Review the following scenario and answer the questions below. You will have two attempts for this assessment.
Fresh Munchables is a mid-sized but steadily growing food-processing company founded in 1967. Since its inception, the company has been committed to providing only premium quality health foods. The company is headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, and it is one of the area’s largest producers of soups and simple meals. In the past 20 years, the company has also begun processing healthy snacks and beverages. Fresh Munchables has traditionally sold its products through large grocery stores, but it is now venturing into online and restaurant businesses, which is all very new territory for management.
The company is split up into three overarching strategic business units—soups and meals, drinks, and snacks. Additionally, the company is divided into several business units at the operational level, consisting of a mix of business operations, manufacturing (production), research and development, finance, and so on. As the company continues to grow, the executive team and other leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve processes.
Because Fresh Munchables has grown from a very small company into a well-established organization, management has decided to broaden the company’s strategic HR functions. The human resources team is currently working to improve recruiting and hiring processes, succession planning, and most importantly, compensation and rewards.
For many years, the company has delegated compensation decisions to managers with little to no training on the subject. This has left the company in a disorganized, confused state when it comes to paying and rewarding employees. These problems have compounded as Fresh Munchables has recently opened up new manufacturing locations with new managers and many new employees.
The chief human resources officer has organized a team of compensation specialists of which you are a part to spearhead total compensation-related problems and help the company to reach its current and future goals. You and your team can achieve this by revising the current total compensation system to reflect the company’s current business strategies and goals as well as attract and retain top talent.
After the departure of more than a few employees over the past six months, the management team at Fresh Munchables’ are concerned about their employees’ happiness and job satisfaction. The company has raised wages and found the best possible health care plan; yet, it still struggles to keep long-term employees.
Which strategy can the management team use to figure out how to retain employees and increase employee satisfaction?
- Conduct a survey asking employees what benefits they want in order to gain useful information about preferred compensation plans.
- Offer a better retirement plan for employees in order to incentivize older workers to apply for jobs.
- Reward the managers whose departments have the highest employee retention rates and fire the ones with low employee satisfaction.
- Create policies that penalize employees for leaving the company before a specified period of time in order to establish expectations.
Fresh Munchables’ new HR manager wants to increase the compensation rate so that each employee in one department is paid the same. Specifically, all employees would be paid as much as the highest-paid employee. This recommended proposal was denied. The HR manager explained that if a job requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions, employees should be paid the same irrespective of their gender or other personal considerations.
However, what other factors could appropriately influence employee compensation?
- Medical needs and associated debt, because they increase health insurance costs for the employer
- Amount of time until retirement, because older workers require less direct compensation
- Number of children at home, because larger families require more financial resources
- Seniority and merit, because they are nondiscriminatory classifications for higher pay
Fresh Munchables has acquired a new freeze-dried meat company, and employees now qualify for discounts for packaged meat products. Kenna, a supervisor, has been told by the HR team to provide her employees with formal training, supervisor-based training, and accessible online information so that they can be informed about these new benefits.
Why would communicating these rewards through multiple different methods be beneficial?
- Word-of-mouth alone creates chaos and disrupts productivity.
- One reliable communication method should be good enough.
- It provides a high level of accuracy and transparency for all employees.
- Discounts are a top priority for some employees, so they need to know about them immediately.
Fresh Munchables, like any company, constantly goes through changes in staffing, staffing needs, company revenue, compensation plans, and strategy. As an HR manager, you know it is essential to comply with all relevant employment laws to manage your employees appropriately and to ensure specific groups are not unfairly targeted.
What is an advisable course of action in your role?
- Attend all upper management meetings to be sure human resource concerns are addressed.
- Conduct follow-up research including surveys to gauge employee reactions to changes.
- Assign specific employees as whistleblowers to ensure the company satisfies legal and ethical regulations.
- Create a diversity and inclusion document and post it publicly.
Shara, a new employee at Fresh Munchables, is asking for paid time off to take care of her aging father, who has a life expectancy of six months. Shara has been with the company two months and has worked a total of 120 hours. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been designed to meet employees’ needs in times such as this, and you, as an HR professional, want to follow its requirements.
In accordance with the requirements of the FMLA, your company has a large staff surpassing 50 employees, but what is another requirement for Shara?
- She needs to give two weeks’ notice before taking her paid time off.
- She must be prepared to use all of 12 weeks of time off at one time.
- She must find a replacement to perform her job function while she takes leave.
- She must have worked 1,250 hours for the organization in the preceding year.
Angelina is a self-proclaimed “health nut” and animal activist. She recently was hired at Fresh Munchables, a food and beverage company offering vegan on-the-go snacks, as their marketing manager. Angelina could not be happier about her new position because it aligns with her values.
What does the HR manager who hired Angelina know about the purpose principle?
- Purposeful employees are typically the hardest-working employees in any industry.
- When the employee’s values align with the business’s core purpose, the employee will need fewer rewards.
- When the employee’s values align with the business’s core purpose, the employee will value their relationship with the business more.
Animal activists have a higher moral purpose than those who disregard animal rights.
Fresh Munchables has recently hired some teenagers to help with some tasks that are safe, simple, and also require only a limited number of hours of work per week. José, a compensation specialist, and Don, the department manager who oversees the teenage workers, both want to ensure that they are complying with the law.
In addition to complying with the law, what else do José and the department manager need to do?
- Check the teenagers’ height and weight to be sure both meet the regulations outlined in the Child Labor Act.
- Require the teenage workers to sign a form releasing Fresh Munchables from liability.
- Maintain a record containing all the compliance information.
- Obtain permission from the teenagers’ schools to employ them.
A supervisor suggested paying salaried employee Gregory less in April this year, because last year Gregory averaged only 25 hours a week. However, the supervisor wants to pay Gregory more this May because Gregory worked an average of 55 hours per week last year. The supervisor’s suggestion was denied because José, a compensation specialist, knows that if an employee is salaried, the company cannot change compensation irrespective of hours worked.
Should the company make changes to Gregory’s compensation, and why or why not?
- No, because the company may face legal complications due to corporate fraud
- No, because the company may face fines and back payment of overtime
- Yes, because the company can save on insurance costs if Gregory is paid as a part-time employee
- Yes, because salaried employees may be paid based on their hours worked per week if they work less than expected
As an HR professional, you understand that compensation and total rewards is a complicated topic. At Fresh Munchables, there have been many cases over the years in which employees have shared strong feelings and harsh words with HR when they felt that their pay was unfair.
In light of the company’s past dealings with employees concerning compensation, which of the following is important for you to understand as you revise the total compensation system?
- Employees care deeply about being paid more than their peers.
- Wages and rewards shape how employees both feel and perform.
- Employees don’t need a transparent compensation system because it could make them feel bad.
- Compensation is too complex to approach straightforwardly and openly.
Amanda is the chief human resources officer at Fresh Munchables and is working to improve the FMLA process. Due to various medical conditions, select employees at Fresh Munchables must regularly miss work in intermittent periods to meet with their physicians, receive treatments, and stay home when sick. Per the FMLA, all employees receive 12 weeks of time off to recuperate from medical conditions.
For what reason would Amanda choose to require employees to use all forms of paid time off as part of these 12 weeks?
- To incentivize employees to stay healthy so that they won’t need to take time off.
- To improve the processes accountants must go through to calculate one’s pay.
- To reduce the number of days an employee can take off.
- To simplify the complex task of administering the required 12 weeks of time off.
The CEO of Fresh Munchables has asked you to review the company’s health care plan, specifically its premium-sharing policies. In the past, the company paid a huge portion of its employees’ medical insurance while employees paid very little. Now that the company has grown and many more employees have been hired, this model is becoming unsustainable. The company has also conducted an internal review and found that many employees may be overutilizing their benefits.
How can Fresh Munchables still offer quality health insurance to their employees while also encouraging employees to not overuse their benefits?
- Decrease the number of benefits because neither the company nor the employees can afford them.
- Increase the deductible employees pay for each service in order to maintain the same level of coverage at a lower employer cost.
- Offer insurance to fewer employees in order to encourage competition for rewards.
- Discontinue dental and vision insurance because they are less desirable for many employees.
Anthony is hoping to be considered for a high-pressure and high-paying job at Fresh Munchables, but he has a concerning preexisting heart problem. In addition to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) covering his medical needs through health insurance coverage, what else does HIPAA do to protect Anthony and other employees with health-related concerns?
- Protects employees’ privacy and prevents health-related information from influencing employment-related decisions
- Improves the quality of care and ensures that coverage is the same regardless of the position
- Requires employers to keep an easily accessible document with health-related information on each employee to assist them with their health concerns and needs
- Does not allow their insurance deductible to increase due to a change in position, even a higher-paid position
A new supervisor position has opened up at Fresh Munchables, and two of the top candidates are current employees who work in the same department. Rita has a positive, uplifting relationship with her coworkers, and Bob, although not well-liked by his coworkers, has been working at the company longer and is more familiar with company procedures.
Considering the satisfaction of the employees who will work under the supervisor, who should you pick?
- Rita, because employee satisfaction increases when employees have a good relationship with their immediate supervisor.
- Bob, because employee satisfaction increases by knowing that if you wait your turn, you will eventually be rewarded with higher positions.
- Rita, because employee satisfaction increases with changes that are surprising and exciting.
- Bob, because employee satisfaction increases when their immediate supervisor has worked at the company for a long time.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Fresh Munchables’ HR director asked certain managers to let a number of employees in their departments go because of budget restrictions. Those managers suggested laying off some of the most senior workers in their departments, many of whom are in their 50s and 60s. Before going through with the layoffs, HR first needs to review the managers’ suggestions to ensure that the layoffs would not be discriminatory under the ADEA.
Which of the following describes why older workers may have been systematically targeted for layoffs at Fresh Munchables?
- Younger employees give a fresh vibe to the company, which is good for marketing.
- Older workers take more time off for doctor visits, which decreases productivity.
- Older workers often cannot learn how to operate new technology.
- Longer-tenured employees typically receive higher compensation.
A new warehouse is being constructed in a rural area, saving the company thousands of dollars a month in real estate fees. This new location will require many long-term employees to relocate. Ricardo, the warehouse manager, wants to keep his long-term employees.
What is the best way for Ricardo to augment elements of Fresh Munchables’ total rewards system to get employees to move to the rural area?
- Incentivize the employees to move by giving them “brownie points” with the CEO for future favors.
- Nothing; hire local employees to replace long-term employees at a lower rate instead.
- Incentivize the employees to move by offering higher pay and increased health benefits.
- Incentivize the employees to move by threatening their job if they choose not to relocate.
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