1st part, provide a summary of the case study. 2nd part, answers the questions in a Q and A numbered format. 3rd part, provide your own perspective but also use references.Frank Schuman, vice president of human
resources for Big Bison Resorts, heard laughter as he approached the chief
executive’s office door. As he stepped into the room, he saw CEO Janette Briggs
seated behind her desk, regaling two other executives with a story that the
three were obviously enjoying immensely.“Oh, Frank! Good!” exclaimed Janette
when she saw him enter. “I was just telling Pedro and Marlys about my great
adventure in TV land.” Janette had been away from the office for the past two
weeks, taping the popular reality TV show Executive in Disguise instead
of running her company, a regional chain of indoor water parks.“How did it go?” asked Frank. “From
the laughter I heard outside your door, it must have been hilarious.”“Well, funny, yes,” replied Janette.
“But mainly it was eye-opening. After spending all that time in our kitchens
and cleaning the guest rooms and pools, I see our people and their jobs in a
totally new way.”“Is that why you called me here? I was
expecting you wanted to review our plans for the Employee of the Month program
we’re unrolling next month. That is, until I saw—” He waved his hand toward the
other two people seated in the room, Pedro Gutierrez, head of operations, and
finance chief Marlys Higgenbotham. “Or at least I was guessing they’re not here
to nominate the first employee of the month.”“No, see, that’s the issue. After
working directly with our frontline staff, I’m having my doubts about putting
resources into Employee of the Month,” replied the CEO. Frank swallowed.
Employee of the Month had been a pet idea of Janette’s, so he had poured most
of his time into developing the program. Each month, a manager at each resort
was going to nominate a top-performing employee to be the Employee of the Month
and enjoy the glory, not to mention a premium parking space and a framed photo
posted in the lobby of the resort where he or she worked. Now it appeared that
Janette shared what, he had to admit, were his own doubts about whether the
program would really do much to improve performance or lower turnover. Janette
continued, “Have a seat, Frank, and let me tell you about what I saw the past
two weeks.” Frank settled into a chair next to Marlys.Janette brought Frank up to date:
“I’ve been telling Marlys and Pedro what it was like to work in one of our
kitchens. The pace is unbelievable. The workload is unbelievable. And the
teamwork is out of this world. Frank, I was amazed, and you would be, too. I
know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, but these folks do a lot more than
cook. They’re planning and controlling on the fly: How many salads? How many
pancakes? How can we make all that without any waste? There’s no supervisor on
the line; they’re all thinking like managers—how to please customers,
control costs. Honestly, our managers could take lessons from them on teamwork
and quality control.”“It sounds like we have a lot of
Employees of the Month,” Frank said hopefully. Maybe the program wouldn’t be
canceled after all, and his group’s efforts wouldn’t have been wasted.“No, no, no!” broke in Marlys. “The
point is, we’ve tried so many programs to boost productivity. As you know, we
were looking at bonuses last year, till the economy got so bad. We simply
couldn’t justify paying more when occupancy rates were diving. But we have to
do something. Now that business is picking up in our market area, other hotels
and resorts are going to start recruiting away our best people. The question
is, what can we do that will keep employees working as hard as they are now
without burning out and leaving us? We thought people would just like a little
recognition, but Janette is saying she doubts it now.”“Exactly,” said Janette. “And that’s
why I called you in. We need your expertise about human relations. What do
people want? I thought it would be pay, prizes, that sort of thing. And you
went along with me. But really, Frank, can that be it? The people I worked with
the past two weeks—they have so much skill at what they do, and they’re
constantly thinking up ways to make our guests happy. They already take pride
in what they accomplish. We need to decide what will make their jobs better so
they can accomplish more without us getting in their way with, well, Employee
of the Month ceremonies.”“OK,” replied Frank, “now that you’ve
put it that way, I have to ask if maybe what we don’t want to do is
decide what will make their jobs better.”As Janette and Marlys gazed at Frank
quizzically, Pedro spoke up. “That’s great, Frank. You’re saying we shouldn’t
make their jobs better? I came up through the ranks at Big Bison, and I can
recall that those hourly jobs aren’t exactly perfect the way they are.”“What I mean,” replied Frank, “is that
we need to listen before we decide.”DISCUSSION
QUESTIONS1.What kinds of behavior would an Employee of the
Month program, as described here, reinforce at Big Bison Resorts? How might the
company apply the principles of reinforcement more effectively?2.How might Big Bison Resorts get input from employees
to make the company’s jobs more motivating? What impact would this effort have
on the company’s performance?3.How would Big Bison’s employees perceive the equity
of the Employee of the Month program? Compare their reactions to that program
with the response you would expect from an effort to involve employees in
improving their jobs.4.Think about a previous job you have held or hold
currently. If you had the power to make such decisions, what would you do to
make the job more motivating for employees?