Select one of the laws listed below and explain how it has changed the staffing process.
Laws to choose from in answering the discussion question:
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Civil Rights
Act of 1964
EEOC Regulations concerning sexual harassment
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Americans with Disabilities Act
Family and Medical Leave Act
Select one governmental activity from the list below and explain how it influences staffing.
Governmental activities to choose from in answering the discussion question:
Social Security premiums
Social Security disability insurance
Federal income tax
Your initial post should be at least 250 words in length. Support your claims with examples from
required material(s) and other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references.
The Staffing Function
After completing this chapter, you should be able to:
View staffing as an organization-wide activity taking place in a complex legal environment.
Design jobs and plan for future human resource requirements.
Conduct employee placement in a manner that leads to quality hires.
Maintain an effective work force through compensation policies and other staffing
• Explain how staffing is related to building careers and working with unions.
In Chapter 1, we defined management as the process that consists of a collection of techniques
used to lead the human resources in an organization to become productive. Notice that a key
element of that definition is the human resource component. The people who work in an organization are its most valuable resource, because they convert raw materials into finished products
and services, which help generate profits for the business. People also design products and make
decisions about when and how products and services are distributed to maximize organizational
effectiveness. People are often the most valuable asset of the organization. At the same time,
people can be the most expensive part of running a business and often pose the greatest challenges to effective management (Mathis & Jackson, 1997).
MANAGEMENT IN PR AC TICE
Shoe stores lose one out of every three sales because the customer’s size is not in stock. This factor
explains some of the success and growth of online shoe sales. The online shoe market share has
reached over $3 billion. Zappos.com, which is an adaptation of the Spanish word for “shoe,” has
captured a 20% share of the overall shoe market. The organization has moved into sales of various
products beyond footwear, increasing sales and market awareness. New product lines include clothing, electronics, and accessories.
Nick Swinmurn founded Zappos.com in 1999 after spending a day walking in a mall looking for a
pair of shoes and being unable to find the pair he wanted. His first business concept was to create
an inventory so large that the odds of the customer finding exactly the right pair would be very
high. Zappos.com now maintains more than 4 million pairs of shoes in its inventory. The Zappos.
com business model dictates that key customer contacts are made via the phone center. If a customer cannot locate the exact pair of shoes he or she wants, the center’s service representative will
direct the person to two or three other companies that might have the item. Each phone operator
is required to exhibit a consistently friendly, upbeat, and helpful demeanor. Zappos.com represents
a prime example of a company that
effectively completes the staffing
function. The overall mission for the
organization combines employee satisfaction with customer satisfaction.
The quality of the company’s service
begins with the company’s culture.
The company’s recruiting and selection processes reflect a commitment
to the overall mission. Employees
are carefully selected, and only
those who show positive, customeroriented attitudes are chosen. New
employees are required to enroll in
a four-week training session that
prepares them to work in the call
center. During the training, company
▲▲An effective organization combines employee
satisfaction with customer satisfaction.
CEO Tony Hsieh personally offers to “buy out” the trainees with a cash payment (up to $2,000)
that allows each person to quit the company with money in his or her pocket. Those who remain
consistently remind other employees of the importance of excellent customer service. Many are
placed in non-phone-related jobs such as order fulfillment, inventory control, or finance. The
training process ends with a graduation ceremony during which graduates recite the Zappos.com
10 core values, which include phrases such as “Deliver WOW,” “Create fun,” “A little weirdness,”
“Pursue growth,” “Be passionate,” and “Be humble.”
The employee environment reflects the company’s culture. Employees can personalize their cubicles.
An abundance of free food is available every day. Employees are encouraged to be spontaneous,
energetic, and have fun. In contrast to the free-flowing and short-lived dot-coms of the 1990s,
Zappos.com employees are well trained, and they are constantly reminded that the customer is their
Meeting customer needs is also part of the company’s compensation system. Employees who stay
with Zappos.com receive excellent compensation, full health insurance, and dental benefits. Why
doesn’t the company relocate the call center to somewhere cheaper? “We don’t think you’re going
to give great customer service by outsourcing it,” Tony Hsieh calmly states. Hsieh, who already
made a fortune with another Internet company, receives compensation from Zappos.com of about
$36,000 per year. He works in a small cubicle at the center of the plant.
Most of Zappos.com sales come from online purchases. Each order is shipped at no cost to the customer, who also can return it at no cost if necessary. Customers receive their purchase within just a
few days of placing their order. Shoes that do not fit can be returned for full credit up to one year
after the original purchase date.
Why don’t other companies follow this business model, including the staffing system? Tony Hsieh
speculates that it’s because “You don’t really see the payoff right away.” Building a company in this
way takes time. On the other hand, 75% of Zappos’ business comes from repeat customers. Most
would agree that Zappos.com fulfills its mission: To Live and Deliver WOW (Clow & Baack, 2010,
p. 255; Durst, 2007; ABC News Nightline, 2008).
1. How has Zappos.com managed to capture 20% of the overall shoe market?
2. In what way does the Zappos.com mission contribute to its success?
3. How does CEO Tony Hsieh’s staffing function model differ from those used by other companies?
The Nature of Staffing
Staffing is the achievement of organizational goals through the effective and efficient deployment
of people. Staffing deals with people as a resource in the organization. It is more than a department called human resources.
The typical human resources department deals with the design of formal systems to assist and
support managers in the staffing function. But staffing is a distributed function of management
itself. All managers are responsible for staffing within the organization and not just in one department. No matter what process the organization uses, managers make hiring and termination
decisions, conduct training or supervise it, evaluate worker performance, assess worker suitability for advancement, discipline workers when necessary, and prepare the annual labor budget. In
almost all cases, the organization has a manager who is responsible for maximizing the worker’s
efficiency and achieving the highest grade of work output the worker is capable of (Taylor, 1911).
This is the essence of the staffing function.
Strategic Human Resource Management
The organization’s strategic plan establishes the foundation of staffing. People are the most critical asset in building and maintaining organizational capability. In principle, “Building organizational capability requires very specific talent or competencies” (Christensen, 1997). Staffing the
organization must be viewed by managers “in the same context as financial, technological, and
other resources that are managed in organizations” (Mathis & Jackson, 1997, p. 199). To do otherwise does not appropriately align organizational resources to meet future operational demands.
Strategic human resource management (SHRM) may be defined as a process in which all
staffing activities are fully integrated into a program designed to help the overall organization
achieve its strategic objectives. This perspective suggests that the human resources department
should contribute to every aspect of a company’s operations and lead to a higher level of competitive advantage within the industry or environment. The “strategic best-fit” perspective regarding
SHRM suggests that the human resources department should seek to match each specific function or activity with the firm’s overall business strategy. A “configurational” approach to SHRM
argues that “bundles” of HR practices should be managed collectively to improve business performance. Such bundles must be designed to fit various industries and specific business conditions.
The “resource-based” perspective argues that the focus of SHRM should be to acquire, train, use,
and retain the most competent employees, thereby helping the organization to achieve (Fisher,
Schoenfeldt, & Shaw, 2006).
What sets SHRM apart from earlier, more traditional, views of staffing is the long-term, strategic
perspective. It suggests that human resources departments play vital roles in every aspect of a
firm’s operations rather than simply performing a set of rote functions, such as recruiting, selection, training, and collecting and maintaining employee records. A strategic human resource
manager is charged with monitoring the external environment and developing strategies and
tactics that mesh internal operations with the demands and contingencies of that external environment. At the same time, the human resources department still is expected to carry out its
basic functions and activities. Thus SHRM contains practical, hands-on elements as well as more
general theoretical and integrated views of the company.
As just noted, human resource management continues to carry out basic organizational functions; at the very least, they engage in the following major activities or functions:
human resource planning
employee discipline systems
Before evaluating these activities, however, we review the legal environment surrounding the
staffing function and the conduct of the overall business organization.
Legal Aspects of Staffing
The staffing function takes place in a complex and changing environment. Social trends, shifting demographics, and legal regulation influence the employment process. As the population
becomes more diverse and new legal issues arise, a key part of effective staffing involves adapting
to these trends and rulings. The organization’s policies and work rules, combined with a myriad
of national, state, and local laws and regulations, govern the workplace. Although this is not a law
textbook, here we address the most significant and recent areas of concern to managers.
Employment at Will
One of the most significant and misunderstood legal doctrines affecting the employment relationship is that of “at will” employment. In essence, it means that workers are free to sell their
labor services to any employer, and employers may employ whomever they prefer and terminate
that employment arrangement at any time and for any reason. But the application of employment at will has limitations. Laws restrain employers from termination for reasons of discrimination, retaliation for whistle-blowing, service in the military (e.g., called to duty in the reserves or
National Guard), and jury service. In other instances, employers and employees are able to sever
the employment relationship as long as both employer and employee comply with applicable laws.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. The
law provides for a minimum wage ($7.25 effective July 24, 2009), overtime pay for hours worked
in excess of 40 hours in the workweek for nonexempt (hourly) employees, workweek standardization, child labor restrictions, and standardized record keeping. The primary purpose of FLSA is
to protect workers, but these standards help managers plan and budget work schedules and provide clear guidelines for supervising employees. In 2012, President Obama proposed an increase
to the minimum wage following his reelection; however, no action had been taken by the close of
the 2013 legislative session.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and EEOC
The Civil Rights Act was signed into law
during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration with the express purpose of eliminating
discrimination. It defined such discrimination to include race, creed, color, sex,
and national origin. In addition to making discrimination illegal in a variety of
life experiences, the act specifically defines
what constitutes illegal discrimination in
The act also created the Equal Employment
Courtesy Everett Collection
Opportunity Commission (EEOC). No other ▲▲President Lyndon Johnson, watched by Martin Luther
regulatory area has more impact on staffing, King Jr., signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
or more influence over organizations and
managers, than the EEOC. All aspects of employment management are affected, including hiring, recruiting, training, compensating, disciplining, and terminating.
Sexual Harassment and Sexual Discrimination
Sexual harassment is defined as
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work
performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. (U.S.
It is a form of discrimination as defined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and EEOC regulations.
There are numerous types of sexual harassment, but the two most widely recognized are summarized in Table 4.1 (Weitzer, 2002).
Table 4.1 Forms of sexual harassment
Quid pro quo
Sexual advances or sexual favors are exchanged for favorable treatment, including
• Better job assignments
• Undeserved performance evaluation ratings
• Pay raises
Work environment is characterized by the following:
• Sexual innuendos in language, including jokes and sexual references
• Inappropriate comments about appearance and dress
• Unwanted touching
• Signage (“girlie” calendars, cartoons)
• Conduct toward the other gender or those with a different sexual orientation
suggesting a discrepancy in how people are treated
The Latin term quid pro quo literally means “this for that.” In the work environment, quid pro quo
occurs when a subordinate’s job benefits are directly tied to his or her submission to unwelcome
sexual advances. Hostile working environments are created in various ways that lead to impaired
job satisfaction. While impairment could be a subtle or significant condition, the employee has a
right to be free from such acts in the work environment.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
This 1967 federal statute is intended to protect workers over the age of 40 against discrimination based on age. The EEOC defines age discrimination as “discrimination when it comes to any
aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment” (U.S. EEOC, 2013a). The
law also specifies that harassment based on a person’s age (if over 40) is illegal, although offhand comments and isolated incidents by themselves do not constitute harassment that creates a
“severe or offensive environment.” Still, the intended effect of the law is to create an age-protected
class of workers and so to prevent older workers from being subjected to employment actions
based on age status. As the work force continues to become older, you can expect that the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act will more frequently apply to workplace decisions regarding
Job Design and Human Resource Planning
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is designed to protect individuals with disabilities
from being discriminated against by employers. The law does not provide protection from shortterm conditions or temporarily disabling injuries, but from long-term conditions that significantly impair an individual. The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodation for
such disabilities in employment staffing arrangements unless providing such an accommodation
would place an undue hardship on the employer.
Family and Medical Leave Act
In 1993, Congress enacted the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to cover circumstances in
which various events disrupt an employee’s ability to perform effectively. The law requires larger
employers to provide employees job-protected unpaid leave due to a serious health condition that
makes the employee unable to perform his or her job, or to care for a sick family member, or to
care for a new child (either natural-born or adopted). The law also covers caring for an injured
member of the armed services.
4.2 Job Design and Human Resource Planning
Staffing has a close connection with the organizing function. The first step of organization, job
design, results from the collaboration between functional managers and the human resources
department. Individual jobs require analysis of the tasks to be completed as well as identification
of skills and talents needed to complete those tasks. After company managers have assigned the
jobs, they can then begin the process of planning for current and future personnel needs.
As noted in Chapter 3, job design occurs when managers determine the tasks needed to be done,
who will do them, and the selection criteria to be used to choose employees and place them on
the job. This means that job design is the process of “organizing tasks, duties, and responsibilities
into a productive unit of work” (Mathis & Jackson, 1997).
Job design involves identifying appropriate, job-related knowledge, skills, and abilities to ensure
that assigned work can be completed successfully. Designers consider the work, the environment,
and the impact of the work on employees. The standard approach to job design involves three
steps: job analysis, job description, and job specification.
The process of assigning tasks to jobs, or job analysis, is conducted by the human resources
department working in conjunction with departmental managers. Three forms of commonly
employed job analysis are comparison with other companies, experimentation, and reflective
Comparison with other companies can result from something as simple as a phone call to a friend
in another firm to ask how that company defines dutie ...
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