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The House of HR: Junk It or Sync It?

CASE STUDY, HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 14 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Vandana Jayakumar and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

The House of HR: Junk it or Sync It?

 

“I would have fared better had I been given a better training and knowledge about the practical aspects of working.” These words from Kiran Tripathi (Kiran) kept  ringing in Dr. Sanjay Vohra’s (Vohra) ears as he sipped coffee in his office late in the afternoon. Vohra was the Dean of Bombay School of Management (BSM) and he had just returned to his office from an interaction with the 2nd year students who had come back to the campus after their summer internship programs.

One of the students he interacted with was Kiran who was an outstanding student in his batch. Having a keen interest in pursuing a career in HR, Kiran specialized in HR. While discussing with Vohra, Kiran shared that he was quite unprepared when he started his summer internship as there was a difference between what he had learnt theoretically in MBA and to work practically. The HR practices had changed a lot. He shared that he was unaware of many of the latest workplace practices and there were several embarrassing moments.

He even expressed anxiety of joining a company after completing MBA. Vohra then spoke to some more second year students and they shared similar views as of Kiran. Vohra, though shocked, assured them that BSM would ensure that they were well-prepared for their careers.

Vohra, however, was perplexed as BSM was widely known for its exemplary curriculum and education in Human Resource Management. BSM had consistently been able to secure quality placements for its students and India’s best companies were keen to absorb its students not just for quality education but also because of their industry-readiness. He contemplated on taking some actions to address the issue.

Vohra’s Plan

Vohra wanted to fix the dilemma that was preoccupying his mind. He called Dr. Devaki Kulkarni (Devaki), the Head of the Department (HOD) for Human Resource Management and Organizational Studies, and Amit Khanna, the B-school’s Placement Coordinator, to discuss his dilemmas. Vohra began the conversation by giving a brief about his dialogue with Kiran and other students during the recently held interactive session. He opined that BSM should take new steps to improve industry-preparedness of its students, beginning with the current batch.........

Meeting with Industry Practitioners

On October 27th 2014, the meeting began with Amit welcoming all the participants. Thereafter, the participants engaged in a discussion on the topic.

Vohra: (setting the agenda) As we all know, today we have gathered to discuss on the ways in which students can be made industry-ready. It is an honor to learn from you. What would it take for an HRM course to be absolutely in sync with industry expectations?

.......................

Brainstorming Session on Trends Shaping Human Resource Management

Karuna Gupta’s Insights on Trends in Recruitment

The discussion began with Karuna Gupta (Karuna), sharing insights on the trends in recruitment. She shared that on the basis of her experiences in the recruitment industry she believed that the job market had become employees’ market as it was the employees who were calling the shots in recruitment. While it was true in the case of employees in the middle and top management, it was a trend which could not be ignored and students had to be sensitized to this trend..........

Frauds in Recruitment (Sapna)

Sapna shared that companies now-a-days are likely to be doubly sure in hiring candidates from sources other than premier educational institutes as they were plagued with problems of fake resumes and fake job syndicates. She shared that in October 2014, Bengaluru City Police had tracked down a fake job certificate scheme being run by as many as seven companies, which were also probably fake...............

Workplace Trends (Manoj)

Manoj began the discussion by talking about office design. He gave examples of offices of IT companies which were generally open plan offices and those of startups which had unique and interesting designs. Citing an article from the Harvard Business Review, Manoj explained that companies were designing open floor plan offices and creating common areas in offices as casual interaction among employees built trust and resulted in cooperation and innovation..........

Work Delivery (Peterson)

Samuel Peterson (Peterson) was the senior-most and had the maximum number of years of experience among the people present in the room. Peterson chose to speak about the need for work-life balance. He explained that work-life balance was increasingly being sought by men and women professionals alike............

Action Plan to Prepare the Students

After hearing from all the four professionals, Amit summed up the main points of the discussion around which the students had to be prepared (Exhibit IX)..................

Assignment Questions

I. Debate on the effectiveness and efficiency of HR curriculum being followed at B-schools. Discuss with reference to Exhibit II and Exhibit X of the case study.

II. With reference to Exhibit I of the case study, analyze the profile of the industry practitioners. Most of the participants being less than 40 years old, can it be said that there is a trend of preferring competence over experience?

III. .................

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Schedule for Meeting with Industry Practitioners at BSM on October 27th 2014

Exhibit II: The House of HR

Exhibit III: Trends in Recruitment

Exhibit IV: Challenges of Fraud in Recruitment

Exhibit V: Dealing with a Bad Recruiter

Exhibit VI: New Age Workplaces

Exhibit VII: Efforts toward Creating Happy Work Places

Exhibit VIII: Supporting Family-friendly Workplace Policies

Exhibit IX: Latest Trends in Human Resource Management

Exhibit X: Trends in HR and the House of HR

Teaching Note Preview

The House of HR: Junk it or Sync It?

 

Synopsis

This case study was written with the aim of introducing the HRM course and its significance to the participants. It discusses the dilemma faced by Dr. Sanjay Vohra (Vohra), Dean, Bombay School of Management (BSM), which was known for its exemplary curriculum and education in Human Resource Management. While its students were sought after by the industry, they perhaps were not exposed to the latest trends shaping the HR landscape. Vohra calls for a meeting with HR consultants and HR leaders from the industry to learn the ways in which the B-school’s HRM curriculum could be re-oriented to better prepare its students for the industry. The industry practitioners share several trends thereby helping BSM faculty to arrive at an action plan to refurbish the HRM course content and create a new HR mandate. This case study helps the students understand the scope of the subject and the need to re-orient the same to make it more contemporary. It however debates if exposure to several employee friendly trends would raise the expectations bar of the students?

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding and Before the Classroom Discussion

• Gary Dessler and Biju Varkkey, “Introduction to Human Resource Management”, Human Resource Management, 12th Edition, Dorling Kindersley (India) Pvt. Ltd., 2011 – To understand the importance of studying Human Resource Management and to have an idea of the various trends that are shaping human resource management

• The following articles should be read to know more about some of the trends shaping the HR landscape

  • • Claire Cain Miller, “Silicon Valley: Perks for Some Workers, Struggles for Parents”, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/08/upshot/silicon-valley-perks-for-some-workers-struggles-forparents. html?_r=1&abt=0002&abg=1, April 7th 2015 (accessed date: April 23rd 2015)
  • • Biprorshee Das, “Fun at work is serious business”, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/fun-at-work-is-serious-business/articleshow/46874184.cms, April 10th 2015 (accessed date: April 28th 2015)
  • • Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla, “When employees call the shots”, http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/newmanager/when-employees-call-the-shots/article7102217.ece, April 14th 2015 (accessed date: May 7th 2015)
  • • TE Raja Simhan, “How commuting influences career choices”, http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/smartbuy/tech-news/how-commuting-influencescareer-choices/article6987100.ece, March 12th 2015 (accessed date: May 7th 2015)
  • • Veenu Sandhu, “Sexual harassment at work: Tell and suffer”, http://www.businessstandard.com/article/beyond-business/tell-and-suffer-115040300777_1.html, April 4th 2015 (accessed date: April 28th 2015)
  • • R. Ravikumar, “Corporate world goes gaga over radio to connect with staff ”, http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/corporate-world-goes-gaga-over-radio-toconnect-with-staff/article6975396.ece, March 9th 2015 (accessed date: May 7th 2015)
  • • Veenu Sandhu, “At work and happy”, http://www.business-standard.com/article/beyondbusiness/at-work-and-happy-115013001596_1.html, January 31st 2015 (accessed date: April 23rd 2015)
  • • Priyanka Sangani, “Your digital reputation is the key to success, says consultant Michael Fertik”, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/corporate-dossier/your-digitalreputation-is-the-key-to-success-says-consultant-michael-fertik/articleshow/47025769.cms, April 24th 2015 (accessed date: May 7th 2015)
  • • Devina Sengupta and Anumeha Chaturvedi, “Industry goes innovative with staff referral plans; offers attractive rewards”, http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-10-31/news/55631734_1_referral-cash-rewards-recruitment, October 31st 2015 (accessed date: May 7th 2015)

 

Case Positioning and Setting

This Case Study can be used for:

  • • MBA program in Human Resource Management Course – To sensitize the participants/students to the significance of studying Human Resource Management and expose them to the trends that are shaping this discipline
  • • MDPs/EDPs – for HR Professionals – To familiarize them with the emerging trends in HR to analyze the organizational implications of those trends

 

Assignment Questions

  • I. Debate on the effectiveness and efficiency of HR curriculum being followed at B-schools. Discuss with reference to Exhibit II and Exhibit X of the case study.
  • II. With reference to Exhibit I of the case study, analyze the profile of the industry practitioners. Most of the participants being less than 40 years old, can it be said that there is a trend of preferring competence over experience?
  • III. According to you, what is the significance of having interesting workplace designs and practices aimed at creating happy workplaces?
  • IV. .......................

 

Suggested Reading for the Faculty

  • • Ram Charan, “It’s Time to Split HR”, Harvard Business Review, July–August 2014 – This will serve as a counter-point to the ongoing discussion on the significance of HRM

 

Preamble to the Case Analysis or Case Discussion

The case study has been designed to be used in the introductory session of the Human Resource Management course. By discussing the HRM curriculum and the current trends in the HR space, the case study tries to generate interest among the participants. The discussion can accordingly be structured around three main points as detailed in the preamble [Exhibit (TN)-I]............

 

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Abstract

This case study is meant to serve as an inaugural case study in HRM course highlighting the scope of HRM as a discipline and as a practice. Presented through different emerging trends in HR practice, this case study enables a discussion on the need for re-orienting the course contents of HR to align with corporate expectations and realities.

Having been presented with several suggestions (by HR Heads and HR Consultants), Dr. Sanjay Vohra, Dean, Bombay School of Management, is perplexed with the degree and intensity of changes spanning HR discipline and practice. While he is contemplating appropriate changes to HRM course curriculum, he is not sure how to reorient the same to suit industry expectations and make the course highly practical.



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To have an overview of the HRM course contents and discuss on the practical relevance of the recommended course contents of HRM
  • To understand several trends spanning and shaping HR Departments and discuss on the organizational and behavioral (modification) implications of the same
  • To discuss and debate on the ways and means to reorient HRM course contents to make it more meaningful and highly relevant

Case Positioning and Setting

This Case study can be used for:

  • MBA program in Human Resource Management Course - To sensitize the participants/students to the significance of studying Human Resource Management and expose them to the trends that are shaping this discipline
  • MDPs/EDPs - for HR Professionals - To familiarize them with the emerging trends in HR to analyze the organizational implications of those trends



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- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)


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