Sunday, February 28, 2010


Company strives to promote the most capable and experienced employees based on their demonstrated ability to assume greater responsibility and perform essential job tasks. Consequently, reasonable efforts will be made to fill vacant positions from within, where possible. At the same time, it may be deemed necessary to recruit and hire outside company to attract the most qualified individual for a particular job vacancy.  Therefore, job openings may be posted on company bulletin boards and other areas accessible to all employees.  Simultaneously, outside recruiting sources may be used.  Posted vacancies shall remain open for a minimum of three (3) workdays. To be eligible to apply for a posted vacancy, employees must meet the minimum hiring specifications for the position, have completed his/her introductory period, and be an employee in good standing in terms of his/her overall work record.  Selections for promotions and transfers shall be made based on an individual’s overall qualifications and ability to perform the essential duties required of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.


If you think that the cover letter is a relatively unimportant component of your application, guess again! Making a good impression through your cover letter can be the difference between getting an interview and having another resume deleted or tossed in the trash without being looked at. Your cover letter says a lot about you and it’s vital to use this opportunity to tell the recruiter some things about your character which don't easily come through in your resume. For one thing, your cover letter shows your ability to effectively communicate your thoughts on paper, but most importantly it allows you to say, in plain English, what you offer and what you bring to the position. If you want a great job, you need to have a great cover letter to compliment your resume.
While the cover letter is a significant part of the recruitment process, don’t start thinking that it’s as easy as writing a letter home. Your cover letter has to say all the right things and it has to say them quickly, as you have little space. Most people become frustrated by this and even become a little intimidated.


The orientation and training that expatriates and their families receive before departure have a major impact on the success of the overseas assignment. Three areas affect the cross-cultural adjustment process: (a) work adjustment,(b) interaction adjustment, and (c) general adjustment. Permeating all of those areas is the need for training in foreign language and culture familiarization. Many firms have formal training programs for expatriates and their families, and this training has been found to have a positive effect on cross-cultural adjustment.
Individuals selected to work outside the United States for MNEs need answers to many specific questions about their host countries. Such areas as political and historical forces, geographic and climatic conditions, and general living conditions are topics frequently covered in the orientation and training sessions on the culture of the host country. Expatriates and their families also must receive detailed, country-specific training on customs in the host country. Such knowledge will greatly ease their way in dealing with host-country counterparts. Training in such customs and practices also should be part of the training programs for individuals who will not live outside the home country but will travel to other countries for business purposes.
A related issue is the promotion and transfer of foreign citizens to positions in the United States. As more global organizations start or expand U.S. operations, more cross-cultural training will be necessary for international employees relocated to the United States. For example, many Japanese firms operating in the United States have training programs to prepare Japanese for the food, customs, and other practices of U.S. life. The acceptance of a foreign boss by U.S. workers is another concern. These issues point to the importance of training and development for international adjustment.
Once global employees arrive in the host country, they will need assistance in “settling in.” Arrangements should be made for someone to meet them and assist them. Obtaining housing, establishing bank accounts, obtaining driver’s licenses, arranging for admissions to schools for dependent children, and establishing a medical provider relationship are all basics when relocating to a new city, internationally or not. But differences in culture, language, and laws may complicate these activities in a foreign country. The sooner the expatriates and their families can establish a “normal” life, the better the adjustment will be, and the less likely that expatriate failure will occur.
Career planning and continued involvement of expatriates in corporate employee development activities are essential. One of the greatest deterrents to accepting foreign assignments is employees’ concern that they will be “out of sight, out of mind.” If they do not have direct and regular contact with others at the corporate headquarters, many expatriates experience anxiety about their continued career progression. Therefore, the international experiences of expatriates must be seen as beneficial to the employer and to the expatriate’s career.
One way to overcome problems in this area is for firms to invite the expatriates back for regular interaction and development programs with other company managers and professionals. Another useful approach is to establish a mentoring system. In this system, an expatriate is matched with a corporate executive in the headquarters. This executive talks with the expatriate frequently, ensures that the expatriate’s name is submitted during promotion and development discussions at the headquarters, and resolves any headquarters-based problems experienced by the expatriate.
Opportunities for continuing education represent another way for international employees to continue their development. In some of the more developed European countries, foreign executives and professionals may enroll in Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs at well-respected universities. By obtaining an MBA while on the international assignment, the expatriate keeps up with those with similar jobs in the home country who pursue advanced degrees while working full time.


  • Step 1:  Review your organization’s strategic goals and objectives
  • Step 2:  Conduct an internal inventory of available workforce resources
  • Step 3:  Scan the external environment for changes affecting labor supplies
  • Step 4:  Forecast shortages and surpluses
  • Step 5:  Develop recruiting and retention goals
  • Step 6:  Evaluate your progress at defined intervals to benchmark progress


Orientation is the planned introduction of new employees to their jobs, coworkers, and the organization. However, orientation should not be a mechanical, one-way process. Because all employees are different, orientation must incorporate a sensitive awareness of the anxieties, uncertainties, and needs of the individual. Orientation in one form or another is offered by most employers.

Orientation Responsibilities
Orientation requires cooperation between individuals in the HR unit and other managers and supervisors. In a small organization without an HR department, such as a machine shop, the new employee’s supervisor or manager has the total responsibility for orientation. In large organizations, managers and supervisors, as well as the HR department, should work as a team in employee orientation.
Together they must develop an orientation process that will communicate what the employee needs to learn. Supervisors may not know all the details about health insurance or benefit options, for example, but they usually can best present information on safety rules; the HR department then can explain benefits.

Purposes of Orientation for Employers
The overall goal of orientation is to help new employees learn about the organization as soon as possible, so that they can begin contributing. From the perspective of employers, the orientation process has several specific purposes, which are described next.

Both employers and new employees want individuals starting jobs to become as productive as possible relatively quickly. Texas Instruments found that orientation helps new employees reach full productivity levels at least two months sooner than those without effective orientation experiences. Some employers, including a large accounting firm, give new employees computer and intranet access upon acceptance of a job offer. That way new employees can become more familiar with the organization and its operations even before they go through a formal orientation program. This example illustrates that orientation to the organization really begins during the recruiting and selection processes, because the way individuals are treated and what they learn about the organization during the first contacts may shape how they approach new jobs.
Another facet of orientation that affects productivity is training new employees on the proper ways to perform their jobs. One construction company has found that emphasizing safety and instructing new employees in safe work practices has significantly reduced the number of lost-time injuries experienced by new employees.
Some employers have experienced significant turnover of newly hired employees, and it is common for over half of all new hires in hourly jobs to leave within their first year of employment. But employers with effective orientation programs have found that new employees stay longer. Corning Glass identified that 70% of the employees rating orientation highly were likely to stay at least three years. Another firm was able to reduce annual turnover rates by 40%, and much of the decline was attributed to more effective orientation of new employees.

Another purpose of orientation is to inform new employees about the nature of the organization. A general organizational overview might include a brief review of the organization; the history, structure, key executives, purpose, products, and services of the organization; how the employee’s job fits into the big picture; and other general information. If the employer prepares an annual report, a copy may be given to a new employee. Also, some organizations give new employees a list of terms that are used in the industry to help them learn regularly used vocabulary. The HR Perspective shows the passport used at ACI Worldwide. It describes an orientation approach that involves executives from throughout the firm, not just HR staff members.

Purpose of Orientation for New Employees
New employees generally are excited about the “new beginning” and also have anxieties about what they face. Therefore, orientation should help create a favorable impression and enhance interpersonal acceptance of new employees.

Although the first two purposes of orientation are employer-centered, another goal of orientation is to benefit the new employees. Certainly a good orientation program creates a favorable impression of the organization and its work. This impression begins even before the new employees report to work. Providing sufficient information about when and where to report the first day, handling all relevant paperwork efficiently, and having personable, efficient people assist the new employee all contribute to creating a favorable impression of the organization.

Another purpose of orientation is to ease the employee’s entry into the work group. New employees often are concerned about meeting the people in their work units. Further, the expectations of the work group do not always parallel those presented at management’s formal orientation. Also, if a well-planned formal orientation is lacking, the new employee may be oriented solely by the group, possibly in ways not beneficial to the organization. For example, at a software company the work group in the section where new employees were assigned delighted in telling the new employees “the way it really works here.” Some of their views were not entirely accurate. Therefore, orientation was essential for management to make certain that new employees knew what their supervisors wanted.

Establishing an Effective Orientation System
A systematic approach to orientation requires attention to attitudes, behaviors, and information that new employees need. Unfortunately, too often orientation is conducted rather haphazardly. The general ideas that follow highlight the major components of an effective orientation system: preparing for new employees, providing them with needed information, presenting orientation information effectively, and conducting evaluation and follow-up on the initial orientation.

New employees must feel that they belong and are important to the organization. Both the supervisor and the HR unit should be prepared to give each new employee this perception. Further, coworkers as well as the supervisor should be prepared for a new employee’s arrival. This preparation
is especially important if the new employee will be assuming duties that might be interpreted as threatening a current employee’s job status or security. The manager or supervisor should discuss the purpose of hiring the new worker with all current employees before the arrival of the new worker. Some organizations use coworkers or peers to conduct part of the new employees’ orientation. It is particularly useful to involve more experienced and higher-performing individuals who can serve as role models for new employees.

The guiding question in the establishment of an orientation system is, “What does the new employee need to know now?” Often new employees receive a large amount of information they do not immediately need, and they fail to get the information they really need the first day of a new job.
Some organizations systematize this process by developing an orientation checklist.  A checklist can ensure that all necessary items have been covered at some point, perhaps during the first week. Many employers have employees sign the checklist to verify that they have been told of pertinent rules and procedures.
Often, employees are asked to sign a form indicating that they have received
the handbook and have read it. This requirement gives legal protection to employers who may have to enforce policies and rules later. Employees who have signed forms cannot deny later that they were informed about policies and rules.
To help them understand the organization fully, new employees also should be oriented to the culture of the organization. Giving informal information on such factors as typical dress habits, lunch practices, and what executives are called will help new employees to adjust.
Another important type of initial information to give employees is information on the policies, work rules, and benefits of the company. Policies about sick leave, tardiness, absenteeism, vacations, benefits, hospitalization, parking, and safety rules must be made known to every new employee immediately. Also, the employee’s supervisor or manager should describe the routine of a normal workday for the employee the first morning.

Managers and HR representatives should determine the most appropriate ways to present orientation information. One common failing of many orientation programs is information overload. New workers presented with too many facts may ignore important details or inaccurately recall much of the information. For example, rather than telling an employee about company sick leave and vacation policies, an employee handbook that includes this information might be presented on the first day. The manager or HR representative then can review this information a few days later to answer any of the employee’s questions, and the employee can review it as needed. Some employers have invested considerable time and effort to make their orientation efforts interesting and useful.
Self-paced orientation, whereby employees review orientation information available electronically or on videotape, is growing in usage also. There are several advantages to this approach. Most of the general company information is online for employees to access from home or in offices throughout the world. It also saves several hours of HR staff time, and new employees can return to the information at any time. If they have specific questions, new employees can contact the HR staff either by phone or e-mail.
Indeed, employees will retain more of the orientation information if it is presented in a manner that encourages them to learn. In addition to the videotapes and computers already mentioned, some organizations have successfully used movies, slides, and charts. However, the emphasis should be on presenting information, not on entertaining the new employee. Materials such as handbooks and information leaflets should be reviewed periodically for updates and corrections.

A systematic orientation program should have an evaluation and/or reorientation phase at some point after the initial orientation. An HR representative or manager can evaluate the effectiveness of the orientation by conducting follow-up interviews with new employees a few weeks or months after the orientation. Employee questionnaires also can be used. Some organizations even give new employees a written test on the company handbook two weeks after orientation. Unfortunately, it appears that most employers do limited or no evaluation of the effectiveness of orientation, according to one survey of employers.
Too often, typical orientation efforts assume that once oriented, employees are familiar with everything they need to know about the organization forever. Instead, orientation should be viewed as a never-ending process of introducing both old and new employees to the current state of the organization. To be assets to their organizations, employees must know current organizational policies and procedures, and these may be altered from time to time.


Working in organizations is a continual learning process, and learning is at the heart of all training activities. Different learning approaches are possible, and learning is a complex psychological process that is not fully understood by practitioners or research psychologists.
Often, trainers or supervisors present information and assume that merely by presenting it they have ensured that it will be learned. But learning takes place only when information is received, understood, and internalized in such a way that some change or conscious effort has been made to use the information. Managers can use the research on learning to make their training efforts more effective. Some major learning principles that guide training efforts are presented next.

People learn at different rates and are able to apply what they learn differently. Ability to learn must be accompanied by motivation, or intention, to learn. Motivation to learn is determined by answers to questions like these: “How important is my job to me?” “How important is it that I learn that information?” “Will learning this help me in any way?” and “What’s in it for me?”
Additionally, people vary in their beliefs about their abilities to learn through training. These perceptions may have nothing to do with their actual ability to learn, but rather reflect the way they see themselves. People with low self-efficacy (low level of belief that they can accomplish something) benefit from one-on-one training. People with high self-efficacy seem to do better with conventional training. Because self-efficacy involves a motivational component, it affects a person’s intention to learn.

Whole Learning
It is usually better to give trainees an overall view of what they will be doing than to deal immediately with the specifics. This concept is referred to as whole learning or Gestalt learning. As applied to job training, this means that instructions should be divided into small elements after employees have had the opportunity to see how all the elements fit together.
Another concept is attentional advice, which refers to providing trainees information about the processes and strategies that can lead to training success. By focusing the trainees’ attention on what they will encounter during training and how it is linked to their jobs, trainers can improve trainees’ participation in the training process. For instance, if customer service representatives are being trained to handle varying types of difficult customer calls, the training should give an overview of the types of calls, the verbal cues indicating the different types of calls, and the desired outcomes for each type of call.

The concept of reinforcement is based on the law of effect, which states that people tend to repeat responses that give them some type of positive reward and avoid actions associated with negative consequences. The reinforcers that an individual receives can be either external or internal, and many training situations provide both kinds. A new salesclerk who answers a supervisor’s question correctly and is complimented for doing so may receive both an external reward (the compliment) and an internal reward (a feeling of pride). A person who is positively reinforced for learning is more likely to continue to learn.

Behavior Modification
A comprehensive approach to training has been developed based on the concept of reinforcement. This popular approach, behavior modification, uses the theories of psychologist B.F. Skinner, who stated that “learning is not doing; it is changing what we do.” Behavior modification makes use of four means of changing behavior, labeled intervention strategies. The four strategies are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and extinction. Each is reviewed next.
A person who receives a desired reward receives positive reinforcement. If an employee is on time every day during the week and, as a result, receives extra pay equivalent to one hour of normal work, the employee has received positive reinforcement of his or her good attendance by receiving a desired award. Negative reinforcement occurs when an individual works to avoid an undesirable consequence. An employee who arrives at work on time every day may do so to avoid a supervisor’s criticism. Thus, the potential for criticism leads to the employee’s taking the desired action.
Action taken to repel a person from undesirable action is punishment. A grocery manager may punish a stock clerk for leaving the stockroom dirty by forcing her to stay after work and clean it up.
Behavior can also be modified through a technique known as extinction, which is the absence of an expected response to a situation. The hope is that unreinforced behavior will not be repeated.
All four strategies can work to change behavior, and combinations may be called for in certain situations. But research suggests that for most training situations, positive reinforcement of the desired behavior is most effective.

Immediate Confirmation
Another learning concept is immediate confirmation: people learn best if reinforcement is given as soon as possible after training. Feedback on whether a learner’s response was right or wrong should be given as soon as possible after the response. To illustrate, suppose a corporate purchasing department has developed a new system for reporting inventory information. The purchasing manager who trains inventory processors may not have the trainees fill out the entire new inventory form when teaching them the new procedure. Instead the manager may explain the total process and then break it into smaller segments, having each trainee complete the form a section at a time. By checking each individual’s form for errors immediately after each section is complete, the purchasing manager can give immediate feedback, or confirmation, before the trainees fill out the next section. This immediate confirmation corrects errors that, if made throughout the whole form, might establish a pattern that would need to be unlearned.

Learning Practice and Patterns
Learning new skills requires practice and application of what is learned. Both research and experience show that when designing training, behavioral modeling, practice, and learning curves are all important considerations.

The most elementary way in which people learn—and one of the best—is behavior modeling, or copying someone else’s behavior. A variation of modeling occurs when people avoid making mistakes they see others make. The use of behavior modeling is particularly appropriate for skill training in which the trainees must use both knowledge and practice.

Active practice occurs when trainees perform job-related tasks and duties during training. It is more effective than simply reading or passively listening. Research has found that active practice was the factor most closely associated with improved performance following training. Once some basic instructions have been given, active practice should be built into every learning situation. It is one of the advantages of good on-the-job training. Assume a person is being trained as a customer service representative. After being given some basic selling instructions and product details, the trainee should be allowed to call a customer to use the knowledge received.

Active practice can be structured in two ways. The first, spaced practice, occurs when several practice sessions are spaced over a period of hours or days. The other, massed practice, occurs when a person does all of the practice at once. Spaced practice works better for some kinds of learning, whereas massed practice is better for others. For example, training cashiers to operate a new machine could be alternated with having the individuals do tasks they already know how to do. Thus, the training is distributed instead of being concentrated into one period.
For other kinds of tasks, such as memorizing tasks, massed practice is usually more effective. Can you imagine trying to memorize the list of model options for a dishwasher one model per day for 20 days as an appliance distribution salesperson?
By the time you learned the last option, you would have forgotten the first one.

People in different training situations learn in different patterns, called learning curves. The kind of learning curve typical of a given task has implications for the way the training program is designed. In some situations, the amount of learning and/or the skill level increases rapidly at first, then the rate of improvement slows. For example, when an employee first learns to operate a stamping machine, the rate of production increases rapidly at first and then slows as the normal rate is approached. Learning to perform most routine jobs follows such a curve.
Another common pattern occurs when a person tries to learn an unfamiliar, difficult task that also requires insight into the basics of the job. In this pattern, learning occurs slowly at first, then increases rapidly for a while, and then flattens out. Learning to debug computer systems is one example, especially if the learner has little previous contact with computers.

Transfer of Training
For effective transfer of training from the classroom to the job, two conditions must be met. First, the trainees must be able to take the material learned in training and apply it to the job context in which they work. Second, use of the learned material must be maintained over time on the job.
One way to aid transfer of training to job situations is to ensure that the training is as much like the jobs as possible. In the training situation, trainees should be able to experience the types of situations they can expect on the job. For example, training managers to be better interviewers should include role playing with “applicants” who respond in the same way that real applicants would.


Evaluation of training compares the post-training results to the objectives expected by managers, trainers, and trainees. Too often, training is done without any thought of measuring and evaluating it later to see how well it worked. Because training is both time-consuming and costly, evaluation should be done. The management axiom that “nothing will improve until it is measured” may apply to training assessment. In fact, at some firms, what employees learn is directly related to what they earn, which puts this principle of measurement into practice.
One way to evaluate training is to examine the costs associated with the training and the benefits received through cost/benefit analysis. As mentioned earlier, comparing costs and benefits is easy until one has to assign an actual dollar value to some of the benefits. The best way is to measure the value of the output before and after training. Any increase represents the benefit resulting from training.
However, careful measurement of both the costs and the benefits may be difficult in some situations. Therefore, benchmarking training has grown in usage.

Rather than doing training evaluation internally, some organizations are using benchmark measures of training that are compared from one organization to others.
To do benchmarking, HR professionals in an organization gather data on training and compare it to data on training at other organizations in the industry and of their size. Comparison data is available through the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) and its Benchmarking Service. This service has training-related data from over 1,000 participating employers who complete detailed questionnaires annually. Training also can be benchmarked against data from the American Productivity and Quality Center and the Saratoga Institute.
In both instances, data is available on training expenditures per employee, among other measures.

It is best to consider how training is to be evaluated before it begins. Donald L.
Kirkpatrick identified four levels at which training can be evaluated.  The ease of evaluating training becomes increasingly more difficult as training is evaluated using reaction, learning, behavior, and results measures.
But the value of the training increases as it can be shown to affect behavior and results instead of reaction and learning-level evaluations. Later research has examined Kirkpatrick’s schematic and raised questions about how independent each level is from the others, but the four levels are widely used to focus on the importance of evaluating training.

Organizations evaluate the reaction level of trainees by conducting interviews or by administering questionnaires to the trainees. Assume that 30 managers attended a two-day workshop on effective interviewing skills. A reaction- level measure could be gathered by having the managers complete a survey that asked them to rate the value of the training, the style of the instructors, and the usefulness of the training to them. However, the immediate reaction may
measure only how much the people liked the training rather than how it benefited them.

Learning levels can be evaluated by measuring how well trainees have learned facts, ideas, concepts, theories, and attitudes. Tests on the training material
are commonly used for evaluating learning and can be given both before and after training to compare scores. To evaluate training courses at some firms, test results are used to determine how well the courses have provided employees with the desired content. If test scores indicate learning problems, instructors get feedback, and the courses are redesigned so that the content can be delivered more effectively.
To continue the example, giving managers attending the interviewing workshop a test at the end of the session to quiz them on types of interviews, legal and illegal questions, and questioning types could indicate that they learned important material on interviewing. Of course, learning enough to pass a test does not guarantee that the trainee can do anything with what was learned or behave differently.
One study of training programs on hazardous waste operations and emergency response for chemical workers found that the multiple-choice test given at the end of the course did not indicate that those trained had actually mastered the relevant material. Also, as students will attest, what is remembered and answered on learning content immediately after the training is different from what may be remembered if the “test” is given several months later.

Evaluating training at the behavioral level involves (1) measuring the effect of training on job performance through interviews of trainees and their coworkers and (2) observing job performance. For instance, a behavioral evaluation of the managers who participated in the interviewing workshop might be done by observing them conducting actual interviews of applicants for jobs in their departments. If the managers asked questions as they were trained and they used appropriate follow-up questions, then a behavioral indication of the interviewing training could be obtained. However, behavior is more difficult to measure than reaction and learning. Even if behaviors do change, the results that management desires may not be obtained.

Employers evaluate results by measuring the effect of training on the achievement of organizational objectives. Because results such as productivity, turnover, quality, time, sales, and costs are relatively concrete, this type of evaluation can be done by comparing records before and after training. For the interviewing training, records of the number of individuals hired to the offers of employment made prior to and after the training could be gathered.
The difficulty with measuring results is pinpointing whether it actually was training that caused the changes in results. Other factors may have had a major impact as well. For example, managers who completed the interviewing training program can be measured on employee turnover before and after the training.
But turnover is also dependent on the current economic situation, the demand for product, and the quality of employees being hired. Therefore, when evaluating results, managers should be aware of all issues involved in determining the exact effect on the training.

If evaluation is done internally because benchmarking data are not available, there are many ways to design the evaluation of training programs to measure improvements.
The rigor of the three designs discussed next increases with each level.

The most obvious way to evaluate training effectiveness is to determine after the training whether the individuals can perform the way management wants them to perform. Assume that a manager has 20 typists who need to improve their typing speeds. They are given a one-day training session and then given a typing test to measure their speeds. If the typists can all type the required speed after training, was the training beneficial? It is difficult to say; perhaps they could have done as well before training. It is difficult to know whether the typing speed is a result of the training or could have been achieved without training.

By designing the typing speed evaluation differently, the issue of pretest skill levels could have been considered. If the manager had measured the typing speed before and after training, he could have known whether the training made any difference. However, a question remains. If there was a change in typing speed, was the training responsible for the change, or did these people simply type faster because they knew they were being tested? People often perform better when they know they are being tested on the results.

Another evaluation design can address this problem. In addition to the 20 typists who will be trained, a manager can test another group of typists who will not be trained to see if they do as well as those who are to be trained. This second group is called a control group. If, after training, the trained typists can type significantly faster than those who were not trained, the manager can be reasonably sure that the training was effective.
There are some difficulties associated with using this design. First, having enough employees doing similar jobs to be able to create two groups may not be feasible in many situations, even in larger companies. Second, because one group is excluded from training, there may be resentment or increased motivation by those in the control group, which could lead to distorted results, either positive or negative. Additionally, this design also assumes that performance measurement can be done accurately in both groups, so that any performance changes in the experimental group can be attributed to the training.
Other designs also can be used, but these three are the most common ones. When possible, the pre-/post-measure or pre-/post-measure with control group design should be used, because each provides a much stronger measurement than the post-measure design alone.


Background investigation may take place either before or after the in-depth interview. It costs the organization some time and money, but it is generally well worth the effort. Unfortunately, applicants frequently misrepresent their qualifications and backgrounds. According to one survey of employers, the most common false information given is length of prior employment, past salary, criminal record, and former job title.
Many universities report that inquiries on graduates and former students often reveal that the individuals never graduated. Some did not even attend the university.
Another type of credential fraud uses the mail-order “degree mill.” To enhance their chances of employment, individuals purchase unaccredited degrees from organizations that grant them for a fee—as one advertisement puts it, “with no exams, no studying, no classes.”
It is estimated that many resumes contain at least one lie or “factual misstatement”. The only way for employers to protect themselves from resume fraud and false credentials is to request verification on proof from applicants either before or after hire. If hired, the employee can be terminated for falsifying employment information. It is unwise for employers to assume that
“someone else has already checked.” Too often, no one took the trouble.

Background references can be obtained from several sources. Some of the following references may be more useful and relevant than others, depending on the jobs for which applicants are being considered:
-Academic references
-Prior work references
-Financial references
-Law enforcement records
-Personal references
Personal references, such as references from relatives, clergy, or family friends, often are of little value; they probably should not even be required. No applicant will ask somebody to write a recommendation who is going to give a negative response.
Instead, greater reliance should be placed on work-related references from previous employers and supervisor.

Several methods of obtaining reference information are available to an employer.
Telephoning a reference is the most-used method, but many firms prefer written responses.

Many experts recommend using a structured telephone reference-check form. Typically, such forms focus on factual verification of information given by the applicant, such as employment dates, salary history, type of job responsibilities, and attendance record. Other questions often include reasons for leaving the previous job, the individual’s manner of working with supervisors and other employees, and other less factual information. Naturally, many firms will provide only factual information. But the use of the form can provide evidence that a diligent effort was made.

Some organizations send preprinted reference forms to individuals who are giving references for applicants.
These forms often contain a release statement signed by the applicant, so that those giving references can see that they have been released from liability on the information they furnish. Specific or general letters of reference also are requested by some employers or provided by applicants.
Medical Examinations
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits a company from rejecting an individual because of a disability and from asking job applicants any question relative to current or past medical history until a conditional job offer is made. The ADA also prohibits the use of preemployment medical exams, except for drug tests, until a job has been conditionally offered.

Drug testing may be a part of a medical exam, or it may be done separately. Using drug testing as a part of the selection process has increased in the past few years, though not without controversy. Employers should remember that such tests are not infallible. The accuracy of drug tests varies according to the
type of test used, the item tested, and the quality of the laboratory where the test samples are sent. If an individual tests positive for drug use, then a second, more detailed analysis should be administered by an independent medical laboratory.
Because of the potential impact of prescription drugs on test results, applicants
should complete a detailed questionnaire on this matter before the testing. Whether urine, blood, or hair samples are used, the process of obtaining, labeling, and transferring the samples to the testing lab should be outlined clearly and definite policies and procedures established.
Drug testing also has legal implications. In a number of cases, courts have ruled that individuals with previous substance-abuse problems who have received rehabilitation are disabled and thus covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Also, preemployment drug testing must be administered in a nondiscriminatory manner, not used selectively with certain groups. The results of drug tests also must be used consistently, so that all individuals testing positive are treated uniformly. An applicant for a production-worker position who tests positive should be rejected for employment, just as an applicant to be vice-president of marketing would be.
Challenges to drug testing are less likely to succeed in the private sector than in the government sector. The Fourth Amendment (relating to search and seizure) fails as an argument by employees because the government is not involved.

Another controversial area of medical testing is genetic testing.
Some large companies currently are using genetic tests and many more are considering their use in the future. However, the general public disapproves strongly of their use.
Employers that use genetic screening tests do so for several reasons. First, the tests may link workplace health hazards and individuals with certain genetic characteristics. Second, genetic testing may be used to make workers aware of genetic problems that could occur in certain work situations. The third use is the most controversial: to exclude individuals from certain jobs if they have genetic conditions that increase their health risks. Because people cannot change their genetic makeup, the potential for discrimination based, for example, on race or sex is very real. For instance, sickle-cell anemia is a condition found primarily in African Americans. If chemicals in a particular work environment can cause health problems for individuals with sickle-cell anemia, African Americans might be screened out on that basis. The question is whether that decision should be made by the individual or the employer.

Monday, February 22, 2010


HR management as an organizational function traditionally was viewed as a staff function. Staff functions provide advisory, control, or support services to the line functions. Line functions are those portions of the organization directly concerned with operations resulting in products or services. Line authority gives people the right to make decisions regarding their part of the workflow; however, traditional staff authority only gives people the right to advise the line managers who will make the decisions.
Two different organizational arrangements that include an HR department are common. In one structure the HR function reports directly to the CEO, which is likely to result in greater status and access to the strategy-making process in organizations. Another structure that is still frequently found has the head of the HR unit reporting to the Vice President of Finance/Administration. This structure often leads to HR being focused more on operational and administrative issues.
Within the HR unit, it is common to structure jobs around the major HR activities.
A wide variety of jobs can be performed in HR departments. As a firm grows large enough to need someone to focus primarily on HR activities, the role of the HR generalist emerges—that is, a person who has responsibility for performing a variety of HR activities. Further growth leads to adding HR specialists who have in-depth knowledge and expertise in a limited area. Intensive knowledge of an activity such as benefits, testing, training, or affirmative action compliance typifies the work of HR specialists.
HR MANAGEMENT COSTS As an organization grows, so does the need for a separate HR department, especially in today’s climate of increasing emphasis on human resources. As might be expected, the number of HR-unit employees needed to serve 800 employees is not significantly different from the number needed to serve 2,800 employees. The same activities simply must be provided for more people. Consequently, the cost per employee of having an HR department is greater in organizations with fewer than 250 employees.
Two HR management trends are evident today in a growing number of organizations.
One is the decentralization of HR activities and the other is outsourcing of HR activities.
DECENTRALIZING HR ACTIVITIES How HR activities are coordinated and structured varies considerably from organization to organization. Many organizations have centralized HR departments, whereas these departments are decentralized throughout other organizations.
Centralization and decentralization are the end points on a continuum. Organizations are seldom totally centralized or decentralized. The degree to which authority to make HR decisions is concentrated or dispersed determines the amount of decentralization that exists. With centralization, HR decision-making authority/ responsibility is concentrated upward in the organization; whereas with decentralization HR decision-making authority/responsibility is distributed downward throughout the organization. How large an HR staff is or should be, or the extent of centralized or decentralized HR decision-making in organizations, is determined by many factors: culture of the organization, management style of the executives, geographic location, industry patterns, extent of unionization, and others.
What is occurring in some organizations is that HR activities are being aligned
more with the specific business needs of individual operating entities and subsidiaries.
The result is the shrinking of the staff in a centralized HR department for an entire organization. For instance, a financial services company has six different
subsidiaries. Each subsidiary has its own HR director and HR staff; and compensation, training, and employment are all handled by the HR professionals in each of the strategic business units. The only centralized HR activities are benefits design and administration, human resource information systems design and administration, and equal employment compliance reporting and monitoring. In this way the HR central and administrative functions can be centralized for efficiency, while also allowing each business unit to develop and tailor its HR practices to its own needs.
Even smaller organizations are decentralizing HR activities. In one hospital with about 800 employees, four HR representatives are designated for different sections of the hospital. These individuals are the primary contact for all HR needs of managers and employees in the various hospital departments. The only centralized HR functions are those mentioned earlier. The Vice President of Human Resources serves primarily as a strategist with the CEO and other senior-level managers. As a result of this shift, the hospital has had to train the HR professionals who specialized in an HR function such as employment to become HR generalists. In this way the HR “partnership” with operating managers has become stronger.
OUTSOURCING HR ACTIVITIES In a growing number of organizations, various HR
activities are being outsourced to outside providers and consultants. The HR Perspective discusses research done on HR outsourcing.
Outsourcing some HR activities can be beneficial for organizations for several reasons. First, the contractor is likely to maintain more current systems and processes, so that the employer does not have to keep buying new items, such as computer software, programs, and hardware. Also, many contractors have special expertise that is unavailable to HR managers in smaller organizations, whose time and experience both may be limited. A major benefit is to reduce HR payroll costs and shift activities to the outsourcing contractor. This shift means that the HR department has fewer people and more flexibility in changing its structure and operations as organizational changes require.
But outsourcing HR activities has some disadvantages also. First, the success of outsourcing rests in the competence of the outside vendor. Having a contract that identifies what will be done and what continuing support will be provided is crucial. Obviously, selecting an outsider who fails to provide good services or results reflects negatively on the HR staff in the organization. Second, some concerns exist about “losing control” by utilizing outsourcing. When data are available from and services are provided by an outsider, the HR staff may feel less important and more anxious because they do not have as much access and control. This concern can be partially addressed by clearly identifying the outsourcing relationship. In addition, sometimes outsourcing may cost more than providing some HR activities in-house, particularly if the contract is not clear on a variety of factors. In summary, there definitely are risks associated with outsourcing, but there are distinct advantages as well. Detailed analyses should be done by HR managers before outsourcing occurs, followed by periodic evaluations .