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Ashley B.

July 5, 2010-October 22, 2010
MG 665
Midterm Case Assignment

1. 50 points: Review the situation that led to the survey. What are the major employee
relations problems at the mine? What aspects of the immediate scene (miners and mining
in Sesser) are important? What aspects of the corporate scene (Inland’s integrated
operations) are pertinent? What factors involving the industry at this time are relevant?

The situation that led to survey was that mine operated as if it was three different mines within
one. Due to the lack of communications in a timely manner upper management would have to
get involved to make decisions. It gave foremen little or no authority on the job. The miners did
not have ideal working conditions underground. It was very important for them to have proper
communications with their supervisors. The mines has to sometimes buy iron ore from other
facilities because they usually transported it from Southern Illinois. The factors involving the
industry at this time are the new safety precautions and the transportation of the coal once it is
minded. The working conditions have improved since the turn of the century when workers use a
pick and a shovel.

2. 50 points: Study and evaluate the survey. What are the significant findings, in your view?
What are the major categories considered by the survey? Do any findings require
qualification? Do you feel a need for additional data or a different breakdown of the
findings? What kinds of comparisons might be helpful in analyzing the data? Explain.

The median age for workers at the mine is 26-35 years old, so they have a younger workforce
that may not be as skilled as they would like them to be. The majority of employees are married
so they would stay at the job even when the working conditions are not ideal. Most employees
have 9 years or more years of service which indicate longevities among employees. The majority
of employees work in productions. Since the mine is located in Southern Illinois the majority of
employees are from Illinois and Kentucky is the runner up. None of the findings require
qualification. Yes, I feel a need for additional data or different breakdown in the finding, they
should have included breakdowns on exactly what the employees do at the mine. In doing an
analysis of the data they should look at the median age, compared to the quality of the employees

3. 50 points: In a report to local managers or corporate management, what

recommendations would you make for maintaining and improving communications and
employee relations at the mine? What follow-up actions to the survey would you
In the report I would recommend that the mind develops a better system for communicating a
relaying messages to employees and management. The lack of communication seems to be the
biggest complaint among employees in the mine. They feel that the information is being given to
them and management not in a timely manner. To the workers it feels that the mine is being
operated like three mines in one. Often information is given late so upper management gets
involved to give a decision and takes decision making away from supervisors.

4. 50 points: In reports to corporate management, local managers, and rank-and-file

employees, how would you present the findings and your recommendations to each
audience? How would you organize the information for each report? What topics would
you cover, and in what order? Would you use graphics to emphasize or explain certain
findings? If so, where? Given your role as consultant, what would be your major
message(s) to your client? What style, tone, argumentation, and approach would you use to
make your message(s) clear and to encourage your client to act on your recommendations?

I would present the finding in a detail report to both audience. One report addressing employees
concerns and another report addressing management on the changes that could be make to
strengthen communications. I would organize the data by most important issues to least
important issues. I would cover the issues of communications problems, working conditions, and
safety in that order. I would not use graphics because sometimes that can be overwhelming for
employees who have less educations than others. As the consultant my major message to my
client would be to address the break down in communications among employees and
management. My style would be more of informing management of the employees concerns. I
would encourage me client to take the concerns seriously so that they don’t have “wildcat”
5. 100 points: Writing as a consultant who conducted the survey, prepare a 3-4 page report
(800-1000 words; double-spaced in a 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins)
presenting your recommendations for maintaining and improving communications and
employee relations at the mine.

TO: Inland Steel Coal Company

RE: Recommendations for maintaining and improving communications and employee

relations at the mine.

With this increased focus on safety in underground coal mines, efforts are being made to

reduce risks to miners in any way possible. In "Sesser Coal Mine" mining the mine productivity

is expected to fall when operations are concluded. For this reason, mining supports are not as

extensive at the working mine face. This holds obvious danger to the miners operating at the

mine face using the mining machines called "shearers".

For many of those in management roles, the annual or semi-annual performance appraisal

process is a dreaded and often poorly executed task. Not only have few manager's ever received

training in how to develop, write and quantify performance objectives, many companies take an

antiquated approach that simply measures output without much regard for employee

development, staff satisfaction or how they can leverage new "state of the art" performance

instruments to not only evaluate what was performed by the employee, but how it was


By holding employees accountable to how they performed in their role, an organization

can ensure that even top producers respect his/her co-workers, engage in active listening, model

appropriate behaviors and support those people principles pertaining to personal conduct and

behavior in the workplace. We've all worked with highly productive individuals that were rude,
abrasive and dismissive or others and, conversely, we've all worked with people who were loved

and even admired for their social skills but had grave difficulty when it came to execution. As a

result, this consultant and others have designed performance tools that enable manager's to

address - and even performance manage - those individuals that engage in mine gossip, lack

respect for co-workers and generally make the workplace uncomfortable for others. After doing

an in-depth analysis of the employee and management communications our recommendations

are as follows: How does an organization go about increasing productivity, improving their

operational efficiencies, enhancing employee satisfaction as well as loyalty while, at the same

time, investing in the professional development of their staff, reducing turnover and creating a

succession plan strategy for the future? What is meant by the terms performance management

and performance development and how do they factor into the performance appraisal?

Broaden Your perspective. Consider setting objectives in one or all of the following

areas: Innovation, something new to attempt new challenge. Problem solving, task incumbent

with solving an existing problem for the team organization. Routine, improve basic job

responsibilities. Professional growth, improve basic job responsibilities or duties through job

enrichment, mentoring, career pathing or professional seminar

Some of the employees concerns are the lack of communication. One way to improve

communication among employees is to install video phones. This would help with relaying

information in a timely manner from employees to management. Installing video phones will

also address them employees concerns of safety. Safety among coal workers is a serious issue

due to the nature of their jobs. Taking extra safety measures will give the employees a sense of

security. Coal mining deep underground involves a higher safety risk than coal mined in

opencast pits, due primarily to problems associated with mine ventilation and the potential for
mining collapse. However, there are safety risks associated with all forms of coal mining, not

least because of the heavy machinery utilized in coal excavation.

Finally their last concern is dealing with upper management taking the decision making

authority way from foreman and supervisors. Due to the lag time in communicating effectively

with employees upper management will step in a make the final decision on employee issues. By

doing this, it will put supervisor and foremen in an awkward position with their employees. It

will also make employees not take their supervisor serious.

One way to reduce this risk is to remove the miners from the immediate area as much as

one mile. But to efficiently operate the shearer, the miner must still be able to see the coal face, a

problem from a mile away. One option was putting full motion high resolution video cameras on

both working ends of the shearer, the shearer operates both forward and backward.

Because of the nature of the mining process, there cannot be any meaningful delay in the

image from the video camera to the machine operator. This demands minimal delay and jitter for

the video connection. The employees should be aware of supporting the operation of monitoring

precision heavy mining machinery remotely, providing connectivity for high quality video over

the multiple hops necessary to ensure that miners are removed to a safe operating zone.

I hope that you find the finding from the survey and the recommendations to be in order.

A great deal of time and effort was put into this report to truly reflect the opinions of the

employees at Inland Steel Coal Company.