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Assignment | Selection Methods and Minority Representation in CERA

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Added on  2019-09-16

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Topic 3 short answer assessment task: Selection methods and minority representation in CERAImagine that CERA wants to increase the representation of Aboriginal people in its workforce. Using one job category in CERA as an example, discuss the merits of two selection methods that you believe, based on research evidence, may be problematic if CERA is to achieve its goal.Topic 4 - short answer assessment - CERA's bonus scheme Mark French asked his people to come up with some options to improve the design of the bonus scheme in CERA. You have seen the problems; now for some options to improve the design.Suggest changes that could be made to fix the problems with CERA's bonus scheme. Use relevant lierature to support your argument. State the problem that you’re addressing first, followed by the proposed solutions. Justify your suggestions and include citations and a reference list for sources used. Should the bonus scheme be scrapped altogether? Why, or why not?Topic 3: Diversity, Recruitment and Selection
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CERA has managed to attract some very good people to its workforce, but Israel and others want to make recruitment and selection practice much better aligned with the goals of the business. Part of this task is working through how to use the range of techniques and tools available, and to integrate these two areas of HR practice with diversity management. Easier said than done? Perhaps. After studying the concepts introduced in this topic, you will be asked to make some recommendations on improving CERA's recruitment and selection practices. Diversity, Recruitment and Selection“It was ok that we’d started to make progress on connecting job design to CERA’s goal to be an innovative organisation, as well as being known for its commitment to high-contact service. The project with Rachel Amaro was at least partially successful because we were able to identify some good reasons why job design could be leveraged better, and we worked out specific features of job design that would promote innovative behaviour. I think Rachel was starting to mellow a bit, and even to take HR more seriously.We’d also started to think more systemically, I think, as a senior management team – that HR was not disconnected from the rest of the business, but it was a key piece in achieving the strategy. This was on the right track for sure. But something wasn’t right. I kept feeling like there was something we were missing. Like most HR teams, my small team and I catch up weekly to talk over how various projects are going, and how the culture of CERA is developing. This is also a chance for me to feedback to the team on our senior management team meetings, and for my team to feedforward things that are on their minds.One of the projects that we have been working on is to review the recruitment and selection practices used in CERA. Since I joined the organisation I felt that we were just doing what everyone else was doing in this area and not really getting the most from these two HR practices. (Maybe you can relate to this.) True, no one was screaming out for change, but I’d heard a few rumblings from staff about poor cultural fit and misdirected selections to know that all wasn’t perfect in the garden. Mind you, these kinds of complaints are not at all unusual in organisations; in fact, they’re probably commonplace. It’s just that they broughtto my attention the importance of getting the most from our investment in HR practices, specifically recruitment and selection practices, if we wanted to keep achieving our stated point of difference in terms of service quality and being innovative.In places I’d worked at before, we’d talked about the value add of HR practices to the goals of the organisation, whether it was training or recruitment, or whatever; but nothing much was ever done. We all knew that there were many
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options in recruitment and in selection, but, remarkably, we ended up using the same methods as always, and as everyone else in our industry used. Perhaps we might have tinkered with behavioural interviews, but that was pretty much about it – application, interview, second interview, reference check, offer. Wham bam, etc.To be honest, and without being overly critical of my peers, I wondered whether our success in attracting and keeping good people at CERA was more a matter of good luck than good management. (I daresay there would be many organisations where managers might feel the same way.) After all, the transition matrices for the Engineering and Planning divisions didn’t look too bad in regard to retention, so why was I uncomfortable?I think it was Susumu Takada, our Manager, Finance, Legal and Administration, who led me to take all of this more seriously. Susumu is a quietly-spoken guy; considered, not in a rush to make judgments, and a smart operator. Even thoughhe doesn’t seem to be all that knowledgeable about HR, what has struck me most about him is that he takes time to think through efficient and effective solutions to things, not just the obvious, or the path that most people would take.Take the time when we were looking at our strategy for the next five years. I’m pretty certain it was Susumu who raised the possibility of extending our footprint into regional NSW, because there were strong signs of strengthening demand forinfrastructure which could be sustainable. At first, the others were sceptical. Plans for infrastructure investment in regional Australia had come and gone over the years: the rhetoric often outweighed the reality. Sure, in places like Queensland and Western Australia, the mining boom had stimulated pretty rapid infrastructure development, but that wasn’t typical and it was waning in recent years. Anyhow, Susumu was quietly confident and he seemed to know what he was talking about.I’d invited him to attend one of my weekly HR team meetings. We were talking over the project on reviewing our processes in recruitment and selection. Sippinghis tea Susumu listened intently, head slightly turned, as Miriam and I spoke about the need to avoid a cookie-cutter approach that squeezed every candidateinto the same mould. Yes, it’s true, I said, we want person-organisation fit, but we know that there’s a wealth of talent out there and it comes in different packages so to speak. So, there is a risk that using a fairly standard set of instruments in predictable ways has a decent probability of filtering out otherwisequalified, suitable people. We need to be smarter about reaching a wide pool of suitable people and then in how we select the right people.”
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“You mean there isn’t enough of a focus on diversity management?”, Susumu reflected.We both looked at him, silent for several seconds before I intervened. “No, I don’t see it as a diversity issue; it’s more just about better or smarter practice inrecruitment and selection. I mean, we have a fairly diverse group, given our size and the type of business we run. We select on merit, so we get the best possible candidate, no matter who they are. I’m talking about using recruitment and selection practice smarter to support CERA’s goals. I’m not sure it’s the same thing as what you’re talking about, Susumu.”“Yes, I see”, he replied. “I'm no expert in these things, but what I’m hearing you say is that you need to have recruitment and selectionprocesses that are more sensitive to individual differences, rather than processes that reinforce homogeneity, right.”“Well... er..” (I wasn’t sure).It was Miriam who now joined in. “You know, I hadn’t thought of it that way. I think you’re both kind of on the same or similar wavelength. We want our recruitment and selection processes to embrace diversity, and we want our recruitment and selection processes to best support our goals – or, to give us the best available candidates for our business goals. By the way, Israel, I’d say best available candidate, not best possible candidate. What if the best possible candidate is otherwise occupied or quite happy where she is, or doesn’t know about us?”“When I worked at Hetherington’s [a shipping agency] we regarded diversity as being about employing people of different races, gender, disability, and eliminating discrimination. It wasn’t till later, maybe after attending a conference on diversity and inclusion put on by the Australian Human Rresources Institute (you know, AHRI), that I understood that diversity was much broader and it was different to equal employment opportunity.”
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“I think what you’ve both been talking about is tied up, or should be tied up, with how you’re seeing diversity management as part of your HR toolkit,” Susumu replied as he pushed his chair back. “Anyway, I have to go to a meeting, but think about this. It may be a useful principle to applyin your review of recruitment and selection practices.”“I felt that Susumu was on to something, but how to connect diversitymanagement and recruitment and selection practice? Surely, diversitywas one thing and recruitment and selection was much broader? Or, was diversity a cultural element and recruitment and selection one of the tools to foster it? I needed to think about this and maybe do some reading and talking with others. Besides, I still hadn’t really thought through how to take a more tactical approach to our recruitment and selection so that we could attract wide pools of suitable applicants....”Diversity managementIsrael and Susumu have raised two issues here that are important in HR practice. First, what is diversity and diversity management, and how does diversity management relate to recruitment and selection? Second, how should recruitment and selection practice beconstructed to attract wide pools of suitable applicants and to select the right people to support organisational goals? These two questions form the two parts of this topic.Learning activity 1To begin, consider your own point of view on whether diversity, say, gender diversity in leadership roles, can make a difference to the performance of an organisation? This is a debatable proposition in practice, to be sure.Now, take a look at the evidence presented here by James Heskett of the Harvard Business School.Blog postingHeskett, J. (2015, November 4), Why does gender diversity improve financial performance? Working knowledge: The thinking that leads,visit siteNotice the responses of readers of Heskett’s discussion. As you can see, there is debate around the merits of gender diversity in leadership roles. Nonetheless, there is
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mounting evidence on the impact of diversity on performance. McKinsey&Company have some useful resources in this area that are well work exploring. Chapter 9 of Kramar et al. (2014) provides a discussion of the conceptual foundations ofdiversity and diversity management. Diversity management (or managing diversity) is “aprocess of managing people’s similarities and differences; it is built on a set of values that recognises that the differences between people are a potential strength for the organisation; this process of management creates an environment that allows all employees to contribute to organisational goals and experience personal growth” (Kramar et al., 2014, p. 286). Notice that organisational goals are a predominant driver of diversity management. This is explained in the model of diversity management, summarised in the figure below (Figure 9.1 in Kramar et al.).Source: (Kramar et al., 2014, p. 288)Learning activity 2Evaluate the thinking behind this diagram (and the related explanation in Kramar et al. (2014). Does it make sense to you? Do you accept it? What counter arguments would you mount? This learning activity will help you to prepare for the short answer assessment task, below.
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Some people see diversity management in relatively narrow terms as complying with legislation, centring on promoting equal employment opportunity (EEO) and removing discrimination from the workplace. “This approach to diversity management identifies groups with particular personal characteristics, such as gender or ethnicity, and focuseson issues that arise from discrimination based on these personal characteristics. Policies are then developed to provide for equal treatment of members of different groups by making concessions so that employees with certain personal characteristics or domestic arrangements can assimilate into the prevailing employment patterns (Kramar et al., 2014, p. 290). This is a compliance-oriented, reactive approach. This is essential, but perhaps not sufficient.As Kramar et al. (2014, p. 287) point out, managing diversity can be seen as a more wide-ranging process of cultural change, with appropriate supporting policies and practices, that recognises that the differences between people are a source of strength and competitive advantage for the organisation in product, service and labour markets. This takes us to the business reasons for diversity management, which you will see discussed in Chapter 9 and also in the material from McKinsey&Company noted and linked above. It is important to evaluate the business arguments for diversitymanagement right up front. Five arguments have been made for the introduction of a diversity management approach:There is a ‘business case’ associated with competing effectively in the labour market;It provides a source of competitive advantage;The process provides a means of effectively adapting to change;There are ideological grounds for its introduction;It will be a source of innovation.Learning activity 3Do we need a business case argument for diversity management in the 21st century? Is it time to simply accept that diversity management has a self-evident 'good'?This 20-minute video (produced in 2006) signals the business case argument from a product market perspective.WatchMulticulturalism: How retailers reposition themselves to address ethnic diversity, produced by Steve Clements, fl. 2001(Sunrise, FL: D.E. Visuals, 2007), 20 minsavailable through the CSU VAST video library collectionaccess online
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As you can see in Chapter 9 of Kramar et al. (2014), action to embed a broad-based diversity management approach involves multiple levels – strategic, managerial and operational. At the most fundamental level, we’re talking about cultural transformation, which is then brought to bear in a practical way through managerial and operational actions involving several areas of HR practice, such as recruitment and selection, training and development, and performance management.Although the arguments for diversity management grounded in business rationales may be plausible, appealing to certain dominant stakeholders in organisations, points of contention have been raised in the literature that we should pay attention to; not least, that the claimed benefits may not be realised or are more complex to achieve than first thought. As you saw earlier in the reactions to the discussion item by James Heskett, there may also be certain co-conditions required. Furthermore, if the business rationale for diversity management does not gain traction among senior management, there is a risk that the whole diversity project fails. The following articles by Agrawal (2012) and byD’Netto, Shen, Chelliah and Monga (2014) will give you a flavour for some of the points of contention surrounding the operationalisation of diversity management. Both articles are reasonably easy to read and they will add depth to your understanding of this complex area.Agrawal’s (2012) particular interest is in the extent to which diversified teams make a difference to organisational performance. It is set in the Indian context and anchored in the business case discourse on diversity management. I selected this article because it provides a pragmatic, accessible review of the literature on diversity management in organisations and the evidence of impact using a SWOT framework. Following a detailed review of the literature, Agrawal reports on empirical work that he undertook to evaluate the application of diversity management in teams in Indian manufacturing and service organisations. Although it is contextualised in the Indian experience, we can apply our own judgment and critical thought to translating his insights into our own realities.ReadAgrawal, V. (2012). Managing the diversified team: challenges and strategies for improving performance. Team Performance Management: An International Journal,18(7/8), 384-400access onlineReadD'Netto, B., Shen, J., Chellah, J., & Monga, M. (2014). Human resource diversity management prctices in the Australian manufacturing sector. International Journal of Human Resource Management,25(9) 1243-1266.doi: 10.1080/09585192.2013.826714access online
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