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Memo

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Memo To: Ms. Boyce, Chief Executive Officer From: Student, Personnel Management Consultant Subject: Karen Carlin Case Study: Issue Analysis and Proposed Solutions Date: 21 October 2010

INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this memo is to analyze and propose solutions for the issues Karen Carlin faces as she takes on the supervisor role for the schedule typist department of Hepplewhite & Boyce. The three issues to be analyzed are (1) lack of productivity, (2) insubordination and abuse of company resources, and (3) staff mismanagement. First, the problems will be defined and probable causes discussed. Then, recommendations will be made to resolve these issues.

DEFINITION OF PROBLEMS AND PROBABLE CAUSES
The problems identified in this memo are ones Hepplewhite & Boyce can easily resolve with a few simple actions. Doing so will not only be good for the company but will be good for the employees as well. The end goals should be as follows: (1)Increased productivity within the schedule typist department. (2)An end to the insubordination and abuse of company resources. (3)Improved management of the schedule typist staff.

The issues within the department will be explained in further detail next. Lack of productivity
The first issue within the schedule typist department of Hepplewhite & Boyce is a lack of productivity on the part of two of the employees, Pat and Pauline. In order to do the least amount of work possible, Pat and Pauline are purposely not updating the tax schedules sent to the department by the accountants. In turn, Pat and Pauline are pressuring both Myra and the new hire, Karen, to be unproductive as well. This is clearly happening for a few reasons: 1.The schedule typists do not feel a sense of ownership or personal investment in the work. 2.There is no incentive to complete the work.

3.There is no consequence for not completing the work. It is imperative that these issues be rectified. Insubordination and abuse of company resources
The second issue is insubordination and a blatant abuse of company resources. Pat has been making daily personal phone calls to international destinations on the company phone. She has also been known to report to work, only to leave the office for hours at a time doing personal errands. Pat is influencing the others to take long lunches and be late for work as well. This blatant abuse can be attributed to the following possible causes: 1.The employees are not challenged.

2.The employees resent management for not listening to their ideas regarding process improvement. Clearly, the insubordination and abuse of company resources cannot be allowed to continue. Staff Mismanagement
And finally, there is the issue of staff mismanagement. The supervisor, Keith Frazier, is only checking in with this department one to two times per week. Mr. Frazier is aware that Pat is making international phone calls. He is also aware that Pauline found a way for Pat to make these calls from the building’s elevator once he had the phone system modified to only allow internal calls. Mr. Frazier has also been fielding complaints from the accountants about not receiving their tax schedules in a timely fashion. However, he has failed to confront either of these issues. This lack of management can be attributed to the following: 1.Mr. Frazier does not respect the type of work done by this department. 2.Mr. Frazier fears confrontation.

Something must be done to allow for better management of the staff.

RECOMMENDED SOLUTIONS
Recommendations to solve the issues in the three areas addressed above will be made next. If implemented, these solutions should eliminate the issues of concern. Along with the recommendations, the impact of implementation will be discussed. Lack of productivity

The issue of productivity can be addressed in a couple of ways. First of all, the employees must be given ownership over their work. Early on, Pauline suggested that the schedule typists be assigned to a certain group of accountants. This is an excellent idea, as it would make each schedule typist accountable to a group of accountants who would rely on her specifically. Mr. Frazier’s concern was the impact that implementing this would have if a typist were out. However, since the work is virtually the same from one accountant to another, the other typists could fill in when someone is sick or on vacation. Also, since the work is not exceptionally difficult, if a typist were to leave the firm, a temporary employee could be hired and trained rather quickly. Secondly, employees must be given some autonomy with the work. Pat suggested that if a simple math error were made by an accountant, the schedule typist could correct it, instead of sending it back to the accountant for correction. The impact here is positive because the process will be faster and more efficient. And, being allowed to do this will make the schedule typists feel that they are contributing. Instead of simply typing what’s given to them, they can actively take part in the quality of the work being produced. Insubordination and Abuse of Resources

This last issue is easily addressed. Quite simply, the employees must be confronted about their insubordination and abuse of company resources. Management must let these employees know that it is aware of the abuse and that, if it does not stop immediately, letters of reprimand will be created and filed in each employee’s personnel folder. At performance appraisal time, the letters will be a part of the employee’s review and will affect the receipt of a raise or lack thereof. The impact of this may be that the employees feel attacked. However, the conversation does not need to be a confrontational one. Management will need to carefully address the behaviors which must change without bringing anything personal into the conversation. This should resolve the issue effectively.

Mismanagement of Staff
Finally, there is the issue of staff mismanagement. Mr. Frazier has appointed Karen Carlin to be in charge of the schedule typists. While Karen is young

and lacks real world management experience, she is familiar with all of the issues of the department. Having been a schedule typist, she knows what it takes to get the work done. She also has a degree in management. Granted, at first, the others may be resistant to reporting to her. However, with guidance in how to make the department more productive, as well as firm guidelines on how to deal with the insubordination, it is possible for Karen to be successful. Paramount to this, Karen will need the support of senior leadership.

WAYS TO PREVENT FUTURE ISSUES
In order to avoid these issues in the future, the department must be monitored on a regular basis. This is easily accomplished by the following: 1)Survey the accountants quarterly to measure their satisfaction with the work being done. 2)Karen must be supported in any disciplinary action she is forced to take if an employee is not performing. 3)A formalized procedure to submit process improvement ideas must be created. This will allow employees a forum to make suggestions. Care should be taken to acknowledge the ideas and implement them whenever feasible. Overall, the employees in the schedule typist area are smart, capable people. And, they have certainly proved to be resourceful. It is imperative that these skills be channeled into better productivity and work ethics. If management takes the time to focus on these issues and make the environment a challenging and rewarding one, these employees will flourish. And, in turn, the firm will benefit.…...

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