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Human Resource Management

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Human Resource Management (MGT501)
Lesson 39
A. Employee Separations
A. Discipline
As discussed in previous lectures, the term discipline refers to a condition in the organization where
employees conduct themselves in accordance with the organization's rules and standards of acceptable. For
the most part employees discipline themselves by conforming to what is considered proper behavior
because they believe it is the reasonable thing to do. One they are made aware of what is expected of them,
and assuming they find these standards or rules to be reasonable, they seek to meet those expectations. But
not all employees will accept the responsibility of self-discipline.  There are some employees that will
accept the norms of responsible employees' behavior. These employees, then, require some degree of
extrinsic disciplinary action. It is this need to impose extrinsic disciplinary action that we will address in the
following sections.
I. Discipline System Recommended by Labor Department
A fair discipline process is based on three prerequisites: rules and regulations, a system of progressive
penalties, and an appeals process. Inform employees ahead of time as to what is and is not acceptable
behavior. Progressive penalties range from oral warnings to written warnings to suspension from the job to
discharge; the severity is a function of the severity of the offense and, in some cases, the number of times
the offense has occurred. Discipline guidelines include the need to determine whether there was "just
cause" for disciplinary action by (1) using discipline in line with the way management usually responds to
similar incidents; (2) warning the employee of the consequences of the alleged misconduct; (3) punishing for
violation of rules that are "reasonably related" to the efficient and safe operation of the work environment;
(4) investigating adequately; (5) applying rules and employee's past history. Fairness is built into the system
of discipline without punishment in that the punitive nature of discipline is reduced while there is an
attempt to gain the employee's acceptance of the rules.
II. Factors to Consider when Disciplining
Before we review disciplinary guidelines, we should take at the major factors that need to be considered if
we are to have fair and equitable disciplinary practices. The following seven contingency factors can help us
analyze a discipline problem:
1. Seriousness of the problem. How sever is the problem? As noted previously, dishonesty is usually
considered a more serious infraction than reporting to work 20 minutes late.
2. Duration of problem. Have there been other discipline problems in the past, and over how long a
time span? The violation dies not take place in a vacuum. A first occurrence is usually viewed
differently than a third or fourth offense.
3. Frequency and mature of the problem. Is the current problems part of an emerging or
continuing pattern of disciplinary infractions? We are continual with not only the duration but also
the pattern of the problem. Continual infractions may require but also the pattern of the problem.
Continual infractions may require a different type of discipline from that applied to isolated
instances of misconduct. They may also point out a situation that demands far more sever
discipline in order to prevent a minor problem demands far more severe discipline in order to
prevent a minor problem from becoming a major one.
4. Extenuating Factors. Are there extenuating circumstances related to the problem? The student
who fails to turn in her term paper by the deadline because of the death of her grandfather is likely
to have her violation assessed more leniently than will her peer who missed the deadline because he
Human Resource Management (MGT501)
5. Degree of socialization. To what extent has management made an earlier effort to educate the
person causing the problem about the existing rules and procedures and the consequences of
knowledge that the violator holds of the organization's standards of acceptable behavior. In
contrast to the previous item, the new employee is less likely to have been socialized to these
standards than the 20-year veteran. Additionally, the organization that has formalized, written rules
governing employee conduct is more justified in aggressively enforcing
6. Violations of these rules than is the organization whose rules are informal or vague. History
of the Organization's Discipline practices. How have similar infractions been dealt with in the past
within the department? Within the entire organizations? Has there been consistency in the
application of discipline procedures? Equitable treatment of employees must take into
consideration precedents within the unit where the infraction occurs, as well as previous
disciplinary actions taken in other units within the organization. ? Equity demands consistency
against some relevant benchmark.
7. Management Backing. If employees decide to take their case to a higher level in management,
will you have reasonable evidence to justify your decision? Should the employee challenge your
disciplinary action, it is important that you have the data to back up the necessity and equity of the
action taken and that you feel confident that management will support your decision. No
disciplinary action is likely to carry much weight if violators believe that they can challenge and
successfully override their manager's decision.
How can these seven items help? Consider that there are many reasons for why we might discipline an
employee. With little difficulty, we could list several dozen or more infraction that management might
believe require disciplinary action. For simplicity's sake, we have classified the most frequent violations into
four categories: attendance, on-the- job behaviors, dishonesty, and on the job behavior.
Attendance like: Unexcused absence, chronic absenteeism, leaving without permission
Work Performance problems can include action like not completing work assignments,
producing substandard products or services not meeting established production
Dishonesty and Related Problems like, Theft, Falsifying employment application,
Willfully damaging organizational property, Punching another employee's time card,
Falsifying work records
On-the-job Behaviors like: Insubordination ,Smoking in unauthorized places, Fighting,
Gambling, Failure to use safety devices, Failure to report injuries, Carelessness, Sleeping on
the job, Using abusive or threatening language with supervisors, Possession of narcotics or
alcohol, Possession of firearms or other weapons, Sexual harassment,
Infractions may be minor or serious given the situation or the industry in which one works. For example,
while concealing defective work in a hand ­power tool assembly line may be viewed as minor, the same
action in an aerospace manufacturing plant is more serious. Furthermore, recurrence and severity of the
infraction will play a role. For instance, employees who experience their first minor offense might generally
expect a minor reprimand. A second offense might result in a more stringent reprimand, and so forth. In
contrast, the first occurrence of a serious offense might mean not being allowed to return to work, the
length of time being dependent on the circumstances surrounding the violation.
III. Disciplinary Guidelines:
All human resource managers should be aware of disciplinary guidelines. In the section, we will briefly
describe them.
Make Disciplinary Action Corrective Rather than punitive. The objective is to correct an
employee's undesirable behavior. While punishment may be a necessary means to that end,
one should never lose sight of the eventual objective.
b. Make disciplinary Action progressive. Although the type of disciplinary action that is
appropriate may vary depending on the situation, it is generally desirable for discipline to
Human Resource Management (MGT501)
be progressive. Only for the most serious violations will an employee be dismissed after a
first offense. Typically, progressive disciplinary action begins with a verbal warning and
proceeds through a written warning, suspension, and, only in the most serious cases,
dismissal. More on this in a moment.
Follow the "Hot-stove" Rule. Administering discipline can be viewed as analogous to
touching a hot stove (hence, the hot-stove rule).84 While both are painful to the recipient,
the analogy goes further. When you touch a hot stove, you get an immediate response; the
burn you receive is instantaneous, leaving no question of cause and effect. You have ample
warning; you know what happens if you touch a red-hot stove, you furthermore, the result
is consistent: every time you touch a hot stove, you get the same response you get burned.
In all, the result is impersonal; regardless of who you are, if you touch a hot stove, you will
get burned. The comparison between touching a hot stove and administering discipline
should be apparent, but let us briefly expand on each of the four points in the analogy.
The impact of a disciplinary action will be reduced as the time between the infraction and the penalty's
implementation lengthens. The more quickly the discipline follows the offense, the offense, the more likely
it is that the employee will associate the discipline with the offense rather than with the manager imposing
the discipline. As a result, kit is best that the disciplinary process begin as soon as possible after the violation
is noticed. Of course, this desire for immediacy should not result in undue haste. If all the facts are not in,
managers may invoke a temporary suspension, pending a final decision in the case. The manager has an
obligation to give advance warning prior to initiating formal disciplinary action. This means the employee
must be aware of the organization's rule and accept its standards of behavior. Disciplinary action is more
likely to be interpreted as fair by employees when there is clear warning that a given violation will lead to
discipline and when it is known that discipline will be. Fair treatment of employees also demands that
disciplinary action be consistent. When rule violations are enforced in an inconsistent manner, the rules lose
their impact. Morale will decline and employees will question the competence of management. Productivity
will suffer as a result of employee insecurity and anxiety. All employees want to know the limits of
permissible behavior, and they look to the actions of their managers for such feedback.
The last
guideline that flows from the hot-stove rule is: keep the discipline impersonal. Penalties should be
connected with a given violation, not with the personality of the violator. That is, discipline should be
directed at what employees have done, not the employees themselves. As a, manager, you should make it
clear that violation personal judgments about the employee's character. You are penalizing the rule
violation, not the individual, and all employees committing the violation can expect to be penalized.
Furthermore, once the penalty has been imposed, you as manager must make every effort to forget the
incident; you should attempt to treat the employee in the same manner as you did prior to the infraction.
IV. Disciplinary Actions (Progressive discipline)
As mentioned earlier, discipline generally follows a typical sequence of four steps: written verbal warning,
written warning, suspension, and dismissal. Let's
briefly review these four steps.
a. Written Verbal Warning
The mildest form of discipline is the written
verbal warning. Yes, the term is correct. A
written, verbal warning is a temporary record of
a reprimand that is then placed in the manager's
file on the employee. This written verbal
warning should state the purpose, date, and
outcome of the interview with the employee.
This in fact, what differentiates the written
verbal warning from the verbal warning. Because
of the need to document this step in the process,
the verbal warning must be put into writing. The
difference, however, is that this warning remains
in the hands of the manager; that is, it is not
Human Resource Management (MGT501)
forwarded to HRM for inclusion in the employee's personnel file.
The written verbal reprimand is best achieved when completed in a private and informal environment. The
manager should begin by clearly informing the employee of the rule that has been violated and the problem
that this infraction has caused. For instance, if the employee has been late several times, the manager would
reiterate the organization's rule that employees are to be at their desks by 8:00 A.M, and then proceed to
give specific evidence of how violation of this rule has resulted in an increase in workload for others and
has lowered departmental morale. After the problem has been made clear, the manager should then allow
the employee to respond. Is he aware of the problem? Are there extenuating circumstances that justify his
behavior? What does he plan to do correct his behavior?
After the employee has been given the opportunity to make his case, the manager must determine if the
employee has proposed an adequate solution to the problem. If this has not been done, the manager should
direct the discussion toward helping the employee figure out ways to prevent the trouble from recurring.
Once a solution has been agreed upon, the manager should ensure that the employee understands what, if
any, follow-up action will be taken if the problem recurs.
b. Written Warning
The second step in the progressive discipline process is the written warning. In effect, it is the first formal
stage of the disciplinary procedure. This is because the written warning becomes part of the employee's
official personnel file. This is achieved by not only giving the warning to the employee but sending a copy
to HRM to be inserted in the employee's permanent record. In all other ways, however, the procedure
concerning the writing of the warning is the same as the written verbal warning; that is, the employee is
advised in private of the violation, its effects, and potential consequences of future violations. The only
difference is that the discussion concludes with the employee being told that a formal written warning will
be issued. Then the manager writes up the warning-stating the problem, the rule that has been violated, any
acknowledgment by the employee to correct her behavior, and the consequences form a recurrence of the
deviant behavior-and sends it to HRM.
c. Suspension
A suspension or layoff would be the next disciplinary step, usually taken only the prior steps have been
implemented without the desired outcome. Exceptions-where suspension is given without any prior verbal
or written warning ­occasionally occur if the infraction is of a serious nature.
A suspension may be for one day or several weeks; disciplinary layoffs in excess of a month are rare. Some
organizations skip this step completely because it can have negative consequences for both the company
and the employee. From the organization's perspective, a suspension means the loss of the employee for the
layoff period. If the person has unique skills or is a vital part of a complex process, her loss during the
suspension period can severely impact her department or the organization performance if a suitable
replacement cannot be located. From the employee's standpoint, a suspension can result in the employee
returning in a more unpleasant and negative frame of mind than before the layoff.
Then why should management consider suspending employees as a disciplinary measure? The answer is that
a short layoff is potentially a rude awakening to problem employees. It may convince them that
management is serious and may move them to accept responsibility for following the organization's rules.
d. Dismissal
Management's ultimate disciplinary punishment is dismissing the problem employee. Dismissal should be
used only for the most serious offenses. Yet it may be the only feasible alternative when an employee's
behavior seriously interferes with a department or the organization's operation.
A dismissal decision should be given long and hard consideration. For almost all individuals, being fired
from a fob is an emotional trauma. For employees who have been with the organization for many years'
dismissal can make it difficult to obtain new employment or may require the individual to undergo extensive
retraining. In addition, management should consider the possibility that a dismissed employee will take legal
action to fight the decision. Recent count cases indicate that juries are cautiously building a list of conditions
under which employees may not be lawfully discharged.
Human Resource Management (MGT501)
B. Employee Separations
I. Employee Separations
An employee separation occurs when an employee ceases to be a member of an organization. The rate of
employee separations in an organization (the turnover rate) is a measure of the rate at which employees
leave the firm.
a.  The Costs of Employee Separations
There are always costs associated with employee separations. The cost may be more or less, depending on
whether managers intend to eliminate the position or to replace the departing employee. Costs included in
separations include: recruitment costs, selection costs, training costs, and separation costs.
Recruitment costs.
Selection costs.
Training costs.
Separation costs.
b. The Benefits of Employee Separations
While many people understand the costs of employee separations, there are benefits as well. Some of the
benefits of separations include: reduced labor costs, replacement of poor performers, increased innovation,
and the opportunity for greater diversity.
Reduced labor costs.
Replacement of poor performers.
Increased innovation.
Opportunity for greater diversity.
Types of Employee Separations
Employee separations can be divided into two categories based on who initiates the termination of the
employment relationship. Voluntary separations (quits and retirements) are initiated by the employee.
Involuntary separations (discharges and layoffs) are initiated by the employer.
Voluntary Separations
b. Involuntary Separations
Involuntary separations occur when management decides to terminate its relationship with an employee due
to economic necessity or a poor fit between the employee and the organization.
Downsizing and rightsizing. A reduction in the number of people employed by a firm
(also known as restructuring and rightsizing); essentially the reverse of a company growing and
suggests a one-time change in the organization and the number of people employed
III. Managing Early Retirements
When a company realizes that it needs to downsize its scale of operations, its first task is to examine
alternatives to layoffs. One of the most popular of these methods is early retirement.
Human Resource Management (MGT501)
The Features of Early Retirement Policies: Early retirement policies consist of
two features: (a) a package of financial incentives that make it attractive for senior employees to
retire earlier than they planned and (b) an open window that restricts eligibility to a fairly short
period. After the window is closed, the incentives are no longer available to senior employees.
Avoiding Problems with Early Retirements: Managing early retirement policies
requires careful design, implementation, and administration. When not properly managed, early
retirement policies can cause a host of problems. All managers with senior employees should make
certain that they do not treat senior employees any differently than other employees.
IV. Managing Layoffs
Generally, an organization will institute a layoff when it cannot reduce its labor costs by any other means.
Managers should first try to reduce labor costs with layoff alternatives.
Alternatives to Layoffs: There are many alternative methods of reducing labor costs that
management should explore before deciding to conduct a layoff. These alternatives include things
such as early retirements, employment policies (attrition and hiring freeze), job redesign (job
sharing), pay and benefits policies (pay freezes and cuts), training, and other voluntary workforce
Employment policies.
Changes in job design.
Pay and benefits policies.
Nontraditional alternatives to layoffs.
Implementing a Layoff: A layoff can be a traumatic event that affects the lives of thousands of
people, so managers must implement the layoff carefully. Issues that need to be considered include
how to notify employees, developing layoff criteria, communicating to laid-off employees,
coordinating media relations, maintaining security, and reassuring survivors of the layoff.
Notifying employees.
Developing layoff criteria.
Communicating to laid-off employees.
Coordinating media relations.
Maintaining security.
Reassuring survivors of the layoff.
Outplacement is a human resource program created to help separated employees deal with the emotional
stress of job loss and to provide assistance in finding a new job
The Goals of Outplacement:
The goals of outplacement reflect the organization's need to maintain employee productivity. The most
important of these goals are (1) reducing the moral problems of employees who will be laid off so that they
will remain productive; (2) minimizing the amount of litigation initiated by separated employees; and (3)
assisting separated employees in quickly finding comparable jobs.
Outplacement Services: The most common outplacement services provided to separate
employees are emotional support and job-search assistance. These services can help achieve the
goals of outplacement.
Emotional support.
Job-search assistance.
Human Resource Management (MGT501)
VI. The role of HR Department in employee separations and outplacement
Cooperation and teamwork characterize the relationship between managers and HR staff in the employee
separation process. HR staff can act as valuable advisers to managers, particularly in the dismissal process,
by helping them avoid mistakes that can lead to claims of wrongful discharge. They can also help protect
the employee whose rights may be violated by managers. Furthermore, they may assist in the development
of and/or selection of the contents of voluntary severance plans or buyouts, early retirement plans, and
outplacement services
Employee Separations
An employee separation occurs when an employee ceases to be a member
of an organization.
A reduction in the number of people employed by a firm (also known as
restructuring and rightsizing)
A company procedure that assists a laid-off employee in finding
employment elsewhere
Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO HRM:Growing Importance of HRM, Road Map of the Course
  2. ESSENTIALS OF MANAGEMENT:Concepts and Essential of Management, Managerís Roles
  3. ORGANIZATION AND COMPONENTS OF ORGANIZATION:Open versus Closed Systems, The Hawthorne Studies
  4. PEOPLE AND THEIR BEHAVIOR:Why to work in organizations?, The Goals of Organizational Behavior
  5. INDIVIDUAL VS. GROUP BEHAVIOR:What Are Roles?, Problem solving Team
  6. PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT TO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT:Records and Administration, Competitive Advantage
  7. HRM IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT:Productivity, New Trends at Work Place
  8. How organization Cultivate a Diverse Workforce, STEPS TOWARD MANAGEMENT OF DIVERSITY
  9. FUNCTIONS AND ENVIRONMENT OF HRM:Compensation and Benefits, Safety And Health, Interrelationships of HRM Functions
  10. LINE AND STAFF ASPECTS OF HRM:Authority, Line versus Staff Authority, Staff Manager
  11. LEGAL CONTEXT OF HR DECISIONS:Doing the Right Thing, Affirmative Action, Unintended Consequences
  12. HUMAN RESOURCE PLANNING (HRP):Benefits of HR Planning, Forecasting Human Resource Availability
  13. STRATEGIC PLANNING AND HRIS:HRís Strategic Role, Human Resource Information System, Common HRIS Functions
  14. JOB ANALYSIS:Purposes of the job Analysis, Questions Job Analysis Should Answer
  15. JOB ANALYSIS:Methods of Collecting Job Analysis Information, Observation, Source of Data
  16. JOB ANALYSIS (CONTD.):SURPLUS OF EMPLOYEES FORECASTED, Diversity through Recruiting Efforts
  17. SOURCES OF RECRUITMENT:ALTERNATIVES TO RECRUITMENT, Quantity of the Applicants, Quality of the Applicants
  18. SELECTION:Initial Screening, Advantages of Successful Screening
  19. SELECTION TESTS:Characteristics of Properly Designed Selection Tests, Guidelines for Conducting an Interview
  20. SELECTION PROCESSÖ CONTD:Background Investigations, Physical Exam, Selecting Managers
  21. SOCIALIZATION:Compensation and Benefits, Team Membership, Stages in socialization Process, Training and Development Trends
  22. TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT:Learning, Phases of Training, Why Transfer of Training Fails
  23. MAXIMIZING LEARNING:Following up on Training, Repetition, Feedback, Purposes of T & D
  24. CAREER MANAGEMENT:Individual career planning, Career Planning and Development Methods
  25. PERFORMANCE:Determinants of Job Performance, Why is performance measured?, Performance Management
  28. COMPENSATION SYSTEM:Pay, Job Pricing, Compensation: An Overview, Compensation Surveys
  29. BENEFITS:Total Compensation, Discretionary Benefits (Voluntary), Workplace Flexibility
  30. ROLE OF MONEY IN PERFORMANCE OF EMPLOYEES:Types of Pay-for-Performance Plans, Empower Employees
  31. MOTIVATION:The Motivation Process, Motivational Theories, Challenges of motivating employees
  32. OCCUPATION, HEALTH & SAFETY:Physical Conditions, Accident Investigation, Smoking in The work place
  33. STRESS MANAGEMENT:Symptoms of Stress, Managing Stress,
  34. COMMUNICATION IN ORGANIZATION:Burnout, Social Support at Work & Home, Communication in organization, Meetings
  35. TRADE UNIONS:Collective Bargaining, The HRM Department in a Nonunion Setting, Phases of Labor Relations
  36. CONFLICT AND NEGOTIATION:Transitions in Conflict Thought, Individual Conflict Management Styles
  37. POWER AND POLITICS:Sources of Power, Advantages and Disadvantages of PowerPower and Politics in Context
  38. EMPLOYEE RIGHTS AND DISCIPLINE:Contractual Rights, Management Rights, Disciplining Employees,
  39. DISCIPLINE (CONT...):Factors to Consider when Disciplining, Disciplinary Guidelines, Employee Separations
  40. LEADERSHIP:The Leaderís Behavior, Situational Theories of Leadership, Becoming a Leader
  41. REVISION (LESSON 12-21):Plans, Job Specification, Human resource planning, Selection Process, Corporate Culture
  42. REVISION (LESSON 22-26):Training, Case Study Method, Training, Performance
  43. REVISION (LESSON 27-35):Classification Method, Compensation, Empowerment, Mediation
  44. INTERNATIONAL DIMENSIONS OF HRM:Global Corporation, Type of staff members, Approaches to Global Staffing
  45. CONCLUSION & REVIEW:Strategies for Gaining Competitive Advantage, High-performance Work System