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Muffler Magic Case Notes

Muffler Magic examines some of the challenges of a growing company that has multiple
locations. As a company expands, the human resource management (HR) practices
need to adapt to the changing work environment. Growth for Muffler Magic has resulted
in challenges such as poorer quality and lower productivity. As a result, the case
provides an illustrative example on the relationship between HR practices and business
profitability. In this case, expansion includes opening new locations and thus the
process to ensure consistency in hiring and training practices becomes even more
important. This case also examines the influence a compensation structure can have
on the quality and quantity of work produced.

B-18. Write a one-page summary outline listing three or four recommendations you
would make with respect to each HR function (recruiting, selection, training, and so on)
that you think Ron Brown should be addressing with his HR manager.

As a growing organization with several management challenges, there are a wide range
of recommendations that could be addressed. Some examples include:
Develop written job descriptions for each technician position.
Identify new recruitment sources for candidates such as trade schools or an
employee referral program to find quality candidates.
Develop a more extensive selection process including work sample tests where
the candidate could demonstrate their ability to complete a repair. Could also
develop a structured interview guide that asks behavior-based questions.
Develop a new hire orientation process that provides a consistent orientation to
company procedures.
Provide safety training to avoid accidents and injuries.
Improve on-the-job training and look for outside training programs to help build
the skills of the technicians.
Implement a performance appraisal process to provide employees with
developmental feedback.
Administer an attitude survey to understand reasons why employees leave to
support the development of retention plans.
Implement incentive pay plans similar to those that the professor recommended.
Conduct a market analysis to examine the external competitiveness of the pay
the company offers.

B-19. Develop a 10-question structured interview form Ron Browns service center
managers can use to interview experienced technicians.
Students could provide a wide variety of interview questions in response to this
question. Some of the questions could be introductory to establish rapport. Others may
be situational or behavior-based questions. All questions should correspond to the job
description of a technician.

B-20.If you were Ron Brown, would you implement the professors recommendation
addressing the presenteeism problemin other words, start paying for sick days?
Why or why not?

Providing compensation for sick days is a valuable benefit for employees. Ron argues
that a sick employee is at least somewhat productive. However, if the employee takes
the day off to recover from his or her illness, the employee will likely return the next day
at full productivity. If the employee works while he or she is sick, he or she is likely to be
less productive for several days. Further, when employees comes to work while they
are sick, they are likely to spread their illness to other workers which then leads to less
productivity amongst others. However, if Ron does offer sick days, he should implement
specific guidelines on the use of sick days to ensure that they are only used when an
employee is actually sick.

B-21.If you were advising Ron Brown, would you recommend that he implement the
professors skill-based pay and incentive pay plan as is? Why? Would you implement it
with modifications? If you would modify it, please be specific about what you think those
modifications should be, and why.

Overall the skill-based pay and incentive pay plans appear to be a good way to tie pay
to performance and provide some incentive for employees to work productively. Skill-
based pay can help avoid narrowing the job duties for the technicians through paying
them for the skills they are able to demonstrate. The incentive pay system seems to
target improving overall team productivity. However, Ron may also want to consider
individual incentive pay opportunities. For example, a standard hour pay plan could
provide an incentive to complete jobs more efficiently.