Human resource management assignment 1

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Please see the attached files for notes and instructions. 

– WEEK 1 has Chapter 1, Lesson 1, and Lesson 2

– WEEK 2 has Chapter 5, Chapter 7, Chapter 10, and Lesson 3

– WEEk 3 has Chapter 8, Lesson 4, Lesson 5, and Lesson 6

– WEEK 4 has Chapter 4, Chapter 9, Lesson 11, Lesson 12, and Lesson 13

The assignment is in the file titled “Assignment 1 Questions and Instructions”

7

2
Strategy-Driven Human
Resource Management

Case 2.1. The External Environment:
When State Government Offers Early Retirement
The external environment consists of a series of influences that originate outside the
organization and that the company cannot control. These external factors, which must
be considered when forming a strategy, include customers, competition, suppliers,
shareholders, society, technology, the economy, the labor force, and our government.

In regard to the external force of the government, we have come to expect our
government agencies to be complex, formalized, and centralized in terms of organi-
zational structure.

Government agencies are very large organizations that are normally very com-
plex. Complexity involves the way in which we divide the organization into differ-
ent segments. Government agencies are often organized into many different layers
of employees, which makes communication more difficult between the different
parts of the agency. Government agencies are often known to be very slow at making
decisions.

Government jobs are often standardized (formalization) within an agency, since
they have to make decisions based upon many policies, procedures, and rules.
Although these rules help employees to make routine decisions, they also stifle cre-
ativity since employees must also follow these rules.

Overall, government agency decision making needs to be made by top govern-
ment officials (centralization) to ensure the same decision is given to each citizen.
Centralization helps to maintain control and should also result in lower costs.

National, state, and local governments all set laws and regulations that businesses
must obey. Federal and state governments create opportunities and obstacles for busi-
nesses. Safety standards set by government agencies, such as the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA), are meant to increase employee safety while in a
working environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set standards to
reduce pollution. Although it can be expensive for a company to meet the standards

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Part I • 21st-Century Human Resource Management Strategic Planning and Legal Issues8

of these types of agencies, the laws are designed to improve our quality of life at work
and at home.

However, just like a for-profit company, the government has to be careful about
hiring people to work in its agencies. At times, the government can experience a defi-
cit and has to entice its employees to accept an early retirement program.

In Massachusetts, the state government had a primary goal of achieving budget
savings of $172 million by offering an early retirement incentive package. Governor
Charlie Baker and his people estimated that 4,500 state workers would take the incen-
tive. The actual number of people who applied for retirement was about 2,870.1 The
reduced number of employees who accepted the reduced early retirement program
might result in layoffs in state employees. However, the governor has promised to look
for other solutions besides layoffs.

The state wanted to use 20 percent of the savings to refill positions that were now
open. As an extra incentive, the state offered a $10,000 buyout to employees who were
eligible to retire. It appears that 100 fully ready to retire employees accepted the extra
$10,000 offer.2

The state of Massachusetts’s forecast for how many employees would take the
early retirement package should have considered multiple issues. For example,
Massachusetts had a record snowfall of 100 inches in the winter of 2015. The increased
amount of snowfall should have enticed more government employees to retire early
so they could move to a warmer climate. However, the people of Massachusetts are
used to snowy winters—fewer left the state, or their position with the government,
than expected.

Employees also are more likely to accept an early retirement program if they have
been preparing for their own retirement. If employees have saved money in prepara-
tion for their retirement, then they would be able to retire early since they will have
enough money in retirement. But employees who have not saved enough for their
retirement will need to continue to work to receive their salary.

Last, employees can have social reasons for working toward their proper retirement
age of approximately 66 years old. Many employees enjoy the job they do at work. The
job gives them motivation to wake up in the morning, to achieve something at work
that is meaningful and can help other people, they enjoy their salary level and bene-
fits package, and they enjoy the friendships of the fellow workers.

Enticing your employees to retire early from the company (or government) is lined
with many potential problems. Here are a few examples:

• A “brain drain” situation can occur if your best and most important employ-
ees take the early retirement package. Key knowledge toward running the
operation will be lost if your experienced employees decide to leave the orga-
nization early.

• A serious lack of talent can also happen if the number of people taking the early
retirement package is more than expected.

• There would be fewer employees left to deal with the face-to-face interactions
with customers if the middle-to-lower level state employees decided to take the
early retirement package.

• It will cost more money up front to entice people to want to retire early.

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Chapter 2 • Strategy-Driven Human Resource Management 9

Case Questions

1. Which force of the external environment
has the greatest impact on the state of
Massachusetts?

2. Which force would you select as the
second greatest impact on the state?

3. Should the state be concerned if more
than 4,500 employees elected to retire?

4. In regard to structure, how would
you consider the state with respect

to complexity, formalization, and
centralization?

5. If you were an employee of Zappos or
the state of Massachusetts, would you
take early retirement? Assume you
qualify for the extra $10,000 incentive.
You are currently 58 years old.

Case 2.2. HR Strategy:
Employees Matter at Costco
Costco is a wholesaler and a retailer—customers love to shop at Costco and buy con-
sumer goods in bulk packages. At the same time, the employees who work at Costco
are equally happy with their jobs at Costco. No wonder the company is ranked in the
2015 top 100 workforces.3

Organizational culture consists of the values, beliefs, and assumptions about appro-
priate behavior that members of an organization share. The former CEO at Costco, Jim
Sinegal, said, “When employees are happy, they are your very best ambassadors.”4
Although many companies say employees are their most important asset, there is
a special emphasis on employees at Costco. Sinegal is considered a hero at Costco
because he started out his career a bag boy, worked his way up to VP of merchandising
and operations, and eventually co-founded Costco in 1983.

There are plenty of stories of people buying a Costco rotisserie chicken for $4.99
and having no idea why Costco keeps the price so low. The price of a hot dog and soda
for $1.50 hasn’t changed since the mid-1980s. However, the $1.50 price is a symbol of
how much Costco cares about its customers; it keeps its price low so that customers,
who often drive quite far to reach a Costco store, have very affordable options to eat
while shopping at the store.5

Employees at Costco are also treated extremely well. Costco pays its employees
much higher than the minimum wage. The company also pays about 90 percent of
health-care benefits for full and part-time workers. There is a clear path provided for
employees to grow and develop with the company.

Competitive advantage (CA) is a key strategic topic often associated with Professor
Michael Porter from Harvard.6 Competitive advantage is the area of an organization
that is unique and keeps an organization ahead of its competitors. Determining the
competitive advantage for an organization is the job of management leaders. In the
case of Costco, competitive advantage lies in the ability to sell bulk packages of food

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Part I • 21st-Century Human Resource Management Strategic Planning and Legal Issues10

items at a lower cost per unit than traditional supermarkets. Of course, these food
items (along with nonfood items such as clothes, books, and videos) are stocked and
sold by extremely pleasant and helpful employees. The key to a competitive advan-
tage is to make sure it is a sustainable competitive advantage (SCA). An SCA would
mean the advantage the company has is not easily copied, outdated due to new inno-
vations or technology, or in general no longer having a valid competitive advantage.

With the goal of a SCA in mind, Porter also developed his Five-Force Model of
Competition.7 Porter’s five forces are Supplier Power, Buyer Power, Threat of New Entry,
Threat of Substitution, and Competitive Rivalry. In Costco’s case, Costco is such a
large retailer that it can buy large amounts of products, such as Coca-Cola and Oreo
cookies, that it can get items at the lowest possible cost. Plus, Costco has its own
brand name, Kirkland, which also increases its control over suppliers. In regard to
substitutions, there is really no replacement for food. However, the force of a Threat of
New Entrants is quite possible. For example, Amazon is the largest retailer online and
recently surpassed Walmart as the largest company in market value. Costco has to be
concerned that its customers will increasingly buy their food items online at Amazon
instead of going out to shop at a Costco store.

As one can see, in many industries, the competitive rivalry within an industry is
as great as at any time in the history of business. Thus, Costco will have to emphasize
its great face-to-face customer service offered at all of its stores. It certainly helps to
have pleasant people at their doors checking customers into and out of the store. Of
course, that is also a security check to make sure customers have their membership
on the way into the store and that they have a receipt for buying the products on the
way out of the store.

Based on personal experiences since 1991, the author’s family has bought grocery
and nongrocery items at Costco. We are loyal customers, and the employees are always
sincerely helpful 100 percent of the time. The level of service, including returning
any product that has ever been bought at Costco, is not found at any other retailer.
Costco’s focus on employee happiness translates to customer satisfaction. Happy
employees make happy customers.

Case Questions

1. Costco has impacted the retail shopping
industry. Use the Five-Force model to
outline how Costco impacted the grocery
and nongrocery marketplace.

2. How does Costco’s approach to human
resources provide it with a competitive
advantage?

3. How do Costco’s HR policies help the
company be successful?

4. Discuss how Costco creates a link
between employees and customers.

5. Does the mission of Costco impact HR?

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Chapter 2 • Strategy-Driven Human Resource Management 11

Notes

1. Associated Press, “Early Retirement Signups for Massachusetts State Workers Below Proje-
ctions as Deadline Nears,” FoxBusiness.com, June 12, 2015.

2. Schoenberg, Shira, “2,870 Sign Up for Early Retirement,” The Republican, June 13, 2015, 1.
3. “2015 Workforce 100: Ranking the World’s Top Companies for HR,” Workforce, May 22, 2015,

http://www.workforce.com/articles/21293–2015-Workforce-100-List.

4. “Employee Relations Best Practices: Costco’s Approach to HR,” i-Sight, http://i-sight.com/
resources/employee-relations-best-practices-costco/.

5. Tuttle, Brad, “Why Costco May Never Raise Prices on $4.99 Chickens, $1.50 Hot Dogs,” Time
.com, May 29, 2015.

6. Porter, Michael, “Competitive Advantage,” Free Press, 1998.
7. Airline, Katherine, “Porter’s Five Forces: Analyzing the Competition,” Businessnewsdaily

.com, February 18, 2015, http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5446-porters-five-forces.html.

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2

1
The New Human Resource

Management Process

Case 1.1. The Changing
Role of Human Resources in
Organizations: The Curious Case of Zappos
In the 1980s, when you were interviewed or hired for a job you often met a person
from the company who worked in the Personnel Office. The Personnel Office was
viewed as a place where each employee filed the necessary forms to work at the
company.

The Personnel Office was considered a staff management area where you learned
about the policies and rules of being an employee at the company. Personnel was con-
sidered a staff management area, since they only advised line managers in some field of
expertise. For example, Personnel would have consultants with specialized experience
in accounting or providing input on legal issues to support the line managers that
were creating the product.

Fortunately, over the years the Personnel Office became known as the Human
Resources (HR) Department. HR has become a larger part of the strategic planning pro-
cess in many companies. The HR manager often helps to set policies and strategies in
relation to the workforce at an organization. At the same time, HR managers continue
to support line managers by constantly improving areas such as finding prospective
new employees, training employees, improving employee motivation, searching and
evaluating lower cost and higher quality health-care benefits, providing information
on retirement services, and many other activities designed to make sure employees are
able to complete their jobs.

Zappos, a very successful online retailer that sells shoes mainly to women, is an
example of a younger company that provides a modern approach to human resource
management. The human resources department at Zappos organizes unique events to
help celebrate the excitement at Zappos. To begin the process of working at Zappos,
the initial job interview is often conducted in an informal atmosphere to allow the

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Chapter 1 • The New Human Resource Management Process 3

prospective employee to feel comfortable. New employees are offered $2,000 if they
don’t want to stay with the company. Very few employees decide to leave the company
since they are excited to work for Zappos and their exciting CEO Tony Heish.1

Zappos has been so successful that it was purchased by Amazon in 2009 for over
$807 million. Zappos runs independently of Amazon to protect its unique human
resources department.2

Rebecca Henry is the former director of human resources for Zappos. She believes
the company consciously decides what the corporate culture needs to look like based
on ten core values. Each new employee is trained by an HR person on each of the
following ten values:

1. Deliver WOW Through Service

2. Embrace and Drive Change

3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness

4. Be Adventurous

5. Be Creative and Open-Minded

6. Pursue Growth and Learning

7. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication

8. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit

9. Do More With Less

10. Be Passionate and Determined, Be Humble3

The HR Department works with upper-level management to develop employee job
descriptions, the hiring process, on-the-job training, and the day-to-day work envi-
ronment based on these unique core values.

Zappos is always exploring new ideas to improve its human resources process.
For example, to improve the recruiting process, it has developed a social network
known as Zappos Insiders. Zappos Insiders allows prospective employees to interact
with current employees to see if they would be a good fit with the creative culture
at Zappos.4

Tony Heish’s latest idea is to make sure the people working at Zappos are truly
motivated to work at his company. All employees were offered the option to leave
the company with a severance package if they didn’t want to participate in a self-
management program. Self-management is a newer management idea that is based on
having agile workers. Employees learn to manage themselves and move from job to
job instead of staying with a single static job. The goal is for employees to give up tra-
ditional job titles and work on multiple tasks, rather than at a specific job. An employ-
ee’s job is constantly changing instead of being static.

Overall, 220 employees (14%) took the severance package offered by Heish to weed
out employees who wanted to change companies, who were ready for retirement,

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Part I • 21st-Century Human Resource Management Strategic Planning and Legal Issues4

or decided to leave for their own reasons. However, that also means 84 percent of the
remaining employees are employees who are motivated to make Zappos an even more
successful online retailer.5

Case 1.2. HRM Careers:
Five Growing Areas of Human Resources
What does it mean if you say you want to work in human resources? Actually, if you
can show a desire to work in HR, that is great! Too many students lack a focus on what
they specifically want to do for a job and a career. So, being able to say one wants to
work in HR shows that a student has scoped out an area he or she would like to learn
more about and gain experience in.

A person who would like to work in human resources can expect to work closely
with the other people in the organization. Thus, an HR employee needs to have good
people skills, as the HR job will be to take the lead in the management and maintenance
of the organization’s people. The HR person might find his or her job to be as delightful
as helping employees who have a new baby in their family or as sad as helping with
employees who leave the company, are laid off from the company, or even pass away.

Human Resources employees are increasingly asked to see the big picture of
the organization. They need to know where the company is going so they can hire
the appropriate people to fill those positions. For example, if a supermarket chain
decided to add gasoline stations to its stores, then the company might need to hire a
person who had experience in gasoline sales instead of—or along with—knowledge
of food sales.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) provides data on human resource manage-
ment jobs for the 2012 to 2022 range. Median pay in the field of human resources is
expected to be just under $100,000 per year, or $47.94 per hour. The data are based on
a person having a bachelor’s degree and 5 years of related work experience. Job growth

Case Questions

1. Should Tony Heish be concerned
that a large number of managers
and employees might reject self-
management, leave the company, and
accept a severance package?

2. What benefits or incentives do
employees experience at Zappos
that make them want to stay with the
company?

3. Does it appear the Human Resources
Department at Zappos is a staff or
a line area?

4. Does human resources at Zappos
create revenue for the organization?

5. If you were the HR manager at Zappos,
would you support the Zappos Insider
program as a reliable source of
acquiring new prospective employees?

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Chapter 1 • The New Human Resource Management Process 5

over the 10-year period is expected to be 13 percent, which is considered as fast as the
average growth in all occupations. The average job rate in all occupations is expected
to be 11 percent.6

HR jobs can be classified as either generalist or specialist. An HR generalist may
operate in many different areas of the discipline. A specialist focuses on a specific dis-
cipline of HR. Many smaller organizations have only one or two employees in their
HR office. The HR employees will have to be generalists inasmuch as they will have to
help employees in many different areas.

The following are the human resources positions that are expected to grow in the
next five years:

1. Compensation and Benefits Managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov)
explains that these managers plan, direct, and coordinate how much an organi-
zation pays its employees and how employees are paid. Benefits managers plan,
direct, and coordinate retirement plans, health insurance, and other benefits
that an organization offers its employees. For example, employees can select
a health-care plan for their family from the benefit manager. Employees will
then periodically ask questions about their plan throughout the year. The ben-
efits manager will end up answering questions regarding the deductible level
in the plan, which the family must pay before most medical services are free.
One plan, for example, may have a $4,000 deductible. That amount of medical
care money must be spent before services are reimbursed. Employees can also
ask the benefits expert for help with purchasing medical supplies via mail order
instead of using a local pharmacist. Salaries can range from $48,000 to $98,000,
depending on where you live.

2. Training and Development Specialists. The median wage for trainers was $56,000
in 2012. Training and development is the area of the company where employ-
ees receive education. Trainers need to have good communication skills, as they
lead training sessions on topics such as leadership, teamwork, and product-
specific information.7

3. Employment, Recruitment, and Staffing Specialists. These HR workers are employ-
ment specialists who screen, recruit, interview, and place workers. The goal
of staffing specialists is to get talented people interested in working for their
company. Mean wages are around $63,000 a year.

4. Human Resources Information (HRIS) Analysts. This person uses computer skills to
help ensure the data within the human resources department. They ensure the
integrity of the data, testing of system changes, and analysis of data flows for
process improvement.

5. Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) Managers. Many small to large businesses have an
EAP program to help employees with their personal health. EAPs can include
counseling for work-related stress, financial problems, and substance-abuse
problems. Wellness programs can include assistance with weight problems and
encourage physical fitness programs.

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Part I • 21st-Century Human Resource Management Strategic Planning and Legal Issues6

Case Questions

1. Which of the previous positions listed
deals with problems you might have
regarding your health-care program?

2. Which positions would be well suited
to someone who likes to make
presentations?

3. A person with computer skills would be
best suited for which position?

4. A person with social worker experience
would be well suited to which type of
position?

5. A person who would find, attract, and
assign people to a certain division
would have which job title?

Notes

1. McFarland, Keith, “Why Zappos Offers New Hires $2,000 to Quit,” Bloomberg Business,
September 16, 2008.

2. Hof, Rob, “Amazon.com Acquires Shoe E-tailer Zappos,” BusinessWeek, July 22, 2009.
3. Heathfield, Susan M., “20 Ways Zappos Reinforces Its Company Culture,” Humanresources.com.
4. Feffer, Mark, “The Democratization of Talent Management: How Technology and Gene-

rational Changes Are Transforming HR,” Society for Human Resource Management, April 7,
2015.

5. Feloni, Richard, “7% of Zappos Managers Quit After Recent CEO Ultimatum to Embrace Self-
Management or Leave,” Businessinsider.com, June 9, 2015.

6. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm.
7. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/training-and-development-specialists.htm.

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Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends:
“Now and Around the Corner”, pages 1–29.
Copyright © 2019 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. 1

CHAPTER 1

AN INTRODUCTION TO
HUMAN RESOURCES

Management Issues, Challenges and Trends
“Now and Around the Corner”

Ronald R. Sims and Sheri K. Bias

INTRODUCTION

These continue to be uncertain times which are dominated by a rapidly transform-
ing business landscape. The uncertain times and rapidly transforming business
landscape mean that all organizations must deal with issues like tighter labor mar-
kets, economic uncertainty and globalization. These and other issues will con-
tinue to shape the workplace, the human resource management (HRM) challenges
and the HRM profession now and around the corner.

It is absolutely clear that HRM plays a key role in determining the survival
and effectiveness of contemporary organizations. Thus, the effective management
of an organization’s human resources is a major source of competitive advantage
and may even be the single most important determinant of an organization’s per-

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AN: 2006258 ; Ronald R. Sims.; Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends: ‘Now and Around the Corner’
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2 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

formance and success long-term. An organization’s HRM practices help support a
company’s business strategy and provide services the customer values.

Anyone who is familiar with the major organizations in their area has prob-
ably observed first-hand how dramatically the environment for contemporary or-
ganizations has continued to change in recent years. These changes have had a
significant impact on organizational efforts to be successful. In practically every
instance organizations have tried to more clearly identify and then focus on fac-
tors that impact their success and create a sustainable competitive advantage. One
factor that continues to receive more attention than any other is the people who
work for organizations. What organizations are realizing is that their likelihood
of sustained success is most dependent on learning to get the maximum out of
their employees. Such a realization has had a significant impact on the practice of
HRM. What’s more, forecasters predict that the role of employees, managers, and
HRM personnel regardless of the sector (i.e., private, public, or not-for-profit) are
likely to see more changes in the decades ahead (see Gibson, Ziskin, & Boudreau,
2014; May, n.d.; Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2019, p. 2017). Thus, indi-
viduals entering the world of work today (and tomorrow) require an understand-
ing of the issues, challenges and opportunities that will continue to impact an
organization’s ability get the most out of their human resources as they strive for
both a competitive advantage and success.

Organizations are increasingly realizing that their success is dependent on their
ability to attract, develop, and retain talented employees. More than two decades
ago, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich emphasized this point when he sug-
gested that in the future, the organization’s ability to attract, develop, and retain
a talented workforce will be a critical factor in developing a high-performance
organization. Long-term, sustained organization success in today’s changing and
challenging world of work involves senior leadership’s commitment to design-
ing and implementing HRM programs and policies geared to developing both
high-performing employees and organizations. This means that senior leadership
anticipates the future need for employees and develops specific plans to obtain,
develop, and retain the type of employees who meet the needs of a high-perform-
ing organization. Only by anticipating and working towards the development and
retention of the “right type” of employees, can any organization expect to be suc-
cessful in the global, dynamic and competitive environment.

An important element of any organization’s success in the days, weeks, months,
and years to come is a strategy where every employee is treated as a valuable re-
source. To do this means that organizations and its HRM professionals must be
sensitive and responsive to the relevant issues, challenges and opportunities.

The objective of this book is to explore and provide an updated look at some
of the challenges, trends and issues HRM professionals will need to focus on
now and around the corner. Like other departments in the broader organization
HRM professionals will need to increasingly demonstrate how they add value and
contribute to the organization’s success. While the trends, challenges and issues

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 3

impacting organizations and HRM professionals will continue to change over the
years the bottom-line of organization success is the clear reality that employees
are their best assets and the need for effective HRM.

It is our hope that you the readers of this book will better understand the ongo-
ing transformation of HRM given the issues, challenges and opportunities offered
by the contributors. This means the book will discuss the ever-evolving role of
HRM professionals to include discussion of how the profession must continue to
become more adaptive, resilient, quick to change direction and customer-centered
in its efforts to help meet the human resource needs of contemporary organiza-
tions and their employees. It is also our hope that the book will contribute to the
ongoing dialogue and insights offered by HRM experts on what HRM profession-
als and their organizations can do in the face of such challenges, trends and issues
in their efforts to win the talent wars.

This opening chapter first defines HRM and its role in helping organizations
succeed. Next, the chapter takes a brief look at the interlinked activities typically
taking place within organizations. Then, the chapter describes the history and con-
temporary growth of HRM. We conclude the chapter with a discussion of the con-
temporary challenges confronting organizations and HRM in the years to come.

Before taking a closer look at several of the challenges, trends and issues that
will impact HRM professionals in the near and far term it’s important to take a
brief look at what we mean by HRM and the responsibilities of HRM.

WHAT IS HRM?

What makes one organization successful whereas another fails to make use of the
same opportunities? For our purposes, the key to continued survival and organiza-
tional success lies not in the rational, quantitative approaches, but increasingly to
a focus on things like people, employee involvement and commitment. Organiza-
tion success for organizations of today and tomorrow is being increasingly seen
as dependent on effective HRM. Effective HRM positively affects performance in
organizations, both large and small.

HRM is the term increasingly used to refer to the philosophy, policies, proce-
dures, and practices related to the management of an organization’s employees
(Quttainah, 2005; Sims, 2002) or that influences employees’ behavior, attitudes,
and performance (Noe, et al., 2019). Many organizations refer to HRM as involv-
ing “people practices.” HRM is particularly concerned with all the activities that
contribute to successfully attracting, developing, motivating, and maintaining a
high-performing workforce that results in organizational success.

In the process of HRM, there is an increasing emphasis on the personal needs
of the organization and its members. How effectively employees contribute to
organization goals depend to a larger extent upon the ability of its HRM profes-
sionals. The challenge is to create an organizational environment in which each
employee can grow and develop to their fullest extent. Such an environment in-

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4 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

creases the likelihood of a successful organization, and this is what HRM is all
about, helping make organizations successful.

HRM efforts are planned, systematic approaches to increasing organizational
success. They involve HRM programs aimed at developing HRM strategies for
the total organization with an eye towards clarifying an organization’s current and
potential problems and develop solutions to them. It is oriented toward action,
the individual, the global marketplace, and the future. Today it would be difficult
to envision any organization achieving success without efficient HRM programs
and activities.

The purpose of HRM programs is to increase organizational success and also
to develop the potential of all members. HRM also emphasizes that HRM plan-
ning needs to be closely related to the organization’s strategic goals and plans.
Finally, there are a series of planned HRM practices that will ultimately influence
the success of an organization. The strategy underlying these practices needs to be
considered to maximize their influence on organization performance. These HRM
practices are briefly discussed in the next section.

The importance of recruiting, selection, training and developing, rewarding,
and compensating employees is recognized by employees at all levels or parts of
today’s organizations. Clearly, HRM and other functions must work together to
achieve organizational success and compete locally and internationally. In order
for an organization to be successful (i.e., prosper, earn a profit or meet society’s
or customer’s needs), reasonable goals in each of these components much be
achieved.

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS

Fortunately, contemporary leaders and their organizations are increasingly look-
ing at HRM practices as a means to contribute to profitability, quality, and other
organizational goals through enhancing and supporting organizational operations.
This means HRM professionals and their department or function be integrated
with the organization, and able to help leaders throughout the organization in at-
tracting, building, engaging and retaining talented employees. In addition, HRM
professionals must also build their own talent and skills so they can help the orga-
nization meet current and future competitive challenges.

HRM professionals can perform many different roles and responsibilities de-
pending on the size of the organization, the characteristics of the workforce, the
industry and the value system of organization leadership. HRM professionals
may take full responsibility for human resource activities in some organizations,
whereas in others it may share the roles and responsibilities with managers of
other functions in the organization such as operations information technology, or
finance. In some organizations HRM professionals advise top-level leadership; in
others the HRM department may make decisions regarding staffing, training, and
compensation after senior leadership has decided relevant organization issues.

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 5

Within each functional area of HRM, many activities must be accomplished so
that the organization’s human resources can make an optimal contribution to the
organization’s success. These activities are briefly discussed in this section.

Strategic Management of Human Resources

The amount of time that the HRM function devotes to being a strategic busi-
ness partner, change agent, and employee advocate has increased substantially in
organizations over the past decade and a half (see Bersin, 2015; Ruona & Gibson,
2004). Astute senior leaders know that HRM professionals can help them im-
prove, to comply with the law and help the bottom line by streamlining employ-
ment costs, for example, by redesigning work to foster innovation, by forecasting
labor trends, by recruiting and motivating employees, and by measuring their ef-
fectiveness. HRM professionals also help their organizations with business strate-
gies, as well as mergers, acquisitions, and ways to enter new and global markets.
According to Art Mazor “If you look at the evolution going back to when we
called HR ‘personnel,’ it’s come a long way as a function” (p. 6) (Snell & Morris,
2019). New HRM tools and technologies are allowing the HRM function to look
outside the tactical, administrative reporting and data gathering to bring insights
to drive business strategy and results (Lindzon, 2015).

HRM needs to be closely integrated with managerial planning and decision
making (i.e., international human resources, forecasting, planning, mergers and
acquisitions). As noted earlier, increasingly senior leaders in organizations rec-
ognize that the time to consider the organization’s HRM strengths or limitations
is when strategic organizational decisions are being formulated, not after critical
policies have been decided. A closer integration between top management’s goals
and HRM practices helps to elicit and reward the types of behavior necessary for
achieving an organization’s strategy. For example, if an organization is planning
to become known for its high-quality products HRM staff should design appraisal
and reward systems that emphasize quality in order to support this competitive
strategy.

Strategic management of human resources includes HRM planning. The HRM
planning process involves forecasting HRM needs and developing programs to
ensure that the right numbers and types of individuals are available at the right
time and place. Such information enables an organization to plan its recruitment,
selection, and training strategies. For example, let’s say an organization’s HRM
plan estimates that 12 data analysts will be needed during the next year. The
organization typically hires recent data analyst graduates to fill such positions.
Because these majors are in high demand, the organization decides to begin its
recruiting early in the school year, before other organizations can “snatch away”
the best candidates.

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6 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

Recruiting and Selecting (Staffing) Talent

Once HRM needs are determined, the next step is recruiting talent (i.e., inter-
viewing, recruiting, screening and selecting the most qualified candidates, filling
some positions through transfer or promotion, and temporary employment coor-
dination). Recruitment is a form of business contest and it is fiercely competi-
tive. Just as organizations strategize to develop, manufacture, and market the best
product or service, so they must also vie to identify, attract, and hire the most
qualified people. Recruitment is a business, and it is big business (Cahuc, Car-
cillo, & Zilberberg, 2014; Ehrenberg & Smith, 2016).

Regardless of the size of an organization, or what sector or industry it is in,
recruitment and selection of people with strategically relevant abilities is more
important than ever. And, recruiting and staffing is a far more complex activity
than in previous times when HRM professionals could rely on recommendations
from current employees or a “help wanted” sign in front of the business. The
increased complexity of positions to be filled and equal employment opportunity
(EEO), require more sophisticated procedures to identify and select prospective
employees. Consider, for instance, the impact antidiscrimination laws have had
over the years on organizations hiring practices. Prior to the passage of these laws,
many organizations hired people in somewhat arbitrary ways. Applicants were of-
ten hired because they had an organization handshake or because they graduated
from the employer’s alma mater. Today, such practices could result in charges of
discrimination. For instance, a woman denied a job because she is pregnant may
end up suing the organization for sex discrimination.

To protect themselves from such charges, employers must conduct their selec-
tion practices “by the book.” This means they should carefully determine needed
job qualifications and choose selection methods that accurately measure those
qualifications.

In order to plan for future selection efforts and training programs and to en-
sure that performance appraisal and compensation systems are rationally based on
job demands HRM professionals must complete careful descriptions and analysis
and design of current and future work and jobs. The development and use of job
analysis information continues to be a critical part of strategic HRM planning and
as the foundation for all other HRM functions.

Organizations may recruit candidates internally (i.e., recruit current employees
seeking to advance or change jobs) or externally. While the aim of recruitment is
to identify a suitable pool of applicants quickly, cost efficiently, and legally, selec-
tion or staffing involves assessing and choosing job candidates. Internal recruit-
ment often relies on succession plans, job posting, employee referrals, or tempo-
rary worker pools (Polyhart & Kim, 2014). Many external recruitment sources are
also available (Cascio, 2019).

To be effective, selection processes must be technically sound (i.e., accurate)
and legal. But more importantly, in staffing an organization or department it is

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 7

important for HRM professionals and other decision makers to consider its devel-
opmental stage-start-up, high growth, mature, or aging-in order to align staffing
decisions with organizational strategy. It is also important to communicate an
organization’s culture, because research shows that applicants will consider this
information to choose among jobs if it is available to them (see Kristol-Brown &
Guay, 2011; Polyhart, Schmitt & Tippins, 2017).

Training and Development (Human Resource Development)

Like years gone by today’s employees look at the chance to develop and move
up as important in where they will seek employment. In order to facilitate employ-
ee progression and performance best practice or benchmark training and develop-
ment organizations choose to spend substantial sums to train and develop their
employees on operational knowhow but also superior job expertise; knowledge
about competitive, industry, and technological trends; and the ability to continu-
ally learn and utilize new information. By focusing on these characteristics HRM
professionals and their organizations are in a better position to adapt and innovate
to compete far more effectively in today’s fast-paced global business world. The
reality is, that because training and talent development plays a critical role in
nurturing, strengthening, and expanding the capabilities of an organization in this
way, it is critical to achieving strategic objectives.

Training and development or what is often referred to as human resource de-
velopment (HRD) (i.e., orientation / onboarding, performance management skills
training, and productivity enhancement) are planned learning experiences that
teach employees how to perform their current and future jobs. Training tends to
be more narrowly focused and oriented to short-term performance concerns or
present jobs, whereas development tends to be oriented more toward broadening
an individual’s skills for future responsibilities or jobs.

Procedures for determining training and development needs then constructing,
delivering, and evaluating HRM development programs to meet these needs are
the cornerstones of HRD and most often the responsibility of HRM profession-
als. However, in order to ensure that their organizations get the most out of their
training investments, today HRM professionals must pay attention to training and
development trends like the following (Cascio, 2014, 2017; Noe, 2017):

• A growing demand for personal and professional development. Among
young adults the most important feature they look for in a new job is op-
portunity for continuous learning (Hirsch, 2016).

• The effects of digital technology on work. Technology, especially informa-
tion and communication technology, continues to change the manner in
which organizations create and capture value, how and where we work,
and how we interact and communicate. Technologies such as cloud and
mobile computing, big data and machine learning, sensors and intelligent
manufacturing, for example, continue to transform the very foundations of

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8 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

global business and organizations that derive it while enabling employees
to decide where they work, when they work, and in some cases even how
they accomplish work (see Cascio & Montealegre, 2016; Friedman, 2016).

• Structural changes in labor markets. Today’s organizations increasingly
employ workers from a variety of labor markers which include, for ex-
ample, temporary-help services, online job boards, and social media sites
which means that 1) HRM professionals and their organizations can no
longer assume that everyone who works at a given organization is an
employee of that organization and 2) and these employees who work for
themselves may on any given day make up as much as 24 percent of the
American workforce as nonstandard workers (Pofeldt, 2015).

• Training as an important part of an organization’s brand. In general, the
public and especially potential talent are attracted to good-name brands
and repelled by bad-name brands. Organizations that provide superior op-
portunities for learning and growth have a distinct advantage when com-
peting for talented employees (Kane & Sherr, 2011).

HRM professionals must ensure that their organization’s HRD efforts provide an
atmosphere that will support the investment in talent while being cognizant of the
ever-evolving trends in training and development.

Performance Management

Through the performance management process, HRM professionals must see
that their organizations measure the adequacy of their employees’ job performance
and communicate these evaluations to them. An effective performance manage-
ment process provides an organization to 1) ensure that employee’s activities and
outputs are congruent with the organization’s goals and 2) with the opportunity
to achieve a competitive advantage through their employees by managing the be-
havior and results of all its employees. Performance management is a critical link
in the HRM process as it assesses how well employees are performing and deter-
mine appropriate rewards or remedial actions to motivate employees to continue
appropriate behaviors and correct inappropriate ones.

The HRM professional’s role in performance management is one of working
with other managers and employees at all levels in the organization to establish
the appraisal process, the performance dimensions to be measured, the proce-
dures to ensure accuracy, and requirements for discussion of appraisal results with
employees. This also means that HRM professionals help instill a culture of un-
derstanding in the organization that sees effective performance management as a
process and not an event. The emphasis on performance management as a pro-
cess highlights the importance of providing feedback and the formal performance
evaluation but notes that they are not the only important parts of an effective
performance management process that contributes to the organization’s competi-

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 9

tive advantage (Dahling & O’Malley, 2011; Goler, Gale & Grant, 2016; Mone,
Eisinger, Guggenheim, Prie, & Stine, 2011).

Today’s HRM professionals and other organizational managers and leaders
must effectively use performance management and specifically performance ap-
praisals as a tool for making HRM-related decisions, such as promotions, demo-
tions, discharges, and pay raises. Performance appraisal continues to not be one
of the pleasant activities for managers, yet it is important that it be undertaken in
a timely manner and be done as accurately as possible.

There is every indication that measuring and managing performance will con-
tinue to be a challenging endeavor and one of the keys to organizational success
and gaining and maintaining competitive advantage. HRM professionals must
never let the organization lose sight of the importance of a performance manage-
ment system in serving strategic, administrative, and development purposes for
the organization. That is, for example, performance is critical for today’s organi-
zations to execute their talent management strategy, that is, to identify employees’
strengths and weaknesses, drive employee engagement, link employees to ap-
propriate training and development activity, and reward good performance with
pay and other incentives (Noe & Links, 2014). In the end, acquiring, training &
developing and retaining top-notch employees is more likely to occur when HRM
professionals and their organizations look at the performance management system
as a tool for motivating and fostering the growth of employees so they can con-
tribute the maximum value to the organization.

Career Development

Organizations are becoming more active in developing career development
programs as part of their HRD efforts. Many organizations are designing career
programs in an attempt to increase overall organizational performance, employee
productivity, and attract, develop, and retain the most qualified employees in this
increasingly competitive and global environment.

HRM professionals and proactive organizations see career development as a
strategic imperative, and therefore, as an ongoing process designed to maximize
the talents of their employees and retain them. In the years to come, HRM profes-
sionals and other organizational members must regularly work to understand their
organizations’ strategies in conjunction with their organizational charts, job anal-
ysis and work design information, and external factors such as the labor market
and the competition, and their efforts to recruit and train and develop proactively
and continually.

In addition to being concerned about their own interests, organizations are in-
creasingly concerned about the long-term interests of their employees. However,
with pressures to improve efficiency and overall effectiveness organizations have
also expected individuals to accept more responsibility for managing their own
careers. This means that individuals must do everything they can to grow and
realize their full potential in order to improve their value either to their current

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10 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

or future employers. Individuals have begun to view careers as “boundaryless”
and protean (see Briscoe, Hall, & De Muth, 2005; Gerli, Bonesso, & Pizzi, 2015;
Gubler, Arnold & Coombs, 2014) including several employers and possibly dif-
ferent occupations.

A common factor in the occurrence of various definitions of a boundaryless
career is “one of independence from, rather than dependence on, traditional or-
ganizational career arrangements” (p. 6) (Arthur & Rousseau, 1996). A protean
career is based on self-direction with the goal of psychological success in one’s
work. Employees take major responsibility for managing their careers and their
careers change frequently due to both changes in the person’s interests, abilities,
and values and changes in the work (Noe et al., 2019).

The important takeaway from the boundaryless or protean career for HRM
professionals is that they and their organizations must understand is that today’s
careers will often change. A career may include movement across several employ-
ers (job hopping) or even different occupations. The reality is that employees will
be unlikely to stay at one organization for their entire or even a significant part
of their career. This means that organizations and employees should add value to
each other (Hoffman, Casnocha, & Yeh, 2016; Lublin, 2016). In the end, HRM
professionals and their organizations will need to focus their energies on creat-
ing an employee development planning or career management system that views
career management as a partnership between employees and their organization
and is based on a positive relationship through which employees are committed to
the organization but can take personal control for managing their own careers to
benefit themselves and the organization.

Compensation

Compensation is a key strategic area for any organization as it impacts the or-
ganization’s ability to attract and retain talent and ensure optimal levels of perfor-
mance from employees in meeting the organization’s strategic objectives. HRM
professionals must also understand that compensation is a key economic issue
as compensation programs continue to assume an increasingly large share of an
organization’s operating expenses. A critical balancing act must occur to ensure
that compensation attracts, motivates, and retains talent; at the same time, com-
pensation should allow the organization to maintain a cost structure that enables
it to compete effectively and efficiently (Mello, 2019).

A logical result of the performance management process is determining which
employees most deserve rewards. Compensation entails pay and benefits (i.e.,
wage and salary administration, job descriptions, executive compensation, in-
centive pay, insurance, vacation-leave administration, retirement plans, profit
sharing, stock plans). Allocating rewards is a complex and specialized activity.
Rewards include both direct compensation and (salary and hourly wages) and
indirect compensation (benefits) that organizations offer to employees. The aim

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 11

of compensation practices is to help organizations establish and maintain a com-
petent and loyal workforce at an affordable cost.

Compensation is affected by forces as diverse as labor market factors, collec-
tive bargaining, and senior leadership’s philosophy regarding pay and benefits
(Newman, Gerhart, & Milkovich, 2017). Like other HRM activities, compensa-
tion practices are also affected by government legislation, for example, like legal
requirements of equal pay for equal work, minimum wage and overtime provi-
sions, and required benefits such as Social Security. In addition to the level of pay,
a successful compensation system is based on fairness. Employees bring a variety
of perspectives to bear in deciding whether they are satisfied with the compensa-
tion they receive, thus making management of compensation a particularly chal-
lenging HRM activity.

In working with organizational leaders HRM professionals should ensure that
compensation systems are designed to mesh with the strategic objectives of the
organization. They also need to integrate the realities of prevailing pay levels in
the labor market with an organization’s profitability and ability to pay. Further, in
fulfilling their role in organizations, HRM professionals will need to remember
that compensation, as part of an organization’s total reward system, will continue
to evolve strategically relative to the changing needs of organizations and em-
ployees in a number of ways (see Mathis, Jackson, Valentine, & Meglich, 2017;
Mello, 2019). First, greater emphasis is being placed on employee performance
and contribution, rather than seniority, in compensation decisions. Second, em-
ployers are taking a more holistic approach to compensation in offering enhanced
and flexible benefits to meet individual employee needs and preferences. Third,
greater emphasis is being placed on more immediate and intermittent rewards,
rather than waiting for the annual performance review to announce compensation
decisions. Fourth, organizational rewards are becoming more directly linked to
the organization’s mission, strategy, and goals. Fifth, compensation decisions and
rewards are becoming more individualized, rather than applied equally, “across
the board,” to all employees.

Strategic compensation as suggested in the five ways listed above will help
organizations to better compensate employees in ways that enhance motivation
and growth, while at the same time aligning their efforts with the objectives of
today’s organization. Strategic compensation will also continue to help redefine
the role and perceived contribution of compensation. No longer a “cost of doing
business,” when used strategically, compensation can help serve as a tool to se-
cure organization success and competitive advantage.

In the end, like other HRM practices the effectiveness of a compensation sys-
tem can be assessed by using a compensation scorecard. The scorecard collects
and displays where all departments and functions sit in terms of their relative
compensation. It increases transparency of compensation systems, the account-
ability of managers and leaders, and helps organizations align their compensation
decisions with organizational objectives (see Snapka & Copikova, 2011).

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12 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

Employee Safety, Health and Security

An important source of workplace change has been the desire to promote a
safer and more healthful work environment. Legal, social, and political pressures
on organizations ensure the health and safety of their employees continue to have
a great impact on HRM practices. Part of the impact and concern is a result of the
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. A second source of change is soci-
etal concern about exposure to hazardous substances or stress in the workplace.
Organizations try to respond to pressures and concerns by instituting accident
prevention programs and programs designed to ensure the health and mental well-
being of their employees. Organizations continue to take responsibility for help-
ing employees deal with problems caused by stress or substance abuse through
wellness and employee assistance programs as part of safety, health and security
program or risk management efforts (see Pate-Cornell & Cox, 2014).

HRM professionals play an important role in ensuring employee health and
safety, as they know the workplace, the employees and their job demands. While
HRM professionals are not expected to know the technical aspects of workplace
health and safety, today they must know when and how to use existing resources
to respond to employee concerns. In many organizations, health and safety (and
sometimes security) responsibilities are within HRM function or department. In
order to meet these responsibilities, HRM professionals must:

• Understand the health and safety responsibilities of employers, managers,
supervisors and employees within the organization;

• Implement HRM policies to ensure that everyone in the workplace is aware
of his/her responsibilities;

• Establish effective ways of meeting health and safety responsibilities; and
• Ensure that employees fulfill their health and safety responsibilities as out-

lined in the organizational policies and programs.

Health, safety and security are closely related terms because they affect each
other in practice and are often taken into consideration together by HRM pro-
fessionals and other organizational members when creating policies in an or-
ganization. Health refers to a general state of physical, mental, and emotional
well-being. A healthy person is free from illness, injury, or mental and emotional
problems that impair normal human activity. In most organizations, heath man-
agement efforts strive to maintain that overall well-being. Safety refers to a con-
dition in which people’s physical well-being is protected. The main purpose of
effective safety programs in organizations is to prevent work-related injuries and
accidents by identifying and communicating hazards, reinforcing safe practices,
and promoting safety internationally (see Bryan, 1990; Maurer, 2014). Thus, safe-
ty awareness programs attempt to instill symbolic and substantive changes in the
organization’s emphasis on safety.

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 13

Today and in the years to come, HRM professionals need to integrate work-
place health, safety and security in HRM practices throughout the organization
which include:

• Preventing work related injuries and illnesses;
• Fostering a workplace safety culture in which employees and their supervi-

sors work together to ensure workplace safety;
• Establishing administrative procedures that encourage employees to report

unsafe conditions and unsafe practices to their supervisors without fear of
being disciplined;

• Developing appropriate hiring, training and performance appraisal prac-
tices;

• Recruiting and retaining the best employees who care about their own
well-being and the well-being of co-workers.

• Ensuring that the health and safety policies and procedures conform with
the applicable occupational health and safety legislation and accepted best
practices in similar organizations;

• Establishing procedures for enforcing company safety rules;
• Helping reduce costs associated with losses due to absenteeism injuries,

workers’ compensation, disability, and health care;
• Maintaining records of injuries, illnesses and workers’ compensation;
• Coordinating first aid training and the provision of first aid to employees;
• Providing advice to employees and the employer in matters of occupa-

tional health and safety.

Table 1.1 provides an overview of some health, safety and security responsibili-
ties related to HRM.

Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

More than ever before, the relationship between managers and their employees
must be handled effectively if both the employees and the organizations are to
prosper together. And, the relationship is even more important when one consid-
ers the increasing number of organizations that are drawing on and contributing
to a global economy (Budd, 2018; Lansbury & Wailes, 2016). As these organiza-
tions have gone global, the number of employees abroad has increased. With more
employees abroad, HRM professionals and departments have had to tackle new
global challenges. Additionally, as the ebb and flow of pressures to downsize and
outsource and calls for more efficiency and effectiveness continue in public, pri-
vate and not-for-profit organizations, there is the possibility of increased tension
between organizations and their employees. HRM professionals are increasingly
called on to help their organizations tackle these and other challenges by pro-
actively identifying and implementing HRM policies and practices which effec-

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14 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

tively address the new global challenges and opportunities along with improving
(or protecting) wages and benefits and working conditions.

Labor relations are considered the study of the relationships existing in the
workplace between employers and workers or between workers, the organiza-
tions that represent employers, and workers, the government, and other types of
institutions in society as a whole (Dunlop, 1958). In addition, the field of labor
relations includes the study of HRM, collective bargaining, labor laws, and social
insurance systems (Napathorn & Chanprateep, 2011). It is important for HRM
professionals to understand all of the subfields of labor relations as it provides
them with insights into the real world of work and how to solve the problems
existing within such a world such as workplace disputes between employers and
labor unions, strikes, and lockouts, to promote fairness, efficiency, and a satisfy-
ing relationship between the two parties as well as to foster win-win solutions for
the labor-management problems in the workplace (see Kaufman, 2006).

It is also important for HRM professionals to continue to recognize that labor
relations are often country specific (Caulfield, 2004). That is to say, labor relations

TABLE 1.1. Health, Safety and Security Responsibilities Related to HRM

Examples of HRM Activities
Relevance to Workplace Health,

Safety and Security

Compliance with various
regulations regarding HRM
practices

Health, safety and security of employees with special needs

Coordinating, safety and security
activities

Supervision of health and safety personnel, coordination of
health, safety and security committee activities

Managing employee benefits and
compensation

Modified work assignment

Maintaining employee records Special needs of:
• Pregnant and nursing employees
• Employees with illness or injury
• Employees with disabilities (i.e., physical or mental issues)

Ensuring that employees are aware
of new and existing HRM policies

Orientation / onboarding, training and ongoing
communication with:
• New employees
• Transferred employees
• Promoted employees
• Entire workforce
• Volunteers and students/interns

Career development, training, and
organizational development

Training needs arising out of changing work practices,
equipment and relocation

Promoting leadership in
management and supervision

Health, safety and security environmental responsibility of
employees at all levels

Promoting safety culture Recognizing safe behavior

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 15

are considered a system and tend to be different between countries. Thus, under-
standing the labor relations system as well as the collective bargaining situation
in each country helps HRM professionals understand the nature of the economy,
industry, production methods, technological and socio-cultural dimension, as well
as the background and development of such a country (Kuruvilla, 1994). On the
other hand, understanding the external developments, economic expansion, and
other stimuli and changes affecting each country also helps HRM professionals
understand the labor relations system in a specific country as well. Therefore, la-
bor relations and collective bargaining must continue to be of paramount interest
to HRM professionals.

As evident in the paragraph above, labor relations continue to be a key strate-
gic for HRM professionals and their organization because the nature of the rela-
tionship between the employer and employees can have a significant impact on
morale, motivation, and productivity. Employees who feel that the terms and con-
ditions of their employment are less than advantageous will not be as committed
to perform and to remain with an organization. Consequently, how organizations
manage the day-to-day aspects of the employment relationship can be a key vari-
able affecting their ability to achieve strategic objectives locally and globally (see
Katz, Kochan, & Colvin, 2015; O’Brien & Kessler, 2014).

Today’s and tomorrow’s HRM professionals and other organizational mem-
bers will need to continue to pay attention to labor-management relations and
collective barging issues and help to implement organization, national and inter-
national polices, and workplace policies to solve problems and foster a positive
relationship between employees and organizations, especially because employees
are one of the most important mechanisms that will drive organization success.
Additionally, HRM professionals will need to regularly conduct such things as
labor audits in every country where they operate as conducting such assessments
will help identify any risks, issues, challenges, and opportunities they and their
organizations will need to address in developing labor relations procedures, poli-
cies and programs.

Global Human Resources Management

Simply put, global HRM is HRM that cuts across national boundaries. But as
many organizations and their HRM professionals have found out from first-hand
experience, it is not simple. Global HRM can be very complex. Globalization has
created an array of employment scenarios based on such variables as citizenship,
location, to whom the person reports, and the term of the assignment. Global,
multinational or transnational corporations are growing in numbers and complex-
ity. An example of this complexity is an organization building a manufacturing
plant in Spain to produce engine parts designed by another organization in Japan
for motorcycles to be sold in Europe and the United States (Sims, 2007).

The international aspects of HRM in the international arena require a global
perspective. A perspective that recognizes the difference between domestic HRM

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16 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

and global HRM is one of complexity. This complexity affects all the major HRM
processes as suggested in our discussion of management and employee relation-
ships and recognizes the importance of organizations ceasing to only be local but
to also be global. Today, even those organizations who consider themselves im-
mune to transactions across geographical boundaries are connected to the wider
network globally. They are in one way or the other dependent upon organizations
that may even not have heard about. Thus, HRM professionals must recognize
that there is an interdependence between organizations in various areas and func-
tions.

In looking to the future, HRM professionals and the function of global HRM
is that the organization carries a local appeal in the host country despite maintain-
ing an international feel. To exemplify, any global / multinational / international
company would not like to be called as local, however the same wants a domestic
touch in the host country and there lies the challenge.

HRM professionals may therefore, enumerate the objectives of global HRM
as follows:

1. Create a local appeal without compromising upon the global identity.
2. Generating awareness of cross-cultural sensitivities among managers

globally and hiring of staff across geographic boundaries.
3. Training upon cultures and sensitivities of the host country.

In the end, all of the HRM activities briefly reviewed in this section are interlinked
activities taking place within organizations. Additionally, external forces—legal,
economic, technological, global, environmental, cultural/geographic, political,
and social—have and will continue to significantly affect HRM activities and how
they are designed, managed, and changed in the coming years. The next section of
this introductory chapter takes a contemporary look at HRM issues, challenges,
and opportunities.

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES, CHALLENGES
AND TRENDS IMPACTING HRM

HRM is the term most often used to describe formal systems devised for the
management of people within an organization. And, as our discussion to this point
highlight, HRM is concerned with the development of both individuals and the or-
ganization in which they operate. HRM, then, is engaged not only in securing and
developing the talents of individual workers, but also in implementing programs
that enhance communication and cooperation between those individual workers
in order to nurture organizational development. Essentially, the purpose of HRM
is to maximize the productivity of an organization by optimizing the effectiveness
of its employees. This mandate is unlikely to change in any fundamental way, de-
spite the ever-increasing pace of change in the business world or any future laws
or regulations. As Edward L. Gubman (1996) observed more than two decades

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 17

ago in the Journal of Business Strategy, “the basic mission of human resources
will always be to acquire, develop, and retain talent; align the workforce with the
business; and be an excellent contributor to the business. Those three challenges
will never change.”

Until fairly recently, an organization’s HRM professionals and department was
often consigned to lower rungs of the corporate hierarchy, despite the fact that its
mandate is to replenish and nourish what is often cited—legitimately—as an orga-
nization’s greatest resource, its work force. But in recent years recognition of the
importance of HRM to an organization’s overall health has grown dramatically.
And, perhaps one of the main reasons for this increased recognition is HRM’s role
in helping the organization achieve its goals of obtaining and maintaining while
also navigating the never-ending changes of the world of work.

So, what are some of the main issues, challenges and trends facing HRM pro-
fessionals now and around the corner? The issues, challenges and trends con-
fronting HRM professionals and their organizations center around the continuing
need to build an HRM mindset more ingrained in the fabric of the organization
and creating much better integration of their operations and, for example, talent
management functions. Emerging trends and challenges in areas like new devel-
opments in technology, increased competition for talent, demographic changes
and demands for data-driven HRM practices (for example, cybersecurity threats
or responses to data breaches) will need to be successfully addressed by HRM
professionals and their organizations. There will be much more pressure on HRM
professionals to show that their organization do indeed put employees first and
have a strong employer brand.

Attracting the top talent while not new remains a continual issue, challenge
and trend for HRM professionals. But what is new are the ways organizations will
have to address attracting talent to include, for example, the increasing need to fo-
cus on millennials and how they go about making decisions on joining organiza-
tions. Must HRM professionals spend more time on ensuring their organizations
create cultures or work environments that spend less time on how much millen-
nials are paid or incentivized to work but base them on enhanced quality of work
life, service opportunities and attractiveness on issues like the reputation of the
organization in terms of their role in society and what they are doing to support
their employees both in and outside the organization? Consider, for example, that
a recent Korn Ferry study (2017) found that 73 percent of respondents said their
No. 1 driver at work was doing a job that had meaning and purpose, while only 3
percent said pay was the top driver. For millennials and the next generation of em-
ployees the pay check is no longer king when it comes to sourcing, retaining and
motivating talent. Today’s employees—irrespective of their generation—want to
work for organizations they believe in, from both a vision and development per-
spective. HRM professionals must continue to recognize and that organization
culture, ability to grow and upskill and location of work will be key motivators
above salary for candidates choosing their next employer.

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18 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

HRM professionals must make sure their organizations focus on and invest in
their employer brand to help prospective (and current) employees understand the
organization culture and motivations within the workplace. Through this invest-
ment, HRM professionals and others in the organizations can enhance their em-
ployer reputation or brand in a customized, dynamic way that moves the needle to
attract, engage and retain employees as an employer of choice.

An increased emphasis on the benefits of and investment in technology or
automation by many organizations creates opportunities to decrease cost and
improve the customer experience, and by doing this they are able to reduce the
number of employees they need. And this in turn forces HRM professionals and
other organizational leaders to have to make decisions on how best to continue to
achieve cost savings to be more competitive. For example, reducing the number
of employees presents the challenges or issues of needing to determine whether
or not to hire new people (just-in-time hiring) as the need arises, invest in up-
skilling their employees whose jobs will be eliminated with new technology or
automation and commit to preparing them for a new and different, but needed job
in the organization. In short, HRM professionals must work with others in the or-
ganization to increase organizational efficiency and productivity while also being
excessively sensitive to the way they treat their employees and the reputation and
scrutiny they will face from current and potential employees. Meister (2016) has
referred to the need for the “Consumerization of HR,” referring to how companies
create a social, mobile, and consumer-style experience for employees which also
requires HRM professionals and their departments to transform themselves and
have a new mindset, plus a set of consumer-focused and technological skills to
creating new HR solutions (Meister, 2017).

Related to the technology or automation issue for HRM professionals and their
organization is the trend of the increasing emergence of the Freelancer or Gig
economy or “Me Inc.” as some reports estimate, for example, that by 2020 as
much as 40% of the American workforce will be contingent workers or inde-
pendent contractors (Korn Ferry, 2016; Meister, 2017; Phillips, 2017; Schrader,
2015). The reality is that employees can no longer be easily parsed into full-time
and part-time, exempt and non-exempt. As a result, HRM professionals will need
to grapple with how to recruit, orient and socialize gig and other workers, while
staying in compliance with evolving laws and regulations (Waters & Alonso,
2017). HRM professionals will need to continue to develop and use tools like
talent networks, crowdsourcing and internal social networks to support a virtual
workforce.

When considering today and what is around the competitive landscape corner,
HRM professionals must be able to tie their talent investments to the organization
objectives. And this means HRM professionals must be proficient in understand-
ing the impact and importance of the big data and analytics trend on their efforts
to recruit, develop, and retain talent for the organization. New trends in workforce
analytics call for metrics that go beyond, for example, cost-per-hire and time-to-

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 19

fill metrics. But instead focus on meta-metrics like return on workforce invest-
ment and assessing opportunity costs associated with workforce processes. Such
sophistication of people analytics provides the organization with a holistic view of
people productivity using a combination of operational and talent data (Vorhaus-
er-Smith, 2017). Several writers (see Waters & Alonso, 2017; Meister, 2017) also
suggest the importance of HRM professionals blending in marketing tools like
net promoter scores to enhance the information gathered about an organization’s
effectiveness when promulgating brand and consumer value propositions.

The rise of and need to be attentive to millennials in the workforce creates the
opportunity and challenge of HRM professionals needing to help their organiza-
tions create a culture of continuous, regular or ongoing feedback. HRM profes-
sionals and organizations that are committed to developing a stronger workforce
which positively impacts their overall organization goals must develop and adopt
tools that enable employees to receive regular feedback from multiple sources,
such as peers, customers or multiple managers or leaders. The growing millennial
workforce expect more engagement and feedback and HRM professionals and or-
ganizations that fail to recognize such expectations and trend will clearly lose out
in the talent war and not be able to build a strong employer brand as mentioned
earlier.

Numerous HRM professionals and organizations have already focused their at-
tention on reinventing traditional performance management practices and clearly
made it easier for those in management or leadership positions to capture and
provide ongoing feedback to their individual and team direct reports. Tools con-
tinue to become smarter and, for example, embed activity streams, pulse surveys
and other techniques for feedback. As with other HRM technological innovations,
tools like performance management apps are helping to make regular feedback
a formalized process that can be provided and captured from any mobile device
(see Vorhauser-Smith, 2017). This and similar technology trends will continue to
create issues, challenges and opportunities for HRM professionals and their or-
ganizations as the look to transform or complement their traditional performance
review efforts with ongoing, just-in-time or everyday feedback.

Along the same vein as alluded to earlier is the rise of digital HRM. A plethora
of new HRM technology continues to transform the profession as we know it
today and forcing HRM professionals, their department and organizations to un-
dergo a degree of digital transformation. The emergence of machine learning and
artificial intelligence which mimics human decision-making processes whereby
algorithms can learn from and make predictions based on patterns of behav-
ior, will relentlessly foster smarter recruiting and talent management practices.
Whether helping HRM professionals to tailor the employee experience or analyz-
ing the traits of star performers in order to guide future recruiting decisions, the
rise of digital HRM practices will continue to change the profession as we know
it today and increasingly make the profession data-driven.

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20 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

It should be clear by now that technology will continue to drive HRM innova-
tions and a further focus on data-driven decision-making with the ability to corre-
late people data to business performance, and in some cases predict business per-
formance, as well as plan future workforce needs. Today and tomorrow, what will
matter most is how quickly and easily HRM can access a multitude of people data
and explore it alongside other types of data to improve organization outcomes.

While technology has made today’s employees’ lives exponentially easier, it
has also opened the door to a number of threats of hacking and data theft. Cyber-
security breaches are costly and destructive for organizations. Today, news of data
breaches seemed to make headlines almost daily. It is clear that no type of orga-
nization is exempt, including HRM. For example, in 2016, more than 700,000
candidates on the books of one international recruitment organization had their
details hacked in one of the biggest security breaches in the recruiting industry
(see English, 2016). While information security is not a new challenge for HRM
professionals, as the use of technology continues to gather and store an exponen-
tial amount of data on both candidates and companies alike, HRM professionals
must continue to realize that data security is not simply a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a
necessity. Now and around the corner, holistic security and data privacy will be a
business priority within the HRM profession and industry. Why?

Given the reality that many cybersecurity problems emerge due to the actions
of an organization’s own employees, HRM professionals, alongside others like
information technology professionals, will need to play a crucial role in the fight
against cyber-crime at the office (Global HR Research, 2016). This is especially
true because the data that HRM professionals work with is often the most vul-
nerable to attack. The Society for Human Resource Management noted that HR
records contain highly sensitive and private information like: social security num-
bers, dates of birth, bank detail and home addresses, to name just a few. As a re-
sult, HRM professionals now and tomorrow must not only have a comprehensive
understanding of how to protect data within their own department, but also the
organization as a whole.

Finally, there is every indication that federal and state laws and regulations will
continue to change and have an increasing impact on HRM professionals and their
organizations. Stephen Miller, Lisa Nagele-Piazza and Allen Smith (2017) in a
recent article titled “Top 7 Workplace Legal Trends for 2017” noted that employ-
ment attorneys predict uncertainty at the federal level and an uptick in state laws.
As one should surmise the HRM legal and regulatory environment will continue
to change and is quite likely the area that changes more than any other in HRM.
HRM professionals will need to continue to examine, analyze and discuss the
challenges, issues and opportunities related to HRM legal and regulatory issues
and the implications for employees and their organizations.

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 21

Contemporary Expectations of HRM

It should be evident in our discussion that gone are the days when HRM pro-
fessionals received direction from the senior leadership team as to their priorities
and needs. HRM is now expected to sit at the senior leadership table and recom-
mend processes, approaches, and organization or business solutions that improve
the ability of the organization’s people to effectively contribute.

The new role of HRM involves strategic direction and HRM metrics and
measurements to demonstrate how they add value throughout the organization
(Heathfield, 2017). HRM professionals must continue to find ways to demonstrate
and communicate their value by keeping those at all levels of the organization
aware of how people contribute to the organization’s success and by keeping it
safe from lawsuits and the resulting workplace chaos one finds in an increas-
ingly global work environment. HRM professionals must perform a balancing act
to serve all of an organization’s stakeholders: customers, senior leaders, owners,
government’ officials, other members of the community, managers, employees,
and stockholders.

It is difficult to underestimate the importance of an effective, modern and pro-
active HRM function and its professionals within today’s organization. An em-
ployee who retired from HRM ten or twenty years ago would not recognize the
competence and capability of the best HRM organizations today. It is our belief
that HRM professionals will continue to move their HRM function further and
further into the role of a valued strategic partner. HRM professionals and func-
tions that do will best serve their organizations today and tomorrow.

SUMMARY

Effective HRM is clearly an important component to todays and tomorrows or-
ganizational success. And the HRM function and professionals is an organiza-
tion’s most critical source of information about employment practices, employee
behavior, labor relations, and the effective management of all aspects of human
resources. HRM is made up of an identifiable set of activities that affect and influ-
ence the people who work in an organization. These activities include strategic
HRM planning, work design and job analysis, recruitment, selection or staffing,
career management, training and development, designing performance safety,
health and security, management and compensation systems, and labor relations.

The ongoing challenge and opportunity for HRM professionals is to integrate
programs involving human resources with strategic organizational objectives. To-
day’s organizations continue to be under tremendous competitive pressure in their
host countries and worldwide. As a result, HRM professionals must find ways to
develop effective local and global programs that meet this challenge.

Issues, challenges, problems and opportunities for HRM today and tomorrow
center on changing workforce demographics and diversity, competing in a global
environment, technological changes, eliminating the employee skills gap, devel-

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22 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

oping human capital-lifelong learning and organizational learning, and achiev-
ing societal goals through organizations. HRM must work as a strategic partner
with others in the organization to make their organizations better, faster, and more
competitive.

In conclusion, in an environment where competitive pressures will continue to
grow, and new techniques and concepts will constantly be developed, no function
can stand apart from change. The world of management and human performance
will also continue to evolve and as it does the expectations of HRM professionals
and their function will constantly grow. The requirement for HRM to be a stra-
tegic partner and results focused carries a significant message for HRM profes-
sionals of today and tomorrow—learn how to respond or be left behind. The trend
will continue to expect a more results oriented HRM function and professional
presence that satisfies the following needs:

1. The need to understand and contribute to business strategy
2. The need to produce business results
3. The need to add value and demonstrate HRM Professionalism
4. The need to be able to turn strategy into reality

We believe HRM will continue to meet these and other expectations as it has for
the past 100 some years.

THIS BOOK AND THE CHAPTERS THAT FOLLOW

The objective of this book is to explore and provide an updated look at some of
the various challenges, problems, trends and issues HRM professionals will need
to focus on now and around the corner. Like other departments in the broader
organization HRM professionals will need to increasingly demonstrate how they
add value and contribute to the organization’s success. While the trends, chal-
lenges and issues impacting organizations and HRM professionals will continue
to change over the years the bottom-line of organization success is the clear real-
ity that employees are their best assets and the need for effective HRM.

It is our belief that this book will provide an updated, current and future look
at the transformation of HRM. This means the contributors to this book will dis-
cuss some of the ever-evolving roles of HRM professionals to include discus-
sion of how the profession continues to become more adaptive, resilient, quick to
change direction and customer-centered in its efforts to meet the needs of contem-
porary organizations and their employees.

The Chapters that Follow

Here is the information you will encounter as you read the chapters that follow
this introductory piece.

In Chapter 2, “Globalization and Human Resource Management,” Ronald R.
Sims notes that the environment in which today’s organizations find themselves

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 23

continues to be more globalized as the world is becoming a “global village.”
Overall, this chapter discusses a number of the HRM challenges, issues and op-
portunities HRM professionals and their organizations will need to address in
today’s and tomorrow’s global world of work. The chapter first takes a look at
today’s global organization and some HRM issues. Next, the discussion turns to
the globalization of business and factors affecting HRM in global markets before
focusing on an analysis of levels of global or international and HRM operations.
Finally, the chapter discusses globalization and implications and impacts on HRM
in the future.

In Chapter 3, “Organizational Drift: Why Organizations Drift off Keel and
What Human Resource Professionals can do about it,” Jim Eicher and William J.
Mea identify the symptoms of what they call Organizational Drift and provides
human resource professionals with a guide for recognizing and correcting the
issue. The chapter first provides assessment questions and a framework for orga-
nizational drift. The second section describes the signs of organizational drift. It
describes “the tells” for each component of the organizational drift framework
and how the tell is a symptom of organization dysfunction that may adversely
affect organization performance. The third section explains why well-intended
organizational changes fail to yield good results. Finally, the last section of the
chapter provides guidelines to avoid organizational drift and offers guidance on
how to create organizational alignment in a way that can mitigate the underlying
causes of organizational drift.

In Chapter 4, “Watering the Organizational Landscape: Meeting Employee
Needs through HRM Flexibility,” Alexandra E. MacDougall, Zhanna Bagdasa-
rov, and M. Ronald Buckley discuss the changing organizational landscape and
the corresponding implications for contemporary human resource management.
Specifically, the chapter begins with a brief description of how socio-demographic
and technological changes are influencing employee expectations. In light of this
discussion, and in line with the new career model, the chapter makes the case for
flexible work arrangements that grant employees agency in deciding how, when,
and where their work tasks are completed. Finally, the chapter provides a detailed
review of four key types of flexible work arrangements that may be capitalized on
by human resource professionals.

In Chapter 5, “Equal Rights for Women—Not Yet,” William Woska takes a
look at the history and failure of the proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitu-
tion. The chapter addresses equal rights issues impacting women with examples
of what Woska sees as glaring examples which led to the proposed amendment.
Next, the chapter discusses the continuing interest and approach that may be used
by Congress to again activate the proposed amendment. The chapter concludes
with a discussion of the implications of the proposed amendment for organiza-
tions and their HRM efforts.

In Chapter 6, “Wearables in the Workplace: An Analysis of Ethical Issues,”
James S. Bowman and Jonathan West argue that Smartwear may impact daily life

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24 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

like personal computers did near the end of the last century. Their analysis weighs
the ethical prospects and problems confronted by human resources managers in
the utilization of wearables. To investigate this topic, classical philosophical and
modern behavioral approaches to ethics are used. West and Bowman’s inquiry
begins with the importance of the issue, followed by its evolution and current
status. After describing the method of analysis, the chapter examines arguments
for and against the efficacy of body-worn computer devices. The conclusion of
the chapter discusses accountability standards, model legislation provisions, and
regulatory criteria for wearables in the workplace.

In Chapter 7, “A Consideration of Social Media Movements on Gender-Related
HR Policy,” Angela N. Spranger and Brenna Gonsalves offer an analysis of how
current gender-related social media phenomena such as the #MeToo, #TimesUp,
and other movements are encouraging changes in business through Human Re-
source (HR) policy. The chapter analyzes current literature addressing the impact
of social media on policies regarding harassment, bullying, and discrimination in
the workplace. Further, the authors address the implicit leadership theories (ILTs)
in the workplace that influence perceptions of women and women’s leadership
ability leading in some cases to stereotypes and even discrimination. The chapter
also discusses how current trends in the literature help create an understanding of
how these movements are encouraging changes in business through policy and
training.

In Chapter 8, “Attracting and Retaining Millennials: Is Servant Leadership the
Answer?,” Shannon O. Jackson, Pamela Chandler Lee, and Jonathan Shoemaker
first discuss the millennial generation and their presence in the workplace. Next,
the chapter provides a review of leadership research and discusses the relevance
of leadership for creating an organizational culture which respects, attracts, and
engages millennial workers. The authors’ analysis emphasizes the principles of
servant leadership and its relevance for the millennial generation. The chapter
concludes with recommendations on specific strategies for attracting and retain-
ing this expanding sector of the employee population.

In Chapter 9, “Millennial Workers and the Employee Engagement Phenom-
enon: Has the Wave Crested?,” Angela N. Spranger and Sierra Chen discuss em-
ployee engagement and note that in the early years of employee engagement re-
search, practitioner-driven definitions and studies established the framework for
the scholarly dialogue to follow. However, in later years, multiple worthy scholar-
ly definitions and analyses of the employee engagement construct have emerged.
Spranger and Chen note that since 1990 several instruments and varied studies
have dissected the concept, and in both scholarly and practitioner circles some
have asked if the employee engagement wave has crested. The chapter asks the
question as to whether or not the concept of employee engagement has been ex-
hausted or not? The authors situate their consideration of employee engagement
in the framework of individual psychological motivation, review the literature on
employee engagement, and connect Kahn’s definition of engagement with spe-

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An Introduction to Human Resources • 25

cific relevance to millennial employees. The chapter concludes by asserting that
no, the employee engagement wave has not crested, and proposes new research
on the millennial worker’s desire to feel seen, safe, and valued.

In Chapter 10, “The Unconscious Bias; Managing Diversity and Inclusion in
the Workplace,” Ronda Mariani highlights the importance of diversity and inclu-
sion in today’s workforce. Mariani notes that globalization and the reduction of
borders has forced business to not only understand these concepts; diversity and
inclusion but to also embrace the true meaning of what it entails to have a work-
place that truly has an understanding of its multicultural foundation. Additionally,
she asks and offers responses to the questions of whether or not organizations are
really addressing the idea of what it means to have a diverse work environment
that promotes inclusion? In offering a response to this question the chapter first
discusses the role of bias, the many forms of bias, and how bias effects building
diversity and inhibits the proper management of inclusion within the workplace.
Mariani suggests that bias is something that all individuals have. And given this
reality, questions whether if the end result is to create organizational diversity,
what roles and responsibilities then does human resources play in achieving orga-
nizations that are well equipped to engage in building human capital that promotes
this organizational diversity? An important takeaway from this chapter is that hir-
ing diverse individuals is only the first step, but achieving inclusion without bias
is a matter of tactics, training, and a fundamental change in organizational culture.

In Chapter 11, “Solving the “Quarterback Problem”: Using Psychological
Assessment to Improve Selection Decisions in Professional Sports,” Kenneth
Yusko, Juliet Aiken, Harold Goldstein, Charles Scherbaum, and Elliott Larson
first describe key current challenges in psychological assessment in sports. Next,
the chapter reviews the psychological attributes and characteristics that can and
should be measured in a professional sports context. Then, the chapter discusses
how these attributes and characteristics can be measured (e.g., standardized test-
ing, interviews, player observations and scouting “intel,” etc.). The authors then
review how these results may be leveraged for different purposes (e.g., selection,
training). Finally, the chapter discusses how some of the lessons learned in sports
analytics can be generalized to better understand strategic human resources deci-
sion making more broadly.

In Chapter 12, “Human Resources Certification: Trends and Acceptance in In-
dustry,” J. Adam Shoemaker, Sheri Bias, Sean Gibbons, Henry Adu, and Nicole
Hawkins note the importance of certification as a component of demonstrating
professionalism in many industries. The chapter focuses on the authors’ research
on the various human resources certifications offered by credentialing bodies in
the human resources industry, namely HRCI and SHRM. The chapter describes
in detail the researcher approach (i.e., using Linked-In to analyze hundreds of
human resources-related job postings in 6 large metropolitan areas of the U.S. to
determine what certifications employers requested as either minimum or preferred
requirements). The results of the research are discussed and based upon the results

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26 • RONALD R. SIMS & SHERI K. BIAS

the authors suggest that the human resource management industry has work to do
to help employers to see why professional certification is an important indication
of professional ability.

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Assignment 1

Please read ALL directions below before starting your assignment. You may find it helpful to print a copy and cross off or highlight as you complete each expectation. Good luck!

HRMN300 Assignment 1 – FALL 2021

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

· Please submit your assignment as an attachment in your assignments folder.

· Your assignment cannot be accepted via messages or email.

· You must submit to the assignment link by the due date stated in the syllabus for credit. A missing assignment will be assigned a 0.

· Respond to all six questions below on a new, blank word processing document (such as MS Word).

· Develop each answer to the fullest extent possible, discussing the nuances of each topic and presenting your arguments logically.

· In addition, include citations from the class content resources in weeks 1- 4 to support your arguments.

· Each answer should be robust and developed in-depth.

· You are expected to demonstrate critical thinking skills, as well as an understanding of the issues identified. Some questions may also require personal reflection and practical application. Your responses will be evaluated for content as well as grammar and punctuation.

· All writing must be your original work. PLEASE do not copy or quote anything. Sources are just that, a reference. Once you locate the information, read and interpret the data. What does it mean to you? Type your own thoughts and own words. Then, include in-text citations to support your ideas. This is not a research paper.  

FORMAT:

· Include a Cover Page with Name, Date, and Title of Assignment.

· include the original question and question number

· Each response should be written in complete sentences, double-spaced and spell-checked. Use 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins on all sides. Include page numbers according to APA formatting guidelines.

· In addition, you will want to include citations in APA format at the end of each answer. Include a minimum of 3 references for each answer.

—————————————————————————————————-

Question 1

A) Select three functional areas of HR (i.e. recruiting, selection, training and development, compensation etc.) and, for each one, discuss how that function supports the HR and organizational strategies. Provide specific examples of goals and outcomes that support organizational success.

B) Consider the organization you work for or one you have worked for in the past. Evaluate the effectiveness of the HR function overall and at least two specific functional areas (do not name the organization). Share at least one HR program or initiative that you found particularly effective and discuss how it supported the organization’s strategy. Why was it effective?

Question 2:

A) Discuss how an organization’s culture can impact policies and practices related to diversity and multiculturalism.

· How can HR influence organizational culture to support diversity and multiculturalism?

· Discuss at least three policies or practices that HR can propose.

· How can HR work with leaders to implement these policies or practices?

B) Evaluate and discuss the diversity practices and policies of your own organization or one you have worked for in the past. How does the organizational culture influence diversity and multiculturalism? Provide specific examples, but do not name the organization.

Question 3:

Consider the difference between the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism. How would you determine the difference between an organization focused on compliance versus one that promoted multiculturalism? What evidence would you be looking for and why? Discuss at least four ideas.

Question 4:

Some organizations follow a lengthy, complex selection process, whereas in other organizations the process may be more streamlined. Some may view the longer and more complex selection process to be more valid.

A) What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a lengthier process versus a more streamlined (shorter) one? Consider the perspectives of both the job seekers and the organization and the tradeoffs between efficiency and effectiveness. As a job seeker, what process would you prefer to follow and why?

B) Consider the selection process for an organization where you were ultimately hired. How would you describe the process from a candidate perspective? Do you believe it was effective? Why or why not?

Question 5:

A) Why is retention such a major focus for human resource managers? How does focusing on retention add strategic value to the organization?

B) How would you go about developing an employee retention program for your organization?

· Be specific in terms of what steps you would you take.

· What might be your biggest challenge and why?

· What type of metrics would you need to obtain? Discuss at least two. Why did you select these metrics?

Question 6:

A) What is the difference between job satisfaction and employee engagement? How are motivation and employee engagement related to employee retention? What factors (personal, organizational) might contribute to job satisfaction and engagement? Explain your answers.

B) Think about a job where you have been employed for many years.

Evaluate your level of satisfaction versus engagement.

· What factors influenced your job satisfaction

· What was your level of engagement in your work? What factors influenced this?

· What factors influenced your retention and why?

C) Consider a job where you had a shorter tenure. What factors contributed to your resignation and what factors could have made you stay? Which (if any) were within the organization’s control?

2 2

5
Recruiting Job Candidates

Case 5.1. The Recruiting Process: The Growth
of E-Recruitment in Recruiting Job Candidates
The most popular place to look for prospective employees used to be classified ads in
newspapers. However, electronic recruitment (e-recruitment) in the last few years has
certainly taken the number one spot for finding new employees.

What are the different type of e-recruitment platforms? They include websites
such as Facebook, Blogs, Google+, LinkedIn, Myspace, Podcasts, Twitter, YouTube, and
Monster.com. Each form of e-recruitment is a growing area for human resources to
find prospective employees.

Companies used to be able to communicate in a downward, one-way fashion when
the only real form of looking for prospective employees were newspaper advertise-
ments. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn create a more two-
way shared communication process. For example, one human resource manager likes
to review the LinkedIn account of upcoming interviewees. She likes to have a gen-
eral idea of what the interviewee looks like to help greet the person when he or she
arrives at the reception desk at her company. Employers and prospective employees
can engage in a dialogue by interacting online about the specific job opening. Even
simple e-mail exchanges, arranging the date and time for the interview, can create a
bond between the interviewer and the candidate.

Using social media as a recruitment tool does require considering many issues that
didn’t quite exist before the widespread use of the Internet. For example, a positive use
of social media would be a prospect who posts well-written responses using Twitter or
Facebook. Such people might show knowledge or an understanding of the industry for
which they are applying. For example, an applicant might demonstrate the knowledge
to be a sports information director if he or she demonstrates good writing skills and an
understanding of college athletics. A candidate who discusses Adobe Photoshop skills
and experiences would be a potentially good fit for graphic design positions.

However, just as with face-to-face interviews, the HR person wants to be careful about
the legal issues of conducting a search online. Monster.com suggests that HR people use
social media after the first live interview so they don’t make a quick judgment based on
what they see online. Plus, reviewing social media should be conducted at the same time
in the search process for each candidate to be fair in the evaluation process.1

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Chapter 5 • Recruiting Job Candidates 2 3

Unlike other platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn focuses on the busi-
ness environment. LinkedIn has over 364 million members in 200 countries and ter-
ritories. There are over 39 million students on LinkedIn. People who go to LinkedIn
are interested in finding people they have worked with or would like to meet in regard
to their career. Each user maintains an account and approves connections with other
people. A user can ask to form a connection or, likewise, be asked to join someone
else’s connection. The list of connections can be used as a contact list, to follow spe-
cific companies, or to look for jobs, people, and business ideas.2

LinkedIn allows companies to create a job posting with a job description, experi-
ence required, and educational requirements. Employers can also reach out to specific
users to gauge their interest in a job opening. At the same time, individuals can choose
to contact the employer to help show their interest.

When creating a professional network online, the first step is for users to include a
picture that reflects that you are professional in your field. You want to portray your-
self as being a professional. Having an interesting but professional picture can attract
the attention of potential employers. For example, if you were looking for a writing
position, you might wear a large brim fedora hat to show you possess some creative
ideas that could be used in public relations and advertising positions.

Many companies have denied giving a job candidate a position because either they or
their friends have posted embarrassing photos or used improper language. A recent college
senior wasn’t offered a job at an accounting firm because of a picture posted by a friend on
Facebook. Although the picture was only of the two friends sharing a selfie and a drink, the
accounting firm felt the applicant would not be a proper fit.

A second piece of advice is to keep your status area updated with current work, edu-
cation, and experiences. Third, complete all pages about yourself to help prospective
employers learn about you quickly. And fourth, don’t just focus on your latest job. The
employer might like something you did in a previous job or charity where you donated
time.3 One recent applicant traveled throughout Europe right after college graduation.
Upon returning home, he was interviewed by two large insurance companies. The
insurance company recruiters were interested in him because he showed the ability to
travel overseas. The recruiters felt the ability to travel globally would be a valuable skill
for their insurance companies since they had operations in different countries.

Case Questions

1. Why is a newspaper classified as a one-
communication vehicle compared to a
two-way process, such as Twitter or
LinkedIn?

2. Why would the human resources
department of a company not like to use
Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn?

3. Why would human resources like to use
Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn?

4. Should college students have a
Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn
account?

5. Review your own Facebook, Twitter,
or LinkedIn account and indicate
which of them should be modified
before going on an interview.

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Part II • Staffing2 4

Case 5.2. Internal Versus External
Candidates: Which Candidate Is More Valuable?

Organizational Recruiting Considerations
Organizations need to build a list of internal employees who can be tapped when

high-level employees change companies, retire, or pass away. Much like a baseball
team, there must be good people on the bench in lower-level positions ready to take
the place of players/employees who are no longer able to do their job.

Internal recruiting involves filling job openings with current employees or peo-
ple the employees know. Promotion from within means the organization posts job
openings on company-wide e-mail, company newsletters, bulletin boards, and other
internal mechanisms to promote the open positions. Employee referrals are a second
type of internal recruiting. Referrals mean employees are encouraged to refer friends
and relatives to apply for a position.

The advantage of internal recruiting is that it increases employee commitment
and job satisfaction because employees feel they have an opportunity to advance in
the company; the employee already works for the company, which shows interest in
working at the company; the company already has knowledge of the employee’s work
habits; and it is often quicker and less costly than a full external search.

The disadvantage of searching to fill positions internally in the company is the
pool of potential applicants is much smaller; there may be better qualified applicants
in the external pool of prospects; employees will feel that they are guaranteed to fill
open positions, which will lead to a lack of new people who can provide new ideas
and creativity; and success in a lower-level position does not mean the employee will
be successful in the higher-level position.

External recruitment also has advantages and disadvantages when a company
is looking to fill a position. External recruiting sources include people who walk in
to the position either in-person or online, recruitment at high schools and colleges,
employment agencies that focus on finding talented employees to match with job
openings, and advertisements online, in newspapers, and through various media.

External recruitment will lead to new people being hired who should have inno-
vative ideas to operate the company. We can also find people who have experience in
the position we are trying to fill. However, new people might cause some disruption
in the way things are normally done, which can cause some conflict. External recruit-
ments can take more time and will cost more money than an internal search. Most
important, the internal candidate might have a nice looking résumé and references,
but the company has no real data to support the assumption the employee is a good
fit for the open position.

Amanda Clark is an internal candidate for an open assistant director position at
the nonprofit community center where she has worked for nearly 30 years. Amanda
has a bachelor’s degree in education and was a program director for teens for 9 months
of the year. She would then switch hats and become the summer camp director for the
remaining three months. She ran the youth theater group for the nonprofit commu-
nity center. She was also involved in finding 50 teenagers to participate in a summer
sport tournament. The list of tasks she completed is extensive and would be hard to
list in its entirety.

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Chapter 5 • Recruiting Job Candidates 2 5

However, Amanda had two male direct superiors. She always got along well with
the director, Bob Gold, and the assistant director, Mike Woods. Bob decided to retire,
and Mike was appointed to be the new director of the Community Center. Mike was
an internal candidate who had spent 25 years preparing to succeed Bob as director.

An external recruitment search began to find a new assistant director. This is
where the case becomes interesting. The nonprofit placed an advertisement to the
public in various local and national newspapers and websites looking for talented
external candidates. But Mike never looked for internal candidates, such as Amanda,
to be promoted to the assistant director position.

An external candidate, Sam Riddle, was hired after a lengthy 9-month search to fill
the position. Sam worked in a management position at a hardware store 1,500 miles
away. He created a hostile work environment, where at least half of the employees did
not appreciate his in-your-face management style.

At the same time, Amanda was sought out by a local for-profit competitor to run its
new youth facility. She would be in charge of the daycare facility and summer camp.
Feeling overlooked at the nonprofit community center, she was honored to be asked to
work at the local competitor only five minutes away. She accepted the job at the new
for-profit organization. As an external candidate, Amanda was sure she was selected to
use her experience and creativity to help build the for-profit youth facility.

At the nonprofit community center, Sam Riddle lasted about 3 years in his role as
assistant director. He apparently interviews very well, since he was promoted to be a
director at another facility within the organization.

Amanda used her great enthusiasm to build the daycare and camp at the new
for-profit company. She left after about a year due to the lack of ethics on the part of
management. The for-profit was a family-owned business that was generally well oper-
ated. However, there was one family member who helped manage Amanda’s facility
who was hard to manage and would routinely make mistakes, such as leaving children
unattended.

Amanda was fortunate to return to her original nonprofit organization and to
work part-time helping the programs that are most dear to her heart. She was paid an
hourly wage, instead of her previous full-time pay. She applied for the now vacant job
of assistant director. At this point, Amanda is unsure if she is considered an internal
or external candidate at the nonprofit community center.

Case Questions

1. Did the original nonprofit appear to
develop internal candidates?

2. If the agency didn’t develop internal
candidates, why do you think this would
happen?

3. Did the nonprofit develop and use its
bench strength?

4. At what point(s) was Amanda an
external candidate?

5. Is it better to hire from within or
outside your organization?

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Part II • Staffing2 6

Notes

1. Berkowitz, Melanie, “Social Media Recruiting: Understand the Legal Guidelines,” Monster.
com, retrieved September 19, 2015.

2. Archanal, L, V. G. Nivya, and S. M. Thankam, “Recruitment Through Social Media Area:
Human Resource,” ISOR Journal of Business and Management, 2014, pp. 37–41.

3. Kane, Libby, “8 Mistakes You Should Never Make on LinkedIn,” Forbes.com, March 4, 2013.

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18

4
Matching Employees and Jobs

Job Analysis and Design

Case 4.1. HR Forecasting:
Visier—Workforce Forecasting
For an organization to maximize productivity, HR must match the right people with
the right jobs. HR forecasting identifies the estimated supply and demand for the dif-
ferent types of human resources needed in the organization over some future period,
based on past and present demand.

Employment software specialist Visier Inc. helps companies complete their HR fore-
cast. Visier is an employment specialist located in Vancouver, British Columbia, and
San Jose, California. The company provides assistance and solutions to for improving
recruitment, retaining employees, and motivating employees.

Visier takes complex data (often called Big Data) and uses Cloud technology to
store and analyze workforce data. It then turns the data into sensible workforce strat-
egies. Led by CEO John Schwarz, Visier has successfully developed HR strategies with
Yahoo, Time Inc., ConAgra Foods, Nissan, and AOL.1

Using its special Workforce Intelligence process, Visier analyzes company data
to predict which valuable employees are most likely to leave the company, provide
insight into proper compensation levels, and discover recruitment sources that will
result in finding the most talented recruits.

Visier predicts that companies will start to look at the overall cost of human
resources, instead of just counting the number of people. Through its Workforce
Intelligence process, Visier will also help predict the impact of employee retirement
and how to best transfer employee skills to the next generation.

Visier has been so successful at helping companies organize their human
resources they have attracted $25.5 million in new financing from investors.2 Visier’s
software will bring even more big data analytical technologies to the human resources
market. HR software that analyzes HR needs such as job analysis, job descriptions,

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Account: s4264928.main.eds

Chapter 4 • Matching Employees and Jobs 19

job specifications, job design and redesign, job simplification, and job expansion is
at least an $8 billion market.

Case 4.2. Succession Planning:
Developing Leaders at General Electric (GE)
Succession planning requires planning for a smooth transition from one key employee
to another in order to minimize disruption of the organization’s work. Even if you
own your own business, you eventually have to transfer ownership to the next gener-
ation. Having a succession plan is part of forecasting the future human resource needs
of a company. A well-thought-out succession plan can reduce risk within the com-
pany by making sure the company is being led by a top-notch executive. Staff morale
should be increased since the person selected currently works for the company. Hiring
an executive from within will show that all employees who work for the company
have the potential to be promoted.

GE was highly successful under the unique leadership that former CEO Jack Welch
provided. Welch was known for making brash statements to help motivate employees.
In an interview in the Los Angeles Times, Jeff Christian, the CEO of Christian Timbers
Inc., said of Welch,

The winners are the people who make hiring and keeping the best people a top
priority, and that’s exactly what Jack Welch did. . . . His primary strategic goal
was hiring the best people around, developing them and training them and
knowing who the stars were.3

On the other hand, Welch could be tough on his employees. He created what was
affectionately called “rank and yank.” His model was that the star employees (10%)
were encouraged to stay at GE. The middle 80 percent were considered the average
employee with potential growth and development. Welch felt the bottom 10 percent

Case Questions

1. Do you agree with using an employment
service such as Visier to help recruit,
train, and develop your employees?

2. Do you think an outside vendor such as
Visier can properly match prospective
employees with open jobs?

3. Do you think Visier can complete an HR
forecast for a company?

4. If you used Visier services, would you
expect to lay off employees?

5. Why is forecasting retirements
important in regard to the next
generation of employees?

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Part II • Staffing2 0

of employees should be encouraged to leave GE. The bottom 10 percent received
counseling on finding their next employer. Although the performance system was
often considered harsh, Welch felt it was transparent, and an honest approach to help
develop employees either at GE or another company.4

The classic case of succession planning took place at General Electric (GE) in 2001.
At that time, Jack Welch had been the CEO at GE for 20 years. Welch had set a suc-
cession plan in place by the mid-1990s. He created a list of 23 essential skills, charac-
teristics, and qualities a CEO should possess. He would move executives into different
positions and strategic business units in an effort to cross train his leaders in all areas
of the company. Jack was left with eight candidates who were all very qualified to run
GE or another large corporation.

Jeff Immelt was eventually selected to succeed Welch, and he has been at the helm
of GE for the last 14 years. The executives not selected were so talented they were
often chosen by other large corporations to be their CEO. Bob Nardelli went from GE
to CEO at Home Depot. He then went to Chrysler. Jim McNerny went from GE to CEO
of 3M, and then he moved to Boeing.

Jack Welch’s succession planning process is the model that many corporations
have used to replace CEOs. The process Welch created led to the creation of a “deep
bench” of talented executives to compete against each other in order to see who
would be the next CEO. The succession plan itself helped GE to develop its top-level
managers.

Welch also started the succession plan many years before he actually retired so he
didn’t have to rush to pick his successor. He challenged the executive candidates with
“stretch assignments” to see who could thrive in increasingly difficult situations. The
stretch assignments were projects the eight candidates were given beyond their normal
skills and abilities. Stretch assignments placed the candidates into new, larger, and
potentially uncomfortable projects and tasks in order to see who could learn to grow
into the next CEO at GE.

In the end, the succession planning process worked for the GE’s Board of Directors.
They were left with a CEO, Jeff Immelt, who has successfully led GE for many years.
Jack Welch retired from GE as planned and has continued to be a key speaker at con-
ferences and training seminars about how to motivate, develop, and promote human
resources.

Case Questions

1. Why do family businesses have to be as
concerned as large corporations about
succession planning?

2. Is succession planning part of
forecasting human resources?

3. Did Jack Welch place great value on
human resources at GE?

4. Why were the stretch assignments
important to the selection of the new
CEO at GE?

5. Find the CEO of a local company and
determine how long he/she has been
the CEO.

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Chapter 4 • Matching Employees and Jobs 2 1

Notes

1. www.visier.com.
2. Shieber, Jonathan, “Combining Big Data and Human Resources Nets Visier $25.5 Million,”

Tech Crunch.com, June 10, 2014.

3. Girion, Lisa, “GE Succession a Leadership Lesson,” Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2000.
4. Welch, Jack, “Jack Welch: ‘Rank-and-Yank’? That’s Not How It’s Done,” The Wall Street

Journal, November 14, 2013.

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5 8

11
Compensation Management

Case 11.1. Compensation Management:
How Does Wage Compression and Pay
Secrecy Affect Employee Motivation?
Marie was the vice-president of human resources for Envelope City, which is a small
manufacturing company that makes envelopes for the business market. The company
has been in existence for almost 100 years. But there are some problems that can occur
with being such an old business. For example, the organizational philosophy on wage
compensation most likely was set many years ago when the economic, technological,
and social conditions of the country were much different than they are today.

There are seven basic issues that make up the organizational philosophy on com-
pensation. First, Envelope City has to make an honest assessment of how much it can
afford and is willing to pay its employees. Second, Envelope has to decide what type
of compensation (base pay, wage add-ons, incentives, and benefits) it wants to offer.
Third, Envelope has to decide if compensation will be based on loyalty/tenure or if
employees will receive raises based on the quality of their work performance. Fourth,
a decision needs to be made whether compensation will be based upon a competency-
based system that involves the individual’s level of knowledge in a particular area
or based on the individual skills the person brings to work. Fifth, Envelope needs to
decide to pay employees at, above, or below wage levels that workers are receiving at
area competitors. Sixth, Envelope has to decide if it is going to allow wage compression
to occur between new and long-term employees. Last, Envelope has to decide if pay
secrecy (which means employees will not be aware of what each of them is actually
paid) will be used within the company.

Interestingly enough, Envelope City found that the last two issues—wage
compression and pay secrecy—caused some problems at the company. Wage com-
pression, in particular, is a major problem. Wage compression occurs when new
employees require higher starting pay than the historical norm, causing a narrow-
ing of the pay gap between experienced and new employees. The result is that new
employees are paid more than longtime employees who are equally talented and at
the same level in the organization, regardless of their many years of experience with
the company.

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Chapter 11 • Compensation Management 5 9

Marie experienced a form of wage compression as a teenager when she worked
at a fast food restaurant. At the time, back in the 1980s, she had worked hard at a
minimum wage of $1.60 per hour. She worked hard for 2 years to earn a dime raise.
However, shortly thereafter the minimum wage was increased to $3.20 per hour.
Marie lost her dime wage increase for good performance—she made only the mini-
mum of $3.20 per hour.

As a young adult in her twenties, Marie went to work for an oil company and
gained 5 years of experience in a human resources department. She then switched
jobs to work as the vice-president of human resources at Envelope City. She negoti-
ated a good contract that doubled her salary. However, her salary leap-frogged the
other vice-presidents at Envelope City. If her salary was disclosed to the other vice-
presidents, they would be very upset to know she was being paid as much or more
than the more experienced VPs who had worked at Envelope for many years.

Marie did not intend to create a situation where wage compression was going to
be a problem for her new HR department at Envelope City. She felt that the result of
her new employee contract (and other similar new employee contracts) was an unin-
tended consequence of Envelope City trying to be a more aggressive employer and
to pay new employees a competitive salary compared to the company’s competitors.

Another disadvantage of salary compression occurs when lower-level, nonmanage-
ment employees are paid as much, or more, than those in managerial positions.1 This
situation can quickly demotivate key managers.

The only good news about wage compression is that employees often keep their
own pay a secret. They are often afraid to compare salaries against each other in case
they find that they make less salary than their colleagues.

In 2010, nearly half of all workers were contractually required or encouraged to
not talk about their pay level with colleagues.2 On April 8, 2014, President Obama
signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors, subcontractors, and feder-
ally assisted construction contractors from discriminating against employees or appli-
cants who ask other employees about their compensation.

However, pay secrecy might also be one of the reasons that women are paid only
77 cents on the dollar that men make in the same job. Organizations might use pay
secrecy to make it difficult for women to compare their salaries with men in similar
positions.

Case Question

1. Why does wage compression occur in
organizations?

2. How can pay secrecy affect employee
motivation?

3. Have you experienced wage compression
in your career?

4. Have you experienced pay secrecy?

5. Does President Obama’s executive
order impact employees at private
companies such as Envelope City?

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Part IV • Compensating6 0

Case 11.2. Trends and
Issues in HRM: What Motivates
Employees at Work? Expectations or Equity?
Edwidge was thrilled to get a new job at Stubbub soon after she graduated from college
with a 4-year degree in management. She was quickly thrown into the position of
customer sales and service, selling tickets to sporting events and concerts. After a few
months, Edwidge was still in customer service and wondered what her future looked
like at Stubbub. She was concerned that she was working very hard but wasn’t receiv-
ing a salary increase for all her efforts.

This was the first time in Edwidge’s life that she wondered why people go to work.
Edwidge liked to compare herself to other employees and to figure out whether she
was being treated equally. She noticed that all the new employees she started with
were working in customer sales and service.

Edwidge decided to look at a few motivation theories to see if they could help her
understand her job expectations. Victor Vroom proposed the expectancy theory in
1964 as it applies to motivation. Expectancy theory states that Edwidge’s motivation is
an outcome of how much an individual wants a reward (valence). Edwidge assesses the
likelihood that her effort will lead to expected performance (expectancy) and the belief
that the performance will lead to reward (instrumentality). Expectancy is Edwidge’s
faith that better efforts will result in better performance and rewards.3

Edwidge next looked at equity theory, which was developed by John Stacey Adams
in 1963. Adams proposes that Edwidge will be demotivated if she feels her inputs are
greater than the outputs she receives. If this happens, Edwidge might respond by
being demotivated, reducing her effort, and becoming an unhappy employee.4

Edwidge also researched the concept of comparable worth. Comparable worth is
similar pay for similar work. The concept of comparable worth holds that, if Edwidge
can compare her job, skills, responsibilities, and efforts with that of another man or
woman, and they are similar, then she should be paid a similar wage. This makes the
concept of comparable worth much broader than just equal pay for equal work. The
key to similar worth, from a legal standpoint, is to determine the value of a job while
also taking into account the supply and demand for a particular job.

One factor in the compensation system at Stubbub also caught Edwidge’s attention
while doing her research. She detected that pay secrecy was the normal practice at
work. She really didn’t know what the other employees were getting paid since this
information was heavily guarded. Edwidge thought protecting employee salaries was
the correct approach for companies to take, but it did make it hard to compare her pay
against other employees.

Case Questions

1. Do you think the expectancy theory
is correct in explaining what makes
Edwidge happy? Explain why or why not.

2. Do you think the equity theory does a
better job than the expectancy theory

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Chapter 11 • Compensation Management 61

Notes

1. Kochanski, Jim, and Yelena Stiles, “Put a Lid on Salary Compression Before It Boils Over,”
Society for Human Resource Management, July 19, 2013, http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/
compensation/articles/pages/salary-compression-lid.aspx.

2. Women’s Bureau, “Fact Sheet,” U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, August 2014,
http://www.dol.gov/wb/media/pay_secrecy.pdf.

3. http://www.yourcoach.be/en/employee-motivation-theories/vroom-expectancy-motiva
tion-theory.php.

4. https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_96.htm.

of explaining what makes employees
happy?

3. If you worked in human resources, how
would you use positive reinforcement to
support employee development?

4. How does pay secrecy make it hard to
accept the equity theory?

5. How would Edwidge apply comparable
worth to her work situation?

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6 6

13
Employee Benefits

Case 13.1. Statutory
Benefits: Companies Kicking Your
Spouse Off of Your Health Care Plans
Dennis Ferry works for Compatible Technology in its customer service department.
Dennis knows he will have to make plenty of decisions when open enrollment for his
company health plan, Health New England, rolls around July 1 each year. Dennis’s
health-care coverage was totally free for employees in 1982 when he was just out of
college. That was a long time ago—and health care in the United States has changed
dramatically.

Today, companies are looking to save as much money as possible when designing
a health-care program. Each employee who signs up for the company health-care
program can cost the company between $4,000 and $10,000 a year, depending on
the program selected. Of course, it would be nice to think that the companies (and
our government) are also trying to make sure we receive the best health care possible.

Dennis’s wife, Janice Ferry, is employed by LEGO. Dennis and Janice have three
daughters under 10 years old. As a family, they can expect to pay about $300 a month
for the plan offered by Compatible Technology. They can also expect a deductible
around $2,500 to $4,000. The Compatible health-care plan has a deductible of $2,500,
which means the Ferrys will have to pay $2,500 in actual medical costs for pharma-
ceutical drugs, office visits, hospital stays, and so on before they can expect to receive
“free” health service until July 1 rolls around again.

If Dennis worked for UPS, Janice would have to take health-care insurance from
her job at LEGO, since she would not be allowed to stay on the Compatible plan. That
would happen because UPS informed their employees that their spouses would be
dropped from their health-care plan if the spouse can obtain health care at his or her
own place of employment.1 This measure was taken as a reaction to the Affordable
Care Act (ACA). UPS expects to save money by avoiding paying the premiums for each
person on the plan. These premiums were implemented as part of the ACA.2

In Dennis’s case, he recently had to decide if he wanted to receive a $3,000 pay-
ment from his employer, Compatible Technology, to not take his health-care benefits.

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Chapter 13 • Employee Benefits 67

The $3,000 must be used to pay for a spouse’s health-care program. Thus, if Dennis
didn’t take Compatible’s health-care plan from Health New England, he would be paid
$3,000 to help pay for health-care benefits at LEGO, where his wife works. Proof of
the other health-care plan must be provided. In Dennis’s case, since his wife Janice
worked for LEGO with a generous health-care plan, they decided to take the offer
from Compatible for $3,000 and would apply it to a family plan offered by LEGO. This
appears to be a positive switch in plans, since even Compatible will be happy that it
will not have to pay its portion of Dennis’s health-care plan, which would be greater
than $3,000.

Case Questions

1. Approximately how much money would a
company spend on a health-care plan for
Janice as compared to her own cost?

2. What did UPS claim as the reason
for dropping spouses from its health-
care plans?

3. What decisions does Janice have to
make in regard to selecting her
health-care plan?

4. At UPS, what would be the result if
your spouse was forced to use his or
her own company plan?

5. What health-care plan are you
covered by at this time? Are you
working for a company and have you
accepted the company plan? Are you
on your parents’ plan, which you can
be covered on until age 26?

Case 13.2. Trends and Issues in HRM:
Managing New Laws Regarding Sick Leave
It might be surprising to know, but there is no general legal requirement that employ-
ers give employees sick leave in the United States. While most employers do give
employees some paid time off each year to be used for sick leave, the law does not
require employers to do so in most circumstances. Since there is no requirement under
federal law that employees be given sick leave, there also is no legal requirement that
sick leave, if given by an employer, be paid leave.

The following passage is from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Currently, there are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave. For compa-
nies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Act does require
unpaid sick leave. FMLA provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for cer-
tain medical situations for either the employee or a member of the employee’s
immediate family. In many instances paid leave may be substituted for unpaid
FMLA leave.

Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they have worked for their
employer for at least 12 months, and have worked for at least 1,250 hours over

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Part IV • Compensating6 8

the previous 12 months, and work at a location where at least 50 employees are
employed by the employer within 75 miles.3

An estimated 43 million people nationwide have no paid sick time. Employees
without time for sick leave often make up excuses to take time off or try to work when
they are sick. Employees also have to figure out what to do when their child is sick and
needs to stay home, when they need to go to their own doctor, or when they need to
help a sick relative.

However, cities and states are starting to propose and pass laws that provide work-
ers with sick leave time. A city of Pittsburgh councilman has proposed an ordinance
that allows employees to earn sick days based upon the number of hours they have
worked. The draft legislation allows 30 hours of work to equal 1 hour of sick time.
Employees cannot earn more than 72 hours of sick time in a year. Businesses with
fewer than 15 employees can limit sick time to 40 hours.4

Effective July 1, 2015, the state of Massachusetts passed the Earned Sick Time Law,
which provides 1 hour of sick time for 40 hours of work. Earned sick time is paid at the
employee’s normal rate of pay. Employers that have 11 employees or more must allow
their employees to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year.
Employees working for an employer with fewer than 11 employees can earn up to 40
hours of unpaid sick leave per calendar year. An employee may miss work (1) to care for
a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition affecting the employee or the
employee’s child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse; (2) to attend routine medical
appointments or those of a child, spouse, parent, or parent of a spouse; or (3) to address
the effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee’s dependent child.5

Six and a half million people in California became eligible for paid sick leave for
the first time starting July 1, 2015. The Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014
guarantees up to three days of paid sick leave for all California workers who work for
30 or more days within a year of becoming employed. The law will help employees in
the retail and fast food industry, since those employees often have young children and
often need to take sick time to tend to those children when they are ill.

Overall, as of July 2015, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the District of
Columbia, as well as at least 18 cities, have laws mandating paid sick days.6

Case Questions

1. Is sick time part of paid time off benefits?

2. Do you believe that employees abuse
sick leave by using a “use it or lose it”
approach?

3. Does having a sick leave policy help
reduce overall stress?

4. Why doesn’t a national sick leave law
exist?

5. Does the company you (or your relative)
work for have a sick leave policy? If so,
what is that policy?

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Chapter 13 • Employee Benefits 69

Notes

1. Ponder, Crissinda, “Will Company Health Plans Drop Spouses?” Bankrate.com, http://www
.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/employer-health-plans-drop-spouses.aspx.

2. Greenhouse, Steven, “U.P.S. to End Health Benefits for Spouses of Some Workers,” New York
Times, August 21, 2013.

3. United States Department of Labor, “Work Hours: Sick Leave,” http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/
workhours/sickleave.htm.

4. Zullo, Robert, “Pittsburgh Council to Introduce Paid Sick-Leave Legislation,” Pittsburgh Post-
Gazette, July 6, 2015, http://www.post-gazette.com/local/2015/07/06/Council-to-introduce-
paid-sick-leave-legislation/stories/201507030268.

5. http://smcattorneys.com/employment-law-update-massachusetts-sick-leave-law/.
6. Karol, Gabrielle, “California Paid Sick Leave Act Goes Into Effect July 1,” USA Today Network,

June 30, 2015.

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6 2

12
Incentive Pay

Case 12.1. Executive Compensation:
New Developments in Executive Compensation
Human resources leaders and compensation experts will always need to attract talented
managers to their corporations. However, newer laws are in place to help rein in large
executive salaries.

Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) in 2002 has allowed the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) to “claw back” executive pay and stock awards retroactively. SOX has mandatory
reporting requirements of all company perks, jets, country club memberships, and so on.1

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 was
signed into federal law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010. Commonly
known as the Dodd-Frank, it requires that a public company present to its sharehold-
ers a plan to approve compensation, and “enhanced compensation” must be disclosed
to the SEC. The goal is to monitor executive compensation by making sure executives
are meeting performance-based goals.

The Dodd-Frank Section 953 requires additional disclosure about certain compen-
sation matters, including pay-for-performance and the ratio between the CEO’s total
compensation and the median total compensation for all other company employees.2

SOX and Dodd-Frank are very large laws that HR people might not be able to fol-
low on a daily basis. However, since the recession of 2008, there has been much more
attention paid to the large salaries executives receive.

Most large salaries come in the form of stock and stock options in the company.
CEOs are rewarded for their performance by receiving these stock options. For exam-
ple, CEO Larry Ellison of Oracle was paid $96 million in 2012 and $77 million in 2013
(he declined a performance bonus and took $1 in salary).

However, a study by professors found that, the more CEOs got paid, the worse their
companies did.3 One conclusion was that the CEOs became overconfident in their
abilities and made poor decisions. Another conclusion might be that they lost their
focus and motivation and found other pursuits outside the company to follow. For
example, Ellison is very active and a big supporter of yacht racing.

The clawback issue is still being pursued in 2015 as part of Dodd-Frank. The
SEC voted to propose a rule that would require exchanges to establish standards for

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Account: s4264928.main.eds

Chapter 12 • Incentive Pay 6 3

revoking executive bonuses when companies restate earnings or make accounting
errors leading to the restatement of earnings, regardless of the executive’s fault.4 The
clawback window would extend for 3 years after the bonus was given.

There is also a call for improving the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation since it has been
more than 10 years since the regulation has been established. BoardProspects is an
online professional community dedicated to building better boards of directors for
private, public, and nonprofit organizations. Mark Rogers, the founder and chief exec-
utive, posts that the real problem with executive compensation starts with the board
of directors. He points at the collapse of Enron as a failure of the board of directors.
The board didn’t safeguard Enron shareholders and contributed to the collapse of
the seventh largest public company in the United States. The board allowed Enron
to engage in high-risk accounting, inappropriate conflict of interest transactions,
extensive undisclosed off-the-books activities, and excessive executive compensation.
Rogers claims that executive pay would be more reasonable if there were term limits
on how long a person can serve on a board, limits on the number of boards a person
can sit on at one time, and requirements for continuing education on governance as
part of his or her training.5

Case Questions

1. What is a clawback process in regard to
executive compensation?

2. How do the newer laws impact the job of
the HR person or compensation expert?

3. Why is the Dodd-Frank legislation so
important to executive compensation?

4. Why is Sarbanes-Oxley an important
part of HR?

5. What is the role of the board of
directors in setting executive pay?

Case 12.2. Trends and Issues in
HRM: The Giving Praise Model in Action
The first time David Shaker went to work and was paid was when he was 18 years
old. Although David did jobs such as raking leaves and shoveling snow, he was more
focused on playing sports than getting a part-time job. During his first year of college,
he found his first real job at a McDonald’s. The part-time job at McDonald’s taught
David almost everything he learned about business, and he has used it throughout
the rest of his life.

One such learning lesson at McDonald’s was in regard to compensation and
incentive pay. Individual incentives reinforce performance with a reward that is sig-
nificant to the person. At 18 years old, David was very happy with a minimum wage
of $1.65 and the benefit of a free meal for each shift he worked. Since David was
evaluated on his personal performance at the restaurant, it was pretty easy for his

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Part IV • Compensating6 4

manager Naino Leo to evaluate the quality, cleanliness, and service David provided
to customers. Plus, it was fairly easy to evaluate David since his job had a distinct
outcome (the quality and appearance of the cooked hamburger).

After David graduated from college in 1982, he took a marketing position with the
old AT&T. David was evaluated on the performance of the entire group of marketers
and their ability to sell expensive telephone systems to business customers. Group
incentives provide reinforcement for the actions of more than one individual within
the organization. The group evaluation at AT&T did promote teamwork because the
employees in David’s area had to work together to earn their bonus. Most of the team
members were loyal and trusted each other to complete the sales. However, the prob-
lem with teamwork at AT&T was that a few employees played the social loafer role.
That meant that they didn’t work nearly as hard and made fewer sales to customers.
These social loafers still expected to share in the bonus each employee would get if
the team met or went beyond their sales goal. A bonus is a lump sum payment, typi-
cally given to an individual at the end of a time period. Like all employees, David was
happy to get a “holiday bonus.”

David’s next step in his career path led him to Monarch Insurance, where he
learned all about the strengths and weaknesses of commission-based sales. A com-
mission is a payment typically provided to a salesperson for selling an item to a
customer, usually calculated as a percentage of the price of the item sold. In David’s
case, he sold insurance policies to employees at other companies as part of the ben-
efit those employees were offered. Thus, if David sold an employee from Company
ABC an insurance policy to protect his family in case of his death, then David
would earn a commission. Many salespeople are paid on a straight commission,
meaning that they get paid only if they sell an item. In David’s case, he was paid a
lower base salary, which was supplemented by commissions on his sales. David felt
his salary plus commission compensation structure was implemented properly, and
he enjoyed the motivation to increase his paycheck by making more sales. It was
important for David to treat customers properly (as he was trained at McDonald’s),
even if he made a smaller commission. He would rather see that the customers
got the correct life insurance policy. Commission sales can motivate salespeople to
want to earn the highest commission possible—even if it means that customers buy
more product than they actually need.

David felt fortunate that he never worked under a piecework or piece-rate plan.
However, he once took a tour of a toy factory, which was under a piece-rate plan, and
he watched the employees sorting pieces to include in a 72-piece set. The employees
working around the machine were quite calm and peaceful. They just kept inserting
bricks, such as the toy head for the person, into the set. When asked, the employees
said they were paid for each set of products that was made to the expected quality and
specifications. The employees also noted that they enjoyed job rotation and would
exchange seats around the machine and belts. That would allow the person to take
a different part and insert that part into a different spot in the box. The key for the
employees was to work at the proper pace so that they were not working too slowly
or too fast. Working too slowly could mean that you weren’t making enough of the
product. Working too fast could mean that you made mistakes because you didn’t
have enough time to be careful.

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Chapter 12 • Incentive Pay 6 5

But for all the different compensation plans that David experienced in his differ-
ent jobs, he was most happy when someone told him he was doing a good job. If the
customers said he was doing a good job . . . great! If a manager said he was doing a
good job . . . great! If his wife praised him about doing a good job—that was also great!

The Giving Praise Model has four steps. The first step is to tell the employee exactly
what was done properly. The second step is to tell the employee why the behavior
is important. The third step is to allow a moment of silence to give the employee a
chance to feel the impact of the praise. The fourth step is to encourage repeat perfor-
mance so the employee continues to do great work.

Upon reflection, David was always impressed with the praise he received at
McDonald’s from his boss Naino Leo. Naino gave praise fairly easily, and it didn’t cost
McDonald’s a penny! Managers who use praise will realize that it really works and that
employees work even harder to keep up the good work. At times, David did receive
praise for finishing his college education, selling telephones for AT&T, or selling an
insurance policy. But he also was a little sad that he never quite had the same praise
that he had received at 18 years old from his boss Naino.

Case Questions

1. How would you compare hourly wages,
having a salary, or being paid by
commission?

2. What is the benefit of the Giving Praise
Model?

3. Why do companies have a piece-rate
system?

4. What is the key step in the praise
model?

5. Which type of compensation incentive
would you be most likely to receive
if you stayed with the same company
for 20 years?

Notes

1. Nemer, Kirk D., “New 2015 Developments in Executive Compensation,” Executive Career
Insider, May 28, 2015, https://www.bluesteps.com/blog/executive-compensation-2015.

2. https://www.sec.gov/spotlight/dodd-frank/corporategovernance.shtml.
3. Adams, Susan, “The Highest-Paid CEOs Are the Worst Performers, New Study Says,” Forbes,

June 16, 2014, http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/06/16/the-highest-paid-ceos-
are-the-worst-performers-new-study-says/.

4. “SEC Proposes Executive Bonus ‘Clawback’ Rule,” ABA Banking Journal, July 1, 2015, http://
bankingjournal.aba.com/2015/07/sec-proposes-executive-bonus-clawback-rule/.

5. Rogers, Mark, “Sarbanes-Oxley 10 Years Later: Boards Are Still the Problem,” Forbes, July 29,
2012.

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12

3
The Legal Environment and

Diversity Management

Case 3.1. Major Employment Laws:
How Does an Increase in State
Minimum Wage Impact an Organization?
In any management position, you need a basic understanding of the major employ-
ment laws. If you are the manager of a company, such as Walmart, you have to under-
stand what is legal and what isn’t, or you may cost your employer money.

There are some laws that deal specifically with compensation issues. A major piece
of legislation was the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which requires that women be paid equal
to men if they are doing the same work. However, the oldest of the compensation
laws is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. The FLSA covers minimum wages,
overtime issues, and child labor issues within the United States.

The federal minimum wage set by FLSA is currently $7.25 per hour. States cannot
set a minimum wage that is lower than the federal standard, but they are free to estab-
lish a higher one. The minimum rate in different states can be found at The National
Conference of State Legislators.1

President Obama has made increasing the minimum wage a priority during his
presidency. He believes that low minimum wages create “social inequality.” He has
called for a minimum of at least $10.10 per hour.2 Even still, there is little doubt this
increase will not be enough to help low-income people escape poverty. But it would be
progress, and it would help low-income people earn more money.

Employees, especially in the fast food industry, have been holding rallies across the
nation to increase the minimum wage. The rallying cry has been for $15.00 per hour
for a minimum wage. This is a fight for everyone who is paid minimum wage, not just
the fast-food industry.

For example, the city of Los Angeles voted in 2015 to increase its minimum
wage from $9 per hour to $15 per hour by 2020. The minimum wage rate will

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Chapter 3 • The Legal Environment and Diversity Management 13

be $10 in California in 2016 and $13.00 in 2017.3 More large cities are expected
to follow.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is siding with the minimum wage earners.
Cuomo rallied against McDonald’s and Burger King, where pay is so low that employ-
ees are forced to accept state assistance.4

Walmart has been at the center of the minimum wage rate for many years. Since
Walmart is the largest physical retailer in the world, it should have expected its wage
rate would be scrutinized by all the stakeholders of the organization.

In response, Walmart has increased its minimum salary to $9 per hour, which will
bump up to $10 by February 2016. Around 500,000 employees will receive the hourly
increase. It is hoped that the increases can help many Walmart employees who are
on state assistance. Walmart didn’t decide to suddenly be kind to its employees. Since
most states now have a rate higher than the federal minimum rate, Walmart made
the change because it was going to legally have to pay its employees the higher rate
in different states.

Human resources departments need to be prepared for the increase in minimum
wages. HR needs to understand its own business situation and build a business model
that will include higher minimum wages. Some companies, such as Costco, Ikea, and
The Gap already pay their workers above the federal minimum wage.5

HR also has to be concerned about wage compression between hourly employees
and supervisors. If the minimum rate rises high enough, the hourly workers could
be paid as high as, or even higher than, their supervisors and managers. This could
cause problems with employees, since they might rather be an hourly worker than of
a salaried employee.

The success of the rallies, the increase in state and local wages, and the decision
by large companies to increase their minimum wage is certainly positive news for the
lives of many Americans. But it is most likely that employers are also going to decide
to hire fewer employees since they will claim it is too expensive to hire the same
number of minimum wage employees as they currently hire. Consequently, it is possi-
ble that low-income, entry-level employees will have fewer job opportunities because
employers will try to reduce the number of employees they hire.

Case Questions

1. What law(s) apply to this case?

2. Will Walmart employ fewer minimum
wage employees to save money?

3. Will low-income employees need more
education and skills?

4. Will more college-educated prospective
employees be offered jobs at $15 per
hour instead of a salaried position?

5. What is your view on the increase in the
minimum wage? How has it affected
yourself at your own job?

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Part I • 21st-Century Human Resource Management Strategic Planning and Legal Issues14

Case 3.2. Diversity and Inclusion:
What’s the Difference?

Hilton Worldwide Named Top 50 Diversity Company
Diversity and inclusion are important concepts in ensuring that all human beings

in your organization are treated equally. Companies have learned that their employ-
ees should represent their customers. All companies sell their products and services
to an increasingly diverse population. Thus, the employee makeup of the firm should
also be diverse.

Diversity refers to all the ways we differ. Anything that makes us unique is part
of diversity. Inclusion involves bringing together and harnessing these diverse
forces and resources in a way that is beneficial.6 An organization needs to be aware
of the diverse nature of their organization, then create programs to help include
all the diverse groups to feel comfortable, wanted, and motivated to work for the
company.

Diversity is important and needed because, as the white population continues to
shrink and the minority population grows, selling your product to a variety of groups
increases sales, revenues, and profits. Embracing diversity means you will create new
business opportunities by having employees who look at the world from different
perspectives.

Human resources needs to be fully trained and aware of all the laws related to the
topic as applied in organizations. Thus, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Employment Act of
1967, and other laws need to be fully understood and implemented by HR employees.
HR should be involved in training employees to foster diversity and to be accepting
of ideas created by each group. HR can be the facilitator to help the organization stay
within the laws of discrimination and, at the same time, help foster a better under-
standing between employees from different backgrounds.

Hilton Worldwide was selected as DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity.7
Based upon DiversityInc’s research, the top 50 companies have 20 percent more
Blacks, Latinos, and Asians in management, and 13 percent more women.

Here are some reasons that Hilton Worldwide was selected as an above average
diversity company:

• “Diversity and inclusion are part of our DNA at Hilton,” said Christopher J.
Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide. “Like our hotels, our work-
force is global, and our success is driven by the passion and motivation of our
teams. Our culture and diversity in all its forms around the world makes our
organization strong and drives better results.”8

• Hilton Worldwide supports the LGBT community by participating in two of
the nation’s largest Pride festivals.

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Chapter 3 • The Legal Environment and Diversity Management 15

• Hilton has a National Minority Supplier Development Council Board of
Directors. Their goal is to help influence the development of Asian, Black,
Hispanic, and Native American suppliers and supplier diversity best practices.

• Hilton Worldwide was ranked on the Hispanic Business 2012 Best Companies
for Diversity list by Hispanic Business magazine. Hilton scored among the high-
est in restaurants and resorts.

• Hilton Worldwide offers excellent employee resource groups, including a group
for veterans and their spouses.

How does Hilton Worldwide do in passing the OUCH test? The OUCH test,
although not a legal test, is a good theory and rule of thumb as to what makes a fair
human resource decision. OUCH is an acronym for a decision that is objective, uniform
in application, consistent in effect, and related to the job.9 The OUCH test should be used
whenever considering any action that involves employees.

The “O” in OUCH means employment actions are made as objectively as possible.
Objective means the HR decision is based on fact, cognitive knowledge, or quan-
tifiable evidence in all cases. In comparison, employment actions should not be
based on something that is subjective, such as your emotional state, your opinion,
or how you feel in a certain situation.

The “U” in OUCH considers whether an employment action is being uniformly
applied to all employment decisions. For example, if one candidate for a manage-
ment position at Hilton has to take a written test as part of the job process, then
you also need to have all the applicants for the position complete the written test,
under the same conditions, to the best of your ability.

The “C” in OUCH considers whether the employment actions taken have signifi-
cantly different effects on one or more protected groups than it has on majority
group. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination
based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Managers have to be careful
they don’t affect a protected group disproportionately with an employment action.
It is important for managers to show consistency in their employment actions.

The “H” in OUCH determines whether the employment action directly relates to
the primary aspects of the job in question. If the job of a manager at the Hilton
does not include serving coffee to employees in the morning, then the manager
cannot be hired or fired for not serving coffee.

On all accounts, a company like Hilton Worldwide, that is thought of as a Best
Company for Diversity, passes the OUCH test. Hilton has done an excellent job of
including all sorts of diverse groups (such as veterans and their spouses, Asian, His-
panic, and Black employees and suppliers, and the LGBT community) in its diversity
and inclusion programs.

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Part I • 21st-Century Human Resource Management Strategic Planning and Legal Issues16

Case Questions

1. What laws do you think might apply in
this case?

2. What is the difference between diversity
and inclusion?

3. What is the role of human resources in
fostering diversity?

4. Does Hilton Worldwide pass the
OUCH test?

5. Discuss different groups of people/
employees that would be considered
diverse.

Notes

1. National Conference of State Legislators, retrieved November 27, 2015, http://www.ncsl
.org/research/labor-and-employment/state-minimum-wage-chart.aspx.

2. Sahadi, Jeanne, “Will a Higher Minimum Wage Really Reduce Income Inequality?” CNN
Money, January 15, 2014.

3. Wattles, Jackie, “Los Angeles Is Now Largest City in America With $15 Minimum,” CNN
Money, June 14, 2015.

4. Bredderman, Will, “At Minimum Wage Rally, Cuomo Attacks Term ‘Income Inequality,’”
June 11, 2015, http://observer.com/2015/06/at-minimum-wage-rally-cuomo-attacks-term-
income-inequality/.

5. Patton, Carol, “Employers Embracing Wage Hike,” Human Resource Executive Online, October 13,
2014.

6. Jordan, T. Hudson, “Moving From Diversity to Inclusion,” Diversity Journal.com, March 22,
2011.

7. “Hilton Worldwide Named One of DiversityInc’s 2015 Top 50 Companies for Diversity:
Hilton Also Named a Top 10 Company for Supplier Diversity,” Hilton Worldwide.com,
April 24, 2015.

8. http://news.hiltonworldwide.com/index.cfm/newsroom/category/topic/732.
9. Hendon, John, “The Ouch Test: A Tool for Managing Your Employees,” Ask the HR Department.

com, 2013.

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2 7

6
Selecting New Employees

Case 6.1. The Selection Process:
Searching for a New Faculty Member . . .
What Step in the Selection Process Are We in Today?
There are many potential steps in the selection process to complete when conducting
a search process to fill an open position. Most important, companies need to follow
the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Process (UGESP) to avoid discrimi-
natory hiring practices. The guidelines were designed to ensure that organizations
were using nondiscriminatory employment practices so they would be in compliance
under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, often referred to as Title VII.1

The following steps are part of a typical employee selection process:

1. Application and/or résumé collection and review.

2. Preliminary screening. May include a quick look into background check.

3. Organize initial interview with promising candidates.

4. Complete written and physical tests if necessary.

5. Secondary interviews for candidates who passed the first interview.

6. Detailed background check of references, criminal history, drug screening, and
web searches if appropriate to the position.

7. Position offered to selected candidate. If position is accepted, prospect is hired
and process is ended. If position is declined, search committee decides whether
to offer position to second highest rated candidate.

Small-Time College is looking for a good accountant that has the right personality-
job fit to complement its existing accounting faculty. Accounting positions often
require the accountant to work closely with financial statements, such as income

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Account: s4264928.main.eds

Part II • Staffing2 8

statements and balance sheets. However, Small-Time College also wants to hire a pro-
fessor who likes to build close relationships with students and help them be involved
in donating time to nonprofit organizations. The college intends to hire a CPA to
be sure there is a good ability-job fit and hopes the new professor will have a good
person-organization fit, which means the new professor will fit into the culture of the
entire company.

The following are some of the selection steps taken at Small-Time College in its
search for a new full-time accounting professor.

1. A search committee is formed to search for the new accounting professor.
Professors from the Division of Business and a professor from outside the
division are included on the committee.

2. Search committee works together to write a job description and an advertise-
ment for the open accounting position.

3. HR places the advertisement in various media, such as Monster.com and
Higherjobs.com. The advertisement’s job was tailored to find qualified applicants
who could teach upper-level accounting courses on-campus and off-campus,
online and face-to-face, while also participating in college-wide activities.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ACCOUNTING

Apply for Position

Institution: Small-Time College

Location: Carlsbad, CA

Category: Faculty—Business/Accounting

Posted: 06/18/2016

Application Due: Open Until Filled

Type: Full Time

Assistant Professor of Accounting

The Division of Business at Small-Time College located in Carlsbad, CA, invites appli-
cations for the position of full-time, tenure track Assistant Professor of Accounting
Faculty position reporting to the Chair of the Division of Business.

This faculty position is primarily responsible for traditional and online course develop-
ment and instruction in the Accounting Bachelor of Arts Degree at the traditional based
campus programs, the online and F2F undergraduate off-campus degree completion
programs, and the Accounting track in the MBA program. Courses can include, but are
not limited to, Accounting Information Systems, Advanced Cost Accounting, Auditing,
and Financial Management. Potential graduate-level courses include Corporate Tax and
Nonprofit and Government Accounting.

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Chapter 6 • Selecting New Employees 2 9

The faculty member is also responsible for actively participating in all aspects of col-
lege community (teaching, scholarship, and service) in alignment with the faculty hand-
book and to serve a primary role in the governance and organization of the program,
including academic planning, curriculum development and review, advising and program
improvement.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assumes responsibility for assigned course instruction online, off-campus, and
on-campus in both undergraduate and graduate courses.

• Facilitates learning and caring environment, which encourages critical thinking,
investigation, self-direction, and respect for the uniqueness of each individual.

• Leads and/or participates in course development, curriculum planning, implemen-
tation, and evaluation.

• Completes required CPE and maintains current license.
• Attends Business Club meetings with senior accounting students.
• Assists students in finding internships at local area CPA and other firms.
• Coordinates students to perform internship and community service at the Volunteer

Income Tax Assistance (VITA).
• Supports the collection of IACBE results related to the accounting students on cam-

pus and off-campus.
• Demonstrates knowledge of and implementation of the general education philosophy.
• Serves on College committees as appointed or elected.
• Participates in peer, self, and course review.
• Promotes the mission and purposes of the College in various internal and external

activities.
• Evaluates student progress and maintains appropriate records.
• Advises students in course-related matters and makes referrals to appropriate

resources.
• Remains current with the trends, issues, and practices in the discipline.
• Actively involved in professional development and scholarly activities.
• Assists the Chair of the department with administrative tasks as needed and

appointed.
• Participates in recruitment and retention efforts, specific to the program, as needed.
• Performs other duties as assigned.
• Contributes to the evaluation of student academic achievement and other evaluative

processes of the College.
• Adheres to College and System policies and procedures as indicated in the Faculty

Handbook, College policies, and in other applicable regulatory documents.
• Upholds, promotes, and demonstrates behaviors consistent with the Mission and

Core Values (Faith, Community, Justice, and Excellence) of the College.

Minimum Qualifications

CPA or CMA (current license) with a Master’s degree in the accounting field. Must have
significant experience in the field of accounting, possess effective oral and written
communication and interpersonal skills, documented excellence in online teaching,

(Continued)

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Part II • Staffing3 0

and be committed to the concepts of innovation and excellence in accounting education.
Candidate must maintain active and current membership in professional and commu-
nity organizations. The candidate must effectively use Microsoft Office Suite software
and other accounting software.

Preferred Qualifications

Doctorate degree (related field). College-level teaching experience in accounting and
experience with web-based course delivery and instructional technology are highly
desirable. Learning Management System experience preferred, Moodle experience
highly preferred. Ability to use Sage 50/QuickBooks and SAP software is very desirable.

To Apply

Send cover letter, transcripts, CV/résumé, a statement of teaching philosophy and con-
tact information for three (3) professional references (as Word or PDF attachments)
via email to: [email protected] or by regular mail to Dr. Maxwell Bannister, Chair of the
Division of Business, Small-Time College, 291 Golf Ball Street, Carlsbad, CA 01050.

Review of applications begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

(Continued)

4. Résumés (in education they are called CVs) are collected and distributed among
the committee members.

5. Preliminary screening requires weeding out the applicants who don’t meet the
minimum qualifications. The process includes a meeting to drop those candi-
dates who didn’t have a CPA or a Master’s in accounting. The next step could be
to drop those candidates who lack teaching experience. There is a great deal of
debate deciding on the top 10 candidates if you have a pile of about 100 appli-
cants. The top 10 applicants are then called by the HR Department to see if they
are still interested in the position and if they would be able to accept the position
within the salary range the professor is expected to be paid. The salary range is
determined by the salaries offered to similar faculty at Small-Time College.

6. Selection interviews: The top 10 candidates are often reduced to the top three
to five candidates if they are still interested in the position and the salary range.
The final five candidates are then called to arrange a date and time for their
initial interview. Sometimes, all the candidates are interviewed on the same
day. That makes a long day for the search committee and HR. Otherwise, it is
important to interview candidates in as few days as possible.

7. Conducting the interview actually starts before the actual interviews. The com-
mittee often creates a list of appropriate questions that will be asked to all appli-
cants. Each person on the committee often asks specific questions related to his
or her personal area of expertise (which could be teaching accounting courses,

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Chapter 6 • Selecting New Employees 31

experience advising students, or working with students on projects outside the
classroom). This ensures that all candidates are asked the same questions.

Once the interview begins, it is important to review the realistic job preview
(RJP) and make sure the candidate understands the nature of the job. The RJP is
a review of all of the tasks and requirements of the job, both good and bad. The
committee will want to make sure the candidates have as much information as
possible about the job so they are aware of the tasks to be completed if they are
offered the position.

8. Background checks (which can include reference checks, credit checks, crim-
inal background checks, and web checks) need to be used in a professional
and ethical manner. For example, reference checks should not be conducted
without the consent of the candidate. It is important to research only for rel-
evant data. There is no need to dig for information beyond the scope of the
search. Keep the search related to the specific information for the job that is
being filled.2

Reference checks often confirm a candidate did work at a previous organi-
zation. But it is important to understand that candidates don’t pick references
unless they are most likely going to give them a positive referral. Web searches
on sites such as LinkedIn have become more popular as a source for checking
the candidate’s background and references.

9. Selecting the candidate and offering the job often means the top two candi-
dates are asked to return for a second interview. They most likely will meet the
dean and Small-Time College president. The final decision normally rests with
the college president, who decides what is best for the college. Offering the
job to the candidate is not quite as simple as it sounds. The candidate might
decide to stay with his or her current employer or might disagree on salary, a
certain benefit, or even the job itself. If the first candidate decides not to accept
the position, the search committee, dean, and president have to decide if they
would like to offer the job to the second candidate or do an entirely new search.

Case Questions

1. What would be a good personality fit for
an accounting professor at Small-Time
College?

2. Should the preliminary screening
process result in a top 10 of applicants?

3. What is the role of the Uniform
Guidelines on Employee Selection
Process (UGESP)?

4. Which step did the case skip in regard
to the steps in the selection process?

5. Why are background checks harder to
conduct than it might appear?

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Part II • Staffing3 2

Case 6.2. Looking for
“Organizational Fit”: Walter’s
Unstructured Interview at Google
Walter was proud to earn his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Small-Time
College in California. That was almost three years ago, and he felt as if it was even
longer since the field of computer science changes so quickly.

Walter was able to find a nice “Comp Sci” job at Small-Time College. He inter-
viewed for the job and remembers the key questions were what his greatest strengths
(which he answered as programming skills) and his greatest weakness (he didn’t have
one prepared to discuss) were. Walter considered this a structured interview since
one of the interviewers from Small-Time College said she was responsible for asking
certain questions. After working for three years at Small-Time College, Walter felt he
had a good personality-job fit, since he was a valuable member of the Information
Technology Department. Walter also felt he had proven he had good ability-job fit,
since his three years of experience as a computer programmer at the college proved
he had the skills to complete the job. Most important, Walter felt he had a perfect
person-organization fit, since he was liked by everyone at the college and fit in very
well in the educational culture.

Recently, Walter was contacted by someone on LinkedIn to apply for a new posi-
tion at Google. Like everyone else, Walter had heard stories that Google was a great
place to work. He even watched the movie The Intern to get a better glimpse of what
takes place at Google.

Walter also researched the company (using Google Search) and found out Google
uses a unique way to find and match people with jobs at the amazing company.3

First, Google used its extremely creative way of thinking to create a vice- president
of people operations. Like most companies, Walter’s current employer calls this posi-
tion the vice-president of human resources.

Second, Google uses its data analysis skills to analyze vast amounts of data about
what works and what doesn’t work during the hiring process. One result they found
was that interviews had a zero relationship with the success the person actually had
on the job. Consequently, Google doesn’t believe in the traditional metrics used in
the hiring process. These traditional metrics include GPA, SAT scores, or the prestige
of college the candidate attended. Instead, creative companies like Google measure
a candidate on behaviors, such as their level of happiness, ability to work well with
other people, if they like a challenge, if they seek information, and if they are willing
to adapt.4

Walter spoke to the assistant in people operations and set up an interview for
one week later. He was warmly received by Google and quickly fell in love with
the colorful and wide open layout of the headquarters. In a casual and relaxed
atmosphere, he sat down with three different Google employees and basically
explained how he grew up in California and what led him down the path of
computer science.

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Chapter 6 • Selecting New Employees 3 3

Walter thought he might be asked one of those out-of-the-box interview questions,
such as how many gasoline stations would you expect to find in a city of 160,000
people. But his research also uncovered that Google felt these types of questions were
biased since they tended to just make the interviewer look smart since they had time
to work out the answers.

Since Walter wanted to be a good match, he went with the flow of the interview
and became much more relaxed than he could remember in his interview with his
current company. He expressed how he liked being happy at work, enjoyed program-
ming computers with a team of employees, and especially enjoyed interacting with
clients to help them solve their problems. Walter enjoyed the unstructured inter-
view and felt he was doing a good job interacting with the Google interviewers. He
expected the Google interview was going to a least be a semi-structured interview,
which would combine some preplanned and some unplanned questions. However,
the Google interviewers appeared to not have any prepared questions and instead
asked all unplanned questions.

Walter went on to explain how he had been promoted three times in three years
and enjoyed the challenge each positioned offered. He liked the “go for it attitude” at
his present employer. Walter also knew from his research that Google liked outgoing,
happy employees that worked well with their fellow workers and customers.

In the end, Walter did not get the job for reasons he never learned. Although
he was disappointed, he also knew that Facebook once turned down Brian Acton
for a job and he went on to co-found WhatsApp which he sold to Facebook for $19
billion.5 Walter hoped a similar fate was in his future and he could one day sell his
ideas to Google.

Walter went back to his current job with renewed passion and energy. He was
excited to have spent time at Google and hoped to bring back some of what he
learned and apply it to his own job and division. He also intended to work closer than
ever with his own Human Resources Department to look for opportunities in his
current company. He was hoping to find a “fast track” program that would speed up
his own development, so he could create a more open and creative company culture
along the way.

Walter always wondered what his life would have been like if he had been hired
by Google. He thought he was going to be an excellent fit in the Google organiza-
tional culture. He felt he had a good personality-job fit since he demonstrated in the
interviews that he was an outgoing computer programmer who would work well with
Google’s unique corporate culture. Walter also felt he was a great candidate in regard
to ability-job fit since his three years of experience in his current programming job
showed he could apply his technical skills as a computer programmer in a work envi-
ronment. Walter also felt he was a good person-organization fit since he would work
very well within Google’s creative-organizational culture. In the end, Walter was
happy to grow from the experience of trying to get a job at Google. He definitely had
more appreciation for his current job since his employer had been smart enough to
give him a job three years before. He was ready to repay that by doing an excellent
job going into the future.

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Part II • Staffing3 4

Case Questions

1. What do you think the vice president of
people actually does at Google?

2. Did Walter experience a structured,
semistructured, or unstructured
interview when he first left college?

3. What are your own greatest strengths
and weaknesses as a prospective
employee?

4. How would you answer if someone in
HR asked you an unstructured question
such as how many gas stations there are
in a city of 160,000?

5. Design a form to help Google compare
different candidates. HINT: You can
list some different names of people in
the rows. The column headings need
to represent the areas where Google
is looking for in an interview (Happy
Employees, Employees Willing to Take
on a Challenge, Creative Employees, etc.)

6. Why do you think Google felt Walter
was not a good organizational fit for
the company?

Notes

1. http://www.uniformguidelines.com/uniformguidelines.html.
2. Lu, Andrew, “5 Tips to Keep Reference Checks Legal,” FindLaw.com, December 12, 2012.
3. Nisen, Max, “Moneyball at Work: They’ve Discovered What Really Makes a Great Employee

at Work,” Business Insider, May 6, 2013.

4. Nisen, Max, “Google HR Boss Explains Why GPA and Most Interviews Are Useless,” Business
Insider, June 19, 2013.

5. Wood, Zoe, “Facebook Turned Down WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton for Job in 2009,”
The Guardian, February 20, 2014.

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Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends:
“Now and Around the Corner”, pages 185–200.
Copyright © 2019 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. 185

CHAPTER 9

MILLENNIAL WORKERS AND
THE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

PHENOMENON
Has the Wave Crested?

Angela N. Spranger and Sierra Chen

INTRODUCTION

The concept of employee engagement has become ambiguous, a work-related psy-
chological measure influenced by factors that scholars and researchers have focused
on identifying. While the realm of research scholars seeks to identify it, the ob-
vious effects of employee engagement, or, rather, disengagement are consistently
observed in the workplace. A recent Gallup survey suggested that only 13% of em-
ployees around the globe are engaged on the job and disengaged workers outnum-
ber engaged workers nearly two to one (Rana, Ardichvili, & Tkachenko, 2014).
Research is trailing behind a phenomenon that is dominating the workplace.

By determining the factors that can predict levels of employee engagement,
organizations can focus their efforts on active improvement. But, more impor-
tantly, by identifying employees’ expectations of the factors of employee engage-
ment, organizations can better understand the needs of their employees and tailor

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186 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & SIERRA CHEN

their organizational goals directly toward those needs. In a 1990 study, Kahn ad-
dressed the deeper components of engagement (meaningfulness, safety, and psy-
chological availability) which form the basis of addressing what HR professionals
and executives can do to help ensure their associates feel seen, safe, and valued
(Spranger, 2015) in the workplace. These components of engagement create the
foundation of the psychological expectations of employees and, as a result, their
expectations of their managers and organizations.

In this chapter, we explore the employee engagement phenomenon to better un-
derstand the expectations of visibility (feelings or perceptions of being seen), safety,
and value as related to engagement, particularly regarding the expectations of mil-
lennials entering the workforce. By studying the engagement phenomenon and the
factors that impact it from the perspective of millennials and their expectations,
HR professionals and executives can determine areas of change that might inject
positive adaptation in their organizations. In this chapter, we seek to decrease the
ambiguousness of the concept of employee engagement by determining millennials’
expectations going into the workplace instead of focusing on their experiences in
the workplace or after the fact. A primary research question then is, what are millen-
nials’ expectations of visibility, safety, and value in the workplace? Secondarily, if
these expectations are not met, how does it impact their level of engagement?

LITERATURE REVIEW

Employee engagement is a phenomenon that is dominating the workforce and
organizational culture. It is a concept substantiated by a rigorous academic con-
versation, which has caught up with the initial leadership of the consulting and
practitioner community. As the significance of employee engagement becomes
more firmly set in organizational culture, the generations are shifting, raising new
questions about how an organization should best engage employees from differ-
ent stages of life. Baby Boomers, one of the largest generations in history, are
preparing to retire from the workforce while Millennials are flooding in with new
expectations, demands, and work habits. Organizations must brace themselves
for the changes that are about to occur, understanding how to engage millennials
who will, by 2025, make up about 75% of the workforce (Deloitte, 2014; Don-
ston-Miller, 2016). At its core, employee engagement manifests itself in the idea
that an employee who feels seen, safe, and valued in the workplace will be more
engaged. In this conceptual chapter, we emphasize the foundations of the term
“employee engagement,” and relate it to the current expectations of millennials as
a young, technologically advanced generation that will bring new ideas, but also
new expectations of visibility, safety, and value.

Defining Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is an ambiguous concept discussed by researchers, but
difficult to define in clear, concrete terms. However, there are several founda-

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Millennial Workers and the Employee Engagement Phenomenon • 187

tions for the concept on which my research was built. The first foundation was
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in 1970, a straightforward, conceptual framework
for understanding the importance of fulfilling basic human needs (Kahn, 1990;
Shuck, Rocco, & Albornoz, 2011). This theory of motivation relies on a model
which arranges human needs in order of necessity, suggesting that higher-level
needs cannot be met until lower-level needs have been met. The needs are ar-
ranged in a pyramid shape, demonstrating the most critical needs to survival as the
lowest needs on the hierarchy according to foundational necessity.

The hierarchy’s bottom level represents an individual’s physiological needs;
the theory suggests that these are the most potent of needs for human survival.
This level includes needs such as food, water, and shelter (Shuck, Rocco, & Al-
bornoz, 2011). The next level is safety, which is the feeling of personal protection
and control over one’s life. This need provides a fundamental concept of the idea
of the importance of safety in the workplace. Humans have an inherent need to
feel in control over their lives and personally protected. It also includes the need
to feel a part of something bigger than oneself. Environments that do not foster
this element of safety may be overly competitive and cold, which discourages
relationship development and reduces productivity and innovation. In Kahn’s
employee engagement framework, safety promotes meaningfulness and psycho-
logical availability. According to Kahn, employees who do not feel safe become
cognitively, emotionally, and physically “paralyzed” (Kahn, 1990).

The need for love and belonging is closely intertwined with the need for safety,
as the need to develop relationships is especially prevalent in the workplace. Em-
ployees develop several relationships at work, all of which have the potential to
influence employees’ outcomes and experiences. Employees who interpret rela-
tionships with co-workers as positive are more likely to experience a positive
workplace climate, which leads to higher employee engagement (Shuck, Owen,
Manthos, Quirk & Rhoades, 2016). The importance of a mentor in the workplace
also reflects this shared need for love and belonging, while underscoring the need
to be seen and valued. Mentorship allows for more inexperienced employees to be
recognized by a more experienced employee or manager which makes them feel
included in the workplace.

Once the need to feel safe and experience love and belonging is satisfied, the
need for esteem becomes very relevant as employees work to achieve career goals,
manifesting the desire for respect and recognition. The need for self-actualization
finishes the hierarchy with a need to realize potential and “become everything
one is capable of becoming” (Maslow, 1970; Shuck, Rocco, & Albornoz, 2011).
According to Kahn, self-actualization, the need to realize potential, parallels em-
ployee engagement (Kahn, 1990). If the most basic needs such as physiological
needs, safety, love and belonging, and esteem needs are met, employees will be
more equipped to realize their potential by sharing their knowledge and creating
opportunities for other people.

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188 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & SIERRA CHEN

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs represent some of the most basic human needs
that manifest themselves in humans and, therefore, organizations in which hu-
mans work and seek fulfillment. Employees within an organization are driven by
an inherent need to be seen, safe, and valued. When such constructs are fulfilled,
it enhances employee well-being and satisfaction in the workplace.

The second foundation for understanding employee engagement comes from
Kahn’s 1990 article which laid a psychological framework for employee engage-
ment. Kahn emphasized the fact that meaningfulness, safety, and availability are
all key factors in determining levels of engagement (Kahn, 1990; Shuck, Rocco,
Albornoz, 2011). Kahn defined meaningfulness as the “positive sense of return on
investments of self in role performance,” safety as “the ability to show one’s self
without fear or negative consequences to self-image, status, or career,” and avail-
ability as “the sense of possessing the physical, emotional, and psychological re-
sources necessary for the competition of work” (Kahn, 1990). According to these
three psychological constructs (meaningfulness, safety, and availability), Kahn
asserted that when individuals are engaged, they bring all aspects of themselves
(cognitive, emotional, and physical) to the performance of their work role. Thus,
employee engagement represents the “simultaneous employment and expression of
a person’s preferred self in task behaviors that promote connections to work and to
others, personal presence, and active, full role performance” (Kahn, 1990; Valentin,
Valentin, & Nafukho, 2015). Utilizing this psychological foundation, we can also
assign meaning to the difference between engagement and disengagement.

The concept of disengagement represents a clearly different phenomenon from
simply low levels of engagement. Kahn defined disengagement as the “uncou-
pling of selves from work roles; people withdraw and defend themselves physi-
cally, cognitively, or emotionally during role performances” (Kahn, 2010; Saks
& Gruman, 2014). Shuck, Zigarmi and Owen furthered this conversation by in-
troducing a study that showed engagement as an experienced and complex psy-
chological phenomenon that is experienced within the context of an employee’s
experience (2015). As it relates to this chapter, an employee who does not feel
seen, safe, and valued in the workplace will not be engaged. Additionally, the
level of that employee’s disengagement will depend on the degree to which he
or she perceives himself or herself as invisible, in danger, or of little value to the
company. Human resource management and HR development professionals may
engage employees by actively ensuring that they feel comfortable and appreciated
in the workplace. This is not to suggest that Millennials, or any other employees,
should be indulged or have policies and procedures relaxed to accommodate them
in the workplace. Nor do we suggest that employees can, or ought to, be made
to feel completely comfortable in the workplace at all times. Still, organizational
development initiatives that intentionally address employees’ needs to feel seen,
safe, and valued in the workplace will yield significant impacts on the organiza-
tion’s culture, and the individual and organizational outcomes that are a proven
result of high employee engagement.

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Millennial Workers and the Employee Engagement Phenomenon • 189

Maslach, Schaufeli, and Leiter (2001) furthered the development of the concept
of engagement by defining it as the opposite of burnout. By defining engagement as
“an energetic state of involvement with personally fulfilling activities that enhance
one’s state of professional efficacy,” the researchers characterized engagement by
energy, involvement, and efficacy (Saks & Gruman, 2014). If this is true, we can
add these components to our understanding of what engagement and disengage-
ment are and how they affect the workplace and organizational outcomes. In their
2001 article, Maslach, Schaufeli and Leiter researched the idea that engagement is
characterized by high levels of activation and pleasure, in that employees who are
engaged in work are less susceptible to burnout because stress factors are reduced
and replaced with satisfaction (Valentin, Valentin, & Nafukho, 2015).

Adding another dimension to the research on employee engagement, Macey
and Schneider focused on the idea that employees may be predisposed to certain
positive outlooks based on personality characteristics (Macey & Schneider, 2008;
Shuck, Rocco, & Albornoz, 2011). These researchers have proposed that positive
outlooks on the workplace may be based on innate personality characteristics and
suggested that employees with a proactive personality may be more likely to be
engaged in their work (Macey & Schneider, 2008; Shuck, Rocco & Albornoz,
2011). Instead of looking at employee engagement from an intrinsic, psychologi-
cal perspective, they focused their research efforts on the external manifestation
of internal employee satisfaction.

From this abbreviated summary of contemporary employee engagement re-
search, and using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a foundational concept, we
move to considerations of the actual, practical significance of employee engage-
ment. For this chapter, we define employee engagement as an employee’s in-
clination to both internally and externally express satisfaction in the workplace
according to an organization’s efforts to make their employees feel seen, safe, and
valued. We have taken Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a psychological foundation
to address the factors that affect an employee’s motivation in the workplace. From
there, we incorporate the work of Kahn (1990) who explains employee engage-
ment as an employee’s perceptions of safety and meaningfulness combined with
his or her psychological availability (or, the amount of cognitive energy he or she
dedicates to the work). Finally, we acknowledge disengagement as a separate,
important phenomenon as noted by Kahn (2010), Saks and Gruman (2014), and
Maslach, Schaufeli and Leiter (2001).

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

There are several correlations and predictive relationships that can be observed
from high and low levels of engagement in the workplace. These include en-
hanced employee well-being, improved productivity, positive financial business
outcome, positive workplace climate, and reduced levels of burnout. Many orga-
nizations believe that employee engagement is a dominant source of competitive
advantage on the basic premise that happy/engaged employees will perform better

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190 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & SIERRA CHEN

due to their connectedness to the organization (Saks & Gruman, 2014). Workers
who feel supported, safe, and provided opportunities for learning are more likely
to engage (Shuck, Rocco, & Albornoz, 2011).

In 2014, Kerns suggested that workforce engagement exerts an important in-
fluence on happiness and well-being in the workplace setting. Employees who
find their relationships with co-workers to be positive and trusting are more likely
to exhibit higher levels of performance (Shuck et al., 2016). Forret and Love
(2008) defined trust in coworkers as “holding confident positive expectations in
situations involving risk with coworkers” (p. 249). This workplace concept, trust,
has received significant attention in management research, leading to empirical
determination of its relationship to increased organizational commitment, overall
workplace trust, greater proactive behavior in the workplace, and lower intent
to quit. The researchers investigated the relationship of perceptions of justice as
independent variables (distributive, procedural, and interactional justice) to co-
worker trust and morale at the group level of analysis (Forret & Love, 2008). By
analyzing survey data gathered from 264 employees at six small companies in the
Midwestern U.S., Forret and Love controlled for gender, marital status, education,
position and company tenure.

Organizational justice as a concept overall is based on fairness perceptions.
Distributive justice is defined as perceived fairness of outcomes received, while
procedural justice is defined as perceived fairness of company procedures used to
determine those outcomes. Interactional justice is defined as the manner in which
results are explained. It addresses the “quality of interpersonal processes and
treatment of individuals (i.e., were they spoken to with sincerity and sensitivity)
as well as the extent to which the reasons behind the outcome are explained” (For-
ret & Love, 2008, p. 249). The three subconstructs of organizational justice are
interrelated but have been determined to be empirically distinct, accounting for
“unique incremental variance” (Forret & Love, 2008, p. 249). Distributive justice
predicts outcome satisfaction, withdrawal and OCB. It has also been associated
with job and pay satisfaction, satisfaction with management, trust in organiza-
tion and trust in manager. Procedural justice predicts of outcome satisfaction, job
satisfaction, performance, organizational commitment, withdrawal and counter-
productive work behaviors, cooperative conflict management, aggression towards
management, and trust in management. Interactional justice related to evaluations
of authority figures, job satisfaction, OCB, outcome satisfaction, commitment,
withdrawal behavior and performance. Additionally, it predicts supervisor rela-
tionship quality, intent to quit, and intent to reduce work effort.

Forret and Love (2008) found support for all of the hypotheses in their cross-
sectional field study, with positive associations and regression analyses show-
ing that each variable predicted trust. Longitudinal research would show how
justice perceptions influence coworker trust, but this cross-sectional self-report
survey study left room for common method variance. Forret and Love (2008)
made recommendations for increasing the subconstructs under organizational jus-

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Millennial Workers and the Employee Engagement Phenomenon • 191

tice perceptions, in order to increase trust and other organizational outcomes. To
improve perceptions of procedural justice, managers should ensure procedures
are fair, involve employee input, and allow for formal appeals mechanisms. Hu-
man resource managers can improve perceptions of distributive justice by helping
employees understand how organizational compensation works so that the em-
ployees understand reward allocation. Salary transparency, to the degree possible,
helps with this—understanding how salaries are set, visibility on the company’s
effort to eliminate salary inequality, and other compensation-related initiatives
will help improve distributive justice perceptions. Management should get a bet-
ter understand of what their employees actually view as rewards, or as stated
earlier in this chapter what motivates their employees, to make sure distribution is
fair. To improve interactional justice, managers must treat employees with respect
and dignity regardless of performance level, employing active listening without
defensiveness when questioned.

Simons (2002) also discusses the potential gap between leaders’ espoused and
enacted values, stating that organizational norms emerge from the employees’
experience of trust stemming from poor word / deed alignment in their leaders
and colleagues. In a conceptual paper investigating trust as a highly complex con-
struct which underpins the reciprocal commitments between employees and their
employers, Simons enumerates multiple behavioral antecedents which create
employee perceptions and combine with their interpretations of those behaviors,
leading to specific consequences of a concept Simons describes as behavioral in-
tegrity. Those consequences include specific individual-level organizational out-
comes, such as employee willingness to promote and implement change, intent to
stay, organizational citizenship behaviors, and employee performance (Simons,
2002). Identifying the definitions and interrelationships between trust, credibility,
psychological contracts, and hypocrisy, Simons suggests that behavioral integrity
represents a perceived, ascribed trait that shows consistent alignment between a
colleague or supervisor’s words and deeds. In this chapter, we connect employees’
perception of safety with the concept of trust in manager and trust in organization.
Further, we suggest that a high degree of trust in the workplace manifests as high
perceived value as well.

When employees are given opportunities to be seen and valued, such as train-
ing development opportunities, career development opportunities, resources and
benefits given by the manager, or mentorship opportunities, they will also be more
likely to engage (Rana, Ardichvili, & Tkachenko, 2014). These feelings of safety
and value/recognition in the workplace demonstrate a positive predictive correla-
tion between relationships and engagement. Kerns also suggested that engage-
ment stirs employee optimism about positively impacting products, services, and
quality, which increases the customer experience as well (Rana, Ardichvili, &
Tkachenko, 2014).

Employee engagement also has a correlation with several factors that are re-
duced when employees are adequately engaged in the workplace. Both theory

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192 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & SIERRA CHEN

and practice support the clear predictive value of a culture of high engagement—
not just high engagement scores. Practitioner research such as the Gallup meta-
analysis of studies in 1997 popularized efforts to investigate the relationship of
“employee engagement” as a workplace phenomenon with business and work
unit profitability, productivity, employee retention, and customer satisfaction and
loyalty across 1,135 business units (Harter et al., 2006). Later, the concept of “em-
ployee passion” emerged, briefly, in practitioner research. Zigarmi, Blanchard,
Essary, and Houson (2017) suggests that employee passion encompasses such
empirical constructs as intent to stay, organizational commitment, job commit-
ment, discretionary effort, and employee endorsement. To have employee pas-
sion, certain organizational and job characteristics must exist: meaningful work,
autonomy, career growth, recognition, collaboration, fairness, connection to lead-
ers, and connection to colleagues. More recent scholarly research studies have
shown that high engagement leads to a decrease in theft, turnover, burnout, and
unhappiness (Kerns, 2014; Saks & Gruman, 2014). Researchers generally exe-
cute studies of employee engagement at the workgroup or business unit level of
analysis, because at this level the data are aggregated and reported generally to
maintain employees’ anonymity and confidentiality. Measurable outcomes at the
workgroup or business unit level of analysis include customer loyalty, profitabil-
ity, productivity, employee turnover, and safety statistics.

When employees are engaged and satisfied in feeling seen, safe, and valued by
their organization and employers, it promotes a sense of meaningfulness that al-
lows employees to view their role in the organization as valuable and worthwhile.
Employees need to have a sense of return on their cognitive and emotional invest-
ments before they are willing to fully engage with their work (Rana, Ardichvili, &
Tkachenko, 2014). When employees’ work and workplace give them satisfaction,
it discourages them from leaving the organization. Employees who do not feel
seen, safe, or valued in the workplace become cognitively and emotionally disen-
gaged, which leads to low productivity in the organization (Kahn, 1990).

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND MILLENNIALS

According to recent Gallup surveys, millennials are the least engaged generation
in the workforce as organizations struggle to integrate different values and expec-
tations in a workplace that has been shaped by Baby Boomers and Generation X
(Adkins, n.d.; Rigoni & Adkins, n.d.). Around 86 million millennials will be in the
workplace by 2020, making up about 35% of the total workforce (Asghar, 2014;
Kurian, 2017). By 2025, the percentage will rise to millennials representing an es-
timated 75% of the workforce, as ten thousand Baby Boomers reach age 65 every
day in the United States and begin to retire (Dannar, 2013). As the Baby Boomers
retire, one of the largest generations in the United States will exit the workforce.
This leaves room for the Millennials to integrate themselves into those openings,
entering companies with expectations that differ dramatically from those of Baby
Boomers (Asghar, 2014).

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Millennial Workers and the Employee Engagement Phenomenon • 193

Surveys also show that 93% of millennials left their employer to change roles
and 21% say that they have changed jobs within the past year, which is signifi-
cantly more than the turnover rate of non-millennials (Adkins, n.d.; Rigoni &
Adkins, n.d.). As mentioned previously, one of the reasons that employee en-
gagement is significant to the effectiveness of a company is because productivity
increases profitability. However, when employees are disengaged, which triggers
high turnover, consultants estimate that it costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion
annually (Adkins, n.d.).

Gallup found that only 29% of millennials are engaged at work, meaning that
only 29% are emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company.
On the other hand, 16% of millennials are actively disengaged, meaning that they
are actively working against the goals of the company and seeking to do damage
to it. This leaves the remaining 55% disengaged workers who are interested in
simply completing their tasks and leaving (Adkins, n.d.). Companies need to give
these workers reasons to stay, attracting, retaining, and engaging their employees
in the workplace so that they feel seen, safe, and valued. It is important to under-
stand the millennials’ levels of engagement now, before they make up the larg-
est portion of the workforce. By understanding the expectations that Millennials
bring to the workforce, companies can be more prepared and equipped to engage
them and ensure that they feel seen, safe, and valued in the workplace.

Who are the Millennials?

In an increasingly diverse, multigenerational workforce, the challenges of
navigating issues of communication and organizational commitment has garnered
increasing attention from Human resources professionals and executives, as well
as management scholars and researchers. Rodriguez (2006) stated that the big-
gest, most important factor driving executive level diversity and inclusion strat-
egy would be the need to engage all employees’ skills and creativity, and use
those assets to add value to the customer experience. The term “diversity” in itself
evokes the idea of differentiation in the workplace, and it is appropriate to identify
Millennials in the context of varying qualities, experiences, work styles and val-
ues that make individuals unique. Diversity factors may be surface level, such as
those which are visible and easily observed (age, race, gender, some disabilities)
or it may be deep level, involving religion, some disabilities, sexual orientation
and ethnicity. In the contemporary workforce the four dominant groups represent
the Veterans, or Traditionalists (those born before 1946), Baby Boomers (born
mid-1940s to mid-1960s), Generation Xers (mid-1960s to 1980), and Millennials
(1980 to 2000). The latest generation, Gen Z, has reached working age (those born
from 2000 forward) and will bring even more diversity and specific expectations
into the workplace.

The Veteran workers in the United States workforce are the survivors of
World War II and the Great Depression. They tend to hold great pride in and
loyalty toward American values, and have significant respect for authority and

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194 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & SIERRA CHEN

chain of command. Baby Boomers, the children of the returning Veterans, value
work but see it as a competition, as they had to prove themselves at every level
of achievement they earned. Members of Generation X tend to desire feedback
and flexibility, which require clear communication. However, Gen Xers resent
close supervision and work to live, rather than operating under the need to prove
their dedication through long hours and high visibility. The Millennials are the
smartest, cleverest, healthiest, most wanted generation to have ever existed. They
are quickly bored by routine, confident, assertive, and friendly with their parents
(who may have adopted an overly-involved role in their lives, thus earning the
term “helicopter parent”) (Gurchiek, 2008).

There is an impending talent shortage, as the experienced individual contrib-
utors and managers of people from the Veteran and Baby Boomer generations
exit the workforce. Additionally, and worse, traditionally there has been a limited
transfer of knowledge between the groups. Gurchiek (2008) suggests that the gen-
erations rarely interact in the workplace, such that employee engagement, trust,
and commitment are difficult to establish. Members of different generations on
the same team may not recognize each other’s skills and work ethics, or value one
another’s perspectives.

As mentioned earlier, Millennials are those individuals who were born between
1980 and 2000, between the ages of roughly 20 to early 30s. This generation will
soon represent the largest portion of the American workforce (Asghar, 2014). Also
known as Generation Y, the millennials have been described as globally aware,
technologically sophisticated, ambitious, team-oriented, narcissistic, socially in-
ept, and lacking in work ethic (Asghar, 2014; Dannar, 2013; Gibson, Greenwood,
& Murphy, 2009). Millennials are curious, questioning and results oriented, a
generation that accepts diversity and is comfortable with instant communication
and social networking (Gibson et al., 2009). They have, however, been given
names like the “Look at Me” generation to describe their overly self-confident,
self-centered, disloyal, and unmotivated stereotypes (Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010).

A generation’s values and behaviors are a manifestation of the relationship
between parents, siblings, influential people, the media, and historical events that
have a significant impact during formative years (Danner, 2013). Events such
as 9/11, Columbine and other violent tragedies (such as school and theater mass
shootings), and celebrity scandals have shaped millennials’ culture and perspec-
tive, causing them to alter their expectations of companies for which they work
(Gibson et al., 2009; Schweitzer & Lyons, 2010). Growing up in a true global
economy, most members of the generation experienced instant gratification of
microwave cooking, news and entertainment in small bites from music television
videos, early exposure to personal computers and other digital tools. Millennials
have experienced many influential events and now have an emphasis on an ethical
business culture and an organization that lives out its values.

Technology is an integral part of the millennial identity as they are the first
generation to be in continual communication with a network of friends and fam-

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Millennial Workers and the Employee Engagement Phenomenon • 195

ily. As a result, millennials view work and life as a balance that is equally achiev-
able because of advanced technology. This can, perhaps, explain why millennials
are perceived as lacking work ethics. Millennials have grown accustomed to easy
access to information and are eager to eager to share their thoughts, opinions, and
experiences on social networks (Dannar, 2013; Gibson et al., 2009). This genera-
tion was raised to believe, indeed to know, that their opinions mattered and were
absolutely critical to people around the world. As a result, social media tools like
Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Snapchat and Instagram empower millennials and
represent a significant part of millennials’ lives, communication norms, and iden-
tities, even in the workplace.

Millennials are a unique generation because they are entering the workforce
with superior knowledge of technology. They are also unique because they are a
generation shaped by unique events that have drastically shifted their values and
beliefs. Employers and companies should take what makes this generation unique
and use it to their advantage, creating work environments that are more likely to
engage and retain millennial employees.

Millennials’ Expectations

Based on the values and beliefs that have come to define millennials, research-
ers seek to determine what they expect of their workplace. In determining these
expectations, companies can be more prepared in learning how to engage them.
For the millennial employee, the first three years of the employment life cycle
are critical. Their loyalty, if any, is tenuous during that time period and they may
be slow to trust institutions but may trust a manager instead. They may show no
hesitation in expressing their perspective that if they are not engaged, do not like
the job, the work, the workplace, or the management, they can quit and be well
received at home or somewhere else. To avert these potentially negative trends,
leaders and role models can help millennials design reasonable blueprints to get
where they want to go professionally. HR and frontline managers can and should
make it acceptable to deal with workplace problems, challenges, and conflicts
in different ways. And, most importantly, encouraging congruence between the
(organization’s and the) managers’ stated or espoused values and their enacted
values, or walking the talk (Gurchiek, 2008).

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE

Popular literature suggests that millennials “want it all” and “want it now” (Ng,
Schweitzer, & Lyons, 2010). They want work/life balance, good pay and benefits,
rapid advancement, interesting and challenging work, and work that holds sig-
nificance. Millennials place a heavy emphasis on work/life balance. Because of
advancing technologies, millennials do not feel that they need to choose between
work and life, regarding it as “symbiotic in nature” (Dannar, 2013). The events
of September 11, 2001, when the United States experienced its most drastic loss

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196 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & SIERRA CHEN

of life due to foreign terrorist attacks, caused many millennials to re-evaluate
their life priorities and choose work that allows them to adequately balance work
and their personal lives. Millennials place their trust in organizations and have a
strong preference for structured environments with clear rules (Schweitzer & Ly-
ons, 2010). In this conceptual chapter we have laid the groundwork for a clearer
understanding of millennial workers’ needs to feel seen, safe, and valued in the
workplace, set in the theoretical context of employee engagement.

Millennials want to be seen. They desire attention and feedback, regarding
their leaders as mentors, and companionship and close relationships within the
workplace that emphasize teamwork and collaboration (Dannar, 2013). Motivated
by ambition, a desire to be respected, and the significance of the work, millennials
seek rapid advancement in an organization. They are willing to leave the company
if this does not happen fast enough (Danner, 2013). Millennials are exception-
ally good at gathering and acquiring information and knowledge because of their
technological expertise, but they expect their organizational leaders to provide
guidance as to how that information should be interpreted (Dannar, 2013). They
want to be mentored and provided with sufficient support for their advancement
(Kurian, 2017). Mentoring allows organizational leaders to provide instruction
and guidance, offer wisdom, guide skill development, and develop meaningful
relationships with their employees (Dannar, 2013). Mentoring also serves as a
compromise between organizational expectations and millennial expectations. A
mentor can teach millennial employees the company’s expectations in ways that
makes sense to someone whose values have been shaped by different events and
lifestyles (Asghar, 2014).

Millennials Want to Feel Safe in the Workplace

They want to enjoy the working experience and feel comfortable in the organi-
zational culture. Close companionship is important for millennials, who prefer to
collaborate rather than compete with co-workers (Dannar, 2013). Millennials want
to collaborate with colleagues and managers that they respect and connect with
colleagues inside and outside the office (Kurian, 2017; Asghar, 2014). Gurchiek
(2008) suggested several specific actions that human resources and management
professionals can integrate to improve intergenerational employee engagement:

1. Create training programs that address future senior leaders’ preparation
2. Design a set of competencies to model desired behaviors, including

knowledge transfer
3. Link compensation to goals of personal growth and career progression
4. Define the jobs or roles that are “mission-critical;” identify unique re-

quirements, and target /develop the talent needed
5. Customize retention strategies to generational needs
6. Define expectations about performance and productivity and then stand

by that

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Millennial Workers and the Employee Engagement Phenomenon • 197

7. Use clear, straightforward language
8. Don’t hint and don’t assume
9. See the best.
10. Celebrate achievements.

To ensure that Millennials feel safe in the workplace, communicate expecta-
tions clearly and offer opportunities for achievement of personal and professional
goals in a learning organizational culture, or an environment that does not punish
mistakes or inquiries.

Millennials want to be valued. They have a constant need for gratification and
appreciation for both small and big successes. A workplace that fosters open and
honest communication is more likely to engage this generation because they want
to feel like their ideas and opinions matter. They want to know that their insight
has company-wide significance (Kurian, 2017; Ng, Schweitzer, & Lyons, 2010).
Millennials value manager feedback and they view strong relationships with su-
pervisors to be foundational to their long-term satisfaction in the organization
(Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). Because millennials are motivated by accomplish-
ment, close companionship, and a desire to be respected, they want responsibility
within the company, evidenced in the significance of the work, and want a chance
for promotions (Dannar, 2013; Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). By making work
more exciting and relevant, managers can engage their millennials employees,
showing them verifiable career opportunities (Gibson et al., 2009). According to
Dannar (2013), a “delegation of employment-related duties should be utilized so
millennials can experience high levels of responsibility, meaningfulness, and a
sense of personal fulfillment” (p. 9).

Company leaders can foster a workplace environment that facilitates the best
performance from all their employees, starting with making their employees feel
seen, safe, and valued. These organizations may need to alter rules and policies,
so they can fully utilize millennials’ abilities (Myers & Sadaghiani, 2010). It is
important for companies to understand the expectations that Millennials bring
into the workplace so that they can better engage them. The impending influx of
Millennials should excite employers, but it should also motivate them to prepare
their workplace to ensure compatibility and compromise with millennial and or-
ganizational expectations.

IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH

This initial conceptual foray into the dialogue around employee engagement has
led to many practical ideas and considerations for HR managers and executives to
consider. These considerations are particularly relevant with regard to improving
employee engagement among the millennial generation as they enter the work-
force en masse within the next two to seven years. Our initial research has indi-
cated clear connections between established theoretical models and the idea that
employees of all generations, but especially Millennials, need to feel seen, safe,

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198 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & SIERRA CHEN

and valued in the workplace. These connections link theories around employees’
basic human needs with specific ways to address and validate those needs in the
workplace. Additionally, we see opportunities for additional academic research
into the dimensions of employee engagement and workplace motivation identified
here. Specifically, we intend to identify validated scale items to capture employee
perceptions of visibility, safety, and perceived value in their workplaces. Compil-
ing such a scale from previously validated instruments, testing, and administering
it, will provide a clear image of Millennials’ expectations and actual perceptions
of being seen, safe, and valued in their workplaces. We seek to compare these data
points with responses to an abbreviated measurement of employee engagement
such as the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, or UWES or UWES-9 (Roof, 2015;
Schaufeli, Bakker, & Salanova, 2006) to millennial employees with less than five
years’ workforce experience will provide a dataset from which we can identify
the relationships between employee engagement and feelings of being seen, safe,
and valued in the workplace, and what those factors indicate in terms of millennial
employees’ expectations.

One challenging limitation of the continued research motivated by this review
of the literature is that while millennial employees may be willing to share their
expectations and desires for their workplace experience, common method vari-
ance (CMV) is likely to pose a challenge, as with any self-report data gathering
initiative. Additionally the challenge of social desirability bias may affect how
participants respond to questions about whether they expected to feel seen, safe,
and valued in the workplace prior to joining their current employer, and the de-
gree to which they actually feel those things. Further examination of the employee
engagement literature for validated scales that precisely capture employee en-
gagement is required, as well.

CONCLUSION

This chapter established the linkages between individual motivation, employee
engagement, and employee perceptions of visibility, safety, and value in the work-
place. We have reviewed the literature on employee engagement and identified
that among millennial workers there are specific demands which HR leaders and
frontline managers and supervisors should acknowledge and address, to ensure
higher engagement among the millennial workforce. We have also initiated analy-
sis of the available scales and instruments with which we can measure and docu-
ment employees’ perceptions of engagement and identify correlations between
engagement levels and feeling seen, safe, and valued in the workplace. As we add
to the dialogue around millennial workers’ expectations and existing perceptions
of employee engagement, we do so with the desire to help consultants and practi-
tioners in human resource development and HR management, as well as frontline
managers and supervisors, to convert theoretical research results into practical
steps that will positively affect productivity, performance, and employee com-
mitment. In light of the constantly evolving body of knowledge around employee

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Millennial Workers and the Employee Engagement Phenomenon • 199

engagement and organizational commitment, trust, relative to the demands of the
millennial workforce, we assert that the employee engagement “wave” has not
crested, but that there is significant work yet to be done in this area.

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Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends:
“Now and Around the Corner”, pages 163–184.
Copyright © 2019 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. 163

CHAPTER 8

ATTRACTING AND
RETAINING MILLENNIALS

Is Servant Leadership the Answer?

Shannon O. Jackson, Pamela Chandler Lee, and Jonathan Shoemaker

According to the Pew Research Census Bureau, more than a third of workers
today are millennials, born between 1981–2000 (Fry, 2015). Research shows that
this large and growing sector of the workforce expects a different work experience
than their predecessors, such as GenXers and baby boomers. Undoubtedly, mil-
lennials are the most educated, ethnically diverse, technologically competent and
perhaps the most innovative generation in the workforce. Thus, as Mabrey (2015)
explains, they want a work environment that is “less formal, less concerned with
customs and traditions…honest about [the] view that excessive work demands
might not be worth the cost of advancement” (pp. 1, 3). Significant to our discus-
sion is the reporting that millennials also “look for meaningful work in a col-
laborative environment… [and] a more sustainable work/life balance” (Mabrey,
2015, p. 2). Additionally, since millennials are in constant search of such balance,
according to Taylor and Kester (2010), more than 65 percent of millennials plan
to switch jobs throughout their careers (p. 48).

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AN: 2006258 ; Ronald R. Sims.; Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends: ‘Now and Around the Corner’
Account: s4264928.main.eds

164 • JACKSON, LEE, & SHOEMAKER

So then, the question becomes, how do organizations attract and then retain
this ever more important sector of the workforce? As discussed by Reuteman
(2015), millennials are comfortable working with teams and having input; they
want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. However, in their desire
for work-life balance, participative management, and immediate feedback, they
are likely to leave an organization if they become dissatisfied (Ferri-Reed, 2014;
Lowe, Levitt, & Wilson, 2008; Malcolm, 2016). As a matter of fact, the number
one reason millennials leave their organizations is because they don’t feel valued
or respected by the people for whom they work (Reuteman, 2015). As Reuteman
(2015) explains, “People don’t leave companies; they leave managers… they’re
not mad at the building…they’re mad at the people they work with on a day to day
basis… they leave managers” (p. 8).

Consequently, this research emphasizes the significance of effective leadership
for creating an organizational culture that attracts and retains millennials. In other
words, if managers implement a leadership style that is consistent with millenni-
als’ perspective of work, these workers will not only be interested in joining the
organization, but they may also be more committed to staying with the company
for the long-haul. Like the members of other generations, millennials have a desire
to contribute and make an impact in their companies; they are motivated by chal-
lenging work that allows them to grow and develop, and they especially “want to
be part of innovative and energetic organizations that will value their ideas and
encourage their creativity” (Lowe, Levitt, & Wilson, 2008, p. 47). However, mil-
lennials generally have a different view of loyalty to organizations than other age
groups. If the work environment does not meet their needs, they are more likely
than other generations to leave the company and seek opportunities elsewhere
(Fries, 2018; Lowe, Levitt, & Wilson, 2008; Malcolm, 2016). Additionally, these
workers seek confirmation that their work and their contributions are appreci-
ated. If this feedback is not readily provided by their leaders, they are likely to
disengage from their work, from their coworkers, and then from the organization.

Thus, this essay proposes that servant leadership is the most appropriate lead-
ership style for engaging millennials and meeting their need for participation,
teamwork and serving a vision larger than themselves. Robert Greenleaf’s theory
of servant leadership, also referred to as “leadership upside down” (Daft, 2010,
p. 176), is “based in ethical and caring behavior…[which] enhances the growth
of people, while at the same time improving the caring and quality of our many
institutions” (Spears, 1996, p. 33). As Barbuto and Gottfredson (2016) insist,
“millennials want what servant leaders are suited to provide, which is a leader
who focuses on the developmental needs and human capital improvements of its
employees, even beyond the needs of the organization or the leader” (p. 2).

In this chapter, we will first discuss the millennial generation and their pres-
ence in the workplace. We will then provide a review of leadership research and
discuss the relevance of leadership for creating an organizational culture which
respects, attracts, and engages millennial workers. This analysis will emphasize

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Attracting and Retaining Millennials • 165

the principles of servant leadership and its relevance for the millennial genera-
tion. We will then recommend specific strategies for attracting and retaining this
expanding sector of the employee population.

THE MILLENNIAL GENERATION: WHO ARE THEY?

For the last few decades, the millennial generation has been the topic of extensive
research, discussion and speculation, in popular press as well as academic publi-
cations, by managers and practitioners, as well as researchers and scholars. The
similarities and differences between millennials and other generations have been
lauded, opposed, celebrated, and even denied. Some experts insist that millenni-
als reflect some of the most unique—and possibly the most frustrating—habits in
the workplace. There are others who maintain that, other than their age, millen-
nials are not that much different from other generations (Costanza, 2018). In an
article for Entrepreneur magazine, Christian Brucculeri, CEO of Snaps, a mobile
platform that creates branded content, said, “The same basic principles apply to
the millennial generation as to any other age group. Some people are inspired,
excited, hardworking, humble and curious. Some are entitled, unfocused and po-
litical. Not everyone is great!” (McCammon, 2016, para. 18).

Nevertheless, while some of the most sweeping generalizations about millen-
nials may not apply to everyone in the age group, there is a great deal of support
for generation theory, which represents generations as social constructs in which
sets of ages are defined by historical or social events (Costanza, Badger, Fraser,
Severt, & Gade, 2012; Strauss & Howe, 1991; Twenge, 2010). Although the de-
scription of each cohort varies widely, prevailing research defines baby boomers
as those as born between about 1945 and 1964, GenXers were born between 1965
and 1981, and millennials, also referred to as Generation Y, were born between
1981 and 2000 (Costanza et al., 2012). Millennials are referred to as tech-savvy
multi-taskers, who desire instant gratification and recognition, work life balance,
flexibility, transparency, career advancement, and team-oriented tasks (Abbot,
2013; Malcolm, 2016).

Millennials also seem to be more comfortable with technology than any other
generation in the workforce. As a matter of fact, it is this familiarity with technol-
ogy which defines the key features that set millennials apart from other genera-
tions. Millennials represent the generation that grew up with tablets, laptops, the
Internet, and social media as norms in their environment. Thus, immediate access
to information and connection with others may inspire the need for teamwork,
collaboration, and immediate feedback (Green et al, 2005; PWC, 2011). Along
with an appreciation for technology and social media, millennials seek an organi-
zational culture which encourages innovation and creativity, and which provides
the resources and support for them to be their best selves. Leadership has the re-
sponsibility for establishing and maintaining such a culture in order to attract and
retain this growing segment of the workforce.

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166 • JACKSON, LEE, & SHOEMAKER

A REVIEW OF LEADERSHIP

Analyzing the relevance of leadership for engaging millennials in the workplace
is a worthwhile endeavor. As this discussion will confirm, leadership influences
the culture, climate, and even the performance of an organization more than any
other single component. Historical analyses reflect a scholarly interest in the lead-
ership construct since the 1800s. An examination of peer-reviewed articles reveals
hundreds of definitions from a variety of perspectives. While there are some dis-
tinctions in these viewpoints, there are also some similarities. For example, the
most oft-cited definitions of leadership consist of the following components:
Power or influence

• Communication
• Inspiration
• Purpose
• Visioning
• Change
• Outcomes
• Objectives
• Process
• People or relationships (Daft, 2010; Rost, 1993; Yukl, 2013)

Some of the most basic functions of leadership, or what leaders do in their
organizations include:

• Guiding the activities of the organization to meet a common objective
• Directing and facilitating programs and opportunities for organizational

profitability
• Empowering followers to support the mission and vision of the organiza-

tion
• Training, developing, and supporting followers in their roles
• Influencing the behavior of followers, and
• Establishing and maintaining the organizational culture (Eberly, Johnson,

Hernandez, & Avolio, 2013; House & Aditya, 1997; Rost, 1993; Schein,
2010)

Significantly, contemporary research consistently emphasizes the importance
of leadership for organizational performance (Center on Leadership, 2009; Yukl,
2008). According to Citigroup (2007), some of the most well publicized corporate
failures have pointed to the critical role of leadership in the success or failure of
organizations. Kaiser, Hogan, & Craig (2008) concluded that as much as 15–45%
of a firm’s performance can be attributed to leadership functions. These research-
ers conducted a meta-analysis of studies investigating managerial succession.
Through various methodologies, consistently, the research showed a relationship

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Attracting and Retaining Millennials • 167

between leadership and organizational performance. Specifically, changes in lead-
ership were closely followed by changes in the organization’s performance.

Studies have also linked organizational performance with organizational or
corporate culture (Gordon & DiTomaso, 1992; Kotter & Heskett, 1992). Orga-
nizational culture generally refers to the pattern of shared assumptions, beliefs,
and values of its members (Schein, 2010; Trice & Beyer, 1993). Schein (2010)
further emphasizes that this pattern is then “taught to new members as the correct
way to perceive, think, and feel” (p. 18) about organizational problems. Some
researchers have postulated that one of the most—if not the most—important
role of leadership is to establish and maintain the culture of the organization. As
a matter of fact, Schein (2010) contends that leadership is manifested “when we
are influential in shaping the behavior and values of others…and are creating the
conditions for new culture formation” (p. 3).

Scholars assert that leadership has a more significant impact on organizational
culture than any other element of a company (Bass & Avolio, 1993; Schein, 2010;
Trice & Beyer, 1993). It is important to note that the influence of leadership not
only refers to top level leaders, such as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a
company, but also mid-level managers and supervisors performing the function
of leadership. In his seminal work examining leadership and organizational cul-
ture, Schein (1985, 2010) identifies specific mechanisms or tools that leaders use
to teach and then reinforce the values, beliefs, and assumptions of the organiza-
tion. Schein refers to these tools as Primary Embedding Mechanisms and Sec-
ondary Articulation and Reinforcement Mechanisms. The Primary Embedding
Mechanisms represent “the most powerful daily behavioral things that leaders do”
(Schein, 2010, p. 236); the Secondary Mechanisms represent “the more formal
mechanisms that come to support and reinforce the primary messages” (Schein,
2010, p. 236). Importantly, the secondary mechanisms are only effective if they
are consistent with the primary mechanisms. Schein identifies the following lead-
ership behaviors as the Primary Embedding Mechanisms:

• What leaders pay attention to, measure, and control on a regular basis
• How leaders react to critical incidents and organizational crises
• How leaders allocate resources
• Deliberate role modeling, teaching, and coaching
• How leaders allocate rewards and status
• How leaders recruit, select, promote, and excommunicate

Thus, according to Schein (2010), new employees learn more about the culture
of their organizations from the daily behaviors of leadership than they learn from
formal training or orientation sessions (p. 250). Significant for this research is the
leader’s role in recruiting, rewarding, and retaining employees.

Because millennials are assigned to and work in various levels and depart-
ments throughout an organization, the organizational culture must reflect an ap-
preciation for millennials and their contributions. In other words, an organiza-

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168 • JACKSON, LEE, & SHOEMAKER

tional culture which embraces millennials’ perspective of work must permeate the
company. The role of leadership for establishing and maintaining organizational
culture cannot be ignored. The following subsections will briefly discuss the pro-
gression of leadership research from the 19th through the 21st centuries.

Trait Approach

The scholarly and practical appreciation for the relevance of leadership for or-
ganizational performance has evolved through more than a century of research. In
the early days, scholars presumed that the basis for leadership was found in a set
of innate traits such as drive, a desire to lead, honesty, integrity, self-confidence,
intelligence, job-relevant knowledge, extraversion and a leaning toward guilt as
a way of encouraging a sense of responsibility for others (Kirkpatrick & Locke,
1981). Hundreds of empirical studies investigated the correlation between traits
and a propensity for leadership; and traits and leadership effectiveness. The re-
sults of these studies “…failed to find any traits that would guarantee leadership
success” (Yukl, 2013, p. 12). Scholars concluded that the narrow view of leaders
as being born did not explain the relevance of followers, nor did it acknowledge
the importance of the leaders’ behaviors for organizational performance.

Behavioral Approach

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, several researchers demonstrated that a per-
son’s behaviors are more significant for understanding the function or practice of
leadership than his innate traits. The implications of these findings indicated that
leadership could be learned. For example, in 1939, Lewin, Lippett and White led
a research project commonly known as the Iowa State Studies, published in the
Journal of Social Psychology. This seminal research found that leaders tended to
display one of three leadership styles: (1) a democratic style, in which follower
participation was a key element; (2) an autocratic style, in which decision making
was centralized rather than participative; or (3) a laissez-faire style, in which the
leader relegated responsibility for decision making to followers. Lewin, Lippett
and White found that the democratic style, in which followers were empowered
and encouraged to participate, was correlated with the most positive organiza-
tional outcomes (Lewin, Lippett, & White, 1939).

A decade later, in the 1950s, Stogdill and Coons led the Ohio State Studies,
which also examined the behavioral tendencies of leaders. The research showed
that there were two dimensions involved in how leaders behaved: (1) they held a
high consideration for followers’ ideas and feelings, or (2) they were more con-
cerned with the structure through which relationships were oriented toward com-
pleting work tasks. Stogdill and Coons discovered that having a high consider-
ation for employee needs and feelings, combined with a high recognition for the
importance of a structure in which job completion was paramount, was the most
effective leadership style (Stogdill & Coons, 1951).

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Attracting and Retaining Millennials • 169

Research in the 1960s brought us the University of Michigan studies by Kahn
and Katz. These studies followed a similar line of thought to the Iowa State and
Ohio State studies, in that Kahn and Katz examined the behavior of leaders in
terms of whether they were primarily employee oriented or production oriented.
Again, the question of whether followers’ needs mattered for effective leadership
was the primary research question. Kahn and Katz found that leaders who were
primarily concerned with their followers had the highest levels of productivity,
and their employees experienced the highest levels of job satisfaction (Kahn &
Katz, 1960).

Then in the mid-1980s, Blake and Mouton published their now famous Mana-
gerial Grid, once again examining the relationship between productivity and at-
tention to follower needs, wants and desires. Blake and Mouton found that leaders
performed best when they demonstrated a high consideration for both people and
production (Blake & Mouton, 1984).

Transforming Approach

In 1978, while leadership scholars were proclaiming the significance of rela-
tionships between leaders and followers for organizational success, James Mac-
Gregor Burns introduced the theory of the “transforming” or transformational
leader (Burns, 1978). Distinct from transactional leadership, in which leaders and
followers exchange services to meet organizational objectives, Burns suggested
that effective leadership is based on trusting and mutual relationships between
leaders and followers that evolve over time. He defined transforming leadership
as a process through which “leaders and followers raise one another to higher
levels of morality and motivation” (p. 20). In many ways, transformational lead-
ership is a motivational theory, in which the leader appeals to followers’ moral
values, in order to influence followers to transcend their self-interests for the good
of the organization (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978). Thus, while the theory focuses on
developing and transforming individuals, the end goal is transformation in the
organization to achieve organizational objectives.

Over the last two decades, transformational leadership has become the most
popular and most well-regarded theory of leadership in the literature. With hun-
dreds of articles extoling its virtues, transformational leadership has been cor-
related with constructs such as profitability, job satisfaction, trust, emotional in-
telligence, charisma, and corporate social responsibility (DuBrin, 2013; Groves
& LaRocca, 2011; Rubin, Munz, & Bommer, 2005). Nevertheless, many of the
leaders in these organizations are concerned about attracting and engaging millen-
nials, suggesting that there may be some inconsistency between the components
of transformational leadership and the needs of the millennial generation.

It could be argued that while transformational leadership appeals to followers’
morality and values, the objective of the model is organizational performance,
profitability, and success. Conversely, while millennials certainly want to be com-
pensated fairly, they are more concerned about work-life balance and quality of

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170 • JACKSON, LEE, & SHOEMAKER

life (Dixon, 2016; Scalco, 2017). Interestingly, some researchers have suggested
that the leader’s focus—on the organization or on the employee—is what dis-
tinguishes transformational leaders from servant leaders (Chaudhuri, Kettunen,
Naskar, 2015; Stone, Russell, & Patterson, 2003). According to Stone, Russell,
and Patterson (2003), “the transformational leader’s focus is directed toward the
organization, and his or her behavior builds follower commitment toward orga-
nizational objectives, while the servant leader’s focus is on the followers…the
achievement of organizational objectives is a subordinate outcome” (p. 1).

Thus, leaders who listen to their employees and demonstrate concern for their
individual growth and development may be in the best position to establish an
organizational culture in which millennials are valued and appreciated. As Fries
(2018) asserts:

Millennials want to work with leaders who value feedback from all employees…
millennials are often keenly aware that the further up the corporate food chain lead-
ers are, the more they tend to lose understanding of the challenges other employees
face…and tend to dismiss the validity of their experiences. (para. 9, 10)

Based on these findings, this analysis proposes that Servant Leadership is an
appropriate model for recruiting, rewarding, and retaining this millennial wave of
employees.

SERVANT LEADERSHIP THEORY

In the 1970s, based on an illustrious 40-year career in management at AT&T, and
after reading Herman Hesse’s short novel entitled Journey to the East, Robert
Greenleaf began examining the concept of leaders as servants (Spears, 1996). As
a result of his research, Greenleaf concluded that “the great leader is first experi-
enced as a servant to others…true leadership emerges from those whose primary
motivation is a deep desire to help others” (Spears, 1996, p. 33).

Researchers have noted that the concept of leaders as servants is not original to
Greenleaf. This model is seen in ancient, historic, religious and even contempo-
rary leaders such as Jesus Christ, Moses, Confucius, Mother Theresa, and Martin
Luther King, Jr. (Keith, 2008). It is important to acknowledge that it is not neces-
sary for one to be a deity or a Saint to be characterized as a servant leader. Many
successful contemporary leaders are identified as servant leaders. One of the most
notable is C. William Pollard (Sendjaya & Sarros, 2002), a former executive of
ServiceMaster who twice served as CEO of the firm (1983–1993 and 1999–2001).
Describing himself as a person who leads with a servant’s heart:

Pollard contends that the real leader is not the person with the most distinguished
title, the highest pay, or the longest tenure…but the role model, the risk taker, the
servant; not the person who promotes himself or herself, but the promoter of others.
(Sendjaya & Sarros, 2002, para. 50)

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Attracting and Retaining Millennials • 171

Also, according to the founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines, Herb
Kelleher, Southwest was founded in 1971 based on Kelleher’s desire to serve;
Kelleher insists that Southwest’s success is sustained by people “who have a pre-
disposition to serve others” (Leader Network.org, 2007, para. 6). While Kelle-
her has not held an active leadership role at Southwest since 2008, the airline is
consistently recognized as one of the most admired companies in the world. One
of the four core values which creates the foundation for the organization’s busi-
ness strategy and unique corporate culture encourages employees to demonstrate
a “Servant’s Heart” (Southwest, 2015).

Servant leadership is becoming widely accepted as an effective model of lead-
ership for the 21st century. Servant leaders are more concerned about developing
others than promoting themselves; they welcome and appreciate the importance
of diversity, empowerment, and collaboration for their organizations’ success.
Unlike many other leadership theories which are defined by the actions of the
leader, servant leadership relates to the character of the leader who has a heart for
serving and ministering to the needs of others (Carter & Baghurst, 2014).

When Greenleaf first introduced the theory in the 1970s, scholars were initially
skeptical of its merits and its practicality for contemporary business. However,
in the last four decades, some of the most successful leaders in the world have
demonstrated a leadership style consistent with this theory. The theory has also
received widespread attention in mainstream media outlets such as Fortune maga-
zine and Dateline NBC. Leading scholars in the management and leadership disci-
plines—such as Max DePree, Stephen Covey, Peter Block and Peter Senge—have
also confirmed the positive impact of servant leadership in organizations.

Based on Greenleaf’s work, Spears (1995) identified the following 10 charac-
teristics of servant leaders:

• Listening: Servant leaders listen intently to others, without prejudging
• Empathy: Servant leaders know that people need to be recognized for their

unique gifts
• Healing: Servant leaders recognize the opportunity to help make whole

those they serve
• Awareness: Servant leaders have general as well as self-awareness; they

view situations from a perspective of ethics, power and values
• Persuasion: Servant leaders build consensus rather than coerce compli-

ance
• Conceptualization: Servant leaders dream great dreams; they stretch tra-

ditional thinking and are not consumed with attaining short term goals
• Foresight: Servant leaders foresee and forecast the likely outcome of a

situation based on the lessons of the past, the realities of the present, and
the consequences of decisions for the future

• Stewardship: Servant leaders assume a commitment to serving the needs
of others, such as employees, shareholders and the wider community

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172 • JACKSON, LEE, & SHOEMAKER

• Commitment to the Growth of People: Servant leaders believe people
have an intrinsic value that is more than their value as employees or work-
ers

• Building Community: Servant leaders believe true community is created
among those who work in an institution as well as the institution’s external
constituents

Greenleaf (1977) was careful to emphasize that the primary outcome of effec-
tive servant leadership is not organizational performance: “The best test and the
most difficult to administer is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while
being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, [and] more likely
themselves to become servants?” (pp. 13–14).

The following section discusses key strategies that today’s employers should
adhere to in order to create and sustain a work environment in which the specific
needs of millennials are considered primary.

RECRUITING, REWARDING, AND RETAINING MILLENNIALS

Human Resource departments exist to find the right people and to keep the right
people once they are found. Among other objectives, this mission relates to three
specific strategies: Recruiting, Rewarding and Retaining high-performing em-
ployees. All three strategies are integrated, and, in fact, there are significant over-
laps among them (see Figure 8.1).

For example, as potential job candidates are being recruited, they will want to
know about the kinds of rewards they can expect, and then decide whether those
rewards will motivate and interest them enough to apply for the position. Reten-
tion may also be emphasized during the recruiting phase, as employees consider

FIGURE 8.1. Recruiting, Rewarding, Retaining

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Attracting and Retaining Millennials • 173

joining Company XYZ for a career, and not just a job. Finally, there is significant
overlap between Rewarding and Retaining, as many types of rewards are pro-
vided to employees to prevent them from leaving for greener pastures.

Importantly, as Schein (2010) offers, two of the most significant leadership
behaviors which establish and maintain organizational culture relate to how re-
wards are allocated, and how leaders recruit, select, and promote employees. Con-
sidering these leadership behaviors, we will discuss Recruiting, Rewarding and
Retaining in terms of the needs of millennials and the implications for servant
leaders.

Recruiting

Finding the right employees begins with good recruiting practices. Recruiting
must be performed strategically, just like any other function of the organization.
Thus, if the organization is focused on hiring millennials, some strategies will be
more effective than others.

For example, millennials are attracted to a psychologically healthy workplace
as well as a workplace that supports corporate social responsibility (CSR). Thus,
when recruiting millennials, it is important to communicate that the employer
values CSR and psychological health. CSR refers to the extent to which the orga-
nization values protection of its environment, support of its community, and re-
spect for its employees (Ferri-Reed, 2014). A psychologically healthy workplace
is one which prioritizes work-life balance, professional growth and development,
and recognition and involvement of all employees (Catano & Hines, 2016). All of
these priorities are reflective of the characteristics of servant leadership.

In some instances, millennials were in favor of accepting lower wages if they
felt the organization made a positive contribution to issues they felt strongly about
(Cone Communications, 2015). Interestingly, CSR programs seem to be effective
in attracting millennial candidates, regardless of whether the millennial is more
strongly motivated by social concerns or making money (Catano & Hines, 2016).

Research has also demonstrated that millennials seek organizations in which
the leadership provides regular feedback and is committeed to open and trans-
parent communication (Ferri-Reed, 2014). This transparency should begin with
providing a realistic job preview for applicants, even as early as first contact. First
contact with a potential applicant could occur in person at a job fair, on the orga-
nization’s employment website, or through social media. Even early-career job
applicants are savvy enough to know if they are being fed a company line instead
of being given realistic expectations about the job (Tucker, 2012). A realistic job
preview could mean providing employee testimonials or allowing the employee
to experience the organization through an interactive simulation or “try-out day”
(Sabel, 2018).

Millennials are also accustomed to communication via social media. They seek
an organization that is able to promote social and technological integration (Ferri-
Reed, 2014). A robust website and social media presence are requirements in the

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174 • JACKSON, LEE, & SHOEMAKER

current recruiting market. These resources are of paramount importance to mil-
lennials who get much of their information from these sources. Posts to various
social media platforms should be engaging and frequent, and websites should be
easy to navigate and user-friendly.

Organizations that wish to attract millennials should also emphasize a healthy
and responsible organizational culture in recruiting materials. Millennials gener-
ally prefer an organization that is willing to offer job security and a future with-
in the company (Ferri-Reed, 2014). Best Companies to Work For, such as 3M,
Google, St. Jude Research Hospital, and the Walt Disney Company, tend to pro-
mote this aspect of their culture (Thurman, 2016).

It is important for organizations to maintain focus on their purpose, and not
just their products. Many firms complain that their work is not glamorous and,
thus, will not appeal to millennials. For example, manufacturing and insurance
are two critical industries that have historically been challenged to attract millen-
nial job candidates (Duett et al., 2017; Putre, 2016). One solution is to focus the
recruiting message not so much on what the company does, but on why the work
is important and how it contributes to the community and society at large. Fully
60% of millennials said they chose their current employer to fulfill a sense of
purpose above all (Islam, 2016). Millennials want to know that the work they do
has significance and fulfills a need.

Finally, making it known that the organization values a culture of servant lead-
ership is important for attracting millennials. This message should be a natural fit
as servant leadership is congruent with many of the factors millennials value, in-
cluding open, honest communication, CSR, a psychologically healthy workplace,
and a focus on being purpose-driven (Marshall, 2018).

A culture of servant leadership is uniquely appealing to millennials because of
their motivation to enact change that improves their organizations for the future;
they want to make a difference and solve problems as soon as they begin a new
job (Fox, 2015). Servant leaders who are willing to serve first and lead second are
more likely to respond to the new organizational reality of volatility and complex-
ity where millennials are the dominant employee population (Islam, 2016).

Rewarding

When considering Rewards, let’s call the question: Which rewards can talent
acquisition and human capital management professionals offer to attract and re-
tain millennials? Perhaps a better question is whether there is one set of rewards
that will appeal to every millennial. The likely answer is, no. The first rule of Total
Rewards is an understanding that every employee is motivated differently; the key
is to determine which incentives will be attractive to the majority of the work-
force. For example, employers are realizing that compensation packages must
be flexible to appeal to the largest number of employees with different needs and
motivations. A recent compensation survey indicated that employees prioritize
flexibility and choice in benefits offerings (Nyce & Gardner, 2017).

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Attracting and Retaining Millennials • 175

It is also important to note that there can be just as much diversity within a gen-
eration as there is between generations (Costanza, 2018). Certainly, some benefits
appeal to some age groups more than others, but most employees—not just mil-
lennials—would prefer work that is flexible and offers some level of job security.

Typically, employers offer a combination of three types of rewards: Direct Fi-
nancial Compensation, Indirect Financial Compensation and Non-financial Com-
pensation. Direct Financial Compensation is easy to peg: here we’re talking about
wages, tips, commissions and bonuses, any tangible reward the employee earns
that can be spent immediately. Indirect Financial Compensation is any tangible
reward that has a measurable monetary value, but is spent on behalf of the em-
ployee, instead of being paid directly to the employee. These include employer
subsidies of health care benefit premiums, administrative fees and matches for
retirement plans, use of a company car, a housing allowance, or free meals. The
employee doesn’t receive the money for these benefits, but she does enjoy the
reward that the employer is paying for on her behalf. Even paid time off can be
considered Indirect Financial Compensation. While employees get paid directly
when they call out for sick, personal or vacation time, the employer is potentially
paying for someone else to cover the absent employees while they are out.

Direct Financial Compensation (a.k.a. pay) will always be a popular incentive
for employees, and millennials are no exception. When asked about their priority
for Rewards, at least 44% listed competitive wages as one of their most important
priorities (Zimmerman, 2016). However, pay is not a generational motivator, but
an early career motivator. Every past generation has hoped for a high-paying job
after years spent perpetually pinching pennies and eating Ramen noodles while in
school or training. This perspective can be particularly true when recent graduates
are carrying historically high tuition and student loan debt (Zimmerman, 2016).

However, in a departure from previous generations, millennials don’t neces-
sarily only prioritize pay. Pay seems to run a close race with opportunities for
advancement and professional development (Malcolm, 2016). Millennials rated
“advancement potential” as their second highest priority in what made an industry
desirable; their first priority was availability of jobs (Duett et al., 2017). Thirty
percent of employees described “building a long term career” with their employer
as a major career goal (Whitten, 2017). Consistent with advancement must come a
focus on professional and personal development. Eighty-nine percent of millenni-
als reported that they want to be constantly learning on the job (Islam, 2016). The
organization must be intentional about offering their millennial employees formal
and informal development opportunities (Fox, 2015). The dual motivations of pay
and advancement underscore the importance of balancing a Total Rewards pack-
age with both Direct and Indirect Financial Compensation. Additional Indirect
Financial incentives that are likely to be attractive to millennials include tuition
reimbursement, which many organizations have been offering for decades. A few
forward-thinking companies are even offering student loan debt repayment; this

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176 • JACKSON, LEE, & SHOEMAKER

benefit is especially important to millennials, who graduated with an average of
$37K in debt in 2016 (DiCamillo, 2017).

However, the jury is still out about which benefits millennials value most. Some
surveys of rewards for millennials suggest that health care benefits are important
(Zimmerman, 2017). This finding can be partially explained by rising health care
costs throughout the U.S., and the challenge of starting a family while also recov-
ering from student loan debt. Allowing more flexibility for employees to custom-
ize health care plans and benefits also appeals to millennials who are interested in
optimizing the benefits they will use most (Gilmore, 2017). Cafeteria-style ben-
efits plans, where employees can choose from a wide range of services that fit
their needs, are most desirable. Other sources recommend early vesting periods
for defined contribution plan matches, a budget allotment for technology tied to
each employee, and time for outside projects and innovation (Kruman, 2016).

Ultimately, millennials are also concerned about fairness and equity. More
than ever, employees are able to understand their comparable worth to employers
through readily accessible commercial and government sources such as salary.
com, glassdoor.com, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Department of
Labor’s Occupational Network Online (O*NET). Millennials seek pay transpar-
ency and information about how their compensation is determined (Dixon, 2016).
Sharing this information with employees is simply a good business practice; if
compensation is based on reasonable and fair standards, there’s no reason those
standards should not be shared.

Of course, some millennials would like to be rewarded with individualized
perquisites. Perks like ping-pong tables, free snacks, nap pods and the opportunity
to bring pets to work fit this category. These are only some of the high-end benefits
that are trumpeted in popular press as evidence that millennials are entitled. Man-
agement may believe that these perks are a waste of time and resources. However,
there are two major problems with this mentality. First, the price-tags of these
perks to the employer are in reality not that high. As a matter of fact, the price can
be considered low compared to the costs of health care premiums, higher salaries,
and better matches toward deferred contribution plans that previous generations
have come to expect. The second problem is that research continues to show that
these perks actually work to lower employee stress, increase organizational loy-
alty, and improve contextual performance (Oden-Hall, 2017).

Many employers believe that they must throw money at employees (whether
directly or indirectly) in order to attract millennials. While some attention must
be given to Financial Compensation of both types, it is becoming clearer that sup-
plementing rewards with Non-financial Compensation may be the most effective
way to motivate employees, particularly millennials. Non-financial compensation
includes those elements that are difficult (if not impossible) to put a price on.
These include aspects of work that are often built into the organizational culture,
such as a high degree of work-life balance, high quality of life at work, feeling
valued, performing meaningful and challenging work, and having flexibility and

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Attracting and Retaining Millennials • 177

autonomy. The good news is these benefits are low or no cost for the employer.
The bad news is they can be difficult to effectively implement without significant
attention to organizational development (Sommer, 2011).

Work-life balance is an important non-financial concept. Rather than repre-
senting one specific benefit, this concept refers to policies that allow employees
to better attend to non-work responsibilities that in the past may have been im-
possible to address. Flexible hours, telecommuting or working from home, and
a culture that values productivity over face-time are examples of perks that are
essentially free to the employer, but can significantly improve employee perfor-
mance, efficiency and even health (Gaskell, 2016). Establishing for job applicants
that the organization encourages flexible scheduling can be a useful recruiting tool
(Scalco, 2017).

Quality of life at work is an important consideration that can attract millenni-
als. It is imperative for employees to feel valued by their organizations (Dixon,
2016; Malcolm, 2016). Respect from supervisors and management is one compo-
nent of feeling valued. Millennials expect direct, straightforward communication
and list respectful treatment as one of their top priorities (Gilmore, 2017). Mil-
lennials also appreciate regular constructive feedback that contributes to profes-
sional growth. Quality of life can also refer to how much control the employee
has over his or her own work. Research shows that millennials who received
regular feedback from their supervisors were significantly more engaged at work
than their peers (Marshall, 2018). Millennials also prefer significant autonomy
and the ability to self-manage their workload whenever possible (Islam, 2016). A
physical example of how employers are emphasizing quality of life is the trend
toward a less-traditional and more comfortable and collaborative work environ-
ment, eliminating cubicles and desks in favor of common areas and fewer walls
(Islam, 2016).

Servant leadership, while not a reward on its own, is closely related to many
of the elements of Non-financial Compensation. Servant leaders will strive for
inclusion of employees in decision-making, emphasize empowerment and auton-
omy, and embrace opportunities to maximize quality of life at work (Barbuto &
Gottfredson, 2016). Offering Financial Compensation can also be linked to ser-
vant leadership. For example, servant leaders empathize and put themselves in the
place of their entry-level employees in order to appreciate which benefits would
be most desirable and how to best motivate employees through fair and equitable
rewards (Fox, 2015).

Any cultural change that will result in improved Non-financial Compensation
must begin with support from leadership and an active effort to make the change
work. Start small with achievable changes, such as allowing best performers to
work from home on certain days of the week, or providing flex time to employees
as a performance-related privilege. If these are successful and well-received, it
will be easier to gradually make more significant cultural changes.

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178 • JACKSON, LEE, & SHOEMAKER

Retaining

Millennials have earned an undeserved reputation as job hoppers. It is thought
that they leave jobs quickly, presumably for better opportunities. No matter the
numbers or the reasons, losing a talented employee—of any generation—can be
costly. As a matter of fact, the cost of replacing a fully trained professional em-
ployee, even at the early career stage, can be as high as $20,000 (Fries, 2017).
Clearly, retaining employees should be a major concern of any organization.

Retention of high performing employees can be particularly difficult because
these are the employees who have the most alternatives for better or different
employment opportunities. This is especially true of millennials who are early in
their working lives; thus, they are more open to changing jobs or even careers,
particularly if they do not perceive opportunities for advancement or promotion.
Organizations need to offer swift opportunities for advancement along with spe-
cific criteria for how to earn promotions and advancement. Entry-level jobs are
often arduous, but they are always necessary. It is up to early-career leadership
to help entry-level employees recognize the pathways between their current work
and future opportunities (Fox, 2015). It should go without saying that a significant
amount of recruiting and promotion should be focused internally to the organiza-
tion. Here, Rewards must support Retention as leadership earmarks a significant
budget for training and development. Millennials are also innovators. Creating
opportunities for employees to work on specific problems, seek new business op-
portunities, or pitch new ideas can be rewarding for both the organization and the
employee (Fries, 2017).

Open and efficient communication is also an imperative. For the most part,
millennials have grown up with email, texting and instant messaging and may
prefer more succinct, more frequent communications (Hackel, 2017). Transparen-
cy and directness in communicating what employees need to know will minimize
the negativity of gossip and the office rumor-mill. Communication also means
giving employees the opportunity to voice their opinions and contributions, re-
gardless of their level in the organization (Malone, 2017). Communication even
includes getting feedback when all else fails: the exit interview. Some employees
will leave despite the company’s best efforts; it is important for the organization
to know why (Fries, 2017).

Servant leadership is important to Retention. Employees are more likely to
remain with an organization where they are led by example, and when employees
all the way to the C-Suite are expected to abide by the same rules, norms and val-
ues as everyone else (Malone, 2017). Contrary to the stereotypes about millenni-
als’ work ethics, they do not readily leave their organizations to seek more money
or other rewards. The number one reason millennials leave their organizations is
because they don’t feel valued or respected by the people for whom they work
(Reuteman, 2015). Displaying empathy and emphasizing a commitment to com-
munity and the growth and development of all people, servant leaders establish

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Attracting and Retaining Millennials • 179

a culture in which employees feel heard, valued, and empowered to be their best
selves.

YOU AND YOUR WHOLE GENERATION!

Millennials are pigeon-holed far too often. They are known as the “generation
of entitlement,” and “job-hoppers” who “cannot live” without their technology
(Roepe, 2017). Based on the discussion in this research, it might be tempting to
believe that millennials are seeking an awful lot of perquisites to which they may
not be entitled. Yet, good strategies for recruiting, rewarding and retaining millen-
nial’ employees means understanding the resources they need to succeed. Provid-
ing a combination of motivating extrinsic and intrinsic rewards to employees is
essentially what makes the employer/employee relationship work, regardless of
the age or the career stage of the employee.

Generational labels, while convenient, can never be completely representa-
tive of every member of a generation. The rewards employees tend to seek are a
combined product of their career stage and what is available in their time, not only
their particular generation. Millennials seek many of the same perks that previ-
ous generations looked for when they were early in their careers. Additionally,
not all millennials are seeking the same rewards. Shifts in the economy and the
labor market do not conveniently happen every 20 years (Costanza, 2018). One
researcher suggested that the millennial generation should be more accurately
split into two groups: “Early Millennials” (born during the first half of the 1980s)
and “Recessionists” (born between 1988 and the mid-1990s). These groups differ
according to how much they are motivated by money and the degree of balance
they desire between work and life (Roepe, 2017).

Further, while millennials may appear to take modern workplace perks for
granted, they do so in the same way previous generations may have taken some
elements of compensation for granted. For example, consider subsidized health
care premiums, safety in the workplace, paid time off, or even a guaranteed mini-
mum wage. Before these perks became standards, past generations would never
have expected that most (or all) employers would offer them. When they first
entered the workforce, most baby boomers and GenXers simply did not conceive
that these rewards were even possible. After all, little emphasis was put on Non-
financial compensation, and the importance of concepts such as corporate social
responsibility and team-based incentives were less researched and even less un-
derstood.

CONCLUSION

Because they represent such a large and influential percentage of the labor force,
attracting millennials is critically important for an organization’s success and sur-
vival. Even as they appreciate the significance of this growing population, many
organizations seem to be missing the mark in recruiting and retaining these em-

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180 • JACKSON, LEE, & SHOEMAKER

ployees. A review of the literature reveals that financial compensation may not
be the only way, nor is it always the most effective way to engage millennials.
Millennial workers seek opportunities to advance in their organizations, and they
have a desire to innovate, create and contribute to their societies. They may also
value flexible work schedules, autonomy at work, or the opportunity to telecom-
mute even more than monetary incentives. These kinds of opportunities should
not be viewed as isolated components on a list of benefits; rather, they are indica-
tive of an organizational culture which acknowledges the significance of work life
balance and is concerned about employees’ quality of life at work. Establishing
and maintaining such a culture requires leadership which values the needs and
concerns of employees, prioritizes their personal and professional development,
respects their ideas, encourages their creativity, and supports their quest to realize
their potential. Servant Leadership is the answer. By leveraging Recruiting, Re-
warding, and Retaining strategies that will attract, motivate, and keep millennials
engaged, employees of every age are certain to be served.

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Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends:
“Now and Around the Corner”, pages 201–212.
Copyright © 2019 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. 201

CHAPTER 10

THE UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
Impacting the Workplace

Ronda Mariani

INTRODUCTION

The concepts; diversity and inclusion are fundamental in today’s workforce. Glo-
balization and the reduction of borders have forced business not only to under-
stand these concepts (e.g., diversity and inclusion) but to embrace the true mean-
ing of what it entails to have a workplace that accurately has an understanding
of its multicultural foundation. As of late, increasingly colleges have begun to
infuse the importance of diversity and inclusion throughout its curriculum (Jack-
son, 2017, p. 22) in hopes of producing graduates that possess the sensitivity,
understanding, and management skills to lead a global workforce. Once these
students graduate they enter the industry and many times are left to their resources
to further their understanding of what it is to work in a diverse organization. These
same students who are now employed are exposed to individuals such as the Chief
Diversity Officer or online training programs to now teach and instill values that
should represent what a diverse and inclusive work environment should be. It
seems that organizations go through the motions well, but are they addressing the
idea of what it means to have a diverse work environment that promotes inclu-

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202 • RONDA MARIANI

sion? Furthermore, how do those in charge of developing and maintaining the
various organizational approaches, implement diversity and inclusion if these in-
dividuals do not have a deep understanding of their bias nature?

WHAT IS UNCONSCIOUS BIAS?

We have heard the term bias before, and the Merriam-Webster (2018) dictionary,
in short, describes bias as an “instance of prejudice or unreasoned judgment” This
judgment at a young age is instilled in us through experiences, which overtime
impacts our views towards others and situations. Whether these situations are
something we have witnessed, experienced, or have been introduced to through
upbringing in our own culture; bias in many forms is a large portion of the societ-
ies that we live. Bias is a cognitive perception of how we perceive people and in-
terpret situations. For several decades, “developments in cognitive sciences have
demonstrated that automatic and unconscious cognitive processes shape human
behavior, beliefs, and attitudes” (Teal, Gill, Green, & Crandall, 2012, p. 80).

Research findings indicate that most individuals are unaware of their own bias
and furthermore a personal experience contributes enormously to the condition-
ing of bias (Banaji, 2001, Uhlmann & Nosek, 2012 as cited in Conaway & Bet-
hune, 2015). Greenwald & Banaji (1995) also found that bias could develop with
no experience at all and instead be influenced by “family history” known as “im-
plicit social cognition”(ISC). A simple example of ISC could be applied to indi-
viduals of Mexican descent. Mexicans, like most Latin cultures, can display skin
tone from light to dark. Many times light-skinned Mexican families are thought
to be wealthier, having more possessions, and holding office jobs, whereas dark-
skinned Mexicans are considered to be field workers, living in crowded situa-
tions, and lacking wealth. As we can see, even though these individuals may view
themselves as both proud Mexicans, skin color creates an identifying factor of
stereotyping among this group assuming that one group is better off than the other.
Although this is an elementary example of bias, it is a real example of how the
bias nature in an individual can effect and impact decision making about a group
of people. Meaning, if an individual, whether of Mexican or other decent, held
this described bias about Mexicans as the norm, this would impact their views
towards this ethnic group.

The differences between bias and unconscious bias, also known as “implicit
bias” are whether we are aware or not aware of our thoughts and actions. Uncon-
cious bias is judgments we are unaware of, and in return, these thoughts influence
our behavior towards others and situations. These influences many times demon-
strate behavior that can be unkind and judgemental. Neither of these characteris-
tics is appropriate in an organization and should not be present in a hiring manager
or the processes. Clarifying the differences between bias and unconscious bias
further can be applied to the context of an airplane. Airplanes can be flown by a
human pilot or by a machine on autopilot. Both of these methods can fly a plane
from point A to point B, but only one has organic human thinking ability when

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The Unconscious Bias • 203

handling situations that arise. The other has a reaction ability based on situational
programming. Meaning, bias, which would represent the human pilot whose reac-
tions can be controlled because of the ability to have an awareness of thoughts and
actions, whereas, unconscious bias is the autopilot whose reactions are based on
programmed experiences.

Since the brain relies heavily on previous information in its decision making,
it is not unlikely then that inappropriate decisions may take place because of the
lack of conscious thought at any given moment. The human brain can take in mil-
lions of pieces of information each second of the day but only processes a small
fragment of this information. Unfortunately, most of our decisions are derived
only from these small pieces of information. Although the brain relies on this
small amount of information to make decisions it still collects and categorizes
all information it is receiving. The ability to do this creates efficiency and saves
energy while providing faster response rates to situations. Therefore, decision
making relies heavily on past experiences and information that has been collected
and stored. However, this stored information is what provokes a reaction to situ-
ations. These reactions many times can be based on past information, which may
or may not be accurate or appropriate for the desired situation causing incidences
of unconscious bias.

STEREOTYPING

The word stereotype was introduced by Walter Lippman in 1922 referring to “pic-
tures in our heads of social groups” (Bar-Tal, Graumann, Kruglan, & Stroebe,
1989). Now ask yourself; how does stereotyping impact unconscious bias and
what is the difference between the two. “The difference between bias and stereo-
typing is that bias is a personal preference, like or dislike where a stereotype is a
preconceived idea about certain characteristics, which are applied to all members
of a group” (Reyes, 2016). Stereotyping can be such thoughts as Puerto Ricans
only eat rice and beans, Asians cannot drive, and families always arrange mar-
riages in Indian culture. These phrases or stereotypes are considered social norms
by many individuals and unfortunately many times fail to represent the truth.

Stereotyping can be very dangerous because these implicit associations can
cause discrimination “by influencing how individuals process and recall informa-
tion about other individuals” (Lee, 2005). Stereotyping can originate from nu-
merous instances and appear in many situations. Some of these instances can be
in the form of comments, which are blurted out in situations that are public or
among small groups of people? Furthermore, when these comments are made, it
is to disparage the culture or to make fun. We can all relate one way or another to
witnessing or being part of a situation regarding stereotyping. Many times these
stereotypical judgments are applied by individuals with limited knowledge of that
group. This application of false knowledge drives future bias towards individuals.
Now apply this false knowledge to the workforce.

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204 • RONDA MARIANI

Exercise

For this exercise, pretend you are the human resource hiring manager. You
receive three resumes from candidates that you feel have excellent qualifications
to succeed at the position being advertised. Each candidate has a similar experi-
ence in the area of need and would be ideal if chosen. The first candidate (Mr.
Highland) is a forty-eight-year-old white male, about 6’2,” nice build, with twelve
years of experience and a master degree from a state university. The second candi-
date (Mr. Levine) is a sixty-year-old white male with twenty-five years of experi-
ence, gray hair, fit in appearance, and received his bachelor’s degree in 1979. The
third candidate (Ms. Gonzalez) is a fifty-two-year-old Hispanic female, short in
height, medium weight, who has just finished raising her family and has returned
to the workforce about three years ago. She has a master degree from an online
program that she obtained this past year.

Picture these three individuals in your mind and consider what stereotypes
come to your attention. Locate a piece of paper and do the following: Make three
columns, one for each candidate as seen below. List as many stereotypes that
come to mind that correspond with that candidate. Remember this is an exercise.

First Candidate Second Candidate Third Candidate

List the stereotypes for this
candidate.
1. XXX
2. XXX XXX
3. XXX

List the stereotypes for this
candidate.
1. XXX
2. XXX XXX
3. XXX

List the stereotypes for this
candidate.
1. XXX
2. XXX XXX
3. XXX

After you complete the table ask yourself the following questions. I recommend
writing your thoughts on the same piece of paper.

1. Which candidate would you hire? Why?
2. What words triggered an association to a stereotype?
3. What was the association and why?
4. Can you recall in your life when this stereotype was learned? Where you

young, with family, at work, among friends, etc.?
5. Can you understand that some of these associations are a form of uncon-

scious bias that have been shaped by some of your life experiences? Can
you identify which ones?

6. Ask yourself, how can I overcome these thoughts, associations, and bias
to make myself a better hiring manager?

7. Are there areas where I may be in denial? Which ones?

There is no right or wrong answer to this exercise. This exercise is not to make
you feel immoral or cause anger but to let you know you are human just like the
rest of us. With humanity comes unconscious bias. What is important is that you
can admit that this bias exists within you and most likely everyone. The impor-

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The Unconscious Bias • 205

tance of this exercise is to aid you in recognizing what some of your biases are
and that you are willing to understand and link the cause; this is the first step. The
second step is to create and work on a mechanism within yourself that can help
you understand your unconscious bias triggers and correct biases in situations.
This new ability will create an improved individual while educating and retrain-
ing your brain to react more appropriately when confronted with situations.

DENIAL

Freud studied the human mind rather extensively. His analogy of the iceberg de-
picts the human mind as being quite vast under the surface. The iceberg analogy
also represented the unconscious mind. He also knew that the unconscious na-
ture of the human mind was compelling, much more potent than the conscious
(See Figure 10.1). Looking back into the past, humans relied on instinct to make
split-second decisions, such as warding off a wild animal or hostile tribe member
(Ross, 2008). The fundamental way humans regard the world and their encounters
are hard-wired based on a pattern of unconscious decision-making that is based on
what feels safe and acceptable for our survival (Ross, 2008).

FIGURE 10.1. Freud’s Iceberg Model

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206 • RONDA MARIANI

The human brain can filter out information very well. Many times information
that is being filtered impacts our perception. This mechanism to filter informa-
tion creates a “perceptual lens.” This perceptual lens lets some information in
depending upon how we interpret the information. However, much of this filtered
information is based on our life experiences, which is in some form formulated
based upon our bias perceptions (Ross, 2008). As a result “these pre-established
filters create situations where individuals will see, hear, and interpret things differ-
ently than other people might or not even realize the circumstances at all” (Ross,
2008). These perceptions of reality will many times lead to denial of bias behav-
ior. Denial of bias behavior may be attributed to individuals considering their bias
reactions as the norm and what is acceptable to that individual’s belief system.

Many times companies do not realize it is nurturing a culture of unconscious
bias. Time and time again we will read headlines describing the unethical disputes
with race, gender, disability, appearance, and age discrimination. These are just
a few of the biases that can be present in an organization. Individuals in these
organizations see themselves as being open-minded when in actuality they are
not. Patti Watts, an assistant editor for Management Review, interviewed Dr. Bob
Mezoff who trains managers and conducts workshops about cultural diversity. Dr.
Mezoff stated, “one of the greatest obstacles to overcoming prejudice is denial”
(Watts, 1987). Examples of denial can be something as simple as a person’s last
name and the prejudice that may arise when heard or read. Research has demon-
strated that individuals with a caucasian last name were more likely to be hired
than an individual with an ethnic last name (See Francis, 2018; Howard, 2015).
Despondently, hiring managers many times are unaware of something as simple
as name bias and because of this denial, these unconscious actions may be pre-
venting the best candidate from being hired.

TITLE VII

Most of us are familiar with the legal regulation Title VII of the US Court Rights
Act of 1964. Acts such as these were put in place to mitigate against actions
of discrimination in our culture. These legal measures to prevent discrimination
reside to promote equal opportunities. Companies are not only aware of this but
seem to accept the challenge. Many companies have developed extensive diver-
sity programs and make firm commitments to the inclusion of each member of
its organizations. Title VII also implemented the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) to enforce Title VII laws, which has resulted in numerous
lawsuits supporting equality within the workplace.

Probably one of the most famous lawsuits was Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes,
where plaintiffs represented “a class of 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees
who alleged that Wal-Mart discriminated against women in violation of Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Id. at 2547; see 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e-2(k)”
(Amalfe, 2013). Plaintiffs alleged that Wal-Mart knowingly allowed managers
to discriminate against female employees providing women with less pay and

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The Unconscious Bias • 207

promotion opportunities as compared to men. Plaintiffs argued that this uncon-
scious bias be woven into Wal-Mart’s corporate culture and placed women com-
panywide at a disadvantage. A social science expert testimony was obtained and
testified that unconscious bias is real and gender stereotyping does exist in today’s
corporate world. Despite the testimony presented by the Plaintiffs to the District
Court, “the Supreme Court found that plaintiffs could not sufficiently allege a
single common reason for those employment decisions. Id. at 2552” (Amalfe,
2013). Therefore, the testimony was rejected, and the plaintiffs were unable to
present to the court with a single fact that could support unconscious bias in Wal-
Mart’s management decision making. Wal-Mart continues to battle plaintiffs and
their accusations of discrimination. Until the courts can agree and accept what is
considered viable and tangible unconscious bias in the workplace, plaintiffs will
have a difficult time trying to prove unconscious bias.

Coca-Cola Company is another organization that has had its share of diversity
problems within its organization. There have been several lawsuits over the years.
Coca-Cola Company in 1999 was served with a lawsuit that accused the corporate
giant of discrimination against African American employees and in 2002 Coca-
Cola Company agreed to pay female employees 8.1 million dollars in back pay;
the reason wage disparity between male and female employees (Harvey & Allard,
2015). Today Coca-Cola Corporation considers itself an inclusive company. Its
motto “as inclusive as our brands” (Harvey & Allard, 2015) can be heard among
the company culture. Much of Coca-Cola Corporation corporate social responsi-
bility efforts are geared at assisting multicultural consumers and supporting their
needs in leadership presence, community strategies, and commitment to educa-
tion (Harvey & Allard, 2015, p. 105). Coca-Cola Corporation over the years has
taken all allegations seriously and has made diversity an integral part of its culture
today creating inclusive work environments for its employees.

Another famed company; Google has had its share of accusations about dis-
crimination among its corporate culture. “Google, founded in 1998, released its
transparency report in 2014, this report indicated an overwhelmingly male, white,
and Asian work population. Google has been heavily criticized for confronting
the problem, diversity in their workforce as too little and too late” (Tiku, 2018).
Remedying situations such as these has not been successful for Google, instead,
Google has been accused of using and setting quotas as a method to create a
diverse organization in its hiring efforts. Google insists it does not use quotas or
identity as a method of hiring but instead hires based on individuals merit (Tiku,
2018). It does admit to setting goals to diversify its workplace population but
ensures it is not specifically targeting race to meet numbers. “Google has also
been training its employees how to recognize unconscious bias, but diversity is
not always perceived as part of Google’s cultural values as written in Damore’s
memo” (Tiku, 2018). Damore was fired after he released his memo challenging
Google’s diversity efforts.

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208 • RONDA MARIANI

Although the face of discrimination has changed in the workplace; uncon-
scious bias seems to be a very misunderstood form of discrimination. Unconcious
bias behavior is also complicated to prove as a tangible deed that can result in a
reprimand or disciplinary action. When you consider the question; how do man-
agers discipline an employee that does not even know that they are unconsciously
doing something wrong; it is understandable that it would be difficult for a man-
ager to choose an appropriate action for that employee.

Although governments, organizations, and HRM professionals have spearhead
these endeavors to improve diversity and inclusion while minimizing bias through
positive steps in developing laws and policies, little seems to have been achieved
to lessen the effects of unconscious bias in the workplace. Even when situations
arise such as employees that become victim to unconscious bias attacks, many
times these employees are are afraid to report what they have witnessed as bias
conduct towards them or others because of the fear of retaliation. We feel and see
unconscious bias happening, but at the same time, it is like chasing the phantom.
We know it is there, but we actually cannot see it. Title VII tries to capture this
phantom, but its success is far and too little in between each case.

ACADEMIC CONTRIBUTION

We can all safely agree that education provides the best tactic when combating
any problem in society. Education that is grounded in positive perspectives about
social norms can provide promising and impacting results. However, there are
vast differences between unconscious bias education and offerings such as diver-
sity, cultural, or sensitivity training. In this instance, education and training are
dissimilar and provide different benefits although the outcome may seem compa-
rable. “Unconscious bias education aims to increase awareness of how our minds
work, to help people and organizations adopt practices that improve decision-
making” (Bertschinger, 2017, p. 1).

As mentioned; increasingly colleges have begun to infuse the importance of
diversity and inclusion throughout its curriculum (Jackson, 2017). Although this
infusion of diversity into the curriculum is taking place, many times it is intro-
duced only as a topic within an organizational behavior class. We probably could
all agree, introducing diversity in this manner, as a topic and not a class of its own,
would not provide enough time to create an atmosphere where deep conversations
and thought could take place. However, when offering diversity classes, both fac-
ulty and students may be apprehensive about the subject. When speaking of race,
cultural differences, and oppression, it has been noted and compared to walking
into a minefield (Williams, Dunlap, & McCandies, n.d.). Furthermore, this would
not be the same as educating individuals about unconscious behavior. If we are
to educate students about unconscious bias, this would mean curriculum that was
geared towards providing an understanding of how the human brain works and
reacts when presented with stereotypical situations. Educating about awareness is
difficult and can create triggers, issues, and reactions. Therefore it is the approach

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The Unconscious Bias • 209

to instruction that needs to change, and a more inclusive environment of learning
needs to be incorporated simulating situations as well as correcting behavior.

Many schools offering majors in the medical field already understand the im-
portance of student’s awareness and the needed coping mechanisms to overcome
unconscious bias behavior. Therefore, it is not uncommon to witness in the cur-
riculum a class devoted to diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias. More majors
should think about following suit and include these critical classes in its curricu-
lum.

CONTROLLING UNCONCIOUS BIAS IN HIRING

Developing a multi-cultural workforce that addresses the global needs of clients
is imperative to the success of businesses. The development of a multi-cultural
workforce is one way that companies can create a competitive advantage that
speaks across borders. Although Human Resource Management (HRM) profes-
sionals accept the task of hiring and creating a competitive workforce, research
and evaluation of industries have demonstrated according to Lee (2005) “the
prevalence of unconscious bias has manifested itself in in hiring practices” (p.
485). Since unconscious bias is so deeply ingrained in who we are, it is challeng-
ing the appropriate judgments that should be made and affect decision making in
organizations when it applies to hiring. As a result, organizations are becoming
culturally the same. When organizational culture is the same, unconscious bias
will go unnoticed and this in return will affect hiring. These individuals in charge
of hiring will most likely hire like-minded candidates, this is known as affinity
bias. Affinity bias occurs when a hiring manager is interviewing a candidate and
begins to see a lot of their traits and behaviors in the candidate. These traits and
behaviors may not necessarily be positive therefore perpetuating further the deep-
rooted nature of unconscious bias.

TRAINING AND EDUCATION

Correcting unconscious bias in the workforce will be problematic. Afterall the
human brain is hardwired to protect itself. A lifetime of experiences is now dic-
tating our decision making. Organizations spend a great deal of time trying to
make employees understand what diversity is, while not addressing the real prob-
lem, educating the human brain. HRM professoinal’s implement annual diversity
training but is this enough? Research demonstrates it is not. Training, especially
short-term training does not correct or support the problem of unconscious bias.
In fact, it does quite the opposite. Many times it is seen as an inconvenience or a
manipulation of what one thinks or feels.

Changing the culture of an organization can be a challenge, there needs to be
a process to the change. Educating is key to this process. Just like learning your
time’s tables in elementary school, it takes repetition. Unconcious bias education
needs to repetitious. When situations arise, and discrimination takes place, HRM

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210 • RONDA MARIANI

professionals need to evaluate the situation carefully and determine if this action
was intent or unconscious. In many cases, individuals genuinely believe they may
be doing good and may not realize their actions are wrong. Recognizing our hu-
man nature and that mistakes are part of the deal is very important. What counts
is how we address these mistakes.

HRM professionals need to move away from the notion that we are protecting
a class and focus more on the fact that fair treatment is what is essential to organi-
zations. Surveying is an exceptional method when trying to obtain and collect in-
formation if individuals feel it is safe and will not compromise their job. Conduct-
ing quarterly surveys should be done as well as surveying individuals that leave
the company. Many times companies become indignant to an individual giving
their notice to leave instead of trying to learn why that employee wants to leave.
Are there steps that could have been taken to stop them from leaving or reemploy
them? Was it something they felt that made them leave, such as being underpaid
because of their gender? Once results are obtained, education should be tailored
to these results and implemented more than just once a year. Education can be
conducted through outside educational groups, online learning, and community
days that embrace culture and differences. Most importantly education should be
geared not only to the employees but HRM professionals too.

Outside group support is also essential. Organizations will want to support
groups that align with the culture of its company. Do not support a group because
it is a minority group, instead support groups that will provide organizational
interests to all individuals. Lastly, the importance of mentorship is critical. You
are never too old to learn. One of the best ways to learn is through the intimacy
of a mentor. Organizatons and HRM professionals can create diversity by having
individuals work together and play together. An organizational audit is always a
great way to conduct research about your company and learn where your compa-
nies deficiencies may be. The goal is to change behavior and create a competitive
organization in the work environment.

CONCLUSION

Unconcious bias continues to grow within organizations and is a severe problem
in our societies today. Organizations that are plagued with this component can
incur costly outcomes, such as key employees leaving, reduced production, un-
wanted public exposure, and lawsuits. All of these weaken the establishment and
its company’s culture leading to poor human capital building and a weak competi-
tive advantage. Unconcious bias also affects the lives of individuals. HRM profes-
sionals needs to develop active educational programs not only to educate and train
the employees within their organization but also train the trainer and themselves.

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The Unconscious Bias • 211

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Watts, P. (1987). Bias busting: diversity training in the workplace. Management Review,
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Williams, M., Dunlap, M., & McCandies. (n.d.). Keeping it real: Three black women ed-
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Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends:
“Now and Around the Corner”, pages 81–101.
Copyright © 2019 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. 81

CHAPTER 4

WATERING THE
ORGANIZATIONAL LANDSCAPE

Meeting Employee Needs
through HRM Flexibility

Alexandra E. MacDougall, Zhanna Bagdasarov, and M. Ronald Buckley

Change has always been with us, but it seems that the pace of change is
accelerating.

—Yehuda Baruch (2004, p. 58)

Today’s human resource professionals are tasked with meeting the needs of an
increasingly complex and diverse workforce. Socio-demographic changes such as
an aging workforce (Morris & Venkatesh, 2000), increased ethnocultural diversity
(Ng & Johnson, 2015), more women in the workforce, and an increasing num-
ber of dual-career households (Baltes, Briggs, Huff, Wright, & Neuman, 1999)
require that companies remain ahead of legislative mandates with HR-initiated
diversity and inclusion programs (Kelliher & Anderson, 2010). Growing expecta-
tions and felt pressure for work-life balance (Allen, Johnson, Kiburz, & Shockley,
2013), moreover, suggests that to remain competitive, firms need to be responsive
to workforce needs (Matz-Costa & Pitt-Catsouphes, 2010). Rapid technological

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AN: 2006258 ; Ronald R. Sims.; Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends: ‘Now and Around the Corner’
Account: s4264928.main.eds

82 • MACDOUGALL, BAGDASAROV, & BUCKLEY

advancements have led to a greater reliance on technology in business while dras-
tically shifting the organizational landscape and the conditions in which work is
completed (Parker, Wall, & Cordery, 2001).

These observations indicate Baruch’s (2004) above commentary on change
resonates across societal, demographic, and technological realms, especially as
they relate to business. Such external factors have drastically changed the world
of work (Burke & Ng, 2006), with careers becoming more open, multidirectional,
and individualistic, while losing stability, structure, and employer control (Arthur
& Rousseau, 1996; Baruch, 2004, 2006). Accompanying this transition is a shift
in employee expectations and preferences (Matz-Costa & Pitt-Catsouphes, 2010)
that calls for rethinking the psychological contract as well as the effective man-
agement of people at work (Lyons, Schweitzer, & Ng, 2015).

The current effort is intended to shed light on the changing organizational
landscape and the corresponding implications for contemporary human resource
management. Specifically, we begin with a brief description of how socio-de-
mographic and technological changes are influencing employee expectations. In
light of this discussion, and in line with the new career model (e.g., Lyons et al.,
2015), we will make the case for flexible work arrangements that grant employees
agency in deciding how, when, and where their work tasks are completed. Finally,
we will provide a detailed review of four key types of flexible work arrangements
that may be capitalized on by human resource professionals.

THE CHANGING ORGANIZATIONAL LANDSCAPE

Socio-Demographic Changes

Over two decades ago, Jackson and Schuler (1995) highlighted the evolution
in the U.S. labor market towards greater diversity, a trend we have continued to
witness well into the 21st century. Workplace diversity “acknowledges the reality
that people differ in many ways, visible or invisible” (Shen, Chanda, D’Netto, &
Monga, 2009, p. 235). Although human resource managers have historically at-
tended to more visible, conventional forms of diversity such as age, gender, and
ethnicity, new concerns have emerged regarding other hidden forms of diversity
including disability, sexual orientation, religion, individual differences, and cul-
tural background, among others (Baruch, 2004; Ely & Thomas, 2001; Kossek,
Lobel, & Brown, 2006; Shen, et al. 2009).

The changing demographic composition of the workforce calls for human re-
source departments to proactively manage diversity and inclusion so as to em-
power all members in their respective workplaces (Kossek et al., 2006). Likewise,
given that a diverse workforce is necessarily comprised of individuals with varied
values and beliefs, frames of references, experiences, and information (Shen et
al., 2009), human resource professionals should be cognizant of the potentially
distinct experiences and expectations of all employees. The following discussion
breaks out some of these patterns for age, gender, and ethnicity.

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Watering the Organizational Landscape • 83

Today’s workforce is comprised of younger representatives from the Silent
Generation (born 1925–1945) along with the Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964),
Generation X (born 1965–1979), Generation Y or Millennials (born 1980–1994),
and older members of Generation Z (born 1995–2012) (Ng & Parry, 2016). This
multigenerational composition of the workforce, moreover, means employees in
certain industries may be working with others who are nearly fifty years their se-
nior or junior (McDonald, 2006). Accordingly, understanding how and if genera-
tions differ with respect to work values, attitudes, and expectations could prove
immensely useful in initiating HRM policy change (Ng & Parry, 2016). For ex-
ample, members of the Silent Generation tend to place emphasis on intrinsic val-
ues such as prestige, autonomy, and work centrality, whereas younger generations
tend to appreciate extrinsic and social values such as working conditions, com-
pensation, and their network of coworkers (Ng & Parry, 2016).

As compared to the Baby Boomers, members of Generation X value work-
life balance, autonomy, and independence over organizational loyalty (Festing &
Schafer, 2014). Known for their “work hard, play hard” mentality (Doverspike
et al., 2000), Generation Xers are most attracted to firms that value personal and
leisure time. Although Millennials share Generation X’s values regarding leisure
time and work-life balance, Millennials value extrinsic, materialistic rewards to a
greater extent (Ng & Johnson, 2015; Ng & Parry, 2016; Smola & Sutton, 2002).
Moreover, in the wake of increasing protean and boundaryless careers, Millenni-
als are concerned with corporate social responsibility, continuous learning oppor-
tunities, and opportunities for mobility (Festing & Schafer, 2014). To summarize,
younger generations, including Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z, tend to be more indi-
vidualistic than are their older counterparts (Festing & Schafer, 2014). They value
leisure time to a greater extent than did past generations (Lyons & Kuron, 2014),
and tend to be technologically savvy having grown up with various technologies
readily available to them.

Beyond generational values, it is also important to note the impending change
to the organizational landscape as the roughly 77 million workers to be aged 65
or older by 2040 near retirement (Johnson, 2004). As noted by Beinhocker, Far-
rell, and Greenberg (2008), “the twilight of the U.S. baby boom generation is ap-
proaching, and with it deep, structural economic shifts whose impact will be felt
for decades to come” (p. 1). This comes as little surprise, given that the youngest
members of the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers are now 73 and 54, respec-
tively. Yet, many individuals from these older generations would actually like
to continue working, and in doing so, would face a number of barriers related
to health care, labor law, retirement regulations, as well as negative perceptions
regarding older workers (Beinhocker et al., 2008; Matz-Costa & Pitt-Catsouphes,
2010). In searching for best HR practices, then, practitioners must be cognizant of
employee values and attitudes as well as potential constraints on the employment
context.

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84 • MACDOUGALL, BAGDASAROV, & BUCKLEY

Another change to the organizational landscape is the rising percentage of
women in all sectors of the U.S. workforce (Greenhaus & Kossek, 2014; Harel,
Tzafrir, & Baruch, 2003). In fact, there is an apparent “cracking” (albeit not break-
ing) of the glass ceiling (Baruch, 2006), which is beneficial to organizations for a
number of reasons. Perhaps most notably, the integration of women into manage-
rial positions not only signals fairness in selection and promotion processes, but
also high-quality HRM practices and overall organizational effectiveness (Harel
et al., 2003). Nevertheless, women and minorities remain underutilized in many
roles, and particularly in management.

Beyond these initial strides for women in the workplace, we are also witness-
ing more dual-career couples and working parents, whether married or not, with
young children (Allen, 2001; Greenhaus & Kossek, 2014). According to the Em-
ployment Characteristics of Family Survey, the 2017 labor participation rate of
mothers with children under 18 years (71.1%) increased ever so slightly from
2013 (70.5%). A similar trend was found for mothers with children under 6 years,
with the 2017 estimate at 65.5% compared to the 2013 estimate of 64.8% (U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). Dual-career couples and working parents, both
male and female, certainly have a balancing act between work, home, and familial
responsibilities (Allen, 2001). Although not discussed here in depth, this is also
true for those caring for their aging or sick elders (Greenhaus & Kossek, 2014).

A final note with respect to socio-demographic changes is increasingly diverse
nature of the workforce, both in terms of surface (demographic) and deep (at-
titudinal) factors (Harrison, Price, & Bell, 1998). As noted by Harrison and col-
leagues (1998), roughly 80% of entrants into the U.S. workforce today are women
or ethnic minorities. There is not a “one size fits all” approach to managing di-
versity, and there is not a place for “monoculturalism” in the workplace (Lynch,
2017). Rather, human resource professionals should take care to identify the dif-
fering needs of varying employees, taking care to revisit and modify standards
set by past generations in a predominantly white, male workforce. The future is
promising in this regard, as Millennials tend to hold more egalitarian attitudes
towards women and minority groups and are more likely to have been exposed to
racial and cultural diversity from a young age (Ng & Johnson, 2015)

Technological Advancements

Organizations have rapidly gained access to highly sophisticated informa-
tion technology with major implications for work design and job definition more
broadly (Fenner & Renn, 2004; Morris & Venkatesh, 2000). As summarized by
Guest (2004), “advances in technology are primarily responsible for an apparent
speeding up of the world of work; and speed and flexibility of response is an im-
portant basis for competitive advantage (p. 543). Staying up to date with technol-
ogy will only become more important for companies, as technological progress
may very well restructure the labor market as we know it (Baruch, 2004).

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Watering the Organizational Landscape • 85

Technological developments such as increased affordability, computer por-
tability, and Internet availability made work readily available to employees in
and out of the office (Parker et al., 2001). In this way, technology is blurring the
boundaries of a “normal” work day, increasing the ease with which employees
can extend their working hours outside their traditional workspace (Fenner &
Renn, 2004). Technology has further changed the way in which work is orga-
nized and communicated. Large quantities of data are easily shareable across the
globe in a nearly instantaneous fashion (Burke & Ng, 2006; Greenhaus & Kossek,
2014), contributing largely to the recent push for added flexibility through uncon-
ventional work arrangements.

Challenges for Contemporary Human Resource Management

Given the diverse organizational landscape in contemporary workplaces, it
is clear that companies benefit from the effective management of diversity (Ba-
ruch, 2006). This notwithstanding, there are several corresponding challenges for
human resource professionals including (1) a perceived mismatch in employee
needs and workplace policies, (2) reluctance of technology innovations, and (3)
pressure for enhanced work-life balance and workplace flexibility. Below, we pro-
vide a brief overview of each potential challenge and offer suggestions as to how
those challenges may be addressed within human resources.

HR Challenge 1: Aligning Employee Needs and Workplace Policies. Em-
ployees may express concern about a mismatch between their needs and prefer-
ences with workplace policy. This is a valid concern, as Johnson (2004) reports
that both workplace policies and employment structures have remained largely
unchanged over time. In this regard, there appears to be a “structural lag” due in
part to the multigenerational makeup of today’s workforce, such that old poli-
cies remain intact despite becoming outdated and/or growing obsolete with time
(Matz-Costa & Pitt-Catsouphes, 2010). To address this challenge, human re-
source professionals are encouraged to revisit existing psychological contracts
with respective organizational members. A psychological contract is defined as a
set of “individual beliefs, shaped by the organization, regarding terms of an ex-
change agreement between individuals and their organizations” (Rousseau, 1995,
p. 9). As noted previously, employees are increasingly balancing multiple roles
and commitments (Baruch, 2004; Halpern, 2005). Accordingly, granting employ-
ees voice and agency in discussing psychological contract terms, albeit informal,
would signal that human resources is a true partner and alliance. HR professionals
could further strengthen this partnership by offering support to employees and
consulting them, rather than telling them, about impending policy changes (Ba-
ruch, 2003, 2004).

HR Challenge 2: Encouraging Technological Advancements and Use.
Companies often face backlash from employees when undergoing change, which
means that evolving technologies may be met with recoil. Although technology
has clear advantages from an organizational perspective by way of attracting and

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86 • MACDOUGALL, BAGDASAROV, & BUCKLEY

retaining younger employees (McDonald, 2006), older workers in particular may
be wary of technological advancements out of a concern for becoming obsolete
(e.g., Noe, 2017). Interestingly, evidence indicates that the extent to which one
responds positively or negatively toward adopting a new form of technology is
the extent to which he or she views the technology as useful or instrumental to
successful job performance (Morris & Venkatesh, 2000). Accordingly, HR profes-
sionals are advised to offer regular training and development programs to ensure
all employees remain relevant and up to date on available technologies and to
communicate the respective utility of newly introduced forms of technology.

HR Challenge 3: Adopting Work-Life Initiatives and Workplace Flexibil-
ity. Younger generations are increasingly identifying work-life balance as a key
contributor to their job satisfaction (Lyons & Kuron, 2014). The Society for Hu-
man Resource Management’s 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement
Survey, for example, indicated that more than half (53%) of respondents indicated
that work-life balance was “Very Important” to their job satisfaction. Perhaps
more notable, however, is that work-life balance was reported as equally impor-
tant to base pay in determining job satisfaction (SHRM, 2016). Working parents,
in particular, tend to express work-life and work-family tensions stemming from
demanding jobs and blurred boundaries between work and home (Greenhaus &
Kossek, 2014). Older workers comprise another group expressing concern re-
garding rigid work schedules (Pitt-Catsouphes & Matz-Costa, 2008). For exam-
ple, the Taskforce on the Aging of the American Workforce (2008) indicated that
workplace flexibility, or the lack thereof, is a main reason for retirement among
older workers. Likewise, the Taskforce described a lack of flexible working ar-
rangements as a barrier to employment for older workers wishing to remain in the
workforce.

As with HR Challenge 1, we advise HR professionals to give up control, to
the extent possible, through implementation of family friendly policies and in-
creased workplace flexibility. Employees are regularly experiencing escalating
commitments to multiple, distinct roles resulting in growing expectations and felt
pressure for work-life balance (Allen, et al., 2013; Greenhaus & Kossek, 2014).
Such initiatives would further serve to keep older generations involved in the
workforce. In fact, evidence suggests that many Baby Boomers would remain
in the workforce if flexible or alternate work arrangements were made available
(Beinhocker et al., 2008). This is not surprising, as Kossek (2006) indicated work-
family tensions have continued to rise for all demographic groups and occupations
across the nation. Taken together, it would behoove human resource departments
to empower and invest in their workers through the adoption of family-friendly
policies made possible through increased flexibility and alternative work arrange-
ments (Baruch, 2004).

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Watering the Organizational Landscape • 87

MAKING THE CASE FOR HUMAN RESOURCE FLEXIBILITY

Workplace flexibility is broadly defined as “the ability of workers to make choices
influencing when, where, and for how long they engage in work-related tasks”
(Hill et al., 2008, p. 152). Central to this definition is that flexibility provides an
opportunity for employees to exercise agency (Seeck & Parzefall, 2008). Employ-
ees are granted the freedom to determine how best to arrange their core work re-
sponsibilities so long as they attend to the broader organizational context, culture,
and structure in doing so (Hill et al., 2008). In this way, human resource flexibility
can reframe the employment relationship as a true partnership as opposed to top-
down policies based on control and command (Baruch, 2004). According to the
Society for Human Resource Management (2014), this partnership contributes to
a mutually beneficial agreement between employees and employers regarding the
manner in which the work will be completed, and how it will meet organizational
needs.

The growing preference for flexibility among employees is a trend witnessed
across geographical location and business sector (Baruch, 2006; Matz-Costa &
Pitt-Catsouphes, 2010). Indeed, workplace flexibility is typically framed as an
employee benefit. Yet, organizations have much to gain from using flexibility as a
management tool as well (SHRM, 2014, 2016). Flexible work arrangements have
been met with a great deal of success at multiple levels. The following discussion
makes the case for the broad classification of flexible work arrangements by high-
lighting benefits to employees, organizations, and local communities.

Individual Benefits

One of the primary areas in which flexible work arrangements have been
shown to benefit employees is through reduced work-family conflict (Masuda
et al., 2011; McNall, Masuda, & Nicklin, 2010). Work-family conflict occurs
when role demands at work interfere with one’s role demands at home, or vice
versa (Boswell & Olson-Buchanan, 2007; Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). This is
not surprising, as workplace flexibility has been specifically touted as a method
to help employees manage their work and family roles (Allen et al., 2013; Hill
et al., 2010). Because employees may adjust job features to meet personal needs
and goals (Putnam, Myers, & Gailliard, 2014), flexible work arrangements en-
able workers to better “juggle” their work and life commitments (Matz-Costa &
Pitt-Catsouphes, 2010). Beyond work-life enrichment, workplace flexibility has
also been linked to enhanced personal vitality (Hill et al., 2008), improved health
and well-being (SHRM, 2014), higher life satisfaction, and fewer mental health
problems (Pitt-Catsouphes & Matz-Costa, 2008).

In the work domain, flexible work practices have been shown to bolster job sat-
isfaction, employee engagement, and commitment (e.g., Bal & De Lange, 2015;
Golden, 2006; Kelliher & Anderson, 2010; Masuda et al., 2011; McNall, Masuda,
& Nicklin, 2010), while reducing job stress (Halpern, 2005). In fact, according

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88 • MACDOUGALL, BAGDASAROV, & BUCKLEY

to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2016 Job Satisfaction Report,
53 percent of employees rate the flexibility to balance home and work responsi-
bilities as a key aspect of their job satisfaction, a seven percent increase from the
2010 survey (SHRM, 2010, 2016). Moreover, although there are mixed views,
prior research has indicated that flexible work practices may lead to “career pre-
miums,” or greater success in terms of salary and job level (Gariety & Shaffer,
2001; Weeden, 2005), particularly for employees who are viewed as committed
and productive by their direct supervisors (Leslie, Manchester, Park, & Mehng,
2012). Taken together, employees have much to gain from flexible work options.

Organizational Benefits

From an organizational perspective, flexible work arrangements can provide a
strong competitive advantage and support towards strategic business objectives
(Allen, 2001; SHRM, 2014). For example, advertising a firm’s workplace flex-
ibility may help human resource departments attract and retain top talent (Beau-
regard & Henry, 2009; Blair-Loy & Wharton, 2002). Scholars have pointed to the
utility of flexibility in reducing absenteeism and turnover (Golden, 2006; Masuda
et al., 2011; McNall, Masuda, & Nicklin, 2010), and have highlighted the cor-
responding cost savings (SHRM, 2014). Flexible work has been further linked to
improvements in productivity, performance, profits, and customer service (Baltes,
Briggs, Huff, Wright, & Neuman, 1999; Cascio, 2000; Hill et al., 2008). Draw-
ing from social exchange theory, Kelliher and Anderson (2010) highlighted that
flexible arrangements may result in work intensification due to the perception that
employees should trade flexibility for effort.

In addition to these beneficial outcomes, flexible work options should further
promote employee extra-role behavior. Flexible HR practices communicates to
employees that their organization cares and wants to invest in them, constructs
that have long been known to predict organizational citizenship behavior (e.g.,
Organ & Ryan, 1995). Similarly, as noted by Jiang, Lepak, Hu, and Baer (2012),
increased flexibility may trigger employees’ intrinsic motivation, which in turn
should lead such employees to seek out challenges. The increased flexibility af-
forded by FWA may accommodate such endeavors, allowing for added creativity
in when and how employees engage in extra-role behavior.

Community Benefits

Beyond advantages of flexible work practices on employees and employers,
local communities may benefit as well. For example, given that flexibility affords
employees greater work-life balance (e.g., McNall, Masuda, & Nicklin, 2010),
employees may find themselves engaging more freely in volunteer initiatives with
the community. Likewise, time spent with family and friends may in turn enrich
the local community through increased visibility at local schools and events (e.g.,
SHRM, 2014). Moreover, when employees are able to cut back on their driving

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Watering the Organizational Landscape • 89

due to flexible work arrangements such as telework or compressed workweeks,
they are helping to reduce commuting mileage and corresponding carbon dioxide
emissions (Cascio, 2000), supporting a more sustainable environment.

Summary

Workplace flexibility is gaining traction as a human resource strategy due to
its mutually beneficial outcomes for employees and employers, alike (Allen et al.,
2013). Management scholars have referred to flexibility as “a necessity in the con-
temporary workplace” (Halpern, 2004, as cited by Hill et al., 2008), forecasting
its impending adoption across organizations. Employers will soon be evaluated
on whether or how they implement flexible work practices, and these evaluations
will signal the extent to which companies are aware of and responsive to work-
force needs (Matz-Costa & Pitt-Catsouphes, 2010). Yet, many U.S. companies
have been slow to move towards greater flexibility, due in part to a general lack
of awareness or availability of established policies to easily incorporate across
industry (SHRM, 2014). Accordingly, we turn next to a more detailed discussion
of specific types of flexible work arrangements.

AN OVERVIEW OF PROMINENT
FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS

Flexible work covers a range of “working patterns,” or options for employees
seeking nontraditional means for work completion (Kelliher & Anderson, 2010).
As there are multiple dimensions to workplace flexibility (Pitt-Catsouphes &
Matz-Costa, 2008), the following section provides an introduction to four specific
arrangements including (1) flextime, (2) compressed workweek, (3) telecommut-
ing, and (4) job sharing. Each flexible work arrangement is first defined and then
discussed with respect to corresponding benefits for employees and organizations,
respectively, and may be referenced human resource professionals wishing to pro-
vide employees with enhanced flexibility.

Flextime

Flextime (Flexible Working Hours) Defined. “With a flextime work arrange-
ment, employees may choose the starting and ending time of their workday as
long as they work the appropriate number of hours per day or week” (Lepak
& Gowan, 2016, p. 127). Although employees are given considerable leeway in
scheduling their work, generally, flextime scheduling is built around special core
hours, such as 11 A.M. to 2 P.M., during which employees are required to be
present (Dessler, 2015; Snell, Morris, & Bohlander, 2016). Therefore, with these
particular core hours, workers may choose to work from 7 A.M. until 3 P.M., or
from 11 A.M. until 7 P.M., all the while ensuring that they are in attendance dur-
ing the specified core hours. It is important to understand that flextime work ar-

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90 • MACDOUGALL, BAGDASAROV, & BUCKLEY

rangements do not shorten work time but simply rearrange them to accommodate
workers’ needs (Hochschild, 1997).

Benefits of Flextime. Allowing for alternative work scheduling by means of
flextime arrangement has been touted by organizations to be beneficial to both
employees and employers alike. At the individual level, flextime allows employ-
ees to accommodate their specific lifestyles, resulting in decreased work-family
conflict (Boswell & Olson-Buchanan, 2007; Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). Work-
family conflict has been consistently associated with various destructive personal
and professional outcomes such as decreased job satisfaction, life satisfaction,
organizational commitment, organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), marital
satisfaction, family satisfaction, as well as a slew of stress-related outcomes (e.g.,
Allen, Herst, Bruck, & Sutton, 2000; Kossek & Ozeki, 1998). Thus, managing
this inter-role conflict should be of paramount importance for organizations in
order to maintain a healthy and productive workforce.

In addition to improved work-family balance, deviations from commuting dur-
ing peak hours due to some latitude in departure times not only mitigates heavy
traffic congestion caused by employees forced to adhere to fixed work schedules
(Mun & Yonekawa, 2006), but also allows employees to spend less time on the
road. Moreover, work by Lucas and Heady (2002) has indicated that commuters
on flextime schedules reported less driver stress and decreased feelings of time
pressure compared to workers with fixed work hours. Consequently, improved
commuting and decreased driver stress are yet additional individual-level advan-
tages of flextime cited by employees in extant literature (Ralston, 1989).

Finally, flextime arrangements have also been associated with various im-
provements in employee attitudes (Hicks & Klimoski, 1981). A number of studies
to date have investigated the relationship between flextime and job satisfaction.
Majority of this work corroborates the notion that flextime scheduling leads to
increased job satisfaction for employees. In fact, Baltes, Briggs, Huff, Wright,
and Neuman (1999) conducted a meta-analysis examining this specific relation-
ship and concluded that, in general, flexible work hours had a positive impact on
job satisfaction. Following this meta-analysis, others have confirmed the positive
association between these two variables across diverse samples and settings (e.g.,
Allen, 2001; McNall, Masuda, & Nicklin, 2010). More recently, a quantitative
review of 43 studies and 22,882 employees revealed that flexible work arrange-
ments—among them flextime—were positively associated with job satisfaction
and psychological health (Kröll, Doebler, & Nüesch, 2017).

At the organizational level, granting employees flextime has been associated
with a reduction in tardiness and general absenteeism (Zeidner, 2008). Early lon-
gitudinal work by Ralston and Flanagan (1985) compared female and male em-
ployees on and off flextime, postulating a decrease in absenteeism and turnover
for employees with flextime arrangements. Although no significant differences
were found for turnover, significant decreases in absenteeism were found for both
female and male worker on flextime. The authors concluded that flextime reduced

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Watering the Organizational Landscape • 91

employees’ need for absenteeism and thus ultimately positively contributed to
work-life balance, as well. Similarly, Rainer and Wolf (1981) conducted an ex-
periment at the U.S. Social Security Administration and found that along with
generally favorable appraisals of flextime by employees, they saw a significant
decline in tardiness. On top of these organizationally-relevant benefits, many em-
ployers name flextime as a strong recruitment and retention tool (Snell et al.,
2016). Mitchell, Brooks, Holtom, and Lee (2001), for instance, argue that allow-
ing employees to craft their own work hours by deciding when to start and quit
each day, can aid in creating a solid fit between employees and their off-the-job
environments, permitting employees to maintain their recreational and interper-
sonal lives. Flextime has even been hyped as an important retention tool in non-
profit organizations—often discussed in terms of a coveted nonfinancial benefit
(Ban, Drahnak-Faller, & Towers, 2003).

Finally, and perhaps of greatest significance to most organizations, flextime
has been linked to improved productivity and overall performance. For one, pro-
ductivity can improve simply because employees can arrange to work during
hours they believe to be their most alert and productive (Snell et al., 2016). Oth-
ers have found that, consistent with tenets of Hackman and Oldham’s (1976) job
characteristics theory, flextime contributes to employees’ job autonomy, result-
ing in increased job performance. For example, Eaton (2003) demonstrated the
positive association between workplace flexibility policies, among them flextime,
with self-reported productivity. On a larger scale, in their quantitative review of
flexible work arrangements literature, Baltes et al. (1999) upheld that flextime had
a positive effect on employee productivity.

Compressed Workweek

Compressed Workweek Defined. In this particular work arrangement, the
number of days in the workweek is reduced (compressed) as a result of increasing
the number of hours worked per day (Snell et al., 2016). Specifically, employees
may choose to work only four days (Monday–Thursday), but be required to put
in 10 hours a day in order to maintain their 40-hour workweek. This particular
arrangement is commonly referred to as 4/10 or 4/40. Other variations of the
compressed workweek exist. A much less common variant consists of working a
12-hour shift (Venne, 1997), while others may involve working 80 hours spread
over nine days (9/80), allowing for a day off every other week (Snell et al., 2016).

Benefits of compressed workweek. At the individual level, one of the most
obvious benefits of the compressed workweek arrangement is the acquisition of
one business day a week away from work. Having a day off during a workweek
allows employees to schedule and attend to personal business—medical, dental,
financial—as well as accommodate recreational activities and time with family
and friends (Pierce & Dunham, 1992; Ronen & Primps). Akin to the benefits of
flextime, compressed workweek schedules have also been touted as useful trans-
portation demand management (TDM) strategies. Ho and Steward (1992), for ex-

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92 • MACDOUGALL, BAGDASAROV, & BUCKLEY

ample, examined travel logs completed by employees before and after implemen-
tation of the 4/40 compressed workweek arrangement in a busy metropolitan city
and found a significant reduction in the average number of vehicle miles traveled
over the course of a week, leading to an inevitable reduced carbon footprint. Ad-
ditional individual-level benefits include improvements in employee job satisfac-
tion, morale, and satisfaction with work schedules (Baltes et al., 1999; Breaugh
& Frye, 2007). Even an early review of literature on behavioral and attitudinal
consequences of compressed workweeks indicated improvements in employees’
satisfaction with their jobs (Ronen & Primps, 1981).

When it comes to organizationally-relevant outcomes, most managers cite im-
provements in recruitment and retention of employees (Gurchiek, 2006), although
surprisingly, no reduction in absenteeism was observed in a review of flexible
work arrangements literature (Baltes et al., 1999). With respect to performance,
summaries of research on compressed workweeks have revealed mixed results
(Baltes & Sirabian, 2017). Although several studies have indicated an improve-
ment in performance and productivity following the implementation of a com-
pressed workweek schedule (Ronen & Primps, 1981), meta-analytic evidence on
this relationship is more ambiguous. Specifically, the review of literature showed
that compressed workweeks improved supervisory ratings of performance, yet
had no positive effects on objective measures of productivity. Of studies that in-
dicate a decrease in productivity, fatigue acquired due to long work shifts is as-
sumed to be the culprit for the negative relationship (Baltes & Sirabian, 2017).

Telecommuting

Telecommuting Defined. According to Gajendran and Harrison (2007) “Tele-
commuting is an alternative work arrangement in which employees perform
tasks elsewhere that are normally done in a primary or central workplace, for at
least some portion of their work schedule, using electronic media to interact with
others inside and outside the organization” (p. 1525). Although telecommuters
commonly work from home, there are other variations of this arrangement to
note. Some telecommuters may be found working from satellite offices—located
outside the home and the organization—while other telecommuters may work
from neighborhood offices—occupied by employees from various organizations
(Blanchard, 2017). Yet another variation of this involves working entirely on the
go, the so-called mobile workers—conducting business from planes, vehicles, and
hotel rooms. All four types of telecommuters are still considered to be performing
distributed work, or work being done away from the organization’s physical loca-
tion (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007), so all four are types of telecommuters. This
widespread practice is just one outcome of drastic advancement in technology and
its impact on how today’s organizations conduct business.

Benefits of Telecommuting. As with other flexible work arrangements, tele-
commuting bears both individual- and organizational-level benefits. At the in-
dividual level, telecommuting promotes a better work-life balance (Snell et al.,

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Watering the Organizational Landscape • 93

2016). This positive effect is facilitated mainly by the improved flexibility for em-
ployees, leading to reduced work-family conflict (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007;
Golden, Veiga, & Simsek, 2006). Additional advantages include increased job sat-
isfaction, lower turnover intent, and reduced role stress (Gajendran & Harrison,
2007). Some work on these relationships indicates that job satisfaction associated
with telecommuting was due to fewer interruptions and less time spent on office
politics (Snell et al., 2016). Beyond these, employees also find the reduction in
stress due to minimal commuting and control over one’s work environment to be
added benefits (Piskurich, 1996).

Organizationally, meta-analytic evidence regarding the link between job per-
formance and telecommuting indicates that this work arrangement is associated
with higher supervisory ratings or archival records of performance (Gajendran
& Harrison, 2007). Interestingly, no relationship between telecommuting and
self-rated performance was observed. Additional work in this domain suggests
that telecommuting also reduces absenteeism, overtime, and sick time on the part
of the employee (Piskurich, 1996). Resembling flextime and compressed work-
weeks, telecommuting helps attract and retain valued employees—serving as a
vital recruitment and retention tool for companies (Piskurich, 1996). Telecom-
muting has also been found to impact the physical space of the organization, with
managers and HR professionals citing reduced office space (Snell et al., 2016) and
maximization of office space (Piskurich, 1996) as two important advantages for
the company. Cascio (2000) highlights the potential cost savings associated with
reduced office space and corresponding real-estate expenses, and notes additional
opportunities for cost savings as a result of decreased travel and lodging needs

Job Sharing

Job sharing defined. Job sharing refers to an arrangement whereby one full-
time job is performed by two part-time employees (Olmsted, 1979). The success
of this particular type of flexible work arrangement depends highly on consistent
and effective interaction and collaboration between the two part-time employees
in order to get the work done (Thomas, Spitzmueller, & Sady, 2017). Job sharers
must work as a team and pick up where the other leaves off mainly because both
employees are responsible for the same job (Thakur, Bansal, & Maini, 2018).
According to Snell et al. (2016), job sharers commonly work three days a week,
overlapping one day in order to facilitate effective communication. Given this
scheduling, job sharers are paid three-fifth of a normal, full-time salary.

Benefits of Job Sharing. Although literature on job sharing discusses fewer
overall advantages than that of flextime, compressed workweeks, and telecom-
muting, the benefits are nonetheless there and are not trivial. Most of those who
opt for this arrangement do so because they either do not want to work full-time
(as in the case of older workers wishing to phase into retirement) or they can-
not work full-time (as in the case of parents of young children needing to work
part-time in order to be mindful of their family responsibilities). Thus, one of

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94 • MACDOUGALL, BAGDASAROV, & BUCKLEY

the biggest pros to job sharing is the achievement of a better work-life balance
(Stables & Watton, 2017). Employees engaged in job sharing often cite the ability
to balance work and family demands, raise children, conduct personal business,
advance their education, and attend to other interests and goals as the main ben-
efits of this work arrangement (Thomas et al., 2017).

Managers, on the other hand, tout having a second trained employee who can
always fill in for the first if one is on vacation or out sick (Thomas et al., 2017),
minimizing the inevitable disruption to productivity associated with illness and
vacation. Employers also relish job sharing because they can schedule the part-
time employees to work during peak hours of workload, maximizing productivity
(Snell et al., 2016). And, if hard times arise, employers can institute job sharing
in order to keep both workers employed, reducing the need for layoffs (Snell et
al., 2016).

GENERAL DISCUSSION

It is our hope that the current effort helps reframe the way businesses think about
flexible work options. Rather than viewing flexible work as solely an employee
or employer benefit, organizations should highlight the utility of flexible work
practices as both a management tool (via enhanced efficiency and productivity)
and a means to meet employee interests (via work-life enrichment) (Reilly, 1998;
SHRM, 2014). Through this lens, workplace flexibility is best viewed as a mutu-
ally beneficial employment arrangement.

The current effort delved into workplace flexibility through discussion of four
flexible work arrangements including (1) flextime, (2) compressed workweek, (3)
telecommuting, and (4) job sharing. Although important in and of themselves,
these arrangements only constitute part of what it means to enact a flexible work-
place. For example, Pitt-Catsouphes and Matz-Costa (2008) deconstructed the
flexibility construct into multiple key dimensions including formal versus infor-
mal policies, attitudes and values characterizing the broader organizational cli-
mate and culture, work design and employment structure, and interpersonal in-
teractions. Kossek, Lewis, and Hammer (2010) condensed these dimensions into
two factors. According to the authors, structural components entail the actual flex-
ible job design and corresponding HR policies, whereas cultural components are
comprised of supportive supervisors and climates. Inherent in both of the above
conceptualizations of workplace flexibility is the need for social support in addi-
tion to structural changes, and we certainly echo this sentiment.

Before concluding, several practical implications of this chapter are worth not-
ing. First, managers seeking to integrate flexible work arrangements should first
decide whether they will do so in a standardized or individualized fashion. Com-
panies may opt to include alternate work arrangements within benefits packages
made available to all employees, thereby ensuring equal access to such programs.
Others may choose to accept “I-Deals,” or idiosyncratic terms in employment
(Hornung, Rosseau, & Glaser, 2008). I-Deals allow employees to customize, or

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Watering the Organizational Landscape • 95

negotiate, for employment conditions that best align with their personal needs
and preferences. Often, I-Deals take place at the time of hire, although some or-
ganizations are willing to accept them on an ongoing basis. Determining whether
standardized or individualized approaches to flexible work arrangements is likely
to depend on the nature of the job as well as the organization as a whole.

Second, human resource professionals should be cognizant of how best to
manage employees on flexible work arrangements, inclusive of regular commu-
nications to incentivizing and measuring performance. Prior to the start of a new
flexible work arrangement, managers are encouraged to meet with employees to
jointly determine (1) how best to communicate with one another, (2) how work
will get done, and (3) how performance will be evaluated (see SHRM, 2014 for
a detailed list of support activities for flexible workers). Moreover, flexible work
arrangements should not come with an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Rath-
er, managers should be equipped with regular check-in questions focused on the
work (task completion, time management) as well as the worker (general well-
being, level of comfort working alone) (SHRM, 2014).

Lastly, it is important to note that workplace flexibility may not be appropriate
for all people or contexts (Cascio, 2000). Not all workers will prefer flexible work
to traditional work, as individual differences may impact whether an employee
chooses to opt into such arrangements (Lambert, Marler, & Gueutal, 2008). For
example, individuals who exhibit personal innovativeness, or a tendency to ex-
plore new and unfamiliar forms of technology (Fenner & Renn, 2004), may re-
spond very well to flexible arrangements. Employees who exhibit openness to
experience, known for their intellectual curiosity, creative thought, and willing-
ness to accept change (Judge, Piccolo, & Kosalka, 2009) are likely to respond in
a similar fashion. Not everyone exhibits such characteristics, however, and many
employees may be reluctant to transition into such novel working conditions. In
this regard, it is important to consider “flexibility fit,” or the extent to which em-
ployees perceive that their employer is offering a flexible arrangement that meets
their needs (Pitt-Catsouphes & Matz-Costa, 2000). Although work-family ten-
sions are on the rise across all demographic groups (Kossek, 2006), the types of
flexibility needed by older workers may very well differ from those preferred by
younger generations.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

The 21st century workforce bears little resemblance to the workforce of the past,
and continued change, whether radical or incremental, is certain to contribute to
an ever-changing organizational landscape. A company’s willingness to remain
flexible and adapt to changing times not only signals its responsiveness to work-
force needs, but moreover, its long-term viability (Matz-Costa & Pitt-Catsouphes,
2010). Human resource departments are often the first stop in heeding and ad-
dressing employee concerns. Staying abreast of changing values and preferences
among new generations can thus contribute to favorable HR policies and practices

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96 • MACDOUGALL, BAGDASAROV, & BUCKLEY

that facilitate a positive organizational environment for all (Westerman & Yama-
mura, 2007). Accordingly, the current effort made a case for increased flexibil-
ity within human resource departments as a mutually beneficial arrangement for
employers and employees. It is our hope that the evidence provided herein will
encourage HR professionals to implement flexible work arrangements, granting
employees agency in determining how to perform their work, and in turn facilitat-
ing enhanced work-life balance.

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Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends:
“Now and Around the Corner”, pages 145–162.
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All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. 145

CHAPTER 7

A CONSIDERATION OF SOCIAL
MEDIA MOVEMENTS ON

GENDER-RELATED HR POLICY
Angela N. Spranger and Brenna Gonsalves

INTRODUCTION

This chapter summarizes a review of the literature and media in our investiga-
tion of the impact of social media phenomena on corporate human resource (HR)
management policies. The purpose of our efforts is to identify, first, if there has
been any significant impact on gender-related HR policies attributable to the
#MeToo, #TimesUp, or other social media movements. We seek to analyze how
current gender-related social media movements encourage changes in business
through HR policy. For this preliminary analysis, we seek to indicate what has
emerged thus far in the literature, summarize the pilot data from an initial case
study, offer implications for research and for practice, and outline next steps for
further consideration. In this chapter we assess current literature on the workplace
phenomena of harassment (both sexual and psychological), bullying, and gender
stereotypes that lead to discrimination. We also examine leadership style, percep-
tions and expectations in the context of implicit leadership theory.

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AN: 2006258 ; Ronald R. Sims.; Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends: ‘Now and Around the Corner’
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146 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & BRENNA GONSALVES

Human Resource (HR) Management and Gender-Related Policy:
What We Know

In business, HR is the department that deals with all things personnel. That is,
HR helps drive, manage, and facilitate the employment life cycle, from recruiting
and onboarding to retirement or termination, including strategic HR planning,
performance management, training and development, and employee engagement.
As the thought leaders and culture monitors of the organization, HR represents
the cornerstone of creating change in the workplace. Through effective change
management, including organizational unlearning, HR can facilitate more effec-
tive team development (even when that means hiring outsiders or terminating
noncompliant team members who violate organizational norms) and use employ-
ee engagement initiatives that improve sensitivity and inclusiveness, thereby in-
creasing productivity and morale. HR management policies and training on those
policies can create cultural changes in a business if used properly.

Why Research This Problem Now?

Renowned leadership author and speaker Barbara Kellerman suggested that
the last ten years have ushered in an end to traditional leader-follower roles and
dynamics. Instead, grassroots movements and follower-initiated campaigns have
changed the geopolitical landscape and may have equal impact in corporate set-
tings (Kellerman, 2012). While there are many articles written about the social
impact of contemporary rights movements, there is no body of literature yet that
addresses the impact of these movements on business practices. The recent re-
surgence of gay rights, racial equality, and women’s rights movements has gath-
ered formidable momentum. Grassroots movements create roles of influence for
their initiators and organizers. Pride Marches, #BlackLivesMatter, and #MeToo
are changing the social and cultural landscape of America. Hashtags and trends
on social media outlets such as Twitter (also Instagram, Facebook, Reddit and
Tumblr) allow people all over the globe to lend their voices to common causes.
We seek to engage the human resources community in a dialogue that addresses
HR policy concerns in light of these social media phenomena, within a theoretical
framework.

Since 2016, several high-profile sexual harassment allegations were revealed
in various news outlets and on social media platforms, primarily from the en-
tertainment industry. Issues such as gay rights, racial inequality protests, and
women’s rights movements are not new to America. But in the last few years, ob-
servers have noted a significant shift from complacency to activism, particularly
in politics and the entertainment industry. These fields have received particular
attention in the media due to the myriad allegations of harassment by high-pro-
file male figures. For example, Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, Harvey
Weinstein, and Matt Lauer are all celebrities in the entertainment industry who
have been accused of sexual harassment or assault. Even after such allegations,

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A Consideration of Social Media Movements on Gender-Related HR Policy • 147

Trump successfully crossed over from entertainment into politics. O’Reilly main-
tained an unrepentant stance and continued to sell books and participate in online
and onscreen controversi es. Following the Weinstein allegations, more and more
women have publicized similar allegations accusing a multitude of celebrities,
from Ed Westwick to James Franco. The common thread is that these were all
workplace occurrences, and they did not appear to be stopping.

Even as we prepared this chapter, new reports emerged of major corporations
having been forced to address their gender-related harassment policies. Specifi-
cally, Nike has “struggled with their efforts to market to women, and they’ve had
a lot of talent leave the organization” (Wallace, 2018). Women in workplaces like
Fox News, NBC’s Today Show, and Nike’s corporate organization have chosen
the “exit” option when they finally tired of misogynistic behaviors, examples of
which included males who “constantly would berate women, talk down to wom-
en, interrupt,” demean women’s contributions, and perhaps worst and most per-
vasive, excuse other men’s disrespectful actions and behaviors. The unfortunate
component to these stories is that, as with Nike’s Wallace, often women make the
appropriate complaints to management and HR but receive either explicit or im-
plicit messaging from the company that indicates the woman herself is to blame,
has given mixed messages or otherwise invited the bad behavior, or is too sensi-
tive. Or, the messaging may be that it is too difficult to execute the organizational
unlearning—discipline, retraining, or termination—or the bad actors. Perhaps the
accused is a high value executive, top sales performer, or other “untouchable.”
Until the impact of bad behavior in the workplace affects the company’s bottom
line, often no change takes place. Certainly, Nike’s “in-house problems” have had
a significant impact on retail performance; in the United States market, Adidas
and Under Armour are “gaining on them” (Wallace, 2018).

In Wallace’s (2018) case after leaving Nike, though, there is a positive strain of
news emerging from the company:

Nike is in the midst of a company-wide overhaul. An informal survey of women at
the Oregon headquarters revealed complaints of pay inequity, inappropriate work-
place behavior and a lack of career advancement for women. The survey was deliv-
ered to CEO Mark Parker. He’s apologized to people who were excluded and called
them brave for speaking out.

In the first half of 2018, the President of the company announced his retire-
ment. The next day, the Vice President announced his departure. Then, five more
senior leaders, and then four more, so that the total in May of 2018 is 11 execu-
tives who have either chosen to or been required to leave the company. There is a
cultural overhaul taking place, and former Nike employee Wallace attributes it to
the #MeToo movement.

An additional unifying factor has been the widespread outpouring of support on
social media from female (and male) entertainment industry professionals. With
stars opening up about their traumas, more women across the country and around

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148 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & BRENNA GONSALVES

the world have felt comfortable adding to the dialogue. Women who have expe-
rienced similar workplace hardships use the hashtags and trends to reclaim their
confidence and engage in the campaign to “feel seen, safe, and valued” (Spranger,
2015) in the workplace. These women of varying ages are standing up for what
they believe and exposing a workplace phenomenon that been, one might say, an
open secret for too long. And in some cases, the women raise legal complaints in
a timely fashion so that their offenders (and the organizations where they work)
may be held legally accountable.

As a result of these cases, some of which resulted in lawsuits and others which
negatively impacted the brand of the company, organizations can no longer afford
to ignore issues of potential gender discrimination or harassment. The #MeToo,
#NastyWoman, and #TimesUp campaigns paved the way for conversations in the
workplace. Have these conversations spread to industries other than entertain-
ment and news media? As in those industries, women in other sectors have begun
to initiate dialogue and point out the unfortunate statistics surrounding these un-
comfortable topics. Implicit leadership theories, stereotypes, and leadership per-
ceptions all create an image of what employees expect from women in leadership
roles, but this often unfairly creates a lose-lose scenario for women interested
in climbing the corporate ladder. Potential challenges to this moment of incred-
ible cultural shift include women’s perceptions of women in leadership roles, as
well as increased hesitation from men to engage in the dialogue for fear of being
misunderstood or, worse, accused. The findings of our preliminary and follow-on
studies may help executives and HR practitioners to craft more effective harass-
ment policies, or to create them where they do not exist. Additionally, our findings
may lead to compelling future research opportunities. Recommendations as well
as implications for HR practice are provided.

Assumptions

We assume that employees in any organizational context want to “feel seen,
safe, and valued” (Spranger, 2015). People want to feel like they are receiving
the proper amount of attention and care from their employers. They want to go
to work and only worry about work and not their safety. And, finally, they want
to feel like what they are doing is appreciated. This chapter is organized around
that concept, and will focus primarily on the idea of safety for purposes of clarity.
Also, we use the concept of being “seen” interchangeably with being “heard.”
Since the goal of social media movements is not so much being physically seen,
or visible, as with marches, we focus on the expressed concerns that amplify
employees’ voices and reasoning behind why they are speaking up, even using
anonymous identities online, for their voices to be heard. Last, some of the so-
cial media movements referenced have been highly politicized or are political in
nature (such as the #NastyWoman and #IAmANastyWomanBecause movement).
Our goal is not to examine the politics but to state the facts about the social media
movements and consider their impact on gender-related HR policy.

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A Consideration of Social Media Movements on Gender-Related HR Policy • 149

PRELIMINARY LITERATURE REVIEW

Well-known psychologist Abraham Maslow (1943), created a hierarchy of needs
showcasing the most important needs for humans. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
(1943) labels safety needs as second only to physiological needs such as food, wa-
ter, and sleep. Unfortunately for women, these needs have never been met fully.
Sexual harassment at work, as well as bullying, create an environment for women
where they do not enjoy going to work every day nor do they feel safe.

Seen, but Not Safe. There are two primary forms of sexual harassment dis-
cussed in college classes and basic HR compliance workshops. The first, quid pro
quo, is the one that is usually thought of when considering sexual harassment-
“this for that.” In legal terms, this means “making sexual favors a condition of any
workplace opportunity” like hiring, promotion, a raise, etc. (Williams & Lebsock,
2018, p. 8). The second form is more ambiguous than quid pro quo: it is the hos-
tile work environment. Legally, this form of harassment must be unwelcome, the
environment created must be one that any reasonable person would consider to
be hostile, and it must be severe or pervasive. Recent HR textbooks separate the
hostile work environment into two categories; that of the environment created by
supervisors and management, and a separate category for a hostile work environ-
ment created by peers, colleagues, customers or suppliers. Sexist comments fall
under the category of hostile work environment, and 82% of women and 74% of
men have reported hearing sexist comments at work (Williams & Lebsock, 2018).
Regardless of type, the number of women who have been sexually harassed at
some point during their career fluctuates anywhere between 60–80% depending
on the study (Williams & Lebsock, 2018).

The prevalence of psychological harassment, or bullying, is equally dismal.
Bullying is a category of antisocial workplace behavior (AWB) that is, as yet, law-
ful under federal and state laws. Even California, the leading edge for employee-
friendly law, has yet to pass anything stronger than a mandate for employers to
provide training on abusive conduct. And “abusive conduct” is defined differently
in different states. New York’s definition seems comprehensive:

Abusive conduct means

acts, omissions, or both, that a reasonable person would find abusive, based on the
severity, nature and frequency of the conduct, including, but not limited to:

repeated verbal abuse such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults and epithets;

verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a threatening, intimidating or humiliating
nature;

or the sabotage or undermining of an employee’s work performance.

It shall be considered an aggravating factor if the conduct exploited an employee’s
known psychological or physical illness or disability.

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150 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & BRENNA GONSALVES

A single act normally shall not constitute abusive conduct, but an especially severe
and egregious act may meet this standard. (Segal, 2015, p. 118)

Unfortunately (trust the lawyers to remind us of this), attempting to put too
fine a point on what bullying is may create too much of a restrictive work envi-
ronment, in which poor performers may use the threat of a bullying accusation
to prevent managers from holding them accountable for their behavior, attitudes,
outcomes and results.

All across the United States, bullying is legal—if the victim is targeted be-
cause she is a competitor, of if the bully behaves equally badly towards everyone
on his team. If and only if the bullying behavior is rooted in hostility towards an
individual’s protected class status such as “race, gender, religion, national origin,
age, sexual orientation or disability” (Segal, 2015). The best that a complainant
can do is document the situation carefully, and then if they feel they must termi-
nate the employment relationship they may be able to file a wrongful constructive
discharge claim based on the documented psychological harassment, or bullying.

Women who work in the service sector, or in low-wage jobs, are the most
vulnerable. Hotel housekeepers, late night janitorial staff, restaurant workers, etc.
are just a few examples of these types of jobs. In 2011, 37% of the Equal Employ-
ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints filed by women came from
the restaurant industry alone- and that was seven years ago. In 2014, in a sur-
vey conducted about women restaurant workers, 80% had been harassed by col-
leagues, almost 80% had been harassed by coworkers, 67% had been harassed by
managers, and 52% of these women were harassed on a weekly basis (Williams
& Lebsock, 2018). Unfortunately, the EEOC has not yet published information
regarding statistics on business women being harassed at work. An article from an
alternate source claims, that from 2005 to 2015 professional, scientific, technical
services, finance and insurance, and management made up 10.36% of all harass-
ment claims made to the EEOC regardless of gender (Stewart, 2017). While it is
less likely for people in business to be harassed overall, harassment at work is still
an issue that needs addressing.

Harassment is not the only workplace concern regarding safety. Bullying is
another continuous trend making women feel unwanted and unsafe at work. Bul-
lying is described by Spranger and Mitchell (2018) as “repeated attempts to tor-
ment, wear down, or frustrate another person; it further compromises treatment
that provokes pressures intimidates or otherwise causes discomfort” (p. 9). Over-
all, it is estimated that 54 million Americans have been bullied at some point in
their career (Kane, 2018). According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, 58%
of all bullying targets were women (Kane, 2018). In general, 68% of bullying is
same-gender, meaning women are more likely to bully women; women bullies
choose to target other women about 80% of the time (Kane, 2018). A survey from
UCLA in 2011 made up of 60,000 people, found that “women—even those who
were managers themselves—were more likely to want a male boss than a female
one” (Khazan, 2017, n.p.). This concept is reinforced by Spranger and Mitchell

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A Consideration of Social Media Movements on Gender-Related HR Policy • 151

(2018) who reported that “one study showed that 95% of women felt they were
undermined at some point in their career by other women (Ludwig, n.d., p. 7). In
a roundtable discussion about Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book Lean In, the concept
of the “impostor syndrome” was raised. This syndrome reflects women’s feel-
ings of being fake, artificial, undeserving or a fraud when they are recognized
for their hard work. Roundtable participants suggested that women need to take
Sandberg’s advice and “[o]wn your skills, ability, and work,” (Folz, 2015, p. 103)
while acknowledging that this phenomenon is a throwback to previous genera-
tions in the workplace. That is, while a woman may be highly qualified and ex-
perienced, she still gets evaluated on her looks by men as well as other women.
This leads to women questioning what they have to do to simply be recognized for
their contributions. And, other women in the dialogue identify more with the fear
of being perceived as aggressive or bossy rather than doubting their own skills
(Folz, 2015). Spranger and Mitchell (2018) also found that women feel women
leaders foster an environment of competition where women subordinates feel they
must compete more for promotions as well as both mentorship and development
opportunities.

Another way women feel unsafe at work is through sex discrimination. Dis-
crimination based on sex is not new for women in business, regardless of industry.
In 2014, 74.4% of all the sex discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC were
from women (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2018). It is im-
portant to note that these numbers only come from complaints that have been filed
and do not accurately represent all of the instances of sex discrimination at work.
In the Lean In book, Sheryl Sandberg suggested that women at her company,
Facebook, can and should talk openly about their family planning goals. She even
stated that she had raised the issue in job interviews (Folz, 2015). Human resource
management professionals would cringe at the very suggestion of women being
asked about their plans to have children or adopt, as it harkens back to an era when
men were paid more because they “legitimately” had families to provide for and
women were judged as betraying their feminine duties if they wanted to work full-
time. In a roundtable dialogue about Sandberg’s book, several reacted strongly.
One said, “it scares the heck out of me to think of managers asking that type of
question,” another raised the specter of “legal repercussions,” and a third stated
that “as a compliance nerd, I wouldn’t recommend it to my managers. Primarily
because I don’t think that [the information] would be used as intended” (Folz,
2015, p. 104).

In the past, businesses paid settlements for harassment claims and swept any
other possible damages under the rug through non-disclosure agreements. Many
complaints went unreported because back then, it was the complainants (women)
who were fired after a claim was made. According to the Harvard Business Re-
view, Harvey Weinstein paid out settlements to eight of the women who filed ha-
rassment claims against him (Williams & Lebsock, 2018). Williams and Lebsock
state that “quiet settlements are now becoming harder to justify. The unceremoni-

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152 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & BRENNA GONSALVES

ous firings and forced resignations of famous men demonstrate that companies are
moving away from that strategy” (2018, p. 6). With the help of movements like
#MeToo, silence is no longer afforded to companies and defendants intertwined
in harassment claims. Although more women are speaking up, the big difference
now is that they are being believed.

With statistics like these, it comes as no surprise that women do not feel safe at
work. Chances of being harassed or bullied at work and in life are incredibly high
for women. Women do not even feel supported by one another in their workplace-
preferring male bosses over female ones (Jonsen, Maznevski, & Schneider, 2010;
Spranger & Mitchell, 2018). Movements like #MeToo are forcing companies to
make changes to their policies and practices. Since women have not felt safe, and
the current environment created has given women an outlet to speak out, they are
using it. These trends, hashtags, marches, and movements are allowing women to
be both seen and heard.

Seen

Each of these movements has allowed women to speak up for something they
have been silenced by in the past.

Historically, it has been hard to win a sexual harassment suit, but rapidly shifting
public perceptions may change that. Seventy-eight percent of women say they are
more likely to speak out now if they are treated unfairly because of their gender.
About the same percent of men (77%) say they are now more likely to speak out if
they see a woman being treated unfairly. It’s a new day for a simple reason: Women
are being believed (Williams & Lebsock, 2018, p. 5)

The difference between now and then, is that now both the political environ-
ment and the media has created the perfect storm for women to rally together and
create a change. #MeToo, #NastyWoman, and #TimesUp are all distinct move-
ments focusing on different women’s social issues. Social media is giving women
an outlet to showcase how many people are being affected by harassment and
discrimination.

Few people know about the origins of #MeToo. Ten years ago, an activist
named Tarana Burke created a movement to empower young girls of color; this
was when #MeToo was created. However, the story behind this hashtag goes back
to 1996 when Burke was a youth camp director. A young girl asked to speak
with Burke after a bonding session among all girls. The young girl began to tell
Burke about her “stepdaddy” (her mother’s boyfriend) and the things he was do-
ing to her during such a vulnerable time in her development. Burke was so over-
whelmed with emotions, shocked and horrified, that she stopped the young girl in
the middle of her story and directed her to another counselor she thought “could
help her better” (Santiago & Criss, 2017). Burke could not bring herself to even
whisper the words “me too.” Later, Burke decided to help these young survivors
of sexual abuse, and sexual assault- to give them an outlet and a voice- she created

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A Consideration of Social Media Movements on Gender-Related HR Policy • 153

an organization dedicated to letting others know they were not alone (Santiago &
Criss, 2017).

The reason #MeToo has become so well-known is because on October 15th,
2017, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged users to use the hashtag. In light of the
Harvey Weinstein allegations, she tweeted this:

Later, Milano tweeted out #MeToo with a link to Burke’s organization, to fur-
ther spread knowledge of how to help. The hashtag took off, and people all over
the world were using the hashtag as a way to acknowledge that they were not
alone and they were no longer ashamed. An immediate bond was created among
these (mostly) women, and people could no longer ignore the growing number of
people who could relate to being sexually harassed, assaulted, or abused.

Within two days (from the Sunday Milano tweeted, to the Tuesday this article
was created), the hashtag was used 825,000 times on Twitter and over 4.7 mil-
lion times on Facebook (Santiago & Criss, 2017). “According to Facebook, more
than 45% of people in the United States are friends with someone who’s posted a
message with the words ‘Me too’“ (Santiago & Criss, 2017). Burke was amazed
by this viral movement, but hopes that it moves beyond that- “she wants sexual
violence or gender-based violence approached as a social justice issue” (Santiago
& Criss, 2017). Tarana Burke wants action and change.

#MeToo has inspired marches around the world. For years, Tarana Burke has
hosted survivors’ marches, leading them with a large sign saying “#MeToo” on
the front. Even though Harvey Weinstein was the reason behind Milano tweeting,
it is not just celebrities being affected by sexual violence. Women all over the
world have used the hashtag as a rallying cry to show other women that they are
not alone in this fight and that they are not the only ones being affected. Women
are demanding to be seen and heard because they are refusing to be silenced.

The #TimesUp movement is a mostly celebrity response to the Harvey Wein-
stein allegations. A ‘letter in solidarity’ was created called “Dear Sisters,” to bet-

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154 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & BRENNA GONSALVES

ter explain what this movement stands for and what its goals are. One paragraph
reads:

Unfortunately, too many centers of power—from legislatures to boardrooms to ex-
ecutive suites and management to academia—lack gender parity and women do not
have equal decision-making authority. This systemic gender-inequality and imbal-
ance of power fosters an environment that is ripe for abuse and harassment against
women. Therefore, we call for a significant increase of women in positions of lead-
ership and power across industries. In addition, we seek equal representation, oppor-
tunities, benefits and pay for all women workers, not to mention greater representa-
tion of women of color, immigrant women, disabled women, and lesbian, bisexual,
and transgender women, whose experiences in the workforce are often significantly
worse than their white, cisgender, straight peers. The struggle for women to break
in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledge in male-dominated
workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly (Time’s Up, 2018).

As you can see, this movement has many goals and covers many topics. Over-
all, it is safe to say they are against discrimination based on gender, sexuality,
ability, and race. However, this movement may encounter problems with trying
to get more women in positions of power. Since women prefer male bosses over
female ones, it may be harder than assumed by this movement to get other women
on board with the idea of more women in leadership roles.

One of the most significant ways this movement showcased its solidarity was
at the Golden Globe Award ceremony in the winter of 2018, when celebrities
dressed in black to show their unity for the #TimesUp movement. At this event,
many female celebrities decided to bring women activists as their plus one to
use their celebrity for a cause. Actress Michelle Williams brought Tarana Burke;
actress Meryl Streep brought Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domes-
tic Workers Alliance (White, 2018). The actresses deferred to their ‘dates’ when
asked questions about why they chose to wear all black; to use the opportunity
in the spotlight for good and to help instigate conversations around the topic of
equality- especially in the entertainment industry (White, 2018).

With the help of these movements, women are now fighting to be seen and
heard. Since social media is so wide-spread and anyone can use it from anywhere,
women all over the world are coming together. They realize they are not alone and
becoming more comfortable speaking up for what they want. Women are refus-
ing to be silenced now and pushing hard for the causes they believe in so deeply.
With conversations surrounding harassment, degrading language, and equal pay
by both politicians and celebrities, women are making changes to the way they
are perceived and valued- especially at work. Many of the allegations brought
up through #MeToo occurred in some type of workplace, the “nasty” comment
was made to Hilary Clinton in her place of work (so to speak), and the Time’s
Up movement is focusing on the workplace and equality in pay, numbers, and
opportunities.

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A Consideration of Social Media Movements on Gender-Related HR Policy • 155

Valued

It is important to recognize that perception and value are inextricably inter-
twined. The ‘value’ one holds is based on other’s perceptions of that person, or
their perceived value. For women at work, their perceived value has been stifled
by stereotypes, perceptions of women leaders, and implicit leadership theories
(biases). While there are more women in leadership roles now than ever before-
for example, there are now 21 women in the Senate, more than there has ever
been- women are still being labeled and devalued at work (Pew Research Center,
2017). Women make up 52% of the United States total population, yet “only 20%
of the ‘C-suite,’ or top executive roles, are women” (Spranger & Mitchell, 2018).

Stereotypes- while not always accurate- can still create obstacles for women to
overcome. According to Jonsen, Maznevski, and Schneider (2010) “we stereotype
based on familiar women’s roles” (p. 551) such as mothers, nurses, and teachers.
Implicit leadership theories suggest that we have preconceived notions of a leader
that form our expectations of them. We expect women to be motherly, nurtur-
ing, and accommodating based on these stereotypes. However, “management jobs
have traditionally been understood as being constructed according to male norms
and thus creating difficulties for women” (Alewell, 2013; Kyriakidou, 2012, p. 4).
The management world is still dominated by men, and many “women have identi-
fied stereotypes as an important barrier to the most senior positions in business”
(Jonson, Maznevski, & Schneider, 2010, p. 552).

Studies have shown that people- regardless of gender, tend to assume a “lead-
er” has more male associated traits than female ones (Alewell, 2013; Jonson,
Maznevski & Schneider, 2010; Kyriakidou, 2012; Mendez & Busenbark, 2015).
“These stereotypes create psychological burdens that may contribute to their low
rates of self-promotion and concurrent underrepresentation” (p. 6) and make it
hard for any women to be successful in a leadership position (Spranger & Mitch-
ell, 2018). Their value as a leader is immediately decreased based on their gender.
Also, based on these stereotypes, if women

adhere to traditional “female” characteristics (e.g. nurturing/communal) they are
considered too nice and therefore not capable/competent. If they assume more “male
characteristics” (agentic) they are considered to be too harsh. Thus women who at-
tain leadership positions have to make a tradeoff between being liked vs respected.
(Jonson, Maznevski, & Schneider, 2010, p. 552)

Sandberg’s Lean In suggested that women should be more confident and asser-
tive, behaviors and attitudes more traditionally associated with male leaders, but
HR managers and executives know that the empirical differences between male
and female leadership are negligible. The feminine styles of leadership tends to
lead women to be “more willing to admit they don’t have all the answers at critical
times… more relational… more team-oriented… seeking to understand others…
showing the ability to think and then communicate” (Folz, 2015, p. 105).

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156 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & BRENNA GONSALVES

Being a woman in a leadership role creates a “lose-lose” situation. Not only
do women have to compete against stereotypes and inaccurate perceptions, but
as mentioned earlier, they also compete against each other for opportunities in
the workplace (Spranger & Mitchell, 2018). Overall, it is a commonly-held idea
that perceptions of suitable leadership are indeed influenced by gender- and for
women, this is not a positive influence.

The effects of these stereotypes on women “include an undermined sense of
identity and belonging, and a decrease in motivation to succeed” (Spranger &
Mitchell, 2018). #MeToo and other gender-related movements have laid down
the groundwork for conversations surrounding these topics to be brought into
the workplace. These movements are fighting for stereotypes, perceptions, and
implicit theories to stop being barriers to women moving up the corporate ladder.
Their goal is to give women the same rights and opportunities as men at work and
in life.

IMPLICATIONS FOR HUMAN
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PRACTICE

From a practitioner standpoint, there are many changes businesses can consider
in light of these movements to ensure their company is creating a fair and equal
workplace where everyone feels seen, safe, and valued. Harassment policies must
be carefully thought out, elucidated in an employee handbook that clearly states it
is not a contract, and then enforced with explicit complaint policies (Segal, 2015).
Additionally, it is important to ensure that everyone is well trained on the harass-
ment policy. Knowledge and training are pertinent for comprehension of the poli-
cies already in place. It is important employees already know the steps they are
required to take should anything happen while at work. Since it is not unlikely that
a woman will be harassed sometime in her career, it may be beneficial to educate
everyone on the many types of harassment. It is not just quid pro quo harassment;
there is also hostile work environment and psychological harassment, or bullying
that affect people’s working conditions and comfort. Setting the tone right away
leaves no room for the excuse “I didn’t know.” Writing down specific definitions
for harassment and bullying will leave no loopholes. For example, Segal (2015)
suggests that organizations should lay out a definition for what constitutes bul-
lying in their company, and specify what types of behaviors may be considered
bullying under that definition:

A policy prohibiting bullying should outline examples of behavior that might
constitute bullying, such as:

• Mean-spirited “joking” designed to exploit an employee’s perceived weak-
nesses.

• Discussing an employee’s performance problems with the employee’s
peers or subordinates.

• Yelling at an employee, whether alone or in front of others.

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A Consideration of Social Media Movements on Gender-Related HR Policy • 157

• Encouraging others to avoid an employee.
• Physical intimidation when speaking with an employee.
• Sabotaging an employee’s work.
• Insulting an employee’s family or friends. (Segal, 2015)

In the current political climate, an unfortunate consequence of the general cli-
mate of conversational incivility is that political images (a picture of the current or
previous president of the United States with his family, for example) evoke strong
feelings in employees, such that

And what about a policy restricting romantic relationships and dating among
coworkers? Such a policy may have value should a subordinate and a supervi-
sor become intimate—as with radio and media personality Tavis Smiley, who
lost his job at PBS due to “sexual harassment and dalliances with subordinates”
(O’Connell, 2018). Indeed, it would not be ideal to encounter a harassment lawsuit
at work because an intimate relationship deteriorated (Hunt, Davidson, Fielden &
Hoel, 2010; Mainiero & Jones, 2013; Smith, 2018). Cultural changes in business
often start with policy changes. Having hiring policies that address equality and
accountability will ensure minority groups, like women, are taken into equal con-
sideration. And, taking careful steps to avoid conscious and unconscious bias in
hiring decisions will aid greatly in preparing HR generalists and representatives,
Talent Acquisition specialists, and hiring managers for following through on eq-
uitable, accountable hiring processes. As Segal explains,

a white male manager may know that gender and race lawfully cannot be considered
in a hiring situation. But he, as a white man, may favor a white male candidate over
a woman of color based on how ‘comfortable’ he is with each of them, even though
he has no idea that his comfort level may relate to race and/or gender.

Unconscious bias, often referred to as implicit bias, is bias that we are unaware of.
It happens automatically and without any conscious thought process and is triggered
by our brain making snap judgments formed, at least in part, as a result of the mes-
sages that we received growing up, as well as our own experiences, culture, mass
media and other influences. (2017, p. 75)

To prevent the activation of implicit bias and action taken based on stereo-
types, HR professionals can encourage their peers and the managers in the orga-
nizations they serve to take the Harvard Implicit Awareness Test (IAT), to assess
individuals’ implicit bias in areas such as gender and sexual orientation, race,
religion, and age (Segal, 2017). Segal (2017) urges caution here though, HR pro-
fessionals should take care with bias testing, as the results of such an instrument
are discoverable in case of employment litigation.

Training. While mentioned earlier with regards to policy knowledge and types
of harassment, training is a second means by which changes can be made to busi-
ness culture. Training involving the awareness of implicit leadership theories ste-
reotypes, and perhaps even sensitivity training, might encourage employees to

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158 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & BRENNA GONSALVES

be mindful of how they may play a role in making their women peers, and others
feel unseen and under-valued. Many people are unaware of the preconceived no-
tions/biases/stereotypes they bring into a situation. Having trainings to uncover
these biases may encourage cultural change in the workplace by holding people
accountable for their part. Sensitivity training follows the same idea; it is “train-
ing intended to sensitize people to their attitudes and behaviors that may unwit-
tingly cause offense to others, especially members of various minorities” (Google,
2018). Training like this will encourage self-reflection and hopefully start change.
A company can only change if the people within it are willing. At the most basic
level, businesses are groups of people working toward a common goal; if you can
get everyone invested in the same change- change will happen.

With the previously described trends in vocalizing complaints about harass-
ment in the social sphere, reputation management becomes a viable cottage indus-
try. Company executives may wonder about how their organization and its leaders
are represented on the social media platforms that matter to their investors, cus-
tomers, and potential high value employees. Rather than throw good money after
bad and escalate a commitment to poor, ineffective policies, executives would do
well to address the internal causes (and remedies) of harassment. Bottom line,
employees have grown weary of the apologies and public statements. They prefer
clearly stated policies, procedural steps, and action.

Procedures. How then can you take effective action to protect your company
and reassure employees? Employment lawyer Jonathan Segal (2018) suggests
that as a direct result of #MeToo, leaders review their sexual harassment policies
and at the same time audit the company’s complaint procedure. If the policy is the
roar, then the procedure is the teeth that help the organization back up its stated
values. One key point to emphasize is that it is not just the target of sexual harass-
ment who can, should, and must report the offensive behavior—immediately!—
but also anyone else who witnesses the conduct. Reporting systems should not be
“radio-button” restrictive, in that the employee must be able to enter the descrip-
tion of the behavior in his or her own words. It may be that more of your employ-
ees than you expect end up reporting “harassing conduct that is not unlawful” (p.
64). That actually benefits your company, because it reveals layers of data about
your organizational culture that you might not see otherwise. The policy and the
procedure should both cover all protected classes: racial, ethnic, religious, handi-
cap, age, “and other forms of harassing conduct” (p. 64), as well as the sexual and
psychological harassment.

A second key point, important to publish widely inside your organization, is
that you provide multiple points of contact for employees to report their concerns
about harassment policy compliance. An outside consultant can be contracted to
receive these complaints and relate directly back to your Chief Executive Officer,
Chief Compliance Officer, or other designated responsible party. At the very least,
a harassment complaint should be submitted to a chain manager or supervisor
and a compliance officer in HR. After all, it may be the supervisor or manager

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A Consideration of Social Media Movements on Gender-Related HR Policy • 159

causing the issue that results in the complaint! If your complaint procedure sends
the employee right back to them, it offers no safety or protection at all. There
are businesses that serve as third-party reporting services for large companies,
and consultants who can support small to medium-sized companies in this effort.
Such arrangements should require the consultant to provide a report to at least two
points of contact, both the executive client and HR. Between them, the accused
can be notified and appropriate action taken that incorporates the results and rec-
ommendations of the investigation.

A third key point is to define, clarify, and explain. That is, it will help your
employees to feel safe if they know what behaviors are unacceptable or prohib-
ited conduct. It may seem like micromanaging to have to specify such behav-
iors, but employees appreciate having clear guidelines. For example, a corporate
policy should specify that customers, vendors, and suppliers may be perpetrators
of sexually (or psychologically) harassing behavior. Psychological harassment is
known in the research literature and in current employment law as bullying. Un-
fortunately, while the phenomenon is well documented, no federal or state law
stands to make bullying an illegal act, and women, minorities, and members of
the LGBTQ community may fall victim to this form of harassment with no legal
recourse. Social media and electronic communications, both on and off the job,
both professional and “private,” may be tools used for harassment, so this should
be clarified and explained in your policy as well.

Fourth, an effective complaint procedure must clarify that not only do you
have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, but you must also have a zero
tolerance policy for retaliation or reprisal against the complainant. Your procedure
should include coverage for the complainant and any witnesses or others “associ-
ated with the complainant, such as a spouse” (Segal, 2018, p. 65). In both train-
ing programs and in investigations of real complaints, your company policy and
complaint procedure must state explicitly that even if it does not qualify as a legal
case, the behavior itself and any type of retaliation against the complainant are
absolutely forbidden. Segal states that “[t]he courts are flooded with cases where
employees’ harassment complaints were initially dismissed but the judges later
ruled that the ensuing retaliation claims had sufficient merit to proceed to trial”
(emphasis added) (Segal, 2018, p. 65).

Finally, when faced with a sexual harassment complaint, this is the point at
which your organization must “walk its talk,” and manifest its values. Actions
truly speak louder than words in this kind of situation—either you have a zero
tolerance policy for everyone, or you do not. The President of the company, the
Chief Financial Officer’s nephew, the HR manager, must all be equally suscep-
tible to the company policy, not just the frontline Supervisor, Planner, or Procure-
ment Specialist.

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160 • ANGELA N. SPRANGER & BRENNA GONSALVES

CONCLUSION

Women are now fighting to be seen because they have not felt safe and valued.
Using #MeToo, #NastyWoman, and #TimesUP, women are creating a unified
voice that can no longer be ignored by the public or by businesses. They want
their causes heard and their right to feel seen, safe, and valued back. Due to the
environment created by celebrities and politicians bringing topics of workplace
harassment, bullying, and stereotyping into the spotlight, women are feeling more
comfortable stepping forward and lending their experiences to these causes. Di-
rector and entertainment expert Steven Spielberg has shared many opinions sur-
rounding #MeToo and #TimesUp. Spielberg believes there should be a code of
conduct at work to eliminate sexual harassment (Blackmon, 2017). He is also
quoted saying,

[Time’s Up] is something that is going to change everything for the better… There is
always more to come, but the other thing we have to think about is this…Hollywood
and celebrity gets a lot of recognition, you can’t just think of this as a Hollywood
problem, this is a national problem and probably a global problem (Trendell, 2018,
n.p.).

This problem goes beyond actors and actresses. While these groups have been
instrumental in launching movements into the spotlight, it is now time to take
these proposed changes and apply them to the business world. Cultural change in
business is possible- you have to start at the very base level- the people. Where
better to start encouraging this cultural shift than the people who deal with person-
nel? Human Resources is an influential change agent in every business- changing
the policy, and increasing the training will change the people. With movements
like #MeToo in the spotlight, now is the time to start moving forward.

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Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends:
“Now and Around the Corner”, pages 103–118.
Copyright © 2019 by Information Age Publishing
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. 103

CHAPTER 5

EQUAL RIGHTS FOR
WOMEN: NOT YET

William J. Woska

INTRODUCTION

Women in Rwanda, Iceland, Vietnam, and 131 other nations have constitutionally
guaranteed equal rights, but American women do not. Polls show that a majority
of Americans believe that the United States Constitution already guarantees equal
rights (Przybyla, 2017). Adoption of an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the
Constitution is more than symbolic. “It has implications for how gender-based
violence and workplace sex discrimination are addressed and litigated, for cor-
porate standards involving accommodations for pregnant women, and for guar-
anteed access to prenatal care and contraception.” Furthermore, “it could force a
narrowing of the gender-based imbalance in top leadership roles” (Spier, 2017).

Just like African Americans, women started from the back of the pack when the
United States was founded. For more than a century, they could not vote. In most
states, they could not serve on juries. Into the 1970s, they could be barred from
getting a credit card without a male co-signer. It was only recently that the barrier
keeping them from military combat fell.

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AN: 2006258 ; Ronald R. Sims.; Human Resources Management Issues, Challenges and Trends: ‘Now and Around the Corner’
Account: s4264928.main.eds

104 • WILLIAM J. WOSKA

There is a sordid underpinning of societal discrimination behind the thousand
indignities, little and big, that women have to deal with to this day. Examples in-
clude the shortage of women in executive positions in corporate America, the pay
inequities, the unequal distribution of child-raising responsibility, and the histori-
cal abuse endured by individuals in positions of authority.

Expectations about attributes and behaviors appropriate to women and men are
shaped by culture. Gender identities and gender relations are critical aspects of
culture because they shape the way daily life is lived in the family and also in the
workforce. The cultural meanings given to being a man or a woman is apparent
in the division of labor. History has provided clear patterns of “women’s work”
and “men’s work” that must be overcome in addressing gender equality issues in
the workplace.

The inequality that exists in the workforce is apparent irrespective of argu-
ments that may be used to justify the underrepresentation of women. For example,
the extreme work demands of corporate environments, inexperience, not being
“tough” enough, and family responsibilities, are perceptions that impact execu-
tive level opportunities for women. Other questions impacting women seeking
top management positions include:

• Are men and women different to the extent that women require different
treatment?

• Are women’s values and approaches to workplace issues so different that
when entering the work force women find that the male culture is not to
their likening and driven off?

• Do women need to become more like men to become corporate executives?
• Are women who take time away from work for family caregiving respon-

sibilities subject to questions concerning their work ethic?
• Do women have a problem in communicating with men in the C-suite?
• Is there an assumption that assertive/aggressive women lack leadership

potential?

When it comes to the barriers holding women back from achieving greater rep-
resentation in leadership positions, the fact that there are small numbers of women
in many fields point to social and environmental factors contributing to the under-
representation of women. The striking disparity between men and women in the
C-suite, irrespective of their preparation through education and experience, may
lead to the conclusion that women are being held to a higher standard and need to
do more to prove themselves.

THE ABSENCE OF WOMEN IN C-SUITE

Only 18 percent of C-suite positions are held by women even though women
have been more prepared than men when entering the workforce in a professional
capacity for many years (Pham, 2016). Almost 47 percent of the workforce are

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Equal Rights for Women: Not Yet • 105

women (DeWolf, 2017). Women earned 52 percent of doctoral degrees for the
eighth straight year and 57 percent of master’s degrees in 2016 (Perry, 2017).
Women received more law degrees (Olson, 2016). More women than men are
enrolled in medical schools (Chandler, 2018). Women earn 60 percent of under-
graduate degrees (Warner, 2014). However, women continue to be underrepre-
sented not only in the professions but at all levels in executive, administrative,
and professional positions, in addition to elected positions in Congress and at the
state and local levels.

As of January 2017, there were 27 female Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of
Fortune 500 companies. By April 2017 there were 24 women leading three major
corporations have announced that they will be stepping down (Fortune, 2017).
The following is a listing of the number of women CEOs of Fortune 500 compa-
nies during the last 10 years (Suh, 2015).

Women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies (2008–2017)

Year No. CEOs % Women

2008 12 2.4

2009 15 3.0

2010 15 3.0

2011 12 2.4

2012 18 3.6

2013 20 4.0

2014 24 4.8

2015 24 4.8

2016 21 4.2

2017 27 5.4

Women are leading some of the largest companies in the United States in-
cluding General Motors, IBM, PepsiCo, and Lockheed Martin. Although Fortune
Magazine recently released its most recent Fortune 500 list reporting 32 women
(6.4%) in CEO positions for 2018, an all-time high, the numbers of female CEOs
are so small that one new posting can noticeably alter the statistics.

Women are also absent in other C-suite positions including Chief Financial
Officer (CFO). On a global basis, only 11 percent of the positions are filled with
women. Only 19 percent of women serve in Board of Director positions. Since
it is not unusual that board positions are often filled by experienced CEOs and
CFOs, and with so few women in those positions, the shortage of female execu-
tives, results in minimal competition against their male counterparts (Soledad,
2017).

Fortune Magazine annually publishes a listing of their ranking of most pow-
erful women (MPW). There are 126 women who fell off Fortune’s MPW list

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106 • WILLIAM J. WOSKA

between 2000 and 2015. Of those, 30 retired purposely or are over 65 and not
otherwise interested in another executive position at another company. Four wom-
en had health problems or passed away. Sixteen were replaced by higher-ranked
women. Others went to small startups, private equity, and nonprofits or work part-
time as directors on boards. Only 12 went on to another major operating role in a
large company, and only eight hold the CEO title at a private or public company
of any size. Only 17 (13%) of the women once on the MPW list had another major
role at a large public company (Reingold, 2016).

There are a limited number of CEO positions, and as companies pursue inter-
nal succession, becoming an external chief executive is difficult. In 2015 ten per-
cent of new CEOs were outside hires. That means that a person of either gender
who doesn’t get the job at his or her own company may find difficulty getting one
elsewhere. Even though there are a limited number of CEO positions, scarcity
does not explain the fact that there are only 32 women in chief executive positions
in Fortune 500 companies in 2018.

BACKGROUND

When the Declaration of Independence proclaims that all men are created equal,
it means that all human beings, regardless of religion, sex, or skin color, possess
the same natural rights. The Founders were well aware that different people are
unequal in physical and mental capacities. But however noticeable the differences
between people may be, they are never so great as to deprive them of their rights.
Since all men and women share a common human nature, they are all therefore
equally entitled to the same natural rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness.

There will always be inequalities with respect to skill, ability, income, or edu-
cational attainment. These should not be confused with the purpose of equal rights
as set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Whether through luck, skill, or
determination, some people will always succeed more than others, and others will
fail. As long as no one’s rights are being denied, inequalities are perfectly normal
and desirable expressions of natural diversity (Shaw, 2012).

Civil rights ensure equality and include protection from unlawful discrimina-
tion for both men and women. Many civil rights in the United States stem from
action in response to the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement
was a struggle for social justice that took place primarily during the 1950s and
1960s for blacks to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. However,
there were many significant occurrences affecting civil rights that preceded that
era going back an entire century to the United States Supreme Court decision
denying citizenship and basic rights to blacks (Dred Scott v. Sanford, 1857). The
attempt to provide equal rights through the Civil Rights Movement has addressed
de-segregation issues including schools (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka,
Kansas, 1954), public transportation (Bailey v. Patterson, 1962), inter-racial mar-

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Equal Rights for Women: Not Yet • 107

riage (Loving v. Virginia, 1967), and the right of same sex couples (Lawrence v.
Texas, 2003).

The concept of civil rights is an outgrowth of historical situations in which
rights have been denied to members of certain groups. Since the adoption of the
Constitution, groups whose members have been denied rights have been defined
mainly by race, sex, age, and sexual orientation. Especially pervasive examples
have included denial of the right to vote to African Americans living in the South
in the century following the Civil War and the denial of the right to vote for
women until the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 (Salem Press, 1999).

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) was passed by Congress in 1963 requiring that em-
ployers pay all employees equally for equal work, regardless of whether the em-
ployees are male or female. Women, on average, earn less than men in nearly
every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men
and women to calculate an earnings ratio. The earnings of women workers in each
state ranges from a low of 70 percent to a high of 89 percent compared to a man’s
earnings (see Appendix A). Even in the professions, women earn considerably
less than men. In 2015 women lawyers earned less than 90 percent of their male
counterpart’s salary (see Appendix B). It is now 2018, more than a half century
since the enactment of the EPA, and women earn 79 cents for every dollar earned
by a man (Sheth & Gould, 2017).

The only specific written guarantee of women’s rights in the Constitution is
the 19th Amendment, which declared, “The right of citizens of the United States
to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on ac-
count of sex.” (U.S. Const. amend XIX). A question still in need of being resolved
in the 21st century is what are the rights of women with respect to gender equality?

The History Behind the Equal Rights Amendment

Alice Paul was one of the most prominent members of the 20th century wom-
en’s rights movement. She led the change for women’s suffrage and equal rights
in the United States. In 1916 she founded the National Woman’s Party (NWP).
The NWP was a small, radical group that not only lobbied but conducted marches,
political boycotts, picketing of the White House, and civil disobedience. As a
result, they were attacked, arrested, imprisoned, and force-fed. But the country’s
conscience was stirred, and support for woman suffrage grew.

In 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote.
Paul believed that the right to vote was the first step in the quest for full equality.
In 1922 she reorganized the NWP with the goal of eliminating all discrimination
against women. “The work of the NWP is to take sex out of law to give women
the equality in law they have won at the polls” (Paul, 1922).

In 1923, in Seneca Falls, New York, for the 75th anniversary of the 1848 Wom-
an’s Rights Convention, she introduced the “Lucretia Mott Amendment,” (an
early civil rights activist) which read:

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108 • WILLIAM J. WOSKA

Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every
place subject to its jurisdiction.

In 1943, Paul adapted the ERA to reflect the language of the 15th (right to vote
not denied on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude) and 19th
Amendments (right to vote not denied on account of sex) (Langford, A., n.d.). The
revised “Alice Paul Amendment” reads:

The Equal Rights Amendment

Section 1. Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the
United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation,
the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Between 1923 and 1970, the ERA was introduced in every session of Congress,
but buried in committee. In 1971 the women’s liberation movement demanded a
gender-neutral society in which men and women would be treated exactly the
same, no matter how reason-able it might be to respect differences between them.
The ERA was the chosen vehicle to achieve this goal.

A radical feminist organization called the National Organization for Women
stormed the halls of Congress and forced a vote on the ERA. Only 24 members of
the House and eight in the Senate voted against it. On March 22, 1972, Congress
sent the amendment to the states to ratify it (Schlafly, 2007). Congress placed a
seven-year time limit on the ratification process.

A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is rati-
fied by three-fourths (38 of 50) of the states. The seven-year deadline expired on
March 22, 1979. Only 35 of the necessary 38 states had ratified the amendment.
The ratification process was subsequently extended by Congress an additional
three years to June 30, 1982. There were no additional ratifications prior to the
deadline on the extension approved by Congress.

The ERA has been introduced into every session of Congress since 1982 but
has not made it to the floor for a vote. Nevertheless, the ERA may still have
a lifeline to passage. On March 21, 2017, the State of Nevada became the 36th
state to approve the amendment to the Constitution (Chereb, 2017). Consider-
ing the women’s movement following the 2016 presidential election, if two ad-
ditional states ratify the amendment satisfying the requirement of approval by
three-fourths of the states, the decision would be up to Congress as to the ERA
becoming the 28th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

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Equal Rights for Women: Not Yet • 109

OPPOSITION TO THE ERA

Rose Schneiderman, an emigrant from Poland, was a labor activist in the early
1900s who supported women’s rights including a living wage, housing, and other
basic rights along-side the need for education, community, and self-development.
She served as president of the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) from 1926
to 1950. In 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) appointed her to the
Labor Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration. She was a key
architect of FDR’s New Deal and the Social Security Act.

Schneiderman was a life-long opponent of the ERA. She and other activists,
many of whom were Jewish and Italian women from immigrant backgrounds,
did not consider themselves “feminists,” since they believed that the term applied
more specifically to middle class women activists who had focused specifically on
gender issues. Schneiderman believed that the idea of absolute equality between
men and women was a “meaningless distraction” when working women experi-
enced such an extreme measure of workplace discrimination (Young, 2016).

Schneiderman’s opposition to the ERA was that protective legislation for wom-
en proposed by the WTUL would no longer apply if the amendment was ratified.
In 1950 Arizona’s Senator Carl Hayden introduced the “Hayden Amendment”
proposing that a new section to the ERA be added protecting any rights, benefits,
or exemptions previously conferred by law upon women. Although Schneider-
man supported the amendment, other ERA activists, including the NWP, refused
to support the change. Schneiderman passed away in 1972, the same year that
Congress sent the ERA to the states for ratification.

Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime conservative activist, led the fight against the ERA
in the 1970s. Her argument was that even though most people would not find the
proposed language objectionable, the courts would use it to push through policies
that many of those same people would dislike. Furthermore, she claimed that a
gender-neutral society would deprive a woman of the fundamental right to stay
home and care for her family. It would mark the end of the traditional family.

Congress sent the ERA to the states in 1972. A year later 30 states had rati-
fied the amendment. Schlafly launched the STOP-ERA anti-feminist organization
formed to prevent ratification of the gender-equality amendment. She took to the
lecture circuit to urge state legislatures to reject the constitutional change. She
echoed Schneiderman’s argument about destroying labor legislation protecting
working women in addition to arguing that an ERA would force women into mili-
tary service and would lead to laws that would make gay marriage and abortion
legal. There was a considerable slowing of state ratifications following the STOP-
ERA movement with only five additional states providing approval (Haberman,
2016).

Schlafly’s arguments against changes contained in the ERA subsequently hap-
pened over time as a result of legislation and/or court decisions. Schlafly passed
away in 2016.

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110 • WILLIAM J. WOSKA

The Continuing Struggle for Equality

When it comes to equality in the workplace, women see it as a work in progress
where men view it as mission accomplished. Significantly more men than women
say their companies are level playing fields and have plenty of women leaders,
even in places where less than ten percent of top executives are female. This dis-
connect between the opinions of men and women matters given that a large per-
centage of middle and senior managers are men. A woman’s daily interaction with
her immediate supervisor often sets the course with respect to her opportunity for
career advancement (Fuhrmans, 2017).

During the civil rights movement, there came a time when it was no longer OK
just to frown on George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door or Bull Connor
aiming his fire hoses at black people. There had to be institutional change and a
societal mind shift.

On January 21, 2017, hundreds of thousands of women gathered in what is
known as the Women’s March on Washington. More than one million people
gathered in Washington and in cities around the country and the world to protest
the inauguration of President Donald Trump. What started as a Facebook post
by a Hawaiian retiree became an unprecedented international rebuke of a new
president that packed cities large and small from London to Los Angeles, Paris to
Park City, Utah, Miami to Melbourne, Australia. Many in the nation’s capital and
other cities said they were inspired to join because of Trump’s divisive campaign
and his disparagement of women, minorities and immigrants (Stein, Hendrix, &
Hauslohner, 2017). Participants feared that the new administration and the Repub-
lican-led Congress would roll back reproductive, civil and human rights.

As the year progressed, millions of women energized by the Women’s March
on Washington and frustrated by the continuing abuse and sexual harassment by
men in positions of authority, came together in the #MeToo Movement. The pur-
pose of the #MeToo Movement was to encourage women who have experienced
sexual assault or harassment to share their experience irrespective of the costs that
may go with it. Sexual harassment is not about sex. It’s about work and power. It
is a means of policing gender roles and maintaining hierarchies. Sexual harass-
ment undermines a woman’s work performance and calls her competency into
question. It pressures her to conform to stereotypes and penalizes deviation. It
subordinates her to men in power and reminds her of who ultimately controls her
career (Arnow-Richmond, 2018). #MeToo provided an opportunity to get people
to understand the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in society.

As the New Year (2018) began more than 300 women in Hollywood—ex-
ecutives, actors, agents, writers, directors, and producers—announced the forma-
tion of Time’s Up, an effort to counter systemic sexual harassment in industries
across the country. It is different than the #MeToo movement in that it aims to
address workplace sexism through legal recourse, improved representation in
board rooms, and placement of women in chief executive positions. The initia-

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Equal Rights for Women: Not Yet • 111

tive includes efforts to create legislation that will penalize companies that tolerate
harassment and will discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements that have
helped silence victims of abuse. Time’s Up also includes a legal defense fund that
will connect victims of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse, with legal represen-
tation (Garber, 2018).

Times Up, like #MeToo, is an effort to counter systemic sexual harassment
throughout the workplace – to call out abuse of women, especially by men in
positions of authority. “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if
they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up”
(Russonello, 2018).

The #MeToo and Times Up movements have again surfaced the issue of the
need for an ERA and constitutional equality. There is broad support for an ERA
with more than 90 percent of Americans supporting equal rights for women. In
fact, more than 80 percent believe women already have equal rights (Neuwirth,
2018).

The #MeToo and Times Up movements may be a beginning whereby men
make a mind shift away from the attitude that women can be accommodated only
to the extent that it doesn’t inconvenience other men (Brown, 2017). Neverthe-
less, the process of providing equal rights for women cannot be accomplished
until the United States Constitution is amended providing equal rights for women.

The absence of equal rights for women may be read into a 2000 United States
Supreme Court case. In a 5–4 decision, United States v. Morrison, the Court in-
validated the section of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that gave
victims of gender-motivated violence the right to sue their attackers in federal
court. Chief Justice Rehnquist, writing for the majority, held that Congress lacked
authority, under either the Commerce Clause or the Fourteen Amendment, to en-
act this section. If an ERA had been a part of the Constitution, it is likely that
VAWA would have been validated by the Court.

TITLE VII – IMPACT ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAW

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) makes it “an unlawful em-
ployment practice for an employer . . . to discriminate against any individual with
respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because
of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” (Civil Rights Act
of 1964). The use of the term “sex” was not included in Title VII legislation first
proposed to Congress. It was not until the legislation was debated on the House
floor that “sex” was added to prevent discrimination against another minority
group—women (Freeman, 2008). Initially only intended to provide protection for
women from discrimination, the prohibition of sex discrimination applied to both
males and females.

The term “sexual harassment” did not originate until several years later. The
term was used by women’s groups in Massachusetts in the early 1970s. The term
was further used in a report to the president and chancellor of the Massachusetts

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112 • WILLIAM J. WOSKA

Institute of Technology in 1973 addressing various forms of gender issues (Rowe,
1990).

In the years immediately following passage of Title VII, sexual harassment claims
were rarely brought under the statute, and when they were, courts dismissed them,
reasoning that Title VII was not applicable. Finally, in the mid-1970s, courts began
to accept sexual harassment as a form of gender discrimination under Title VII.
In 1986 the United States Supreme Court accepted its first sexual harassment
case, Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson. The primary question before the court was
whether a hostile working environment created by unwelcome sexual behavior is
a form of employment discrimination prohibited by Title VII when no economic
loss or quid pro quo harassment exists. In a unanimous decision, the court found
that the Vinson’s charges were sufficient to claim hostile environment sexual ha-
rassment. This case became the cornerstone of answering sexual harassment ques-
tions under Title VII (Woska, 2015).

Five additional cases were accepted by the Court following Meritor which
have clarified and established sexual harassment law. Nevertheless, sexual as-
sault and/or harassment incidences are all too common and continue to be brought
forward on an individual basis. In August 2017 a well-known and powerful Hol-
lywood producer was accused of sexual harassment which was followed by sim-
ilar accusations by many other women not only in the entertainment industry,
but throughout the workforce against men in positions of authority. The #MeToo
movement was born.

ERA—A CHALLENGE FOR HUMAN RESOURCES

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) was approved by Congress in 1963. The EPA prohibits
pay dis-crimination based on sex and states that men and women must be paid
equally for substantially equal work performed in the same establishment (Equal
Pay Act of 1963). In 1963, women who worked full-time, year-round, made 59
cents on average for every dollar earned by men (Cho & Kramer, 2016). In 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed to prohibit discrimination in employ-
ment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. The scope of
Title VII is much broader than the EPA and makes it illegal to discriminate based
on sex in pay and benefits (Civil Rights Act of 1964).

It is now more than a half century later and women earn 79 cents for every dol-
lar earned by a man. Compensation policies are administered by human resource
(HR) departments throughout the United States. The fact that the pay disparity
between men and women continues 55 years after enactment of the EPA is signifi-
cant with respect to what appears to be HR’s limited role in contributing to and/or
establishing pay policy within an organization.

Evolving technology is having a direct impact on HR. Although many of the
basic functions and responsibilities remain the same including recruitment, man-
aging employee benefit programs, providing advice on HR issues, regulations,
and policies, and handling staff issues and disciplinary procedures, the role of HR
is not only evolving, but expanding. It is important that HR be looked upon as a

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Equal Rights for Women: Not Yet • 113

team of experts who can work hand-in-hand with top management to influence
and direct employee engagement, company culture, and other change within an
organization.

Equal rights for women will require HR to address issues including paid pa-
rental leave, pay equity policies, gender diversity, subsidized on-site child care,
and improving the culture around flexible work policies. Flexible work options
such as telecommuting, flexible work schedules, freelance work, job sharing, and
professional part-time opportunities are critical issues for women who are dispro-
portionately impacted by burdens imposed by family caregiving responsibilities.
Women are more likely than men to take time out of the work force for family
reasons, and these interruptions hurt the advancement of their careers and earn-
ings. Offering more flexible workplaces can help attract and retain more women
and move toward gender equity at all levels within an organization (Onley, 2016).
HR must take the initiative to make flexibility and work-life balance a part of the
wider company culture.

The fact that the private sector provides limited information with respect to
salary ranges for work that requires the same knowledges, skills, and abilities,
continues to be a factor as to why women earn considerably less than men for the
same or similar work. Greater transparency in pay systems is associated with a
smaller pay gap between men and women. By making salary ranges for job cat-
egories available, like the public sector, employers provide women with informa-
tion that depicts a fair and equitable comparison with men.

HR is a key agent of change in an organization. HR’s role as a change agent
is to replace resistance with resolve, planning with results, and fear of change
with excitement about its possibilities (Ulrich, 1998). HR is unique from other
services in that it provides assistance to employees irrespective of where they
work within a company. Business plans and strategies and implementation of
these plans are dependent on how HR develops innovative approaches to resolve
employee-related issues. With respect to equal rights for women, for HR to be an
effective change agent, it’s critical that they have the ability to influence the deci-
sions made by top management to address gender diversity initiatives necessary
to attain equal rights.

Some of these employment policies such as parenting and child care assistance
have been available with a few employers, most notably in high technology com-
panies. However, it will be necessary for flexible workplace practices to become
as common as paid vacation benefits throughout the workforce before women can
feel that they have equal rights. HR must be at the forefront as an agent of con-
tinuous transformation, shaping the processes and culture that together improve
an organization’s capacity for change.

CONCLUSION

History may eventually reveal that the 2017 Women’s March on Washington was
the beginning of a new political landscape with respect to women’s rights. The
Women’s March was not a one and done event. Women have become more en-

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114 • WILLIAM J. WOSKA

gaged and involved as disparate groups of females have come together recogniz-
ing the inequality that has festered since the beginning of our democracy. The
feeling of feminist solidarity born of the Women’s March brought power that has
swelled well beyond politics (Wildermuth, 2018).

State and federal legislation is beginning to address pay equity issues instru-
mental to bridging the pay gap between men and women. Pay equity laws have
been adopted in several states including California, New York, Maryland, and
Massachusetts (Seyfarth, 2016).

Effective January 1, 2018, the State of California banned an employer from
inquiries into an individual’s salary history (California Labor Code §432.3). The
new law applies to all employers, including state and local government. Califor-
nia joins a growing list of jurisdictions across the country that have prohibited
salary history inquiries including the states of Delaware, Massachusetts, and Or-
egon. Legislation has been introduced in other states including Texas, Florida,
Montana, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition, many other cities and local ju-
risdictions have either adopted or are considering similar legislation including
New York City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and New Orleans (Hartman, 2017).
The elimination of an individual’s past salary on job applications prevents gender
discrimination from being passed from one workplace to another by basing an
employee’s pay on his or her past salary.

Gender equality in the workplace is about everyone having an equal chance. It
is not about favoritism, granting privileges, or offering special assistance to over-
come an obstacle. The purpose of gender equality is simply to remove barriers to
create a level playing field irrespective of sex. Perhaps, with a political landscape
that appears to be in the process of change, equal rights for women will become
a reality with the passage of the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

APPENDIX A: THE SIMPLE TRUTH ABOUT THE GENDER
PAY GAP: AAUW STATE MEDIAN ANNUAL EARNINGS AND

EARNING RATIO FOR FULL-TIME, YEAR-ROUND WORKERS, BY
STATE AND GENDER, 2016

Male Female Earnings Ratio

1 New York $53,124 $47,358 89%
2 California $51,417 $45,489 88%
3 Florida $41,586 $36,112 87%
4 District of Columbia $75,343 $64,908 86%
5 Vermont $47,840 $41,122 86%
6 Colorado $51,264 $43,206 84%
7 Alaska $56,422 $47,518 84%
8 Maine $47,890 $4,024 84%
9 Maryland $61,321 $51,247 84%

10 Hawaii $48,373 $41,224 83%
11 New Hampshire $53,581 $44,550 83%

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Equal Rights for Women: Not Yet • 115

Male Female Earnings Ratio

12 Minnesota $53,200 $44,132 83%
13 Tennessee $73,661 $35,916 82%
14 Massachusetts $62,868 $51,666 82%
15 Delaware $50,924 $41,771 82%
16 New Mexico $72,297 $34,668 82%
17 Georgia $46,712 $38,278 82%
18 North Carolina $45,180 $36,987 82%
19 Arizona $46,386 $37,966 82%
20 Rhode Island $53,400 $43,541 82%
21 New Jersey $62,311 $5,574 81%
22 Nevada $45,326 $36,681 81%

United States $51,640 $41,554 80%
23 Virginia $55,817 $44,798 80%
24 Kentucky $45,521 $36,259 80%
25 Connecticut $64,220 $50,991 79%
26 Texas $47,351 $37,576 79%
27 Oregon $50,676 $40,193 79%
28 Illinois $53,111 $42,108 79%
29 Pennsylvania $51,780 $41,047 79%
30 Missouri $46,543 $36,514 78%
31 Arkansas $41,156 $32,242 78%
32 Michigan $50,869 $39,825 78%
33 Wisconsin $50,399 $39,440 78%
34 South Dakota $54,384 $35,436 78%
35 South Carolina $45,038 $35,043 78%
36 Nebraska $47,352 $36,699 78%
37 Kansas $47,891 $37,091 77%
38 Ohio $50,227 $38,750 77%
39 Wyoming $51,234 $39,338 77%
40 Washington $58,864 $45,056 77%
41 Iowa $49,385 $37,791 77%
42 Idaho $45,305 $34,403 76%
43 Mississippi $42,146 $31,757 75%
44 Alabamas $47,034 $35,012 74%
45 North Dakota $51,789 $38,407 74%
46 Indiana $49,157 $36,440 74%
47 Oklahoma $46,027 $33,972 74%
48 Montana $46,545 $34,028 73%
49 West Virginia $46,029 $33,228 72%
50 Utah $51,099 $36,022 70%
51 Louisana $50,031 $34,793 70%

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116 • WILLIAM J. WOSKA

APPENDIX B

REFERENCES

Arnow-Richmond, R. (2018, January 28). Why we must separate sex from sexual harass-
ment. San Francisco Chronicle, p. E5.

Bailey v. Patterson. (1962). 369 U.S. 31.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. (1954). 347 U.S. 483.
Brown, W. (2017, November 26). Chronic inequality fosters mistreatment of women. San

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