Eastern University has been facing financial difficulties because of reduced government allocations and a low student enrolment rate. The situation has forced the university to increase its tuition fees as a method to raise more revenue and finance its deficit. Bill Barker, an expert in human resources management was hired to assist the university come up with a solution to the deficit problem; he reported that the enrolment rate has been decreasing due to the strength of the Canadian economy that offers job opportunities to less learned population and reduced birth rates. He recommended that the university should adopt an employment freeze strategy, however his views were challenged by the university president who expressed optimism that the situation can be improved (Schwind, 1998). This paper analyzes the Eastern University case as a human resources management case study.
As a member of the provincial cabinet, I would not support a motion of an employment freeze in Eastern University entirely on reasons of operating deficits. Freezing employment will mean that the university will miss the opportunity to hire experts in emerging areas of study. Of late, several fields are emerging at the college and university level; for an international class university such as Eastern University, it should have relevant courses. Areas that have emerged of late include information and technology, strategic management courses among others. An employment freeze policy is detrimental to the university since it will not meet the needs of the current generation. An employment freeze is a short-term remedy that will have negative effects on the university in the future. It also creates a negative attitude towards an institution where it is thought that the institution is suffering and not modernizing (Smith & Mazin, 2004).
Instead of taking an employment freeze policy, the company should adopt other ways of financing its operational deficits. One policy that can work to its benefit is expanding the university facilities to offer more modern courses. This will call for the recruitment of experts in emerging fields of study.
Other data that the university president could have considered
One of the factors that supported a low enrolment rate in the university according to Bill Barker is a reduced birth rate in the country. He was looking at the issue at a micro level while the president was looking at things from a macro-economic angle. The president is likely looking at the global population that is on the increase, he can see opportunities and enrolment of more students not only from Canada but also from other parts of the world. With globalization, the movement of people for education and business has been facilitating, this is an opportunity that the university can tap into; it will call for massive campaigns, modernizing and expanding the facility to accommodate international and national students. With an increased student base, the company is likely to finance its budgets effectively.
Strategies to continue hiring and yet maintain low financial deficits
The university needs new fields of study; to enroll other employees and remain afloat, the university should revise its employment policy and embrace contractual-based hiring. Contractual hiring offers a company the chance to employ on part-time temporary bases. When such a policy is implemented, then the costs of staff will not increase.
As much as the university will continue hiring, there is a need to have a strategic hiring policy; it can diversify some of its programs to affiliate colleges on a cost-sharing basis, this will increase the revenue to the university and still recruit experts from emerging areas of study.
Suppose a human resources planner estimated that, several technological innovations indicate that your firm will need 25 percent fewer permanent employees in three years because of a gradual shutting down of a section of your company. What actions would you take?
Technological development has resulted in some staff being rendered worthless in an organization. The most difficult task placed on management is firing employees not because they have acted in contradiction with the company’s policy but because they are faced out by technology. However, this is unavoidable. In the case of a three-year gradual shutting down of the plant, I would ensure that I take appropriate and gradual measures to ensure that I lay off employees without affecting the reputation of my company. I would follow the following procedure;
Ensure that employees understand the development that is happening in the company and how it will affect them. Informing employees that they might be laid off may create tension and friction in the company, to avoid this, a psychological approach where employees are counseled should be implemented. The esteem of the employees should be protected; they should not feel that they are being laid off because of inefficiency. The situation at hand should be well discussed.
All dues accruing to the employee should be guaranteed and paid in good; this will time the employee to adjust effectively. I would embrace a policy of laying-off, whereby an employee remains on the payroll without some benefits for six months. This will assist him to adjust to the new lifestyle. I would stick to the three years transitional period (Renckly & Renckly, 2003).
Renckly, B. R. ,& Renckly, G. R. (2003). Human Resources. New York: Barron’s Educational Series.
Schwind, F. (1998). Canadian human resource management: a strategic approach.Boston: McGraw-Hill Company.
Smith, A. S., & Mazin, A. R. (2004). The HR answer book: an indispensable guide for managers and human resources professionals. New York: Amacom Div American Mgmt Assn.