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Beak & Johnston: Human Resource Managment

Introduction to Beak & Johnston

Beak & Johnston is a family-owned business, and has been operating in Australia since 1986. The company produces and supplies pre-packed meat portions, roasts, soups and seasoned meat products to both domestic and export customers. Servicing some of Australia’s largest supermarket chains and countries such as Japan and Korea means that quality is the most important ingredient in every product B&J makes on site.

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As a progressive and innovative employer, Beak & Johnston welcomes suggestions for improvements from the shop floor, and encourages both permanent and casual staff to share any good ideas or suggestions with their coach or team leader to improve the plant or procedures. Beak and Johnston is also committed to maintaining a safe workplace.

Nature of Job

Beak & Johnston is an organization which is facing rapid growth in the last two years because of high competition and demand for quality service. Because of this, there is a need to change the organization structure to help the organization to grow and achieve its goals of becoming the number one supplier of case ready meat in Australia and the Asia Pacific.

The position required by Beak & Johnston is of a production manager. The production manager will be mostly responsible for handling the manufacturing of products in the company. There is a need to fill this position because Beak & Johnston is receiving a high amount of orders from its customers lately and there needs to be someone who can manage the service delivery. The production manager must be filled by someone energetic and experienced enough to be able to handle large amount of orders. The applicant must be highly skilled when it comes to communication, work delegation and motivation.

Contribution to Strategic Goals

The production manager will help the organization strategically by helping the organization move forward and achieve its goals most efficiently and effectively. This will ensure B&J’s survival in this highly competitive market and ultimately, it will help in achieving its goal of becoming one of the best suppliers of case ready meat in Australia.

Central Idea of the Job

The production manager at Beak & Johnston will be responsible for managing the production of Retail Case Ready products. He will have to ensure that customer service levels, quality and safety standards are either maintained or exceed the budgeted levels. This job is very important to achieve the company’s strategic goal because the production manager will improve the customer service and standards. This will ensure its position in the market as strong and hence it will be able to become the best meat supplier in the industry.

Strengths of the Job Description

Essentially, a job description has the basic information regarding the vacancy that is being advertised. This includes the pay grade, job functions, job title, job specifications, primary accountabilities, duties, and responsibilities that are expected to be fulfilled

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If all this is kept in mind and the job description of Beak & Johnston is then analysed, we will see that the job description has everything included in it. Therefore we can say that one of the strengths of Break & Johnston’s job description for its production manager is that it is very comprehensive and detailed. It has covered all aspects in detail therefore leaving no need for further elaboration.

Weaknesses of the Job Description

Despite its strengths, certain aspects of the job description need improvement. At first glance, the job description appears to be very complicated. Production manager is an important position but this does not mean that the template of the job description must also seem complicated. There is a lot of clutter information on the job description. The same amount of information can be put in by making it less confusing. Beak & Johnston will have a hard time attracting applicants with this job description because of its presentation. Also, if the job description is too detailed, the more important aspects of the job description get mixed up with the less important parts because of which the reader does not focus on the important aspects of the job description

The first step in the recruitment procedure is filling up the recruitment form by the Case Ready Value Stream Manager (see Appendix B) and submitting it to the HR team to recruit the required person. This form is like a checklist that summarizes the requirements and details of the position as a whole. Only when this is then, the vacancy will be advertised.

In Beak & Johnston, this job vacancy will be advertised both internally and externally. There are many reasons why both internal and external advertisement before recruitment is important.

Importance of Internal Recruitment

According to Rebekah Howard, the HR officer of Beak & Johnson, it is important to advertise internally for several reasons. First of all, this practise is like a reward the colleague for his/her service loyalty. The current employees also know about the values and culture of the organization therefore they do not have a difficult time meshing in with the organization. If this position is filled internally, the applicant will have prior knowledge about production which will improve the efficiency level. Also, there will be less need for training and development programs. It is important to advertise internally to show the employees that they believe in them. This will also allow them to take on more responsibilities and try to develop and grow from within Beak & Johnston. Advertising internally is also very important because if this is not done and when a new production manager is hired, he will find it very difficult to achieve what has been required of him as he is going to face resilience from the existing staff (Schuler, R. S. & Susan E, Jackson, 1987). This is practice is done by many firms especially when a high level position is vacant (Dumaine, B).

Importance of External Recruitment

External advertisement and recruitment is also very important. According to Rebekah Howard external recruitment is vital because this brings in fresh new ideas in the organization. This is because the existing employees have preconceived notions which inhibit creativity and thinking out of the box. Another situation where external recruitment is important is when the vacancy has to be filled by someone with a qualification that the existing staff do not already have. This means that someone from outside the organization will have to be hired. External advertisement will be done on www.seek.com.au.

What Selection Processes are to be followed?

The demand from customers is increasing more than ever hence, the production coordinators need to focus on developing their departments at this time. Because of this heavy job load and pressure on the production coordinators, the Case Ready Value Stream Manager has raised his concern of the need of a production manager.

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When the need for a production manager was explained to the Chief Operation Officer, the COO accepted the request and asked the CRVS manager to put a recruitment request approved by the COO.

Once the vacancy is advertised, applicants will apply for the position. This will mark the beginning of the selection process. Firstly, the HR department will assess the resume which an applicant sends

Next Telephone screening will take place where general interview questions will be asked (See Appendix D). In this process the HR person will call the applicant and asks questions related to his/her resume.

If the answers given by the applicant from the telephone screening process were reasonable then the HR team will call the applicant for a one on one interview in person.

The fourth step is conducting a test that has three phase

  • Phase1: Literacy test
  • Phase2: Numeracy test
  • Phase3: Problem solving test

Fifth the HR person will contact the references which the applicant has written in the application and inquire about his or her performance on the previous job. After all these steps, the most suitable candidate will be selected.

What Criteria to be used for rejection?

The applicant will be rejected it he does not possess the following:

  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Good time management and organizational skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Flexible attitude
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Results focused
  • Strong commercial acumen
  • Product knowledge – ability to identify retail meat cuts and cooked products and their correct specifications, knowledge of raw meat aging process
  • Advanced numeracy and literacy
  • Legislation knowledge – knowledge of food manufacturing legislation and quality requirements, including customer specifications.
  • Financial knowledge – ability to interpret results figures.

Interviewing committee

For the position of production manager the interviewing committee is going to include three people:

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  1. HR manager (Eleanor Clifford)
  2. Case Ready Value Stream Manager (Kevin Baker)
  3. Chief Operation Officer (Larry Kalvanigh)

This committee will ask questions, assess the candidates, make them comfortable and look for the right person.

Check list for selection including sample interview questions:

The COO and the CRVS manager will be informed about the ideal answers before the interview. This will assist in assessment of the interviewees. There are three types of questions the HR person will ask:

  1. Hypothetical Questions
  2. Behavioural Questions
  3. Specific Questions

The reason asking three different types of questions is to cross check. For instance, the applicant can sometimes lie and talk a lot when he or she is answering a hypothetical questions but it will be very difficult for them to lie when they start answer behavioural questions.

Hypothetical Questions sample Questions:

  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • What are you looking for in your next job?
  • What are you looking for in a company?

Behavioral Questions sample Questions:

  • Following instructions and procedures- Give me a specific example of a time when you had to follow specific instructions or conform to a particular policy.
  • Achieving personal work goals and objectives- Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and worked hard to meet or achieve it.
  • Delivering results and meeting customer expectations- Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty to get a job done and meet customer expectations.
  • Adhering to principles and values- Give me an example of a situation in which you demonstrated your integrity.
  • Coping with pressure and setbacks- Describe a time when you had to work with someone that you didn’t like or didn’t like you. How did you handle this?
  • Give me an example of a time when you faced pressure at work and how you dealt with this.
  • Adapting and responding to change- Describe a time when you had to adopt to a change at work and how you dealt with this.

Specific Questions sample Questions:

  • Do you own your transport
  • Can you work Saturdays?
  • Can you work overtime? (Is there anything that will stop you from working overtime)
  • Are you Australian Citizen, permanent resident or are you on working visa?

The HR person will note down her comments about the applicant answers, presentation and physical appearance after the interview has been finished. This will be referred to later on when assessment takes place.

Examples of letters (Successful & Unsuccessful) applicants

For the unsuccessful applicant:

Thank you for your application for the position of production manager at Beak & Johnston.

Unfortunately, on this occasion your employment application was unsuccessful, however, we would like to keep your details on file should a more suitable position become available in the future. If you would rather have your file removed from our system, please let us know.

Thank you for your interest in joining us at Beak & Johnston and for taking the time to submit your employment application.

We wish you the very best in your future endeavours and encourage you to apply with us again in the future if a suitable position becomes available.

Kind Regards,

Careers Department

Once the applicant receives this letter, the HR team will be ready to answer questions from unsuccessful applicant. This is very important according to the HR Official at Beak & Johnston because of the following reasons:

  1. Help the applicant understand where he/she went wrong what they were missing so they learn for their assistant in the future when they apply for a job next time. This is basic courtesy (Winstanley, D. et al, 1996).
  2. For Public Relation (PR) issues, since Beak & Johnson does not want to their image to be bad in front of the unsuccessful candidates because the same applicants may be needed in future (Brice, T.S. & Marie Waung, 1995).

The applicants may sometimes get aggressive therefore the HR person must be ready to answer all sorts of questions while maintaining a high level of professionalism (Jackson, S.E. et al, 2008)

Draft Contract details

For the successful applicant the HR team will call the person to come on site to show them the contract (see Appendix E). The HR team must have what we call second option because the successful applicant might change his/her mind for some reason or maybe they do not agree on the contract (Kansas State University, 2009). In this case, the HR team will contact the next best applicant if there is a chance the accepted applicant would not show up.

Stated rationale for these choices/decisions

When the HR team is assessing the applicants, there will be a rationale on which he basis his decision about who to hire and who to not. The person who will be selected will be the one who is believed to meet the company expectations and mesh with the organizational culture. The rejection criteria mentioned above will also help in deciding who to hire and who to reject. The personality, the degree of job knowledge, experience, ability to work in a team, and the ability to handle pressure will be few of the reasons that will for the choice of selection. These rationales for decision have to be documented for later use and appraisal purposes.

First the HR will look at what the market offers for the position of a production manager. This will then be communicated to the COO and the VRVS manager. However the HR team also has to consider how much is the range that the company budget will allow to pay. In this case, it is between 85,000 to 90,000 Dollars. This information will be kept hidden from everyone. Since it will be expected that the applicant will negotiate, the successful applicant will first be offered the lowest pay in the range which is 85,000.

There will be a monthly bonus which is linked to performance. At Beak & Johnston, this is called the Great Performance Bonus (GPB). The successful applicant will be informed how much bonus he will make if the company meets its target. For this position the GPB is $1634 per month if the company achieved their targets.

There are four elements linked to the monthly GPB:

  1. Safety = Zero Lost Time Injuries
  2. Product Quality Failure; No product re-call or any product
  3. Absenteeism days per week Target= 21.92 days per month
  4. Colleague turnover, Target= 20%

If all the above elements were achieved then each colleague will take 100% of the bonus decided upon. If the company’s profit exceeded their budget, the variance will be also shared with all staff at B&J.

The stated rationale for this decision is to make sure that the company operates as a family there is no boundaries between sections. They all need to look after each other and try to deliver a good result as collective members to achieve the company’s targets. Linking rewards to performance also helps improve the efficiency of the work force. Also, this ties the organization’s goals with the employees’ goals and therefore everyone is motivated to achieve them (Bosidy, L. & Ram Charan, 2002).

For the position of a production manager, there will be another incentive for him/her to get promoted to higher level to develop within the company according to the skills and interest generated by the employee.

Each year Beak and Johnston will evaluate what they call employee of the year. This will be a result of who achieved the target plus who came up with something that makes B&J a stronger organization in the market. The ‘employee of the year’ will receive a full paid vacation with one partner at a place chosen by him or herself.

All these practices motivated the employees to work hard. When the employees are motivated, there is an internal force that pushes them to accomplish things. The efficiency level of the organization as a whole increases and the organization ultimately benefits.

As a generic term, performance management is considered to be the effective use of inter-related strategies and activities to improve the performance of individuals, teams and organizations. An effective performance management approach would integrate and align organizational, business and individual planning and performance. It would also provide a means to recognize and reward good performance and to manage underperformance of staff (Australian Public Website).

A key component of a performance management system is the performance appraisal. The performance appraisal is conducted for 2 main purposes – to review performance (did the colleague achieve the targets and meet the objectives set for them) and discuss/set a development plan.

As this suggests, performance management is all about performance, rewarding the good and managing the bad. The strategic purpose for a performance management system is concerned with the continual improvement of staff and helping them reach their full potential, which in turn allows the business operate effectively and meet its objectives.

In regards to managing underperformance, the most importance underlying factor is setting clear expectations. You cannot punish someone for not doing their job correctly if clear expectations have not been given to them. This would generally be a job description which may detail the key performance indicators (KPI’s) for that position. Equally important is training. It is unreasonable to expect somebody to perform in a role if they have not been adequately trained (Arthur, W. et al, 2003).

For the position being discussed in the paper, the Case Ready Value Stream Manager will have to give the production manager the results, the progress on things during the week, the achievements, the setbacks and what corrective action should be taken daily. The VRVS will monitor all the KPI’s the production manager needs to achieve daily and keep a record of how the production manager achieves what the company required for this position.

Every 3 months the manager will have to send a performance appraisal (see appendix F) to the production manager to compare the actual results against the targets and comment on what went wrong and how it could be done better in future. In addition to this, if any targets were achieved, the CRVS manager will appraise the production manager on his achievement.

Job Description

The job description is very important. This must be developed with utmost care. It is one of the main human resource management functions because this is where the employees get to know what is expected of them. The profiling of job description contributes to good corporate governance because this ensures that the responsibilities and duties assigned to an employee are fair. It shows the employees what is expected of them and this increases the level of fairness.

Recruitment

Recruiting is defined as ‘the characteristics of applicants to whom selection procedures are ultimately applied’ (Boudreau, J.W. & S.L Rynes). This step is very important and the organization must ensure that it carries this out with utmost care. The recruitment function of human resource management contributes to good corporate governance by ensuring that ethical and responsible decisions are made. Recruitment also ensures that the performance of the workforce increases.

Selection

Selection is very important when we talk about a human resource management function contributing to good corporate governance. The reason behind this is that selection is one stage where the department may make decisions that are unethical and unfair. The human resource department must make sure that the decisions are fair and the employees are selected based on strictly their competencies and skills. It must be ensured that no personal favours are given to the applicants and that all applicants are treated equally. If this is all done, then it will contribute to good corporate governance.

Remuneration

Remuneration is compensation for employee contribution in the organization. This is what the employee expects to get in return for the time and effort he or she puts in the organization. Considering this, one can only imagine the extent to which the decisions made in this context can be unethical or ethical. It leaves a great amount of pressure on the management to ensure that the employees are appropriately and fairly compensated. Each employee should be compensated on the basis on what he or she puts in the organization, not on any personally basis. Once all this is ensured, remuneration contributes good corporate governance.

Performance Management

Performance management is essentially keeping track of the performance of the employees. This includes performance appraisal. There are several ethical dilemmas attached with this human resource management function. The management must ensure that the employee’s performance is reasonably monitored. The extent to which the privacy of the employee is breached must also be considered. Once this is done, performance management will contribute to good corporate governance.

I learned a lot of new things by working with Rebekah Howard, the HR Officer at Beak & Johnston. I appreciate her for providing me with all the data I required.

By working on this project, I learned the degree to which selecting and recruiting the right applicant is complex and lengthy. I also realized the importance of this process by judging it by the use of time, money and resources involved. This assignment has also ensured that I am more prepared for the next job I might go for and understand as an individual what I will expect in terms of possible questions. I have also learned to never take rejection personally and get emotionally upset in such cases. I have learned to concentrate on what I did wrong and try and fix it rather than start arguing and complaining. I have also learned that to be respected, you need to be more professional in the way you handle things.

I would also like to reflect on the part where I learned that the interviewers first offer the lowest salary in the range and they expect the applicant to negotiate. I used to think that negotiating right at the beginning will be a bad start in an organization. I was very surprised when Rebekah Howard told that Beak and Johnston will be very disappointed if the applicant does not negotiate the salary. This is one of the many skills that Beak & Johnston looks for when they are selecting someone for a position.

This was just one of the many things I have learned. There are many important and insignificant things that I have discovered by applying the concepts of Human Resource Management in a real organizational setting.

References

Armstrong, M. (2000) Strategic Human Resource Management. Kogan Page Publishers.

Arthur, W. et al, (2003) Effectiveness of Training in Organizations: A Meta-Analysis of Design and Evaluation Features. Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol. 88, No. 2, 234–245

Bosidy, L. & Ram Charan, (2002). The Discipline of Getting Things Done. Audio-Tech Business Book Summaries Volume 11, No. 8

Boudreau, J.W. & S.L Rynes. (1985) Role of recruitment in staffing utility analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology. 354-366.

Brice, T.S. & Marie Waung (1995) Applicant rejection letters: are businesses sending the wrong message? Business Horizons. Volume 38, Issue 2. Pages 59-62

Daft, R.L. (1997) Management. The Dryden Press.

Dumaine, B. (1987) The new art of hiring smart. Fortune. 78-81.

Experience, Inc. (2008) It’s Time for a Job Description Makeover.

Fisher, C.D. (1989) Current and recurrent challenges in HRM. Journal of Management, Pages 157-180

Henderson, R.I. (1985) Compensation Management: Rewarding Performance 4th edition. Reston.

Jackson, S.E. et al, (2008) Managing Human Resources. Cengage Learning

Keys, B & Joseph Wolfe. (1988) Management education and development current issues and emerging trends. Journal of Management, Pages 205-229.

Rousseau, D.M. & Martin M. Greller, (2006) Human resource practices: Administrative contract makers. Human Resource Management. Volume 33 Issue 3, Pages 385 – 401

Schuler, R. S. & Susan E, Jackson, (1987) Linking Competitive Strategies with Human Resource Management Practices. The Academy of Management. Vol.1, No. 3, Pg. 207-219.

Winstanley, D. et al, (1996) Business ethics and human resource management: Themes and issues. Personnel Review, Volume 25. Issue 6, Page 5 – 12.

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