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Human resource troubles in the workplace (by Robin Carapia)

 

One cannot operate a successful business without well-equipped human resource management. I work at a banquet hall in Claremont, California, and poor resource management was one of the top reasons why it was on the brink of going bankrupt before COVID-19 even hit!  
Not abiding by the law
At this establishment, hourly employees are required to take meal breaks in accordance with the number of hours worked, but they are never provided their ten-minute breaks. California law states that employers must permit uninterrupted breaks for nonexempt employees whose total work time per day is at least 3.5 hours. These are mandatory breaks that must be offered for 10 minutes for every four hours worked (CalChamber.com). Not authorizing breaks to employees that have worked four hours, is illegal and grounds for lawsuits. 
Not providing breaks to employees is unknowingly damaging employee morale, thus decreasing chances of motivation. According to one “motivational theory,” the Herzberg Theory, employees have two types of needs: hygiene factors and motivators. Employees expect hygiene factors to be present at the workplace, and if not, employees will likely feel dissatisfied. Rest breaks fall into this category, resulting in discontented employees who likely resent the workplace, do not feel respected for their work and thus not perform well. Guest service will likely suffer, leading to low rates of repeat customers, and decreases in profits. On the other hand, when hygiene factors are met, and motivators are fostered by management, they can make employees feel “satisfied” and thus motivated to perform well at work.
Employees who are not provided breaks, according to the External Equity Theory, will likely feel that they are treated unfairly in comparison to other employees in the same or similar position in other companies. These employees may likely work less hard and may convince others to work less hard in order to restore equity. They may develop a negative attitude toward the establishment and may not provide guests with quality service or may decide to work for another hospitality company instead.
Poor planning and recruiting
This establishment does not put a lot of energy and time into forecasting demand. Recruitment only takes place when someone quits, creating a rush to fill the vacancy. For this reason, they typically resort to hiring referrals. They are guilty of hiring “warm bodies” in order to fill a vacancy quickly. Because of this, an overwhelming majority of employees are affiliated with one another. Out of the twenty-four employees of this enterprise, eight of them are relatives from one family, three are relatives from another family, and 3 from another family. The dishwasher, chef, and cooks, and I are the only external hires, all other employees are friends of these families.  Hiring referrals simply because it’s the easiest, fastest, and most inexpensive way to fill a vacancy, could lead to hiring unqualified staff with low productivity, leading to lost profits. About sixty-five percent of the time, the selection process on its own will determine whether an operation ends up with a good performer or not. Managers should take anticipating demand more seriously and plan accordingly. They should develop a list of minimum qualifications that a candidate must possess to be considered for the position. Employers can also develop profiles of the characteristics that their successful employees hold, and actively search for candidates that have those characteristics, and not just settle on referrals.
The only qualification needed in order to get the job, after referral, is your availability to work weekends. No interviews are established, work experience is irrelevant, and they do not check references. Managers who fail to conduct thorough reference checks can leave an employer vulnerable to litigation for negligent hiring. Management must consistently and thoroughly perform reference and background checks, regardless of affiliation, to avoid potential lawsuits.  
Political overtones tend to rule the workplace when many employees are affiliated with one another. The number of hours scheduled, and promotions are highly attributable to relationships, instead of performance. Employees perceive such special treatment as internal inequities, which can lead to resentment toward the company and underperformance. Thus, an enterprise relying on referrals to meet its demand is highly undermining the importance of the recruiting process and how it can affect the business and overall profits. 
Management should take training seriously
On-the-Job training (OJT) is the only training provided for new employees at this establishment. This method can be effective, but it likely leads to trainees performing in the same manner as their trainer, which can be right or in many cases, wrong. I was trained on-the-job and one day I was yelled at by the owner of the banquet hall, she said I was cutting a wedding cake wrong. I was only doing what I had been taught. Supervisors or trained trainers should be involved in OJT in order for the training to be effective and teach the new employee the correct and expected ways to do their job, which can lead to a more productive staff, fewer mistakes, and ultimately more profits for the business.   
After taking this human resource class, are there things you would do differently if you oversaw the HR department at your job? What are some ways you can maintain a more productive team?  How would you utilize HR in order to increase profits?  

About the Author
Robin Carapia is presently a junior at Cal Poly Pomona. She is majoring in Hospitality Management with an emphasis in events. She began her education in hospitality at Chaffey College and later transferred to CPP. She works at an elementary school during the week and at the aforementioned banquet hall during the weekends. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly, she hopes to attain a management position at a convention center or at a hotel that features banquets. She aspires to open a restaurant or banquet hall of her own one day.

Works Cited
“California Meal Break & Rest Break Law (2019).” CalChamber. www.calchamber.com/california-labor-law/meal-and-rest-breaks. Accessed  4 November 2020

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