I am studying HR online as i need the relevant skill in my work. can you help me give the answer for these problem? i just want to reassess my knowledge on the problem
Susie is worried that she’s about to cause a strike!
Susie is one of three human resources officers at Happy Valley Council, reporting to the manager of human resources
(HR). Most of her work time is usually taken up with the recruitment and selection of new employees, but she has been given
a project on ‘absenteeism’ to undertake. The council’s CEO is concerned about the costs resulting from an average 10%
absenteeism rate across the workforce—costs produced by the need to cover absent staff either with agency workers or with
excessively high internal staffing levels. As well, absenteeism often produces poor service and customer dissatisfaction and it
delays major building projects. Susie’s task has been to gather detailed information about the extent of the problem, analyse
its causes and suggest alternative remedial strategies by exploring the academic literature on absenteeism, contacting other
councils to canvass their approaches, examining the internal statistics from payroll and talking to managers.
This research task has become a nightmare! The internal statistics are terrible, inconsistently maintained and confused by
different definitions of absenteeism between departments and changes to the definitions over time, while the literature and
the experiences of other councils do not seem to offer any consistent approach or obvious lessons.
Despite all the problems, Susie has discovered a couple of undeniable facts. First, absenteeism rates differ enormously
between departments at council, with parks and grounds and transport departments being by far the worst. Second, these
same departments have been staffed by long-term employees and managers who have been with the council for centuries!
They seem to have developed what Susie remembers from her university studies as indulgency patterns, whereby managers
and staff have come to expect that everyone has a right to use their full sick leave entitlements each year and that it is
perfectly legitimate for staff to arrange a week in advance to be ‘sick’. The result is 20% absenteeism in these departments,
with a strong pattern of absences on Mondays and Fridays. Susie knows her report and its recommendations are going to get
messy—the manager of parks and grounds is a mate of her HR manager. She is going to be delivering ‘bad’ news. To make
matters worse, the parks and grounds department is strongly unionised and this important group of employees may go on
strike if they see any management action as unfair.
1. What’s the real issue here? Is it absenteeism, or is it something else?
2. Susie has collected data on levels of absenteeism. What other information or support should Susie gather before she
reports to the HR manager?
3. How can Susie avert a strike? List four recommendations that you would make in such a situation.
4. As a member of the HR staff, are there other actions that Susie and her team can take to make it less likely in future that
poor behaviour is ‘indulged’?
Good luck to you in your HR studies. Your education (and your own research) are what will give you the skills to manage HR in the future. As such, it would be inappropriate for me to provide you with the ‘answers’ to your assignment. You’re welcome to use articles on our site to help you come up with strategies on your own. Best!
Laura, HR Staff Writer
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