Interviews form a great avenue through which one can gain first hand information from a person who is directly involved in the field. Due to the involvement of such people in a practical world, they are able to offer the plausible responses which can act as an eye opener to the interviewer. The questions below were used to as guiding questions while interviewing three managers from reputable companies seeking to know how they have been successful in managing general organizational relationships and employees amidst the growing trend of employee and labor unions in the federal state. The first respondent, Mr. Dave Murry, is the current Vice President of Talent Management and Chief Human Resources Officer at U. S Silica. Mr. William F. Herbes is the Executive Vice President of Operations at B&G Foods was the second respondent. Datalink Vice President of Administration and the Chief Finance Officer, Mr. Gregory T. Barnum was the third respondent. Similar questions were used to interview the three respondents in a bid to acquire comparable data.
Interview questions used
1. Please tell me about the general organizational structure of your company.
2. What is the current employee population within your company?
3. Have you come been to a situation where an employee or several employees have required some level of discipline? If so, please provide an instance when such a case has happened and how you dealt with it.
4. Employee complaints are a common phenomenon. How do you handle them?
5. There has been a growing trend of powerful labor and employee unions. Has your company been affected by this new trend?
6. What is your general take on labor and employee unions? Do you approve of them?
7. There are legal impacts in cases where labor or employee unions are in a tussle with a company. Has your company faced such a situation? If so, how did you sort out the issue?
8. Do you think labor and employee unions sometimes overstep their borders of jurisdiction? What legal measures have you put to limit the impacts of the tussles between your company and the employees?
9. Owing to your vast experience in the management field, there are several recommendations you think can work out well for a company in managing employees in respect to the demands of employee and labor unions. Please provide a brief discussion of such recommendations.
A Report of Mr. Dave Murry (President of Talent Management and Chief Human Resources Officer at U. S Silica) Response
According to Mr. Murry, at U. S Silica Holdings is a company that deals with oil and gas, as well as industrial and specialty products. Currently, the company has 785 employee populations. The company’s management team is headed by a C. E. O with a top level management team of 9 members who oversee the most crucial departments of the company. Mr. Murray asserts that, in a normal working environment, employee companies and cases of indiscipline are inevitable. Due to the impact of employee indiscipline on the company and shareholders concerns, Mr. Murray mentions that the best solution is to approach the employee and engage them in a ‘ pep talk’ while reminding them of their responsibility within and outside the workplace. Sometimes, he says, he has been forced to fire employee as soon as he receives any case of indiscipline depending on the intensity if the case.
In his recommendations, Mr. Murray says that any company should consider frequent meetings between the top management and the employees. Such meetings, he says, should seek to sensitize the employee on the role of labor and employee unions as well as informing them of the company’s future plains towards their welfare. This would be an effective way to build trust and responsibility between the management and the employee and avert the possible legal tussles emanating from unions complaints.
A Report of Mr. William F. Herbes (Executive Vice President of Operations at B&G Foods) Response
B&G Foods has an employee population of up to 1000 whose corporate governance is headed by a C. E. O with the shareholders being represented by a strong and vibrant Board of Directors. Board Committees play a key role in decision making within the company. These committees bring together the top level management and the junior employees into a discussion table from where the views here are forwarded to the top level management for approval. According to Mr. William F. Herbes, this structure has been influential in ensuring that the company is not under constant threat of labor and employee union’s demands. He asserts that employee and labor unions are important for a vibrant workforce to enable them bargain their rights at national and legislative levels.
However, he insists that legal structures at legislative level may not be the solution to employee and labor union becoming more responsible. In his opinion, it is the general organizational structure of the company and the competence of the Human Resource Department that determines the employer-employee relationship. Mr. Herbes explains that the employee complaints are unavoidable at the workplace. He expounds on this by stating that proper avenues to air grievances such as an employee welfare committee can avert the possible impacts of magnified complaints. On issues of indiscipline, Mr. Herbes says that his at B & G Foods, there has been one rule, “ adhere to the rules or you leave us in peace”.
He notes that it is impossible to compromise on the company’s image. However, proper mechanisms are put to ensure the employee is always given a fair hearing in such cases. Mr. Herbes asserts that labor unions have not at any time overstepped their borders. He says most firms have been unable to come to terms with reality that employee welfare determines the success of the company. Mr. Herbes explains that there are no specific legal measures to limit or control union’s demands. It is the internal structure of the company that has remained vibrant to ensure no chance of collision with the unions.
In his advice to other companies, Mr. Herbes explains that, during his long career in management, he has learnt of the role of the employee. He explains that when there is a case of disharmony between the employee and the company at any time, it becomes impossible to mend the differences completely, and these differences will always crop up in the future. He explains that the best solution is to provide a vibrant panel or platform on which employees can discuss their issues with the company. This, he says calls for openness and great level of accountability for both the employee and the company. External solutions such as labor union interventions and external legal outsourcing may not work for the company in a competing business world.
A Report of Mr. Gregory T. Barnum (Datalink Vice President of Administration and the Chief Finance Officer)
Datalink has a total of 460 employees, and the company’s corporate governance is headed by a C. E. O with a Board of Governors representing the shareholder sector. Mr. Barnum explains that in his whole career, in management he has come across many incidences where employees have forced him to act on discipline matters. He notes that in any working environment, such incidences are normal, and he does not blame the employees. He always offers them a chance to present their case and discuss the way forward, he notes of only one incidence where he has been forced to act stringently through dismissal.
On his take on the legal implications by union’s concerns, Mr. Barnum says he has severally been involved in such matters. He notes that this is as part of his duty. He, however, emphasizes that he does not favor this approach and always seeks to sort out issues before they get to that extremity. Datalink has no specific legal structures to handle such situations, and it has been up to the Human Resource Department to formulate effective policies that will place the employee in a pole position to negotiate their terms without hurting their relationship with the company.
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