1. What is the key HR issue(s) of this case?
The key HR issue of this case is not having the policy written or clear. It is important make clear to everyone what the policies are and that they are applied consistently and fairly across the organization. Bruce was not clear on the proper rules of not being able to sell the company product outside. He thought what he was doing wasn’t any different than selling to family and friends, which the other co-worker were doing. HR needs to clearly state to all employees that company products are not for resale, but for employee use only.
2. What action should you take with Bruce? Are there grounds to discipline Bruce? Why/why not?
I think suspending Bruce from the staff purchase program for a limited time is a good action. There are grounds to discipline Bruce by verbally warning him that selling at the flea market or anywhere else in the future is prohibited. That is the first and only step allowed to take in the current situation. Write down in his file that he was warned about this for future reference. Advise him that if it happens again he will get a one-to-three day suspension from work. Counselling Bruce about his problems at home as well should be taken into consideration as it could affect his work in the future.
3. Develop a detailed, comprehensive plan, outlining the HR policies/practices that should be implemented, in order to minimize the company’s risk of another occurrence. Explain the reasons for your recommendations.
First, HR must have a written policy in place. The company should create a new written policy confirming that company product is for the direct use of employees only. Referring this in the new employee orientation presentation is not enough. The policy should be included in an employee handbook and there should be proof in the personnel files that everyone has received a copy with signatures. It should also state that if employees are found reselling company products for personal profits will either be suspended or cut off from the staff purchase program or lead to suspension/termination from work. The company should also state that if the purchase program is found being abused is can be decided that the program will no longer become available for everyone else as well. HR should state and bring awareness that one person’s bad actions could cost everyone else’s benefits with the purchase program and that suspicious activity should be reported immediately. Furthermore, a brief company policy poster should be posted within the work place as a reminder.
It should be placed in the back room where it can be easily seen. The employee handbook can be simply forgotten about and posters can help remind and encourage employees to keep following the rules on a daily basis. New and different poster designs should be changed annually so they don’t become out-of-date and stale. This will show that the company takes thoughtful measures to encourage a trustworthy and responsible staff.
Secondly, the company should enforce these new and current policies with a mandatory training seminar annually. The training seminar should help explain the reasons behind these standards and to build a positive spirit of self-discipline. With proper monitoring and guidance, this will show that management is on top of operational standards. Without this, employees will realize management has fallen behind on company values and it creates an increased exposure risk of someone not properly following company rules. These policies, when organized and disseminated in an easily used form, can serve to prevent many misunderstandings between employees and employers about their rights and obligations.
Instituting internal controls with the help of the training seminar should help identify wrongdoings within the workplace. This will also follow up with employees to ensure that they are living up to his or her commitments and to reduce the likelihood of having to take more severe action. The seminar should also gain agreement with the employees that they are continuously responsible for managing his or her actions with company guidelines. The meeting should also acknowledge employees for their good efforts and loyal relationship. Recognizing staff will inspire them to become long-lasting honest employees.
Additionally, the seminar should include fun quick games or quizzes for knowing important company protocols. This will encourage employees to speak up and become involved in the meeting so that it is not a one-way lecture type of discussion. Awarding with prizes such as a free company product package will lighten and not bore the staff. The seminar should be used to refresh employees on company guidelines and to involve them with any questions or concerns.