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We Need to Talk

We Need to Talk

Ten Scenarios to Practice Handling Needed

Ten Scenarios to Practice Handling Needed

Conver

Conver

sations

sations

EMPLOYEE AND LABOR RELATIONS

EMPLOYEE AND LABOR RELATIONS

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PROJECT TEAM PROJECT TEAM Project

Project leader: leader: Douglas Douglas Crawford, Crawford, Ph.D.Ph.D. Project

Project contributor: contributor: Nancy Nancy A. A. WooleverWoolever, , SPHR SPHR  External

External contributor: contributor: Sharon Sharon H. H. LeonardLeonard Editor:

Editor: CourtCourtney ney J. J. Cornelius, Cornelius, copy copy editoreditor Design:

Design: KellyKellyn n Lombardi, Lombardi, graphic graphic designerdesigner Production:

Production: Bonnie Bonnie Claggett, Claggett, production/production/traftraf fic fic specialspecial istist © 2008 Society for Human Resource Management. Douglas Crawford, Ph.D. © 2008 Society for Human Resource Management. Douglas Crawford, Ph.D. Note to HR faculty and instructors:

Note to HR faculty and instructors: SHRM cases and modules are intended for use in HR classrooms atSHRM cases and modules are intended for use in HR classrooms at universities. Teaching notes are included with each. While our current intent is to make the materials available universities. Teaching notes are included with each. While our current intent is to make the materials available  without charge, we reserve the r

 without charge, we reserve the r ight to impose charges should we deem iight to impose charges should we deem it necessart necessar y to support the program.y to support the program. However, currently, these resources are available free of charge to all. Please duplicate only the number of copies However, currently, these resources are available free of charge to all. Please duplicate only the number of copies needed, one for each student in the class.

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Case Abstract

Case Abstract

Ten scenarios allow students to practice addressing employee issues ranging Ten scenarios allow students to practice addressing employee issues ranging from suspected employee theft to personal hygiene. Students are asked to from suspected employee theft to personal hygiene. Students are asked to first assume the role of a manager and confront the employee on sensitive first assume the role of a manager and confront the employee on sensitive issues that frequently occur in the workplace, and then to assume the role issues that frequently occur in the workplace, and then to assume the role of an HR manager and identify the HR implications in the scenario. The of an HR manager and identify the HR implications in the scenario. The scenarios challenge students to think on their feet, exercise judgment, and scenarios challenge students to think on their feet, exercise judgment, and render a decision toward successful resolution. There is no separate student render a decision toward successful resolution. There is no separate student  workbook; the instr

 workbook; the instr uctor will diuctor will distribute roles with detaistribute roles with detai ls and informatls and information toion to the students as the group role plays each scenario.

the students as the group role plays each scenario. AUDIENCE AUDIENCE Undergraduate students Undergraduate students CASE TYPE CASE TYPE Structured exercise Structured exercise DIFFICULTY LEVEL DIFFICULTY LEVEL

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

These scenarios expose students to common workplace issues that have These scenarios expose students to common workplace issues that have significant HR implications and which managers and supervisors are often significant HR implications and which managers and supervisors are often reluctant to confront. By participating in these scenarios, students will be able reluctant to confront. By participating in these scenarios, students will be able to:

to:

Structure a conversation with an employee based on communication Structure a conversation with an employee based on communication

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heuristics. heuristics.

Lead discussions with employees on sensitive workplace issues. Lead discussions with employees on sensitive workplace issues.

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Use various interpersonal communication skills and incorporate them into Use various interpersonal communication skills and incorporate them into

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existing skills. existing skills.

Identify specific HR issues and provide advice to general managers dealing Identify specific HR issues and provide advice to general managers dealing

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 with the employee-related issues.  with the employee-related issues.

Improve their self-efficacy as a manager and as an HR professional who Improve their self-efficacy as a manager and as an HR professional who

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provides advice on workplace-related issues. provides advice on workplace-related issues. PHYSICAL SETTING AND CL

PHYSICAL SETTING AND CLASSROOM PREPARATIONASSROOM PREPARATION

Set up a circle of chairs, and another circle of chairs inside it. Turn the Set up a circle of chairs, and another circle of chairs inside it. Turn the 1.

1.

chairs on the inner circle to face those on the outer circle so that students chairs on the inner circle to face those on the outer circle so that students  wil

 will have a partner for the exercise.l have a partner for the exercise.

Make copies of the scenario sheet and cut into strips so there are enough Make copies of the scenario sheet and cut into strips so there are enough 2.

2.

individual scenarios to share in each round with all class members. individual scenarios to share in each round with all class members.

CONDUCTING THE SCENARIOS

CONDUCTING THE SCENARIOS

Have students sit in the circles of chairs and face the student directly across Have students sit in the circles of chairs and face the student directly across 1.

1.

from them. from them.

Explain that the purpose of this exercise is to simulate the daily Explain that the purpose of this exercise is to simulate the daily employee-2.

2.

related issues that confront managers and supervisors; a good manager will related issues that confront managers and supervisors; a good manager will quickly address issues as they occur rather than ignore them. This exercise quickly address issues as they occur rather than ignore them. This exercise requires students to think on their feet and quickly become comfortable requires students to think on their feet and quickly become comfortable  with employee confrontation.

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Plan on 8 to 10 minutes per round. You may want to prioritize the scenarios Plan on 8 to 10 minutes per round. You may want to prioritize the scenarios 3.

3.

in case you run out of time. in case you run out of time.

Provide an overview of the exercise as detailed in the Introduction in the Provide an overview of the exercise as detailed in the Introduction in the 4.

4.

teaching notes

teaching notes (Employees and Workplace Issue Discussions). (Employees and Workplace Issue Discussions).

Distribute the first scenario. Have students in the inner circle assume Distribute the first scenario. Have students in the inner circle assume 5.

5.

the role of supervisor, and students in the outer circle assume the role of the role of supervisor, and students in the outer circle assume the role of employee. (In the next round, the inner circle will play the role of employee employee. (In the next round, the inner circle will play the role of employee and the outer circle will play the role of supervisor, alternating roles each and the outer circle will play the role of supervisor, alternating roles each subsequent round.)

subsequent round.)

Provide 1 minute for everyone to read the scenario and think of an Provide 1 minute for everyone to read the scenario and think of an 6.

6.

approach. Encourage the students acting as employees to be true to the approach. Encourage the students acting as employees to be true to the role and react as if the scenario personally affects them; it is fine be a little role and react as if the scenario personally affects them; it is fine be a little resistant to the supervisor’s message.

resistant to the supervisor’s message.

Give students 2-3 minutes to engage in the supervisor-employee dialogue. Give students 2-3 minutes to engage in the supervisor-employee dialogue. 7

7..

Time allotted for each scenario will depend on the amount of class time Time allotted for each scenario will depend on the amount of class time available and the depth of the conversation you wish to achieve. If you allow available and the depth of the conversation you wish to achieve. If you allow  just 2 minutes for the discuss

 just 2 minutes for the discuss ion, it will put more pressure on the supervion, it will put more pressure on the superv isorisor to push for a resolution to the problem. Allowing 3 or more minutes for to push for a resolution to the problem. Allowing 3 or more minutes for each conversation usually results in more specific agreement and a greater each conversation usually results in more specific agreement and a greater feeling of satisfaction for both parties. The instructor may want to vary the feeling of satisfaction for both parties. The instructor may want to vary the time allowed on different scenarios and explore with students the effect of time allowed on different scenarios and explore with students the effect of time restraints on conversation.

time restraints on conversation.

 At the end of each dialogue round, ask the questions as outlined in the  At the end of each dialogue round, ask the questions as outlined in the 8.

8.

teaching notes (Scenario Debrief questions). teaching notes (Scenario Debrief questions).

Move on to the next dialogue round. Have students in the outer circle Move on to the next dialogue round. Have students in the outer circle 9

9..

move clockwise one chair to create new dialogue partners for the move clockwise one chair to create new dialogue partners for the each round.

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EMPLOYEE RELATIONS SCENARIOS

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS SCENARIOS

Instructors: copy these scenarios, clip them apart and distribute them to Instructors: copy these scenarios, clip them apart and distribute them to students who will role play each scenario.

students who will role play each scenario.  Yo

 You are a supervu are a superv isor in a warehousing operation. Yoisor in a warehousing operation. You recently institu recently instit uteduted 1.

1.

a “No Smoking” policy in the facility. All employees were notified of the a “No Smoking” policy in the facility. All employees were notified of the policy change. It was not well-received. As you walk down aisle B in the policy change. It was not well-received. As you walk down aisle B in the  warehouse, you see a cloud

 warehouse, you see a cloud of smoke and then see Chris runnof smoke and then see Chris runn ing to aisle A.ing to aisle A.  Yo

 You need to talk to Chris.u need to talk to Chris.

 Yo

 You are an office mau are an office ma nager overseeing a department of 25 people. Onnager overseeing a department of 25 people. One ofe of 2.

2.

 your employees com

 your employees comes to you and coes to you and complains about Pat’s unpleasant bodymplains about Pat’s unpleasant body odor and how difficult it is to work in the same area. You agree to talk to odor and how difficult it is to work in the same area. You agree to talk to Pat.

Pat.

 Yo

 You are the sales depau are the sales depa rtment manager at an upscale store. Your bossrtment manager at an upscale store. Your boss 3.

3.

has talked to you about the appearance of some of your sales clerks— has talked to you about the appearance of some of your sales clerks— particularly Alex. Alex is sporting on his forearm a new, large tattoo of a particularly Alex. Alex is sporting on his forearm a new, large tattoo of a devil eating a rat. You agree with your boss that some customers might find devil eating a rat. You agree with your boss that some customers might find it offensive a

it offensive a nd that it should somehow be covered up. Ynd that it should somehow be covered up. You need to talk ou need to talk toto  Alex.

 Alex.

Sidney has recently been missing work. She tends to call in at the last Sidney has recently been missing work. She tends to call in at the last 4.

4.

minute, and there seems to be a pattern developing of Mondays and minute, and there seems to be a pattern developing of Mondays and

Fridays. Sidney has been in rehabilitation in the past for alcohol abuse. You Fridays. Sidney has been in rehabilitation in the past for alcohol abuse. You need to talk

need to talk to Sidney.to Sidney.

 Yo

 You are a project manager and supervu are a project manager and superv ise a team of 11 people. ise a team of 11 people. It is nearIt is near 5.

5.

Christmas, and you notice that within one day the office supply cabinet has Christmas, and you notice that within one day the office supply cabinet has been conspicuously depleted of tape, scissors, and packing materials. Other been conspicuously depleted of tape, scissors, and packing materials. Other than you, the administrative assistant, Lesley, is the only one with the key than you, the administrative assistant, Lesley, is the only one with the key to the cabinet. You need to talk

to the cabinet. You need to talk to Lesley.to Lesley.

 Yo

 You are the diru are the director of human resources. Yector of human resources. You asked your benefitsou asked your benefits 6.

6.

administrator, Morgan, to immediately send new benefit information to administrator, Morgan, to immediately send new benefit information to  your boss for her review. Th

 your boss for her review. The next daye next day, you are chewed ou, you are chewed out by your bosst by your boss for not sending her the

for not sending her the information. You look bad. Yinformation. You look bad. You decide to talk ou decide to talk toto Morgan.

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 Yo

 You are the vice president of finance. Your administu are the vice president of finance. Your administ rative assirative assistant, Ryan, isstant, Ryan, is 7

7..

often late gett

often late gett ing to work. You have toling to work. You have tolerated it for the paerated it for the pa st year, but yourst year, but your  workload has increased and you need all the help you can get, especially at  workload has increased and you need all the help you can get, especially at the start of the day. With Ryan coming in late, it is starting to affect your the start of the day. With Ryan coming in late, it is starting to affect your ability

ability to get your job done. Yto get your job done. You need to talk ou need to talk to Ryan.to Ryan.

 Yo

 You are an accounting manager, and the business relies on your departu are an accounting manager, and the business relies on your depart mentment 8.

8.

to produce accurate financial reports the end of each month. Your to produce accurate financial reports the end of each month. Your department uses Excel. Last month, you hired a new accountant, Taylor, department uses Excel. Last month, you hired a new accountant, Taylor,  who claimed to be proficient in Exc

 who claimed to be proficient in Excel. Howeverel. However, co-workers have c, co-workers have come toome to  you with complaints about T

 you with complaints about Taylor’s waylor’s work and questioning his abilitork and questioning his abilit ies. Yoies. Youu need to tal

need to tal k to Taylor.k to Taylor.

 Yo

 You are a payroll manager superu are a payroll manager super visivising 25 people. ng 25 people. YoYour team works in closeur team works in close 9

9..

quarters with little physical separation between work stations. Drew is one quarters with little physical separation between work stations. Drew is one of your best performers, yet you have received complaints that Drew tends of your best performers, yet you have received complaints that Drew tends to sprinkle conversations with rather crude and vulgar references. This is to sprinkle conversations with rather crude and vulgar references. This is not a team of saints, but some have complained that Drew is crossing the not a team of saints, but some have complained that Drew is crossing the line. You need to talk

line. You need to talk to Drew.to Drew.

 Yo

 You are a marketiu are a marketi ng director supervng director superv ising 18 professionals and supportising 18 professionals and support 10.

10.

staff. The nature of the work requires a collaborative environment where staff. The nature of the work requires a collaborative environment where the professionals give work direction to the support staff. A professional the professionals give work direction to the support staff. A professional on your team, Dana, has started dating a person on the support staff. on your team, Dana, has started dating a person on the support staff.  Although there is no policy prohibiti

 Although there is no policy prohibiti ng dating, several co-workers haveng dating, several co-workers have complained about the two being too affectionate at work. Some also complained about the two being too affectionate at work. Some also indicate there is preferential treatment for Dana’s newfound love interest. indicate there is preferential treatment for Dana’s newfound love interest.  Yo

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TEACHING NOTES

TEACHING NOTES

Introduction: Employees and workplace issue discussions Introduction: Employees and workplace issue discussions

The following section provides further background to help instructors introduce The following section provides further background to help instructors introduce the scenarios to the class. (See

the scenarios to the class. (SeeConducting the Scenarios.Conducting the Scenarios.))

The goal of the discussion with the employee is to confront an issue before The goal of the discussion with the employee is to confront an issue before

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it affects the work environment or the employee’s overall work performance. it affects the work environment or the employee’s overall work performance.  A manager’s or supervisor’s role is to establish and mainta

 A manager’s or supervisor’s role is to establish and mainta in performain performancence norms in the workplace. Before taking any action, the supervisor should norms in the workplace. Before taking any action, the supervisor should investigate the issue to see if a real problem exists. In these scenarios, the investigate the issue to see if a real problem exists. In these scenarios, the assumption is that the supervisor has already confirmed the situation or assumption is that the supervisor has already confirmed the situation or behavior that is described.

behavior that is described.

Timely and thoughtful feedback from the boss helps the employee know the Timely and thoughtful feedback from the boss helps the employee know the

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supervisor’s expectations and what is considered acceptable behavior. Some supervisor’s expectations and what is considered acceptable behavior. Some supervisors find it difficult to confront others, or let other work distract supervisors find it difficult to confront others, or let other work distract them from this task. This exercise provides an opportunity to practice and them from this task. This exercise provides an opportunity to practice and become comfortable with confronting behavioral issues in the workplace. become comfortable with confronting behavioral issues in the workplace. Leadership presence – Work with students playing the supervisor’s role on Leadership presence – Work with students playing the supervisor’s role on

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how they present themselves physically when leading discussions. Their how they present themselves physically when leading discussions. Their body language must be that of a leader. Do students convey this persona? body language must be that of a leader. Do students convey this persona?  At the end of each of

 At the end of each of the first tthe first t wo scenarios, ask the “employees” to prowo scenarios, ask the “employees” to providevide feedback to the “supervisors”.

feedback to the “supervisors”.

 What is the tone of voice being used? Is it calm? Fi

 What is the tone of voice being used? Is it calm? Fi rm? Lrm? Listen to see ifisten to see if 1.

1.

the supervisor sounds apologetic. If so, this may alter the effectiveness the supervisor sounds apologetic. If so, this may alter the effectiveness of the message (e.g., the employee might doubt the supervisor is really of the message (e.g., the employee might doubt the supervisor is really serious).

serious).

 What is the physical post

 What is the physical posture? Siture? Sitting up strating up straight? Shoulders square withight? Shoulders square with 2.

2.

the employee, not turning away? the employee, not turning away?

 What is the level of eye contact? Is the superv

 What is the level of eye contact? Is the superv isor looking diisor looking di rectly atrectly at 3.

3.

the employee or looking elsewhere? Many people avoid eye contact the employee or looking elsewhere? Many people avoid eye contact  when confronting others or delivering an uncomfortable message.  when confronting others or delivering an uncomfortable message.  What is the level of engagement? Does the supervi

 What is the level of engagement? Does the supervi sor want to besor want to be 4.

4.

there? Is he or she distracted, or engaged in the conversation with the there? Is he or she distracted, or engaged in the conversation with the employee?

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The meeting outline – Providing employees with effective feedback should The meeting outline – Providing employees with effective feedback should

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not take a lot of time. It is important that managers are brief and concise in not take a lot of time. It is important that managers are brief and concise in the message. Below is the suggested outline for confronting employees on the message. Below is the suggested outline for confronting employees on  workplace issues. The example is that of the smoking violation.

 workplace issues. The example is that of the smoking violation. Purpose of meeting – Avoid superfluous questions or chatty Purpose of meeting – Avoid superfluous questions or chatty 1.

1.

conversation

conversation about about the weather the weather and get and get right to right to the point. the point. “Chris, I“Chris, I have requested this meeting to talk to you about our smoking policy.” have requested this meeting to talk to you about our smoking policy.” Describe the behavior – “You were smoking in the warehouse today, Describe the behavior – “You were smoking in the warehouse today, 2.

2.

and that is against our workplace rules.” and that is against our workplace rules.” a.

a. Listen to the reaction – Does the employee confess to the violation, Listen to the reaction – Does the employee confess to the violation, or does he or she only offer up excuses? What other information do or does he or she only offer up excuses? What other information do  you hear?

 you hear?

 Agree on resolution – Set the expectation for the employee. “Chris,  Agree on resolution – Set the expectation for the employee. “Chris, 3.

3.

it is against our work rules to smoke inside. I expect you to abide by it is against our work rules to smoke inside. I expect you to abide by our policy and never smoke inside again. If you break this rule in the our policy and never smoke inside again. If you break this rule in the future, you may be subject to further disciplinary action, up to and future, you may be subject to further disciplinary action, up to and including termination. I’m sure you don’t want that to happen. Can including termination. I’m sure you don’t want that to happen. Can  you agree that you will abide by the smoking policy?

 you agree that you will abide by the smoking policy? ””

Document the discussion – As Chris’s manager, you should document Document the discussion – As Chris’s manager, you should document 4.

4.

the discussion and the agreement that resulted. the discussion and the agreement that resulted.

Po

Possissible ble EmpEmploloyeyee e ReaReactictionon ManManagager er ResResponponsese

St

Straraigighht t dedeninial al – – “ “ I I dididndn’t ’t do do itit..”” ““I saw you smoking in the warehouse today. The purposeI saw you smoking in the warehouse today. The purpose of this meeting is to make you aware it is unacceptable of this meeting is to make you aware it is unacceptable and it shouldn’t happen

and it shouldn’t happen again.”again.” Diversion to others – “Jill does it

Diversion to others – “Jill does it allall the time and never gets in trouble!” the time and never gets in trouble!”

““We are not here to tWe are not here to t alk about others’ behavior. We arealk about others’ behavior. We are here to talk about what you are doing and what needs to here to talk about what you are doing and what needs to change.”

change.” Avoid responsibility – “Wow,

Avoid responsibility – “Wow, nobody told me about the rule.” nobody told me about the rule.”

““Well, now that you know, I expect you to follow the ruleWell, now that you know, I expect you to follow the rule going forward.”

going forward.” Acc

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Other tips for the meeting Other tips for the meeting

Be clear with the employee that you want to hear his or her Be clear with the employee that you want to hear his or her 1.

1.

explanation. Questions like the following will help facilitate explanation. Questions like the following will help facilitate the conversation:

the conversation:

 Why did you break the rule  Why did you break the rule s?s?

■ ■

 Why are you not performing up to standards  Why are you not performing up to standards ??

■ ■

Do you want to improve? Do you want to improve?

■ ■

Do you think you can be successful? Do you think you can be successful?

■ ■

How can I, as your manager, help you to succeed? How can I, as your manager, help you to succeed?

■ ■

The The 2.

2. focus of the meeting is not punishment. It is on communicationfocus of the meeting is not punishment. It is on communication and collaborative problem solving. Ask yourself, “Am I coming across and collaborative problem solving. Ask yourself, “Am I coming across as a parent scolding a child, or is the meeting about two adults trying as a parent scolding a child, or is the meeting about two adults trying to solve a work problem?” What has the employee learned about job to solve a work problem?” What has the employee learned about job expectations as a result of this meeting?

expectations as a result of this meeting?

Managers should reinforce the desired behavior with a follow-up Managers should reinforce the desired behavior with a follow-up 3.

3.

meeting. If the employee has improved his or her performance, this meeting. If the employee has improved his or her performance, this is a great opportunity to reinforce the good behavior and provide the is a great opportunity to reinforce the good behavior and provide the proper recognition for the employee’s effort. If the employee is still proper recognition for the employee’s effort. If the employee is still struggling, then the follow-up provides the opportunity to re-assess the struggling, then the follow-up provides the opportunity to re-assess the agreed improvement strategy with the employee.

agreed improvement strategy with the employee. SCENARIO DEBRIEF QUESTIONS

SCENARIO DEBRIEF QUESTIONS

 At the end of each scenario dialogue round, ask students the following  At the end of each scenario dialogue round, ask students the following

questions: questions:

In this particular scenario, what was the challenge facing the In this particular scenario, what was the challenge facing the 1.

1.

supervisor? supervisor?

I want to hear from the supervisors. What was your strategy going into I want to hear from the supervisors. What was your strategy going into 2.

2.

the meeting? How did you plan on approaching this? the meeting? How did you plan on approaching this?  As a superv

 As a superv isor, what seemed tisor, what seemed to work and what o work and what didn’t?didn’t? 3.

3.

 As an employee, how did yo

 As an employee, how did you feel? What worked for you?u feel? What worked for you? 4.

4.

 As an HR profess

 As an HR profess ional, what advice would yoional, what advice would you give the supervu give the superv isorisor 5.

5.

before his or her conversation with the employee? before his or her conversation with the employee?  What potential HR is

 What potential HR is sues are there in tsues are there in t his scenarhis scenario?io? 6.

6.

 Are there a

 Are there any legal implications in termny legal implications in term s of laws or regulations?s of laws or regulations? 7

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SCENARIOS WITH CASES & CO

SCENARIOS WITH CASES & COMMENTARMMENTARYY

 Yo

 You are a supervu are a superv isor in a warehousing operation. Yoisor in a warehousing operation. You recently institu recently instit uteduted 1.

1.

a “No Smoking” policy in the facility. All employees were notified of the a “No Smoking” policy in the facility. All employees were notified of the policy change. It was not well-received. As you walk down aisle B in the policy change. It was not well-received. As you walk down aisle B in the  warehouse, you see a cloud

 warehouse, you see a cloud of smoke and then see Chris runnof smoke and then see Chris runn ing to aisle A.ing to aisle A.  Yo

 You need to talk to Chris.u need to talk to Chris.

Comments:

Comments:

This is a good opening scenario because it is straightforward. The policy This is a good opening scenario because it is straightforward. The policy was communicated. Chris should be reminded of the rule and made aware was communicated. Chris should be reminded of the rule and made aware of the consequences if she or he continues to break the rule. Work rules of the consequences if she or he continues to break the rule. Work rules must be communicated, including the consequences of breaking the rules. must be communicated, including the consequences of breaking the rules. As an HR professional advising managers about implementing work rules, As an HR professional advising managers about implementing work rules, ask the questions: Does this rule have a business justification? Does it have ask the questions: Does this rule have a business justification? Does it have an adverse impact on workers who fall into protected classes under an adverse impact on workers who fall into protected classes under anti-discrimination laws? Will we be able to enforce it? Is it worth the potential discrimination laws? Will we be able to enforce it? Is it worth the potential adverse reaction you may receive from employees?

adverse reaction you may receive from employees?  Yo

 You are an office mau are an office ma nager overseeing a department of 25 people. Onnager overseeing a department of 25 people. One ofe of 2.

2.

 your employees com

 your employees comes to you and coes to you and complains about Pat’s unpleasant bodymplains about Pat’s unpleasant body odor and how difficult it is to work in the same area. You agree to talk odor and how difficult it is to work in the same area. You agree to talk to Pat.

to Pat.

Comments:

Comments:

This is one of the most uncomfortable tasks for a manager. After you This is one of the most uncomfortable tasks for a manager. After you investigate to see if it really is a problem, meet with the employee. It investigate to see if it really is a problem, meet with the employee. It is best addressed as any other performance problem. Be specific yet is best addressed as any other performance problem. Be specific yet compassionate. Set your expectations. HR professionals should make compassionate. Set your expectations. HR professionals should make managers aware that if he or she suggests to the employee that it may be managers aware that if he or she suggests to the employee that it may be a medical problem, this may lead to possible ADA implications. Always let a medical problem, this may lead to possible ADA implications. Always let the employee declare if they are having a medical problem. Managers are the employee declare if they are having a medical problem. Managers are not qualified to make a medical diagnosis. If the employee states that it is not qualified to make a medical diagnosis. If the employee states that it is a medical problem, ask for medical verification and then make reasonable a medical problem, ask for medical verification and then make reasonable accommodations for this person

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Comments:

Comments:

It is common to have dress codes in jobs that deal directly with the It is common to have dress codes in jobs that deal directly with the public. How uniform has the application of dress codes been in your public. How uniform has the application of dress codes been in your workplace? Are you targeting certain people and not enforcing it with workplace? Are you targeting certain people and not enforcing it with others? HR professionals should be aware that an employee may have others? HR professionals should be aware that an employee may have dress requirements associated with a religious practice. In EEOC vs. dress requirements associated with a religious practice. In EEOC vs. RedRed Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.

Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc., an exception was made for a religious tattoo, an exception was made for a religious tattoo and the employee was not required to cover it up (Hastings, 2006). Courts and the employee was not required to cover it up (Hastings, 2006). Courts have sided with workplace dress codes based on gender differences. In have sided with workplace dress codes based on gender differences. In

Jespersen vs. Harrah’s

Jespersen vs. Harrah’s (444 F.3d 1104), the court ruled that differences in (444 F.3d 1104), the court ruled that differences in workplace grooming and appearance standards for men and women did not workplace grooming and appearance standards for men and women did not constitute sexual discrimination. Harrah’s Casino successfully argued that constitute sexual discrimination. Harrah’s Casino successfully argued that there was a business need for women to wear make-up and to adhere to there was a business need for women to wear make-up and to adhere to grooming standards different than the standards set for men employees. grooming standards different than the standards set for men employees. Sidney has recently been missing work. She tends to call in at the last Sidney has recently been missing work. She tends to call in at the last 4.

4.

minute, and there seems to be a pattern developing of Mondays and minute, and there seems to be a pattern developing of Mondays and

Fridays. Sidney has been in rehabilitation in the past for alcohol abuse. You Fridays. Sidney has been in rehabilitation in the past for alcohol abuse. You need to talk

need to talk to Sidney.to Sidney.

Comments:

Comments:

Sidney has an attendance problem and is unreliable. Just because Sidney Sidney has an attendance problem and is unreliable. Just because Sidney has a history of substance abuse does not mean this is the reason for the has a history of substance abuse does not mean this is the reason for the current poor attendance. The manager should address the attendance current poor attendance. The manager should address the attendance problem with Sidney and avoid playing the role of a substance abuse problem with Sidney and avoid playing the role of a substance abuse counselor. Only if Sidney raises the issue should it be addressed. As a counselor. Only if Sidney raises the issue should it be addressed. As a recovering alcoholic, Sidney may be protected by the ADA (DelPo & Guerin, recovering alcoholic, Sidney may be protected by the ADA (DelPo & Guerin, 2005). HR professionals should make sure there is a substance abuse 2005). HR professionals should make sure there is a substance abuse policy in place, that it is communicated, that supervisors and managers are policy in place, that it is communicated, that supervisors and managers are educated about the policy, and that it is applied consistently.

(13)

 Yo

 You are a project manager and supervu are a project manager and superv ise a team of 11 people. ise a team of 11 people. It is nearIt is near 5.

5.

Christmas, and you notice that within one day the office supply cabinet has Christmas, and you notice that within one day the office supply cabinet has been conspicuously depleted of tape, scissors, and packing materials. Other been conspicuously depleted of tape, scissors, and packing materials. Other than you, the administrative assistant, Lesley, is the only one with the key than you, the administrative assistant, Lesley, is the only one with the key to the cabinet. You need to talk

to the cabinet. You need to talk to Lesley.to Lesley.

Comments:

Comments:

The manager has the discussion with Lesley and tells her not to take The manager has the discussion with Lesley and tells her not to take company property for personal use. This case can lead to an HR policy company property for personal use. This case can lead to an HR policy discussion on the proper level of discipline for theft of company property. discussion on the proper level of discipline for theft of company property. Some companies have a zero tolerance rule; any theft is grounds for Some companies have a zero tolerance rule; any theft is grounds for immediate termination. Others have a progressive discipline for minor theft immediate termination. Others have a progressive discipline for minor theft and immediate termination for more egregious violations. Should it be a and immediate termination for more egregious violations. Should it be a common practice to allow employees to use office supplies? (DelPo & common practice to allow employees to use office supplies? (DelPo & Guerin, 2005.)

Guerin, 2005.)  Yo

 You are the diru are the director of human resources. Yector of human resources. You asked your benefitsou asked your benefits 6.

6.

administrator, Morgan, to immediately send new benefit information to administrator, Morgan, to immediately send new benefit information to  your boss for her review. Th

 your boss for her review. The next daye next day, you are chewed ou, you are chewed out by your bosst by your boss for not sending her the

for not sending her the information. You look bad. Yinformation. You look bad. You decide to talk ou decide to talk toto Morgan.

Morgan.

Comments:

Comments:

We often rely on others to get work done. When others fail, it makes you We often rely on others to get work done. When others fail, it makes you look bad. This can be a very emotional discussion because it may reflect on look bad. This can be a very emotional discussion because it may reflect on your ability to deliver work requests. As a manager, you will need to address your ability to deliver work requests. As a manager, you will need to address the lack of follow-through. How do you control your emotions in these the lack of follow-through. How do you control your emotions in these situations? Focus on your body language. What words did you choose? situations? Focus on your body language. What words did you choose? What was your tone of voice? How would you describe your eye contact? What was your tone of voice? How would you describe your eye contact? To delve into the HR implications, ask: How often does Morgan not To delve into the HR implications, ask: How often does Morgan not

complete tasks? Is this just a one-time event? Did Morgan have the skills to complete tasks? Is this just a one-time event? Did Morgan have the skills to complete the task? Should this event trigger a formal discipline process? Is complete the task? Should this event trigger a formal discipline process? Is there a systemic issue that needs to be addressed by HR?

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 Yo

 You are the vice president of finance. Your administu are the vice president of finance. Your administ rative assirative assistant, Ryan, isstant, Ryan, is 7

7..

often late gett

often late gett ing to work. You have toling to work. You have tolerated it for the paerated it for the pa st year but yourst year but your  work load h

 work load has increased aas increased and you nnd you need all teed all the help you he help you can get, especiacan get, especia lly atlly at the start of the day. With Ryan coming in late, it is starting to affect your the start of the day. With Ryan coming in late, it is starting to affect your ability

ability to get your job done. Yto get your job done. You need to talk ou need to talk to Ryan.to Ryan.

Comments:

Comments:

Work situations change over time. In this case, Ryan may resist changing Work situations change over time. In this case, Ryan may resist changing her/his ways. By tolerating the tardiness in the past, you condoned Ryan’s her/his ways. By tolerating the tardiness in the past, you condoned Ryan’s behavior. Rather than disciplining Ryan for coming late to work, she/ behavior. Rather than disciplining Ryan for coming late to work, she/ he needs to be informed that there are new work rules going forward. he needs to be informed that there are new work rules going forward. Additional HR implications may focus on the degree of flexibility you want to Additional HR implications may focus on the degree of flexibility you want to create in the workplace. How much latitude should managers or employees create in the workplace. How much latitude should managers or employees have in determining work hours?

have in determining work hours?  Yo

 You are an accounting manager, and the business relies on your departu are an accounting manager, and the business relies on your depart mentment 8.

8.

to produce accurate financial reports the end of each month. Your to produce accurate financial reports the end of each month. Your department uses Excel. Last month, you hired a new accountant, Taylor, department uses Excel. Last month, you hired a new accountant, Taylor,  who claimed to be proficient in Exc

 who claimed to be proficient in Excel. Howeverel. However, co-workers have c, co-workers have come toome to  you with complaints about T

 you with complaints about Taylor’s waylor’s work and questioning her/his abilities.ork and questioning her/his abilities.  Yo

 You need to talk to Tu need to talk to Taylor.aylor.

Comments:

Comments:

This is an issue about skill proficiency. Taylor may have been honest in her/ This is an issue about skill proficiency. Taylor may have been honest in her/ his own skills assessment during the interview and was unaware of your his own skills assessment during the interview and was unaware of your expectations for the job. Taylor may have also lied altogether about her/ expectations for the job. Taylor may have also lied altogether about her/ his skills. HR advice to the manager: It may be easier as a manager to his skills. HR advice to the manager: It may be easier as a manager to address the skill deficiencies than to conduct an investigation into her/his address the skill deficiencies than to conduct an investigation into her/his credentials. What is the level of skill required for the job? Where are the credentials. What is the level of skill required for the job? Where are the deficiencies? How much time and support are you willing to give Taylor to deficiencies? How much time and support are you willing to give Taylor to improve her/his performance? Can training address the deficiencies? How improve her/his performance? Can training address the deficiencies? How will you know when she/he is performing at the proper level? Is she/he will you know when she/he is performing at the proper level? Is she/he committed to improving her/his performance? (DelPo &

committed to improving her/his performance? (DelPo & Guerin, 2005.)Guerin, 2005.)  Yo

 You are a payroll manager superu are a payroll manager super visivising 25 people. ng 25 people. YoYour team works in closeur team works in close 9

9..

quarters with little physical separation between work stations. Drew is one quarters with little physical separation between work stations. Drew is one of your best performers, yet you have received complaints that Drew tends of your best performers, yet you have received complaints that Drew tends to sprinkle conversations with rather crude and vulgar references. This is to sprinkle conversations with rather crude and vulgar references. This is not a team of saints, but some have complained that Drew is crossing the not a team of saints, but some have complained that Drew is crossing the line. You need to talk

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Comments:

Comments:

Under the Civil Rights Act, employers are obligated to prevent a hostile Under the Civil Rights Act, employers are obligated to prevent a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment exists when an employee’s work environment. A hostile work environment exists when an employee’s behavior is pervasive or so severe that it changes the working conditions behavior is pervasive or so severe that it changes the working conditions (Twomey, 2007). In many workplaces, the use of vulgarities and crude (Twomey, 2007). In many workplaces, the use of vulgarities and crude language is commonplace. In this case, employees have complained about language is commonplace. In this case, employees have complained about the behavior. The manager is obligated to address it. As an HR professional, the behavior. The manager is obligated to address it. As an HR professional, how would you advise the manager on this topic? At what level should how would you advise the manager on this topic? At what level should a manager allow this behavior? A study conducted in England suggests a manager allow this behavior? A study conducted in England suggests that “social swearing” among co-workers reduces stress in the workplace that “social swearing” among co-workers reduces stress in the workplace (Baruch & Jenkins, 2007). What is an acceptable standard? Should it (Baruch & Jenkins, 2007). What is an acceptable standard? Should it change just based on the tolerance and practices of people currently in the change just based on the tolerance and practices of people currently in the work area?

work area?  Yo

 You are a marketiu are a marketi ng director supervng director superv ising 18 professionals and supportising 18 professionals and support 10.

10.

staff. The nature of the work requires a collaborative environment where staff. The nature of the work requires a collaborative environment where the professionals give work direction to the support staff. A professional the professionals give work direction to the support staff. A professional on your team, Dana, has started dating a person on the support staff. on your team, Dana, has started dating a person on the support staff.  Although there is no policy prohibiti

 Although there is no policy prohibiti ng dating, several co-workers haveng dating, several co-workers have complained about the two being too affectionate at work. Some also complained about the two being too affectionate at work. Some also indicate there is preferential treatment for Dana’s newfound love interest. indicate there is preferential treatment for Dana’s newfound love interest.  Yo

 You need to talk to Dana.u need to talk to Dana.

Comments:

Comments:

In this scenario, there is no policy against employees dating. What can you In this scenario, there is no policy against employees dating. What can you say to Dana? Managers should be cautioned that this case may constitute say to Dana? Managers should be cautioned that this case may constitute “sexual favoritism” and provides a basis for a hostile work environment. The “sexual favoritism” and provides a basis for a hostile work environment. The California Supreme Court, referencing the EEOC regulations, suggests that California Supreme Court, referencing the EEOC regulations, suggests that sexual favoritism conveys to all employees that promotion and preferential sexual favoritism conveys to all employees that promotion and preferential treatment is awarded through sexual relations with the boss. Although Dana treatment is awarded through sexual relations with the boss. Although Dana is not a manager, there is an opportunity to ration out work assignments. is not a manager, there is an opportunity to ration out work assignments. How does a manager deal with this situation? This raises questions on HR How does a manager deal with this situation? This raises questions on HR policies regarding dating in the workplace. Should a company allow dating policies regarding dating in the workplace. Should a company allow dating in the workplace? If so, should there be any restrictions? At what point does in the workplace? If so, should there be any restrictions? At what point does a social relationship or friendship become dating? (Walsh, 2007.)

(16)

VARIAT

VARIATIONS FOR CLAIONS FOR CLASSROOM DELIVERYSSROOM DELIVERY

There are several variations you may use to accommodate time constraints and There are several variations you may use to accommodate time constraints and class size. The number of scenarios provided gives the facilitator significant class size. The number of scenarios provided gives the facilitator significant classroom flexibility.

classroom flexibility. Less than 50 minutes Less than 50 minutes

n

n – Plan on 8 to 10 minutes per case. That will– Plan on 8 to 10 minutes per case. That will include 1 minute for students to read the case, 2-3 minutes to conduct the include 1 minute for students to read the case, 2-3 minutes to conduct the employee/employer discussion, and 5 minutes to lead the discussion or employee/employer discussion, and 5 minutes to lead the discussion or debrief.

debrief.

Fewer scenarios and progressive discipline up

Fewer scenarios and progressive discipline up to terminationto termination

n

n  – The – The

facilitator may use fewer scenarios as part of a lesson in progressive discipline. facilitator may use fewer scenarios as part of a lesson in progressive discipline. Explore the HR implications of the issue moving to further disciplinary Explore the HR implications of the issue moving to further disciplinary action. As an HR professional, how would you advise the general manager action. As an HR professional, how would you advise the general manager at each step of the disciplinary process? As previously outlined in this at each step of the disciplinary process? As previously outlined in this exercise, the first conversation would be step one in most progressive exercise, the first conversation would be step one in most progressive discipline processes. Next, the facilitator, staying with the same scenario, discipline processes. Next, the facilitator, staying with the same scenario, informs students that the employee continues to engage in the unacceptable informs students that the employee continues to engage in the unacceptable behavior. Feel free to use a little drama. Conduct the second step of the behavior. Feel free to use a little drama. Conduct the second step of the progressive discipline process (usually a written warning). This would progressive discipline process (usually a written warning). This would continue until all steps of the progressive discipline process are covered, continue until all steps of the progressive discipline process are covered, up to termination of the employee. As an HR professional, how would you up to termination of the employee. As an HR professional, how would you advise the general manager on this part

advise the general manager on this part icular termination case? Wicular termination case? W hat actionhat actionss should the manager take for you (as an HR professional) to feel assured should the manager take for you (as an HR professional) to feel assured that the termination is defensible? This variation provides the student the that the termination is defensible? This variation provides the student the experience of dealing with a discipline problem through the entire process, experience of dealing with a discipline problem through the entire process, from the views of both the manager and the HR professional.

from the views of both the manager and the HR professional. Large class size

Large class size

n

n  – Where there is a large class or limitations on the suggested – Where there is a large class or limitations on the suggested seating arrangements, divide the class into two groups (Group A and Group seating arrangements, divide the class into two groups (Group A and Group B, for example). Instead of being seated, students will move about the B, for example). Instead of being seated, students will move about the classroom. Distribute the scenario to all students. Instruct a B to find an A, classroom. Distribute the scenario to all students. Instruct a B to find an A,  with B playing the role of manager, and engage in the discussion. Rotate  with B playing the role of manager, and engage in the discussion. Rotate the assignment between A and B and have them find new partners as you the assignment between A and B and have them find new partners as you distribute more scenarios.

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References

References

Baruch, Y., & Jenkins, S.

Baruch, Y., & Jenkins, S. (2007). Swearing at work and permissive leadership (2007). Swearing at work and permissive leadership culture: When anti-social becomes social and incivility is acceptable.

culture: When anti-social becomes social and incivility is acceptable. Leadership &Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 28:6, 492-507.

Organization Development Journal, 28:6, 492-507.

Cossack, Naomi. (2003)

Cossack, Naomi. (2003). Handle body odor as a performance related issue.. Handle body odor as a performance related issue.

Retrieved from: http://www.shrm.org/hrnews_published/archives/CMS_003958. Retrieved from: http://www.shrm.org/hrnews_published/archives/CMS_003958. asp.

asp.

DelPo, Amy

DelPo, Amy, & Guerin, Lisa. , & Guerin, Lisa. (2005)(2005)..Dealing with problem employees: A legalDealing with problem employees: A legal  guide.

 guide. Berkeley, CA: Nolo. Berkeley, CA: Nolo.

Hastings, Rebecca. (2006)

Hastings, Rebecca. (2006). Keeping up appearances: Body modification and. Keeping up appearances: Body modification and belief. Ret

belief. Ret rieved from: rieved from: http:/http://ww/wwww.shrm.org/diversity/librar.shrm.org/diversity/librar y_published/ny_published/nonIC/onIC/ CMS_016089.asp.

CMS_016089.asp.

Twomey, David. (2007)

Twomey, David. (2007)..Labor & employment law: Text and cases.Labor & employment law: Text and cases. Mason, OH: Mason, OH:  West Legal Studies/

 West Legal Studies/ Thomson South-WThomson South-Western.estern.

 Walsh, Da

 Walsh, David J. (2007)vid J. (2007)..Employment law for human resource practice.Employment law for human resource practice. Mason, OH: Mason, OH:  West Legal Studies/

 West Legal Studies/ Thomson South-WThomson South-Western.estern.

 Whetton, David, & Cameron, Kim. (2007)

 Whetton, David, & Cameron, Kim. (2007)..Developing management skills, 7th ed.Developing management skills, 7th ed.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

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