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CH10_HumanResources - 1 Instructors Manual Chapter 10...

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Chapter 10 HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT KEY STUDENT QUESTIONS Most students are very interested in Human Resources Management (HRM) because they have personal experience with HR policies or practices that they feel are unfair. Downsizing, performance management, and legal issues are especially likely to create conversation. Questions you might hear include: o 1. “How do companies decide who to lay off during a downsizing? 2. “Is (insert a human resource practice here) legal?” 3. “What should I do if I’m asked an illegal question during an interview?” How you answer these questions depends on whether your class needs more specific examples to understand concepts, or if you want to move away from the individual situation, and get the class to consider a broader, more strategic approach to Human Resources. To get more specific examples, ask the student asking the question if they will be willing to tell the class a little more about why they are asking the question. Have them elaborate on the situation and background, and then ask the class what they think. When answering the question, be careful to explain to the student that you are not a lawyer, and if you don’t have an answer for the question, be open about that, as well. If you believe a student has a legitimate complaint with an employer, direct the student to the National Labor Relations Board or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office in your area. You can find your local offices by going to the following websites: http://www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/offices/default.asp and http://www.eeoc.gov/offices.html . When trying to get students to look at the bigger question from the perspective of either corporate strategy or general laws, ask them to take a step back and consider the question they are asking from another perspective. For example, students who ask the question “How do companies decide who to lay off during a downsizing?” are likely to have been laid off themselves. You can redirect these students from their own concerns by asking them to describe: 1) what kinds of situations cause managers to think about downsizing; 2) the various downsizing options available to managers; and 3) the pros and cons of different approaches, based on the situation. By helping the students to view the situation from a broader perspective, they develop a better understanding of HRM principles. The third question (“What should I do if I’m asked an illegal question during an interview?”) deserves special mention. One response to this question is, “Answer the question, proceed with the interview, hope they offer you the job, then turn them down, and tell them why.” A company which asks illegal questions during the interview process is probably not a company for which students want to work, and it is only when companies start losing good candidates (and know why) that they will stop asking these kinds of questions. Students may or may not feel that this is a practical answer, but they will see it as an empowering one.
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