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The Human Resource Function of Harrison Brothers Corporation

1. How does McCain view her role as human resource manager?

Brenda McCain view her role as a Human Resource Manager at the Westpark store as the
primary contact for all human resource related topics and issues, as opposed to the previous
reality of those actions being managed by the operations manager. Has a HR manager she
developed policies and procedures for proper staffing. Brenda describes her process of
managing human resource staff and keep abreast the employees performance has being very
important and time consuming. Brendas primary responsibilities consists on interviewing and
hiring applicants, support the trainer with the new employee training classes, and manage the
performance evaluations and career planning processes. McCain thinks that the high turnover
in the sales department is a continue struggle. Because she wants a consistent enforce of the
rules and procedures, she become the responsible for all disciplinary actions, which include
gathering the initial complaint from the supervisor, conducting the investigation and inquiring
the employee and administering the appropriate discipline.
2. What is Harrison Brothers business strategy?

The Harrison Brothers is a multi line traditional department store that is over 100 years old.
Their success lead them to become one of the largest privately owned retail chains in the U.S.
The majority of the twenty Garrison Brothers stores are located in the Northeast and they sale
moderate to higher priced mens, womens and childrens clothing to their target audience:
middle-class and fashion-conscious customers.
James Harrison, the current CEO, realizes that the company must reinvent itself in order to
better adapt to the industry challenges. He recognizes that employee quality and performance
is a key element in the success of the company. He identified five strategic goals to update the
business model that has worked for the past century:
1. Convert non-selling space into revenue-generating selling space
2. Build up underdeveloped merchandise categories
3. Invest aggressively in private brands like Polo, Nautica and Tommy Hilfiger
4. Reduce costs through the use of advanced computer systems to project sales and
manage inventory
5. Improve productivity of sales associates, buyers and department heads

3. What is the structure and staffing of the human resources department?
Staffing is defined as the process of determining the organization's current and future human
resource needs and then taking steps to ensure that those needs are met effectively. The
Harrison Brothers Human Resource structure consists of five employees: the HR manager; two
HR assistants; the trainer and the payroll clerk.
Their main sources of applicants for the organization are responses to newspaper ads and
people that have heard by word-of-mouth through present or past employees. The company
selects people based on how well they do in the interview. The company places a lot of weight
on the applicants motivation, personality, and drive. Although the HR manager check the
applicant's records from high school or college/university, she doesn't consider them vital.
Another relevant aspect in the application form is the indication of job stability.
The training of new people occurs every two weeks and every week in holiday season.
Although the HR department have a specific person to train new personnel, the HR manager
frequently helps the trainer when the classes are too large.
4. Analyze the data in Exhibit 1.4. What are the implications?
From the data in exhibit 1.4. it is possible to interpret the perception of the managers.
Considering the range of questions, one can say that the store managers seem more interested
in those activities. Store manager given equal ranking for HR function, knowledge of the
business and managing change; in the other hand the HR managers only give high priority for
staffing and performance management. Taking in to consideration that the industry faces the
challenge of keeping a well trained, highly motivated sales staff and management team; and
that the company faces and pursues a strategy of changing the current reality, the HR
managers seem to be more concentrate in the staffing and performance only. Contrary store
managers that are more aware of the current needs and change process. One could think that,
considering the high level of turnover, both managers would have a high concern in
compensation and safety, however they rank both very low. In my opinion that is somewhat of
a problem, both issues are a menace/opportunity to deal with the problem of turnover. In
terms of training, store managers are more interested in giving training than the HR. In this
item both should be aligned with the company strategy goals and industry challenges. High
specialization and staff that knows the merchandise and understands customers is paramount,
and proper training is fulcral to attend this concern. In my opinion, I think that the store
managers are more aligned with the overall problems of the industry and strategic goals in
terms of human resources. However they should look into safety and compensation to better
handle the problem of high turnover. Regarding the Human Resources Managers they are to
focused on staffing and performance management, although this are two important functions,
I think that these managers should have a more strategic focus in opposition to more HR
supporting functions from the managers store.
5. Given the organization's size and strategic goals, evaluate the development of the human
resource function at Harrison Brothers. What problems do you see? How could its major
human resource functions be improved?
Harrison Brothers has several issues that it needs to correct to help the company to renew
itself and achieve its goals. Namely:
High employee turnover;
Effective training;
Better hiring process
HR seems to be very focus on the selection process
Improve RH management response time;
There are several issues that can be addressed simultaneously. To start, in my opinion,
Harrison Brothers should have a centralized HR department that will initiate the hiring process
plan the training, define employee benefits and management protocols. The centralized HR
service, along with delegation of responsibilities will allow the HR to improve management
response and not to focus only on the selection process.
The employee turnover, training and improved hiring process are all linked and can be
addressed simultaneously. A new pay structure and quarterly performance reviews will help to
address the employee turnover. The actual structure of paying the minimum wage and
perform a annual evaluation of performance to determine merit increases is not conducive in
the current work environment. Employees are always looking to get some additional pay and
when a new job comes along they will quit working for Harrison Brothers. A competitive pay
structure align to proper training will start the process of keeping employees for longer periods
of time. Management has to keep in mind that every new employee replaced cost more time
and money on recruiting and training than of having a more competitive pay to motivated
employees that had proper formal training and experience in the job. Employees that
embrace the company culture, that feel integrated on a team will have better knowledge of
the inventory and sell more to the customers.
The current hiring process starts with a complete interview. By having constant ads on the
newspaper the message sent is that there is a high turnover going on, this message is not
consistent with a policy of long term employment. Improving the hire process by using a
electronic recruitment would help to save time, to be more cost effective and save time. The
applications could be reviewed by the central HR department for a first selection; and the
candidates that comply with the requirements would be interviewed by the store manager.
This would involve the store manager in the process and help to choose a better fit into the
local team.
Finally, all staff should be required to take effective and complete training as they enter the
company and continuing training to help the employees in terms of customer service, new
inventory or how to be more productive.