Wes is responsible. His primary responsibility is to staff his positions and retain those employees. It seems he has quite a problem with this. If he has hired incompetent people, then he is not versed in staffing procedures. A good manager knows how to look at an applicant and see not only their momentary appeal but what they can add to the organization in the long run. The fact that he has had four office managers in six years reflects poorly upon him. His office seems unorganized and unproductive. This is his problem for not bringing stronger leadership and competency to the table. It takes much more effort to recruit than to retain and it seems as if he is failing on both accounts.
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How should Wes have integrated Amy into the organization?
He should have integrated her using a four prong system. The first is to implement a strong orientation program, as I will describe below. Sitting someone at a desk, with a mound of paperwork does nothing but foster frustration. If he would take time to organize an orientation program for all new employees, it would save time in the long run and increase his retention rates.
The second step is integration. This is the process of allowing her to wade into the organization’s procedures instead of just jumping in and trying to swim. The integration process starts with teaching basic policies and clarifying the scope of her position. She needs a clear indication of what she can and can not do. This training should include how to complete the components of her job description and who should check her progress. This training should encompass all those little details such as what form applies to which situation, how many copies are needs, who needs to sign off on it etc. These are things that people take for granted. New employees do not know standard procedures and difficult situations can develop from this omission.
The third step is development. There is no way an employee can develop their potential if they are frantically trying to fit in. Development takes place after the employee has taken the first steps of understanding their basic duties and completing them effectively. Then their talents should be taken into account and used to the organization’s advantage. They should be allowed to add to the whole. Instead of just following directives, they should be able to create their own goals. Further education or training must be made available to expand their job description and their abilities in order to allow them to add to the organization’s overall culture.
The last step is follow up and unfortunately it is the one most neglected in the professional world. So many times people feel unfulfilled, under appreciated and frankly bored because they have been doing their job well for so long and no one cares or notices. By introducing a quarterly follow up meeting, achievement can be recognized, training opportunities can be instituted and corrective measures can be introduced, if necessary. Sometimes the most effective measure of retention is just allowing time to talk to the people who work for you. This helps a manager understand his or her employees’ lives and what they want out of their work situation. It shows you care about them as people, not just as workers.
What kind of program would you design and recommend to develop Amy into an outstanding employee achieving her full potential?
There are three steps to my developmental program.
The orientation session should be the first step Amy took. It would have helped her feel comfortable. This is important not only to familiarize her with the environment but also to help her understand the scope of her position.
The first segment focuses on the importance of her position within the organization. As she enters the environment, she needs to understand the system and her place within it. I would suggest having a human resource representative that would initiate and guide her into the organization’s culture. Understanding the goals and objectives of the employer, helps a new employee feel more comfortable. Along with this, she should be introduced to the facility, the other employees and the way things are done. Nothing is as frustrating as trying to do something new, only to be told that “we don’t do it that way.” The employee feels alienated and often will stop asking for help or trying new things. This step eliminates that feeling.
Next, the scope of her job needs to be defined. She needs to thoroughly understand what she is expected to do, what she is allowed to do, and what is beyond the scope of her position. This is not training to understand how to fill out forms or how to understand procedures rather it is a moment of empowerment. The training comes next.
II. Buddy System (to fill—should be used to train)
Training is often facilitated by seeing someone else do it first. If a new employee is assigned a “buddy” or a mentor, they can always go to them and ask for advice. Had Amy had a mentor, she could have asked about the scholarship program and received advice before adding names to the list and putting herself in a poor position. Also, this helps Wes. It seems that Wes is overwhelmed with his responsibilities. Admitting that he needs help and dividing his work will help him avoid repeating the mistakes he made with Amy. Good employees are hard to find and if they do not feel supported, they will not stay. Devising a system of mentors not only helps new employees but also allows more senior employees to feel appreciated and that their knowledge is valued.
III. Development and Follow Through
This is the stage that an employee such as Amy really needs. Already she feels frustrated and I am sure overworked. Any intelligent, self-starting employee needs their talents developed. Otherwise they get bored and begin to look for other opportunities. Development should include continuing education and job training. As well, employees at this stage should be encouraged to share their own ideas and thoughts for improving the organization. They begin to feel empowered and respected. This is the most important tool for retention that an employer has.
Some examples of training might include classes that extend their skills, such as accounting or physical training classes. You might provide them opportunities to network with other locations to discover best practices. Training programs could include those that center on human resource practices, office skills, grant writing or personnel management. By building value in your employees, you are increasing the value of your organization. This is the key to resource management and staff retention.