Best Practice Hrm Case Study

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IBS Center for Management Research (2010)
This case examines the best practices in human resource management at the US based Microsoft corporation. The company was ranked 38th in the Fortune's list of '100 Best Companies to Work For' published in January 2009. Microsoft had a strong organisational culture which supported work / life balance and helped boost employee morale. The company also had a well planned employee retention strategy which was considered among the best in the industry. It offered various benefits to its employees including health insurance, ESOPs (employee stock ownership / option plans), flexible working hours, discounts on several products and services. The company also promoted corporate diversity. The case ends with a discussion on the challenges before Microsoft to continue its employee friendly HR practices in recessionary times where its customers are cutting back on IT expenditure adversely affecting its revenues and profitability. The case is structured to enable students to: (1) study the organisational culture and HR practices at Microsoft; (2) examine how a company's culture can contribute in boosting employee morale; (3) understand the retention strategies adopted by Microsoft; and (4) analyse the challenges faced by Microsoft on the HR front in recessionary times. The case is intended for MBA / PGDBM students as part of the human resource management curriculum. The teaching note includes the abstract, teaching objectives and methodology, assignment questions, feedback of case discussion, and additional readings and references. The teaching note does not contain an analysis of the case.
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The Marriott Way

Marriott's history of taking care of its employees dated back to its early days, when its founder, JW Marriott, counselled the company's employees individually on their personal problems at his first hotel. He valued their presence, kept them posted about the latest happenings in Marriott and gave them excellent training. JW Marriott always ensured that employees who joined the company felt themselves a part of the Marriott family. He made managers responsible for the satisfaction of their subordinates.

JW Marriott was always conscious of the fact that in the hospitality industry, providing the best service to customers was paramount...

The HR Practices

Apart from providing a competitive pay package, Marriott strived to give its employees a good work life. The company gave equal importance to non-monetary factors such as work-life balance, good leadership, better growth opportunities, a friendly work environment and training.

Employees stayed longer with Marriott as they were happy with these non-monetary factors and thought them more important.

Marriott's culture and guiding principles had a significant influence on the company's HR practices including manpower planning, recruitment and selection; training and development, employee retention and welfare initiatives and grievance redress.

Manpower Planning, Recruitment and Selection

Marriott attached a lot of importance to manpower planning. It started right from entry level and went through to higher positions. Every unit of Marriott (division or department) prepared its expansion plans over the next couple of years, and, in the process, decided on the number of entry level and managerial employees required for the expansion.

Details on the number of new units planned in the given time frame (two to five years), a rough picture of the likely organization structure, the time required to develop employees who could take managerial positions, current availability of employees within Marriott and the necessity to recruit externally - all these were determined during the planning process...

Training and Development

Once the right candidates were recruited, it was important to get them accustomed to the company's unique work environment. Training and development played a key role here. These programs varied between frontline employees and managerial personnel. Over time, training programs evolved from classroom- based teaching to interactive multimedia training. Fresh recruits went through an eight-hour initial training session, during which they were given an overview of Marriott and their individual roles.

A unique feature was that senior hotel employees served lunch at the first session. During the three- month training period which followed, a mentor, addressed as 'buddy' was allotted to each recruit. The mentor guided the trainee. All trainees attended refresher sessions after the first and second months. On the final day of training, recruits enjoyed a sumptuous feast at a Marriott hotel...

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