Monday, October 31, 2016

KPMG Recruits

KPMG recruits 1,500 to 2,000 graduates each year in Hong Kong and mainland China to support its fast expansion in the region. It targets top talents who are passionate, innovative, open and honest, and team players. But how can it achieve such a challenging target without com­promising on quality recruits? KPMG has adopted a rigorous selection process and top criteria involving four steps, before extending an em­ployment offer. First, candidates have to complete an online application form seeking information pertaining to their career ambitions and ex­tracurricular activities. More important, KPMG seeks a personal fit with its organizational values.

Second, KPMG invites candidates to undergo numerical reasoning and verbal reasoning tests, aimed at measuring a candidate's ability to analyze numerical data and information in a realistic context. The tests are objective selection tools that require good time management skills from the candidates.

Those passing the aptitude tests will be invited to analyze and pres­ent a company case to a manager. Candidates' analytical, presentation, and problem-solving skills are all assessed. Candidates will then have a one-to-one interview with the manager. The final round of the selection process is a second interview, where shortlisted candidates meet with a partner. Questions about the candidate's background, extra curricular activities, and current affairs are discussed. Competency-based behav­ioral questions may be included. Possible questions include: "Can you give me an example that demonstrates your leadership ability?" and "Can you share an experience about how you overcame difficulties?" Competencies such as team spirit, effective verbal communication, for­ward thinking, passion, and motivation in developing a career with the firm will also be assessed.

Thanks to these rigorous selection tools, KPMG manages to employ at a ratio of 1:9 (candidates hired to the number of applicants) in its graduate recruitment exercise each year, exhibiting the effectiveness of its selection procedure.

6-20. Nowadays, the online application form is a popular initial selection method. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this method.
6-21. Evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of KPMG's selection process and methods.

Sources: Margaret So, Director of Human Resources, KPMG Hong Kong; KPMG China,, accessed November 2011

Ya Kun Kaya International

Ya Kun was founded in 1944 by Loi Ah Koon, as a coffee shop that served coffee, tea, eggs, and toast. Ya Kun International moved to Singapore in 2001, where it now has 32 outlets, and has 27 franchise outlets in other parts of Asia. Its overseas outlets are located in Indone­sia, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Ya Kun has a family-style work environment and an established "promotion-from-within" policy. There is also a strong emphasis on team­work, where helping one another is the norm, even between employ­ees across outlets and departments. The top management reinforces this teamwork culture at Ya Kun. The organization also has a very flat struc­ture, where staff feel comfortable approaching their superiors to discuss their problems or suggestions for improvements.

Job openings for the outlet staff are advertised in Chinese and English newspapers, as well as through recruitment notices at Ya Kun outlets. Applicants who respond to the advertisements are invited for interviews. Applicants go through two rounds of interviews—one with the senior area manager and one with the operations manager. Job applicants are screened primarily for their level of commitment and willingness to work shifts. Other desirable qualities include integrity, diligence, and honesty. Prior experience in the food and beverage in­dustry is not essential. Ya Kun believes that if an applicant is committed and willing to learn, the necessary skills to excel in the job can easily be taught. Successful applicants then go through 2 weeks of training and remain on probation for 3 months. Most of Ya Kun Singapore's outlet staff are more than 30 years of age because mature workers generally have better work attitudes and exhibit a higher level of job commit­ment. Also, the majority of the outlet staff are Singaporeans, with a small proportion from Malaysia and China. Most of the outlet staff are full-time workers, with some part-time staff hired to complement the full-time staff when they go on vacation or become ill. The usual operating hours of each outlet are from 7 A.M. to 11 P.M., and the staff work 8-hour shifts. Each outlet has about 10 staff working each of the two shifts. The emphasis on good attitude and character in the selection of outlet staff has helped Ya Kun build a pool of hardworking and committed workers. Loyalty, honesty, and fairness are the most important attributes sought in selecting store managers from among the outlet staff. All these help keep the staff happy and committed to the company, which Ya Kun believes has translated into their serving customers well.

The main challenge Ya Kun faces is recruiting employees with the right attitude, because the technical skills required are rela­tively easy to learn. Some applicants are unwilling to work shifts, making it difficult for Ya Kun to hire them: shift work is inevitable in the food and beverage retail industry.

5-27. How would you forecast the manpower needs of Ya Kun?
5-28. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Ya Kun's hiring part-time workers?
5-29. A good attitude and commitment are two important attributes that Ya Kun looks for in its job applicants. Is a job interview an effective method to assess these two attributes? What else can Ya Kun do to get reliable information on these two attributes?
5-30. What suggestions would you make to Ya Kun to improve its recruiting processes?

Sources: The information in this case was obtained through online interviews with staff from Ya Kun; Ya Kun Kaya Toast,, accessec November 2009.

Recruiting In Europe

John graduated from a British university with a degree in Human Re¬source Management. It was there that he met Marie, a French Erasmus student. Marie had wanted to go back home, so John had secured a job in a recruitment agency in Marseille, France.
The agency, Talent Spotting Spectrum (TSS), headquartered in Barcelona and Madrid (Spain), is a HR consulting agency specializing in the recruitment and selection of international staff and sales staff. TSS has a workforce of 25 people, led by two managers, with 19 tenured employees. The company also has four outsourced IT technicians. Last year, TSS opened the French office; next year, the company plans to open another in Turin, Italy, and then expand to other European regions where opportunities are growing.
John's first task is to write job descriptions for two generic posts, which will be opened in each new office; the descriptions are to be written in English.

The Jobs
Accounts Manager:
Analyze new business opportunities
Deliver formal business presentations
Manage a team of HR consultants
Select, interview, and present candidates to clients
HR Consultant:
Find the right person to match requirements
Maintain excellent relations with clients
Advertise job opportunities on the different TSS Web sites and find resumes that have been posted on others

4-24. Referring to the duties listed above, make a list of the compe¬tencies required for each job.
Source: Data collated by Claire Mennessier, Charlotte Morel, and Estelle Seban,

The High-Performance Work System

As a recent graduate and as a person who keeps up with the business press, Jennifer Carter is familiar with the benefits of programs such as total quality management and high-performance work systems.
Jack, her father, actually installed a total quality program of sorts at Carter, and it has been in place for about 5 years. This program takes the form of employee meetings. Jack holds employee meetings periodi­cally, but particularly when there is a serious problem in a store—such as poor-quality work or machine breakdowns. When problems like these arise, instead of trying to diagnose them himself or with Jennifer, he contacts all the employees in that store and meets with them when the store closes. Hourly employees get extra pay for these meetings. The meetings have been useful in helping Jack to identify and rectify several problems. For example, in one store all the fine white blouses were coming out looking dingy. It turned out that the cleaner/spotter had been ignoring the company rule that required cleaning ("boiling down") the perchloroethylene cleaning fluid before washing items like these. As a result, these fine white blouses were being washed in clean­ing fluid that had residue from other, earlier washes.
Jennifer now wonders whether these employee meetings should be expanded to give the employees an even bigger role in managing the Carter stores' quality. "We can't be everywhere watching every­thing all the time," she said to her father. "Yes, but these people only earn about $8 to $15 per hour. Will they really want to act like mini- managers?" he replied.
3-21. Would you recommend that the Carters expand their quality program? If so, specifically what form should it take?

3-22. Assume the Carters want to institute a high-performance work system as a test program in one of their stores. Write a one-page outline summarizing important HR practices you think they should focus on.

Siemens Builds a Strategy-Oriented HR System

Siemens is a 150-year-old German company, but it's not the company it was even a few years ago. Until recently, Siemens focused on producing electrical products. Today the firm has diversified into software, engi­neering, and services. It is also global, with more than 400,000 employ­ees working in 190 countries. In other words, Siemens became a world leader by pursuing a corporate strategy that emphasized diversifying into high-tech products and services, and doing so on a global basis.
With a corporate strategy like that, human resource management plays a big role at Siemens. Sophisticated engineering and services re­quire more focus on employee selection, training, and compensation than in the average firm, and globalization requires delivering these services globally. Siemens sums up the basic themes of its HR strategy in several points. These include:
1.  A living company is a learning company. The high-tech nature of Siemens' business means that employees must be able to learn on a continuing basis. Siemens uses its system of combined classroom and hands-on apprenticeship train­ing around the world to help facilitate this. It also offers employees extensive continuing education and management development.
2.   Global teamwork is the key to developing and using all the potential of the firm's human resources. Because it is so important for employees throughout Siemens to feel free to work together and interact, employees have to understand the whole process, not just bits and pieces. To support this, Siemens provides extensive training and devel­opment. It also ensures that all employees feel they're part of a strong, unifying corporate identity. For example, HR uses cross-border, cross-cultural experiences as prerequisites for career advances.
3. A climate of mutual respect is the basis of all relationships— within the company and with society. Siemens contends that the wealth of nationalities, cultures, languages, and out­looks represented by its employees is one of its most valuable assets. It therefore engages in numerous HR activities aimed at building openness, transparency, and fairness, and support­ing diversity.

3-18. Based on the information in this case, provide examples for Siemens of at least four strategically required organizational outcomes, and four required workforce competencies and behaviors.
3-19. Identify at least four strategically relevant HR policies and activities that Siemens has instituted in order to help human resource management contribute to achieving Siemens' strategic goals.

3-20. Provide a brief illustrative outline of a strategy map for Siemens.

Carter Cleaning Company

One of the first problems Jennifer faced at her father's Carter Cleaning Centers concerned the inadequacies of the firm's current HR management practices and procedures.
One problem that particularly concerned her was the lack of atten­tion to equal employment matters. Each store manager independently handled virtually all hiring; the managers had received no training regarding such fundamental matters as the types of questions they should not ask of job applicants. It was therefore not unusual for fe­male applicants to be asked questions such as "Who's going to take care of your children while you are at work?" and for minority appli­cants to be asked questions about arrest records and credit histories. Nonminority applicants—three store managers were white males and three were white females—were not asked these questions, as Jennifer discerned from her interviews with the managers. Based on discussions with her father, Jennifer deduced two reasons for the laid-back attitude toward equal employment: (1) her father's lack of insight about the legal requirements and (2) the fact that, as Jack Carter put it, "Virtually all our workers are women or minority members anyway, so no one can come in here and accuse us of being discriminatory, can they?"
Jennifer decided to mull that question over, but before she could, she was faced with two serious equal rights problems. Two women in one store privately confided to her that their manager was mak­ing unwelcome sexual advances toward them. One claimed he had threatened to fire her unless she "socialized" with him after hours. And during a fact-finding trip to another store, an older gentleman—he was 73 years old—complained of the fact that although he had almost 50 years of experience, he was paid less than people half his age in the same job. Jennifer's review of the stores resulted in the following questions.

2-28. Is it true, as Jack Carter claims, that "Virtually all our work­ers are women or minority members anyway, so no one can come in here and accuse us of being discriminatory"?
2-29. How should Jennifer and her company address the sexual harassment charges and problems?
2-30. How should she and her company address the possible problems of age discrimination?
2-31. Given the fact that each of its stores has only a hand­ful of employees, is her company covered by equal rights legislation?

2-32. And finally, aside from the specific problems, what other personnel management matters (application forms, training, and so on) have to be reviewed given the need to bring them into compliance with equal rights laws?

The Emiratization of HRM Practices at a Petroleum Company

Programs to encourage employment of nationals in preference over expatriates have become a key feature in the Gulf countries. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) relies heavily on foreign workers. In 2007, Emiratis represented only 13.5% of the UAE population. Expatriate workers occupy 98% of private-sector jobs (more than 52% of the total jobs in the UAE), and 91 % in the public sector. The unemployment rate for UAE nationals is around 13%. To enforce Emiratization, the government has centrally determined employment quotas for nationals within specific sectors. EMI/ PETROL is a UAE company operating in the petroleum industry. In 1998, its board formally approved the "Workforce Nationalization Project." In 1999, EMI/PETROL became a leader in Emiratization by allocating a bud­get of $13.5 million (approximately 50 million AED) to cover Emiratization expenses, created a dedicated "Nationals' Development Team" (NDT), set a goal to achieve 50% Emiratization of non-retail staff over a 5-year period, and publicized its plan through the local press. In 1999, Emiratis represented 11 % of the company's workforce. After an initial assessment, EMI/PETROL set measurable Emiratization objectives and policies.

The NDT designed proactive recruitment strategies to generate well qualified UAE applications, developed competency profiles used to select local nationals and identify their individual development needs, and created individual training and development plans for each UAE employee. Once a national trainee was competent in the core competencies of the target position, the trainee would replace an expatriate employee. To facilitate cooperation with expatriates, re­placed staff could choose redeployment within the group or an attrac­tive redundancy package. Emiratization became a key indicator in the company's performance management cycle. The numbers of newly employed and promoted Emirati employees, per year, were used to evaluate the progress. In 2003, after the first Emiratization process review, EMI/PETROL discovered it was vulnerable to the "poaching" of high-caliber nationals. It responded with a strong retention strategy (providing preferential terms and conditions for nationals, including competitive salaries as determined by benchmarking with other orga­nizations) and implemented specific succession planning. The human resources policy manual states that recruitment preference is given to citizens of the UAE, and where a vacancy provides a promotion op­portunity and/or development opportunity, national candidates are re­viewed and receive priority. Today, EMI/PETROL is known as one of the Emiratization leaders in the UAE. Even if it did not succeed in its initial objective, it did manage to achieve 50% Emiratization of jobs at the professional and management levels.
2-24. What characteristics of diversity and affirmative action
programs do you recognize in this case?
2-25. How is the Emiratization program different?
2-26. What qualitative and quantitative indicators could compa­nies like EMI/PETROL use to evaluate their nationalization progress?
2-27. Would you speak, in this case, of reverse discrimination?

Sources: C. Rees, A. Mamman, and A. Bin Braik, "Emiratisation as a Strategic HRM Change Initiative: Case Study Evidence from a UAE Petroleum Company," International Journal of Human Resource Management 18, no. 1 (2007) pp. 33-53).

Carter Cleaning Company

A main theme of this book is that human resource management ac­tivities like recruiting, selecting, training, and rewarding employees is not just the job of a central HR group but rather a job in which every manager must engage. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the typical small service business. Here the owner/manager usually has no HR staff to rely on. However, the success of his or her enterprise (not to mention his or her family's peace of mind) often depends largely on the effectiveness through which workers are recruited, hired, trained, evaluated, and rewarded. Therefore, to help illustrate and emphasize the front-line manager's HR role, throughout this book we will use a continuing case based on an actual small business in the southeastern United States. Each chapter's segment of the case will illustrate how the case's main player—owner/manager Jennifer Carter—confronts and solves personnel problems each day at work by applying the con­cepts and techniques of that particular chapter. Here is background information that you will need to answer questions that arise in sub­sequent chapters. (We also present a second, unrelated "application case" case incident in each chapter.)
Jennifer Carter graduated from State University in June 2005, and, after considering several job offers, decided to do what she always planned to do—go into business with her father, Jack Carter.
Jack Carter opened his first laundromat in 1995 and his second in 1998. The main attraction of these coin laundry businesses for him was that they were capital- rather than labor-intensive. Thus, once the investment in machinery was made, the stores could be run with just one unskilled attendant and none of the labor problems one normally expects from being in the retail service business.
The attractiveness of operating with virtually no skilled labor not­withstanding, Jack had decided by 1999 to expand the services in each of his stores to include the dry cleaning and pressing of clothes. He embarked, in other words, on a strategy of "related diversification" by adding new services that were related to and consistent with his existing coin laundry activities. He added these for several reasons. He wanted to better utilize the unused space in the rather large stores he currently had under lease. Furthermore, he was, as he put it, "tired of sending out the dry cleaning and pressing work that came in from our coin laundry clients to a dry cleaner 5 miles away, who then took most of what should have been our profits." To reflect the new, expanded line of services, he renamed each of his two stores Carter Cleaning Centers and was sufficiently satisfied with their performance to open four more of the same type of stores over the next 5 years. Each store had its own on-site manager and, on average, about seven employees and annual revenues of about $500,000. It was this six-store chain that Jennifer joined after graduating.
Her understanding with her father was that she would serve as a troubleshooter/consultant to the elder Carter with the aim of both learn­ing the business and bringing to it modern management concepts and techniques for solving the business's problems and facilitating its growth.
1-23. Make a list of five specific HR problems you think Carter Cleaning will have to grapple with.

1-24. What would you do first if you were Jennifer?

Application Case: Jack Nelson's Problem

As a new member of the board of directors for a local bank, Jack Nelson was being introduced to all the employees in the home office. When he was introduced to Ruth Johnson, he was curious about her work and asked her what the machine she was using did. Johnson replied that she really did not know what the machine was called or what it did. She explained that she had only been working there for 2 months. However, she did know precisely how to operate the machine. According to her supervisor, she was an excellent employee.
At one of the branch offices, the supervisor in charge spoke to Nelson confidentially, telling him that "something was wrong," but she didn't know what. For one thing, she explained, employee turn­over was too high, and no sooner had one employee been put on the job than another one resigned. With customers to see and loans to be made, she continued, she had little time to work with the new employ­ees as they came and went.
All branch supervisors hired their own employees without com­munication with the home office or other branches. When an opening developed, the supervisor tried to find a suitable employee to replace the worker who had quit.
After touring the 22 branches and finding similar problems in many of them, Nelson wondered what the home office should do or what ac­tion he should take. The banking firm generally was regarded as being a well-run institution that had grown from 27 to 191 employees during the past 8 years. The more he thought about the matter, the more puz­zled Nelson became. He couldn't quite put his finger on the problem, and he didn't know whether to report his findings to the president.

1-20. What do you think is causing some of the problems in the bank's home office and branches?
1-21. Do you think setting up an HR unit in the main office would help?
1-22. What specific functions should an HR unit carry out? What HR functions would then be carried out by supervisors and other line managers? What role should the Internet play in the new HR organization?

Source: GEORGE, SUPERVISION IN ACTION: ART MANAGING OTHERS, 4th, (c) 1985. Printed and Electronically reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.