In today’s hypercompetitive business environment, an organization’s sustainable competitive advantage is derived largely from intangible assets: human, social, and intellectual capital. Intangible assets are produced by skilled, capable workers. Human resource professionals enable current and future organizational competitiveness by maintaining an adequate supply of people with the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to produce these resources. This is accomplished through workforce planning, recruitment and selection of top-quality talent, and effective employee relations management. As a human resource professional, your ability to effectively identify your organization’s need for employees, plan and implement employee recruitment and selection strategies, and manage employee relations will directly contribute to your organization’s success.
You are the newly appointed director of human resource management for the fire department of a city in the northeastern United States. Your organization has struggled to hire new firefighters for some time. Your predecessor attempted to increase recruitment and selection of new firefighters by implementing an employee referral plan; however, the number of new hires through referrals has fallen short of hiring goals. The need for firefighters intensified when your city’s newly elected mayor promised to combat wildfires by increasing the number of firefighters in areas with higher wildfire risk.
The fire department has met the need for increased staff by assigning existing firefighters the additional hours and paying overtime wages. As the number of hours worked and overtime payments increased over time, the practice—originally intended to be a short-term remedy—attracted unwanted attention. A front-page article in your city’s newspaper has revealed that three firefighters earned higher annual salaries than the mayor, due to excessive overtime. Stung and embarrassed by this disclosure, the mayor fired your predecessor and put you in his place.
Both the mayor and your boss have given orders to “reduce overtime by hiring new firefighters immediately!” The mayor’s mandate to cut the overtime of currently employed firefighters has created an employee relations problem. The city’s firefighters have worked extra hours for so long that the extra overtime pay is now perceived as an entitlement. Some firefighters have assumed loans or increased living expenses in the expectation that the opportunity to earn overtime pay would continue. They are now unhappy that their ability to earn overtime pay will be greatly reduced (by the hiring of new firefighters) and are upset by the way they learned about city management’s decision to cut overtime pay.
Representatives of the union have responded with the attached “Memo on Firefighters’ Reaction to Planned Cuts in Overtime Pay.” You must manage the current conflict between the firefighters and city management and try to prevent future conflicts by developing a workplace culture that creates a positive work environment for employees and management. You will also revise job descriptions and selection procedures using the attached “Job Description of City Firefighters” to make managing workplace conflict a required job competency.
Your submission must be your original work. No more than a combined total of 30% of the submission and no more than a 10% match to any one individual source can be directly quoted or closely paraphrased from sources, even if cited correctly. The originality report that is provided when you submit your task can be used as a guide.
You must use the rubric to direct the creation of your submission because it provides detailed criteria that will be used to evaluate your work. Each requirement below may be evaluated by more than one rubric aspect. The rubric aspect titles may contain hyperlinks to relevant portions of the course.
Tasks may not be submitted as cloud links, such as links to Google Docs, Google Slides, OneDrive, etc., unless specified in the task requirements. All other submissions must be file types that are uploaded and submitted as attachments (e.g., .docx, .pdf, .ppt).
Create a report (suggested length of 3–5 pages) in which you discuss strategies for managing conflict caused by cuts in overtime pay by doing the following:
A. Discuss three causes of workplace conflict between the city’s firefighters and city management in the current situation.
B. Discuss two possible short-term outcomes if the conflict is not resolved.
C. Discuss two possible long-term outcomes if the conflict is not resolved.
D. Discuss three possible actions for resolving the current conflict about overtime pay.
E. Design a plan to create a more positive work culture in the city’s fire department by doing the following:
1. Discuss two basic components of a work culture that prevent negative conflict.
2. Create two new specifications for the “required” section of the attached “Job Description of City Firefighters” that relate to a candidate’s ability to effectively manage workplace conflict.
3. Create three situational interview questions designed to illuminate a job candidate’s competency in managing workplace conflict.
F. Explain two methods of evaluating improvements in employee relations in the city fire department.
G. Acknowledge sources, using in-text citations and references, for content that is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.
H. Demonstrate professional communication in the content and presentation of your submission
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