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System or Strategy Used For Hiring New Workers

The successor to the failed quality circle initiative was the adoption of the American process of El and Pm, an approach to management that has been incorporated into mainstream pay and working condition negotiations. Only the staff unions agreed to formal involvement in the El process, but the philosophy and practices underlying El have been diligently pursued by Ford management informally at the local level. For example, problem-solving work groups, similar to quality circles, flourish in Ford UK facilities.

For Ford management, the 1985 pay and working practices agreement was a breakthrough in the informal diffusion of employee involvement, versatility and flexibility, the acquisition of new skills and the elimination of inefficient demarcation lines in both craft and production work. The principles of the 1985 Agreement were reinforced and extended in 1998 when involvement and flexibility initiatives were defined as issues for plant- and national level negotiation

One of the main goals of PM is changing managerial attitudes and dismantling the right ‘chimney’ structure designed to maximize control, irrespective of the negative impact on information-processing or innovative capability. PM began a process of simplifying managerial control, devolving authority and breaking down the barriers between managerial groups erected-and zealously protected – to ensure

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functional specialization. The key goal of EI/PM was to achieve a major cultural change, to embed co-operation as a way of life rather than a specific, finite burst of corporate restructuring.

Ford UK executives regarded the withdrawal of the staff unions from the formal EI agreement with equanimity, satisfied that sufficient of the programme’s principles had been internalized to make further progress more a matter of evolution than formal accommodation. The successor to IE is the Employee Development and Assistance Programme (EDAP) which introduced non-pay non-job-related benefits, principally funding for personal development through education. Through EDAP Ford has successfully opened up a second front in its ongoing ‘battle’ to win employee hearts and minds; a battlefield, moreover, in which it sets the terms of engagement.

EDAP has been a major success: first year figures were doubled in year two, and reached 44 percent in 1991: around 20,000 Ford UK employees had taken part in EDAP (TURU 1991). The current growth of interest in HRM reflects the past failings of the personnel function: ‘a persistent failure of personnel departments to innovate on personnel policy and therefore to contribute to the pursuit of competitive advantage’. In many respects, HRM is the policy agenda of a profession – personnel management – in search of a new role and even a justification for its continued existence.

At the very least, it presents us with a radical rethinking of the function. Legge (1989) Henry Ford’s celebrated Five-Dollar-a-Day program, introduced in 1914, contained an element of investment to deal with worker heterogeneity. In the early 1900s, most of Ford’s workers were recent arrivals to Detroit, and many were new immigrants: in 1915 more than 50 languages were spoken at Ford’s Highland Park plant. Ford made two types of investments in employment relations to deal with worker heterogeneity. First, it is well known that he introduced an extreme division of labor in his mass production system.

Such an arrangement reduced, if not eliminated, the necessity for workers to communicate with one another. Second, for introduced a system of inspection and certification to homogenize workers with respect to certain productivity attributes. Thus, according to Raff and summers (1987), some 150 Ford Sociological Department inspectors visited the homes of all workers in order to inculcate them with Ford values and to certify them for the Five-Dollar-a-Day program. Recruitment is the first important step in creating the right work force for successful training.

Most hiring in Japan takes place in spring when students graduate from high schools and colleges. New hires arrive ready and malleable for employment-based training. Japanese employers stress academic achievement in their hiring decisions, in contrast to the U. S. situation where academic achievement rarely serve as a hiring criterion. In Japan schools, which are in the best position to judge students’ achievements, perform much of the screening through “semiformal” arrangements with specific employers.

Many employers have established ongoing relationships with particular high schools to help recruit their graduates year after year. In hiring for production and clerical jobs, for example, employers, especially large ones, rely extensively on the recommendations from high schools. These recommendations are based mostly on academic achievements. In some cases, employers also administer their own tests, though this practice has become less common recently, given the shortage of high school graduates.

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