, Papa John’s Pizza, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency are very different in their company culture, strengths and weaknesses, and brand image. However, each company has adopted aspects of TQM in their focus on improvement. This author will describe each organization’s quality interest in light of customer satisfaction. Further, steps each organization took to affect quality and customer satisfaction will be outlined. As leadership is integral to organizational change, this discussion will include a comparison of the leaders in all three corporations that helped establish value-driven quality. Lastly, a brief chart detailing the differences between each organization in respect to their quality focus is provided.

 Motorola: Focus on Quality and Customer Satisfaction

 As a customer-driven organization, implementing a substantive quality improvement management scheme is an essential ingredient to success. Motorola, a long-term practitioner of the Six Sigma management discipline, presents several business practices that improved its quality, brand value, and customer relationships.

First, as one of the first organizations to wholly adopt a TQM management style, Motorola quickly realized that their long-term brand value was due to their customers. Any organization can create a popular product. Only a disciplined corporation can create products of the utmost quality, ensuring customer loyalty and retention throughout the product lifecycle. Motorola recognized that its product defects did not comply with its newfound customer dedication. In order to serve its customers, Motorola had to engage in enterprise-wide process improvement.

As a result of this quality-driven focus, Motorola derived its Six Sigma management theory.

“To accomplish its quality and total customer satisfaction goals, Motorola concentrates on several key operational initiatives. At the top of the list is “Six Sigma Quality,” a statistical measure of variation from a desired result. In concrete terms, Six Sigma translates into a target of no more than 3.4 defects per million products, customer services included”. (National Institute of Standards and Technology; Aug. 2001. Pg. 1 ¶ 7)

The greatest action taken by Motorola in its dedication to quality was its creation and adoption of the Six Sigma management theory. Motorola’s leadership felt TQM principles did not adequately serve its need for continuous process improvement. As a result, executives explored the areas that they felt were not being served by TQM. They realized that the furthest measurement of quality in the midst of production was better served by the Six Sigma statistical analysis. This challenging theory took the quality focus of TQM to the furthest scientific, quantitative level.

Motorola’s success was and is based on their need to satisfy consumers. Electronics, particularly cell phones, are becoming disposable goods. Cell phone owners in the U.S. constantly purchase the newer, better model. In order to continue earning customer loyalty, and retain their customers purchase every few years in lieu of its competitors, Motorola was required to constantly improve their processes in order to ensure they produced the most quality product possible.

Motorola’s leadership were the change drivers necessary for the organization’s achievement of six sigma. In its beginnings, the six sigma theory at Motorola was wholly organic and driven by the innovation and curiosity of the company’s leaders.

“The process improvement methodology invented by Geary Rummler and friends in the early 1980’s and first deployed at Motorola was quite different from today’s approaches. It started experimentally, on a small scale, and then eventually got applied to whole business units as the methodology matured. But in those early outings, there were no steering committees or design teams. The people we worked with were the executives. It was the leaders of the business who were the process improvers, the process owners, the process team.” (Ramias, A.; Dec. 2006. Pg. 1 ¶ 4)

By strength of persistence, Motorola leadership completely altered the face of business today in their quest for quality. Through the six sigma management theory, Motorola’s legacy to the world has been established.

Papa John’s Pizza: Restaurant Leader in Customer Service and Quality

         Papa John’s Pizza (Papa John’s), a U.S. quick-service restaurant leader, is equally focused on quality in light of their customer dedication.  With over 3000 units, Papa John’s is considered to be the third largest quick-service pizza company in the world, after Pizza Hut and Dominos, respectively. Papa John’s is wholly committed to their customers: for six consecutive years the company ranked #1 among the restaurant industry in a customer satisfaction poll developed by the American Customer Satisfaction index (Papa John’s International; May 2005).

In the restaurant industry, customer satisfaction is integral to the life of an organization.

“Three Washington children died and 600 others were sickened due to poisoning from E. coli 0157:H7 served in undercooked Jack in the Box hamburgers.”(Porterfield, E. & Berliant, A.; Jun. 1995. Pg. 1 ¶ 2).

As a result of the Jack-In-The-Box E.coli incident, many potential franchisees are still wary of opening up a unit in particular regions of the country – they recognize that the food poisoning outbreak is still recalled by fast food consumers in those areas, who refuse to purchase quick service food items from a Jack-In-The-Box store.

The taint that poor quality can exert upon an organization in the restaurant industry becomes clear when the Jack-In-The-Box scenario is recalled. Customers are deeply affected by poor quality in terms of food. According to Maslov’s hierarchy of needs, being safe and fed are among society’s basic, primal desires. Although killer food is an extreme example, it is still easy to recognize why people are so deeply bothered when a restaurant does not deliver a quality product. When food is toxic it permits consumers to question their ability to make safe choices among food products, thus infringing upon their basic need for survival. From a psychological standpoint, the public has every right to become inflamed, afraid, and angry when they discover food choices aren’t guaranteed to provide us with basic sustenance, and due to quality concerns, may in fact injure them.

Papa John’s focused on technological improvement in their search for quality. In order to become constantly apprised of changes within the organization, Papa John’s leadership invested in an enterprise business-intelligence system. While considered a huge expenditure, this technology enabled executives to receive information at a lightning pace, allowing them to monitor, evaluate, and recommend changes to day-to-day operations: a key operation part of TQM process improvement.  Papa John’s new business intelligence software equipped executives with information, a key part of conducting business at the pace the 21st century demands. However, the enterprise system also affected operations from the viewpoint of consumers:

“…generated tangible business results, such as a 10% reduction in ‘out the door’ time, and a significant improvement in order completeness”(Analysis Team; n.d. Pg. 1 ¶ 2).

Papa John’s also worked to achieve quality in terms of their labor force. The organization, like many others, realized that the consistent training and development of the workforce is essential to organizational success. In order to ensure this quality, Papa John’s invested in a leader for this training and development movement, titled the “Vice President of Training and Development”.

In many corporations employee training and development is a “softer” focus, with very little tangible changes made to the workforce. However, in the case of Papa John’s, training and development became formalized and left a lasting imprint on the organization. A developed training program identified employees for promotion. A well-respected leadership program was adopted. The organization also benefited from a simple change in structure. The training department moved from a centralized location to a decentralized location, in order to better serve Papa John’s global employee force (Snow & Associates; 2006. Pg. 1 ¶ 14).

         It is essential to note the role Papa John’s leadership took in the implementation of TQM. From the beginning, CEO and founder John Schnatter believed quality tied to a customer focus was the essential ingredient of a successful organization’s management scheme.  However, during the late 1990s, Schnatter began to realize Papa John’s growing pains. Through the implementation of a new measurement technique, CEO Schnatter realized the organization was not sustaining quality. 

“Papa John’s was shocked by its shortcomings. On a scale of 1 to 10, its pizzas averaged 5.1, customers waited on hold for an average 2.5 minutes and 24 percent of its pizzas took longer than an hour to be delivered. A nightmare was developing right before Schnatter’s eyes.”(Coomes, S.; Dec. 2006. Pg. 1 ¶ 4)

            Papa John’s founder John Schnatter was determined to repair the problems rampant in the organization. Despite his reluctance to re-assume the role of CEO, he realized that part of the problems lie in his leadership. The CEO at that time resigned, and Schnatter was placed in the CEO position again. Upon doing so, Schnatter urged Papa John’s franchisees to expend more financially in order to achieve quality; focusing on more adequate staffing and consistent food costs. In order to encourage this expenditure, Schnatter gave up one-third of his yearly salary – $200,000 – in order to pay incentive bonuses to high-ranking franchisees (Coomes, S.; Dec. 2006).

            While Papa John’s Pizza faces many challenges today, including a more health-conscious consumer base and declining consumer spending, the corporation continues to succeed due to its strong quality emphasis. Organizational leadership is determined to maintain its high-quality standards in order to serve its customers a consistently superior product.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency: Pursuing Quality

While introducing TQM to a government bureaucracy can seem an impossible task, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) was blessed in its acquisition of new talent. In 1992, Director Mary E. Hade introduced TQM to the state agency after learning about the management philosophy during her tenure with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Hade arrived at the IEPA and quickly assessed its current quality condition. While the agency was well-known for its strong pursuit of environmental regulation, it had also developed a reputation as a cantankerous, difficult group to deal with. Hade’s opinion:

“…the agency had built up 20 years of adversarial relationships with its customers and had a reputation for operating in a ‘highhanded’ way, as if ‘we came in and said do it our way, and if you don’t do it, we’ll nail you to the wall.’ She said that ‘one guy told us they used to have to draw straws in their office about who would call the agency’ because it was rarely a pleasant experience.”(Wojcicki, E.; Oct. 1993. Pg.5 ¶ 4)

The IEPA needed organizational change quickly if it wanted to improve its reputation with external customers. As with any organization, the IEPA relies upon a positive relationship with its internal customers in order to continue both receiving work and questions, to maintain its reputation as a thought-leader and a benchmark of best practices.  First, Hade and the other key leaders of the agency took part in an extensive TQM training program. Upon learning basic TQM principles, these leaders began implementing quality-oriented techniques in all of the business operations. Later, the remainder of the IEPA staff was given training in TQM so they were able to monitor and evaluate their own job processes.

One example of the effect TQM had upon the IEPA is the changes that took place in the organization’s FOIA department. In one case, an angry external customer complained that he was told by the agency that it needed 18 months to comply with his FOIA request. After the TQM training, the IEPA’s FOIA coordinator reported that the agency now responds to FOIA requests in only 5% of that time; a reasonable two to four week period. The IEPA attributes these changes to hard work and the quality training education received by agency employees (Wojcicki, E.; Oct. 1993).

Another business process affected by TQM was the IEPA’s archive system for tracking hazardous waste. A Bureau of Land employee brought the system to the attention of Director Hade, as he felt that their hard copy records were burdensome and did not keep IEPA employees aware of these places of interest in the state. Hade quickly initiated a TQM project to overhaul the IEPA’s outdated system. As a result, agency employees are now able to quickly retrieve this information, and are no longer burdened with the task of filling out new forms for a document archive (Wojcicki, E.; Oct. 1993).

Clearly IEPA leadership greatly contributed to the agency’s assuming TQM traits. Director Hade, impressed by the use of TQM at her former employer, the U.S. EPA, determined that the IEPA was in need of a focus on quality to improve its working conditions, business processes, and reputation. As a result of her direction, the IEPA operates more efficiently and has a positive, “customer first” focus.

TQM was originally the favored management theory by manufacturing companies that relied upon business process changes to eliminate defective product creation. However, as the theory gained strength among the business community, other sectors outside of manufacturing began to recognize its power. A customer, quality-oriented organization is focused upon the group that will continue to make an organization successful – its customers or consumers – and will continue to succeed due to a reputation for quality services or products. Motorola, Papa John’s Pizza, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency continue to embrace quality tools in order to maintain their reputation as industry leaders.

Resources

Analysis Team (n.d.). “Get It While It’s Hot”. Retrieved online October 27, 2007 from the EBSCO database, part of the University of Phoenix student library.

Coomes, S. (Dec. 2006). “Chain of 2006: Papa John’s Pizza”. Retrieved online October 27, 2007, from http://www.pizzamarketplace.com/article.php?id=6376&prc=128&page=109

National Institute of Standards and Technology (Aug. 2001). “Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award 1988 Winner: Motorola, Inc.”. Retrieved online October 27, 2007 from http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:RRM6j9EDxPcJ:www.quality.nist.gov/Motorola_88.htm+Motorola+quality+improvement&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us.

Papa John’s International (May 2005). “Papa John’s Ranks #1 in American Customer Satisfaction for Record Sixth Straight Year; “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza” Proposition Pays off with Consumers”. Retrieved online October 27, 2007 from http://ir.papajohns.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=115556&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=710676&highlight=.

Porterfield, E. & Berliant, A. (Jun. 1995). “Jack In The Box Ignored Safety Rules”. The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA). Retrieved online October 28, 2007 from http://www.about-ecoli.com/news/jack-in-the-box3.htm.

 Ramias, A. (Dec. 2006). “Where Have All the Leaders Gone? The Long-Lost Executive Process Improvement Project”. Retrieved online October 27, 2007 from http://performancedesignlab.com/Files/ArticleFiles/8/Document1/Where%20Have%20All%20The%20Leaders%20Gone.pdf

 Snow & Associates, Inc. (2006). “Our Associates”. Retrieved online October 27, 2007 from http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:CPWKtgtScMAJ:snowassociates.com/ourAssociates.asp+Papa+John%27s+quality+focus+TQM&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us.

 Wojcicki, E. (Oct. 1993). “Putting Quality First In Managing Government”. Retrieved online October 27, 2007 from http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/1993/ii931019.html

Total Quality Management and the 21st Century Organization

August 16, 2009

Total Quality Management (TQM) is the management philosophy singularly focused upon a corporation’s customers. By continuously monitoring, adjusting, and creating new processes, companies are able to create the highest quality product for their consumer base, following the assumption that these consumers will then equate that corporation with quality products, therefore, establishing a superior brand image and forecasting future sales from loyal consumers.

In the following analysis, this author will discuss TQM as it exists in 21st century corporations, with a particular emphasis on the effect of globalization on TQM practices. A comparison of traditional management styles to TQM will follow. Lastly, this author will examine ways that TQM practices could affect XXXXX Corporation, a merchandiser for [Major Retailer] stores throughout the nation.

The Impact of Globalization on TQM

21st century globalization has greatly impacted TQM philosophies in organizations. U.S. corporations now carefully consider outsourcing production and manufacturing, as the labor costs in other countries is considerably less expensive than those of American workers. When a corporation chooses to either expand operations to a foreign country or begin selling products or services globally, two major conflicts may arise and disrupt TQM practices.

First, culture undoubtedly affects workplace behavior. It has been clearly identified that many societies during the post World War II period became accustomed to shoddy craftsmanship and inexpensive products that would not last over time. Due to this cultural shift in consumer behavior, it is entirely possible that other countries, long involved in the production of such inferior products, still retain this theory that products need not be well-made; instead, the quantity of products pushed out the door is the major focus.

For example, southeastern Asiatic nations such as Taiwan, Korea and China began manufacturing inexpensive consumer goods during the early 19th century. Products composed of plastics, ceramics, china, and pottery were produced on a huge scale, and exported to industrialized nations such as the United States. Despite the fact that American collectors now prize these “kitschy” products, during the 1970s consumers in the U.S. began to value product quality after a string of product recalls and a significant recession. Products needed to be crafted for longevity; Americans simply could not afford to purchase “throwaway” goods.  This cultural consumer behavior exerted upon Asian producers surely influenced their production techniques. In the 1980s Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai unveiled several models to the U.S. market. After proving themselves to be of questionable quality, Americans soon believed Asian auto manufacturers could not compete, from a quality standpoint, with Detroit’s auto-makers (Edmunds.com; n.d.).

However, in the late 1990s Hyundai autos resurfaced on the U.S. automobile dealership terrain. Offered with extensive warranties, the automobiles were first received slowly due to Hyundai’s reputation from the past. However, Hyundai and its subsidiary brand Kia now command an impressive market share of the U.S. auto market, and are considered by many American drivers to be a maker of inexpensive yet durable auto products (Haille, D.; Aug. 2006).

Companies that produce or offer products and services in other countries have an influence imposed upon their TQM practices due to cultural belief systems and past consumer experiences. Globalization exerts different forces upon corporations, and these influences can negatively impact company’s commitment to TQM philosophies.

Total Quality Management Compared to Traditional Management Philosophies

While TQM may be practiced by traditional organizations, it has very different focuses from that of traditional management philosophies. Several key tenets of TQM are virtually opposite that of the 20th century organization.

First, TQM is a customer oriented management style instead of a company-focused belief system. The conventional corporation is led by executives constantly seeking to improve the organization for the benefit of its internal and external shareholders. TQM is dedicated to the philosophy that an organization cannot succeed without satisfying its customers – their needs come first. This customer focus creates a very different organizational culture, as employees recognize which entity funds their salaries. While the corporation may write the paycheck, the financial strength comes from satisfied customers that continue to purchase products (Bacal, R.; n.d.).

Second, organizations practicing the TQM philosophy tend to have a more long-term focus. Classical management principles dictate that leaders are constantly observing and reacting to current data, with an eye for both solving crises quickly and producing financial successes immediately. TQM is a management theory poised towards future goals. Developing an organization to fully implement TQM principles is a lengthy and often expensive goal. From a value creation standpoint, TQM is worth the time and cost. An organization thoroughly practicing TQM, from production to marketing, is clearly setting its sights on future success. TQM at its heart is a long-term goal – both in embedding TQM in its value system and in its dedication to creating satisfied customers for their lifetime.

Sunbelt Services, Inc. and Total Quality Management

XXXXX Corporation is a merchandising organization servicing [Major Retailer] stores nationwide. The company relies upon manufacturing-like production goals in order to effectively place [Major Retailer] products in the proper spots. TQM could be a perfect fit for this production oriented service organization. Not only could TQM help managers evaluate, train, and communicate with field merchandising representatives, but the organization’s leadership may be able to center on the relationship between XXXXX Corporation and [Major Retailer]. In an organization with incredibly high turnover rates, employee retention could be achieved through the incorporation of TQM principles in XXXXX Corporation’s philosophy.

Conclusion

TQM is a non-traditional management style focused upon long-term customer satisfaction. While the 21st century wave of globalization has exerted new pressures on the TQM organization, the philosophy is bound by a belief system suited for the customer-oriented organization.

Resources

Bacal, R. (n.d.). “TQM – What Is It?”. Retrieved online October 12, 2007 from http://performance-appraisals.org/Bacalsappraisalarticles/articles/tqm1.htm.

Burrill, C.W. & Ledolter, J. (1999). “Achieving Quality Through Continual Improvement” (1 E). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved online through the University of Phoenix student webpage (eResource) on October 12, 2007.

Edmunds.com (n.d.). “Hyundai History”. Retrieved online October 13, 2007 from http://www.edmunds.com/hyundai/history.html.

Maille, D. (Aug. 2006). “Why Ford Motor Company Is Losing Market Share Fast To Hyundai”. Retrieved online October 13, 2007 from http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-Ford-Motor-Company-Is-Losing-Market-Share-Fast-To-Hyundai&id=274198

Human Resources Trends

August 16, 2009

Human resources professionals face never-ending challenges in the 21st century global economy. Whether hiring and firing employees in the U.S. and China, or comprehending Indian labor regulations, HR employees are now asked to become experts in many different areas. Other business trends, such as corporate diversity recognition, have required human resources workers to appreciate delicate ethical and moral balances. In the following analysis of business trends affecting human resource practices, we will take a look at the influences of globalization, technology, diversity, e-business, and ethics. By focusing upon these factors, perhaps we can get a better glimpse of the complex challenges facing corporate human resources departments.

Globalization

From Fortune 500 mega-corporations to the third-generation, family delicatessen, companies are no longer limited to doing business in their local community, or even in their home country. In fact, the global economy has saturated all industries, as more and more countries encouraged less restrictive trade policies and as corporate thought-leaders became able to communicate more readily through the use of the internet and email.

Globalization has brought about increasing complexities for the human resources professional, however. HR employees are now becoming global labor experts, able to determine the nuances of foreign labor regulations. For example, for a company expanding operations to India, and planning on staffing 200 call center employees, the corporate HR specialist must determine Indian worker’s compensation requirements, health insurance, benefits programs typical to Indian businesses, and appropriate pay and salary scales. There is no doubt that the global economy is now creating human resources employees that are grasping more complex issues; knowledgeable about communicating across all cultures and ethnicities; and are adept problem solvers, aware that 21st century human resources requires pain-staking attention to detail.

Technology

Human resources professionals are constantly affected by changes in technology. For example, several years ago, the payroll processing mega-giant ADP suffered a technology security breach, in which quite a few investors’ personal information was compromised. The 21st century global corporation now stores human resource data across many computer servers that function throughout the company’s world offices. As a result, human resources-specific technology has become a key talking point, as employee information is so incredibly sensitive.

In today’s human resources department, technology is constantly evolving, for several purposes. First, companies are constantly increasing their employees, whether through global expansion or mergers and acquisitions. Having technology that can handle each individual employee’s profile is incredibly valuable. Second, benefits packages have become much more complex than that of the past. Employees are now offered all kinds of different benefits, from employee assistance programs to pet insurance. Having technology capable of measuring, recording, and storing this complex information is absolutely necessary.

Diversity

As the global economy is now part of all industries, understanding, appreciating, and supporting diversity is now an integral component of a healthy functioning corporation. Human resources professionals are often the first-line support for diversity issues. When communication problems occur between departments, due to their staff coming from very different cultures, the human resources employee is charged with helping managers mediate and promote appreciation for others.

There is no doubt that diversity is challenging. While many companies are now growing facilities in other countries, many companies are now bringing employees to America from other parts of the world. In many cases, companies are making a global melting pot within one office building.

In cases such as this, human resources professionals must be constantly aware of diversity issues as they exist in the organization. From a knowledge standpoint, HR employees must also keep abreast of other companies’ diversity practices, keeping an eye out for benchmarked systems that help a corporation function.

 

Helping corporations adjust to the challenges involved with a diverse workforce is an integral function that human resources professionals provide. Diversity was not an issue readily recognized even 20 years ago. Now, with the globalization of economies, corporations must be prepared to handle diversity issues with a knowledgeable, self-aware focus. HR employees help companies navigate these waters, and provide support and training for corporate employees struggling with diversity. 

Resources

 Ethics Quality (n.d.). “Ethics and Culture Management are Good for Business”. Retrieved March 1, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Resource_Management_Systems

Esdaille, M.(Jun. 2006). “HR growth: what you need to know about the changes in HR?. Black Enterprise Online. Retrieved online March 1, 2007 from

 Rioux, S.M.; Bernthal, P.R. & Wellins, R.S.(n.d.)”The Globalization of Human Resources Practices”. Retrieved online March 1, 2007 from http://www.ddiworld.com/pdf/ddi_theglobalizationofhrpractices_es.pdf

 Rodriguez, R. (Aug. 2006). “Diversity Finds Its Place”. HR Magazine Vol.51, No. 8. Society for Human Resource Management Online. Retrieved March 1, 2007 from Society for Human Resource Management Online at http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/0806/0806rodriguez.asp

Wikipedia (n.d.). “Human Resource Management Systems”. Retrieved March 1, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Resource_Management_Systems.