Case Studies

 

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Client Profile: This multi-site, large independent bank employs about 1200 in multiple branches throughout Southern and Northern California.

The Problem: The bank had been asked to submit their Affirmative Action Plan to the OFCCP within a typical 30-day time frame. The plan and exhibits were submitted just under the deadline. However, the documents were submitted in an unorganized manner and included raw data, as opposed to the required statistical and narrative analyses. The OFCCP threatened to debar the bank if it did not submit a plan that met the regulations within one week. The bank’s H.R. staff had neither the expertise nor the time to complete the task.

The Solution: JorgensenHR was hired on Monday to complete the required analyses and assemble the plan documents for the bank headquarters and all branches by Friday of the same week. JorgensenHR assigned five full-time consultants to the project. Work began immediately, and the dedicated task force completed the plan and delivered it to the OFCCP on Friday.

The Result: The compliance officer quickly reviewed the plan and confirmed it met all the basic requirements. Following a positive desk audit, JorgensenHR provided on-site support and consulting to the CFO during the OFCCP’s on-site review. The bank subsequently received a letter of compliance from the OFCCP. Since the original assignment fourteen years ago, JorgensenHR has continued to provide consulting services to the bank, developing annual plan updates and advising on Affirmative Action matters.
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COMPENSATION (a)

Client Profile: This large real estate holding firm has offices throughout the United States and Canada, with its headquarters in Glendale, CA.

The Problem: The company has experienced tremendous growth. As a result they are reorganizing and creating new positions to maintain that growth. Because so many of the positions are new to the company, senior staff members need assistance in defining the positions and setting salary grades and pay levels according to industry standards.

The Solution: JorgensenHR has been assisting the Human Resource department for several years, primarily with compensation assignments. As the new positions are created, JorgensenHR uses extensive internal and external research materials to provide salary information and market data. This enables the company to set competitive pay levels which accurately reflect the requirements of each position.

The Result: JorgensenHR is available as needed to provide complex salary information quickly and easily using internal research library information. The company can rely on the accuracy and quick accessibility of the information to help in defining where each new position fits in to its pay scale. As a result, the organization does not need a full time compensation manager.
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COMPENSATION (b)

Client Profile: A 200 year old national law firm branch

The Problem: The company was having serious problems with secretarial performance and compensation. Most of the secretaries had been with the firm for more than 10 years. The secretaries were receiving salaries above the marketplace for their skill set. Although their reviews had been good and salary increases had occurred annually, the computer skill of the long-term secretaries had not kept up with their salary increases or technological advances.

New attorneys entering the firm had strong computer skills and were impatient with the lack of technological knowledge of many of the secretaries. Secretaries that had been paid handsomely for shorthand skills were obsolete. Most of the work was computerized and many of the secretaries did not have a strong grasp of the more complicated technical maneuvering. As the older partners retired, the obsolete secretaries were hard to place in other positions within the firm.

On the other hand, some of the highly technically skilled secretaries were new to the firm and underpaid. These secretaries were in high internal demand and open to the risk of recruitment by competing firms.

We worked with the firm administrator to design a methodology to attack the issue. Working together we got buy-in from the managing partner. JorgensenHR first conducted one-on-one interviews with several layers of attorneys and secretaries to verify the issues. JorgensenHR developed very detailed job descriptions for all secretaries and word processors. Once developed and reviewed by management, the secretaries and word processors verified that the descriptions were accurate.

From the job descriptions, we identified core competencies or core skill groups in both jobs, and set up specific, measurable skill levels in all core competencies. We then verified with both the attorneys and the secretaries that the core competencies were accurate.

Once identified, we set up a training committee and helped them design training for each core competency. We established classes and training methodology.

Concurrent with the training, we conducted a skills assessment for all clerical personnel and provided them with individualized feedback.

We were able to identify objective criteria to rate against market salaries.

During the year, we helped to outplace a few obsolete secretaries and maintained training cycles.

Reviews were conducted using both assessment and subjective attorney evaluations. Salaries were tied to assessment levels and market rates.

By the end of the second year, the firm had adjusted salaries of their clerical personnel, upgraded all skill levels, and had an ongoing training process in place.
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BENEFIT ANALYSIS

Client Profile: This large company is a manufacturer and distributor of decorative accessories for homes and offices that acquired four similar companies located in Southern California. They employ approximately 600 employees in total.

The Issue: The company had multiple employment policies, employee handbooks and benefits packages that were being managed at each of the four separate locations that were in existence prior to the acquisitions. Not all of this information was available in a written documented source. The client had four separate handbooks, nine insurance programs, and a multitude of employment policies and benefits, some which were documented and some which were not. The company wanted to unify their employee benefits, handbooks and policies under one entity. However, an analysis had to be conducted to compare what the differences were in each area and identify the most cost-effective changes to make. None of the four companies had the human resources expertise to research and analyze all of the data and make the necessary recommendations to management.

The Solution: JorgensenHR was retained to conduct the analysis of the employment past practices, written policies, employee handbooks and benefit packages offered to each of the four companies. A JorgensenHR consultant met with members of management from each of the companies and gathered information to conduct the analysis. Through management interviews, meetings and written material research, our JorgensenHR consultant was able to assess all of the existing practices and policies of each company. A twenty-two-page comprehensive spreadsheet analysis was prepared for the client, outlining every benefit, policy and cost of each program. In addition to the comparison analysis, our consultant made commentary recommendations for policies that needed to be updated for compliance reasons as well as recommendations for cost-efficient solutions that would save the client money in their benefits program.

The Result: The client reviewed the analysis, and was able to quickly identify the areas of employee benefits and policies that were not consistent. Following the review of the analysis, the client engaged JorgensenHR to write the policies that were needed for compliance, thus presenting a unified handbook and written policies to all of its employees located in the four separate locations. In addition, the client was able to institute a new benefit plan, taking advantage of its new, larger group size, resulting in a uniform, more cost-efficient benefit plan without reducing employee benefits.
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GENERAL HUMAN RESOURCE CONSULTING

Client Profile: This client is a manufacturer of specialized medical-surgical devices that has 75 employees. Within a 12-month period, this client experienced 300% growth in sales and grew from 12 to 75 employees.

The Issue: This client did not have a human resources function when JorgensenHR was contacted to assist the client. The client had multiple issues in which they needed assistance with. Recruiting and retaining qualified and highly valued employees was of utmost concern. Also of concern were the overall compliance issues for a company who grew from a relatively small manufacturer to a larger one, requiring attention to many compliance issues related to employment practices, compensation and safety.

The Solution: JorgensenHR was retained to institute a human resource function at the organization. Our consultant conducted a human resource function review, worked with management to develop their organizational structure and job descriptions, developed a basic compensation plan, developed a management incentive plan, mentored and trained the existing staff and brought the client into compliance. Our consultant was the project leader for the payroll conversion, wrote and instituted all of the human resource policies, recruited specialized employees, instituted human resource systems and procedures, conducted regular management training sessions and trained and mentored the human resource administrator.

The Result: JorgensenHR was able to assist this client with building their human resource function from the ground floor. We provided on-site and off-site support, as the client needed. Our consultant trained a valued administrative assistant to be a functional human resource administrator, implemented a short term and long term management incentive plan that assisted the client with retaining its most valuable employees and developed a compensation plan that established marketable wage rates, thus allowing the client to set competitive wages, reducing their turnover and enabling them to hire the qualified candidates needed to operate their business efficiently, eliminating their tremendous overtime costs. The client has all of their employment policies and procedures in place and is compliant with all labor and safety regulations.
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INVESTIGATION OF HARASSMENT CHARGE

A large distribution company, that had a well-known name in the Southland, had a serious problem. A former employee had accused the firm of Sexual Harassment. She had accused the management of the firm, including the Human Resources Director, of harassment and retaliation. The company had received a letter from a prominent law firm that was very public about its cases and defense of women’s rights. The distribution company’s lawyer recommended an independent third party investigate the claim.

JorgensenHR responded quickly to the assignment. The consultant met with the lawyer, firm, and Human Resources Director to outline the parameters of the investigation. The consultant developed an extensive questionnaire and interviewed both employees and ex-employees of the firm.

The consultant found that the firm was very proactive in training and providing a professional business environment. The consultant documented the responses from the female and male employees, which verified the professional environment. The consultant also was able to substantiate that the woman who had complained had serious problems with several of her fellow employees. She had lied and alienated most of the staff that worked with her. The consultant was also able to document the swift action the company initially took when they were confronted with her allegations.

Once the investigation was complete, the consultant wrote up the findings and explained the facts of the case. The written review of the situation was given to the opposing attorneys before the arbitration. During the arbitration, it was apparent that the ex-employee had lied to her attorneys in a similar manner in which she had lied to her fellow employees. The attorneys dropped the case, and it came to a satisfactory solution on the spot.
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ON-GOING HR SUPPORT

A manufacturer and distributor of fasteners has been a client for 14 years. When they were at 3 million, we helped the owner hire the first CFO and retire their bookkeeper. We designed the job and coached the owner through the interview process with BestFIT?. Our next project was BestCOMP?. We designed a company-wide compensation system and now update that system periodically.

As they grew to $7 million, we supported their growth with a handbook outlining the company rules and benefits. We also trained their supervisors and periodically met with their management team to explain policies, HR laws and how to avoid lawsuits.

Our consultant acts as a member of their management team. She is on-call to be available when they need help with a sticky termination or other employee problem.

Currently at $12 million, the owner’s children are beginning to run the company. Our consultant meets with them monthly to conduct management training and compensation committee review of all performance reviews.
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RECRUITMENT

Client Profile: Our client manufactures micro-abrasive blasting equipment. The company has been in business 30 years and currently employs 35. Human resource responsibility is shared between the president and the payroll person.

The Problem: The company had been experiencing high turnover, resulting primarily from poor hires. This was especially evident in the engineering and administrative support areas. The president was not able to focus on growing the company because of the amount of time he was spending on H.R. and sales administration.

The Solution: The president asked JorgensenHR to provide general H.R. support, with a focus on recruiting. For six years, JorgensenHR has filled openings utilizing our BestFIT process. Extensive interviewing, testing and evaluation techniques were required to meet the specific requirements of the positions and expectations of the president.

The Result: Excellent employees were cost-effectively hired as technicians, engineers and administrative support personnel. The president was able to delegate engineering management responsibilities to a new Operations Manager, and he trained two administrative support employees to handle much of the sales and marketing work that had bogged him down previously.
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RETENTION

A Fortune 500, high-tech organization was doing a conversion to SAP. In order for the conversion to be complete and for the company to run successfully, they needed to retain as many of the technical staff as possible. This is difficult given the environment where SAP individuals are in high demand and can command salaries that are growing exponentially. What the company needed was a retention program that would help to solidify both the compensation and the environment in the organization.

The company had conducted an attitude survey, which had shown that the IT department had some management issues and some communication issues that needed to be dealt with in order for the employees to feel the environment was satisfying. JorgensenHR teamed with the internal human resource departments to design and develop a retention program that would encompass both compensation and environment. The plan would improve the retention and lower turnover in the department.

The first step of this project was to conduct a BestPRACTICES evaluation. JorgensenHR surveyed numerous companies going through similar conversions and researched written publications to get excellent documentation on retention ideas and success stories in other similarly situated companies. When the research was completed, an extensive written recommendation was developed for executive management to review with specific recommendations in how to improve retention and lower turnover.

Once the executives had read and evaluated the research, a planning session was conducted by JorgensenHR that included the senior executives and the IT executives, to review the recommendations and to set up a methodology to implement some of the ideas and recommendations. The vice president of IT spearheaded the project, and JorgensenHR and the HR Department worked closely with the senior executives of the IT division to incorporate ideas and recommendations.

One of the most immediate needs was to update and finalize a new compensation program that would break the IT division out of the traditional total company compensation structure. JorgensenHR developed a new compensation program that included grades and ranges, performance evaluation criteria and job descriptions, as well as performance feedback process that improved communication and assisted in upgrading the base salaries. They used published market surveys, as well as phone surveys, to verify the market ranges.

Once the compensation plan was finalized, the IT staff were slotted into career path positions that would allow for development and growth.
Next, there was a retention plan developed that would allow the IT staff to receive current cash bonuses based on meeting department timelines and milestones, as well as a long-term retention plan that paid out over a period of several years. As part of the retention strategy, strategic planning focus groups were conducted by JorgensenHR and the HR staff in all sections of the IT Department. In those focus group sessions, documentation was kept so that each group could report back to the IT executives on suggestions and ideas for implementing future change and improvements in their sections. Once the focus groups were concluded, the IT VP had a roadmap of how to improve the environment and improve quality of delivery.

The strategic planning process solved several problems that had been identified in the attitude survey. It improved communication, got the different sections to start thinking creatively about ongoing quality improvement, and it allowed the managers to get feedback from the participants as to their recommendations and suggestions for the future.

The IT Department has since conducted attitude surveys that have shown significant improvement.

Their turnover has slowed dramatically from what it was prior to the implementation of the retention process. JorgensenHR, throughout the planning and implementation process, facilitated and trained the management as well as the HR staff, and assisted in the identification and recommendation phase of the retention program.

This particular program was very critical to the future growth and success of the organization. It helped them to retain current critical skills and to improve the core competencies of all the seasoned staff in the information technology area.

The IT VP reported recently that the programs implemented were working successfully. An offshoot of the compensation plan was a clarity of job hierarchy that helped the IT managers explain compensation, job levels, and manage their staff more effectively.