Brianna Smith Psy 435 November 12, 2011 Dr. Simone Senhouse Abstract: This paper discusses common problems that managers often face when dealing with employees, as well as the the solutions that the manager(s) attempt to utilize to solve theese problems. This paper discusses the authors in depth Interview with the manager (Brandon Skwirsk) of a local footlocker store. This paper explores the managerial problems Brandon faces on a regular basis with his employees.
This paper lists and explains in details the problems and ways Brandon handles problems related to employee recruitment, motivation, training, employee attitudes, feedback, incentives, and managing conflict between employees with employees, and employees and management. This paper also explores Brandon’s two biggest managerial challenges he faces within the store and how he attempts to resolve these issues; theft and tardiness/immaturity among employees. Lastly the paper discusses problem solving styles from an I/O psychology perspective with the use of scholarly resources.
Introduction The interview with Footlocker Manager Brandon Skwirsk proved to be very eye-opening to some of the problems that can arise when one is in a management position. During the interview it became quite apparent that managing a shoe store was both equal parts business skills and interpersonal skills. The interview mainly focused on Brandon’s style of recruiting, selecting, training, and motivating employees,however the author and Brandon also discussed he dealt with employee attitudes, managed conflict, gave constructive feedback, and how he creates incentives for employees.
Out of all the topics discussed within the interview, Brandon pinpointed his two biggest problems as a manager of employees to be; 1) Theft from employees/customers, and 2) unprofessionalism and tardiness among primarily the younger employees at footlocker. The author and Brandon also explored the ways in which Brandon tried to resolve these two big issues and the success rate of each. This paper includes various knowledge sources of the I/O psychological perspective to discuss Brandon’s managerial styles, as well as the issues he faces with his employees.
Interview summary The authors interview with Brandon Skwirsk, the manager of a local footlocker touched base on his managerial skills, his process of hiring employees, and his ability/style to pinpoint problems with employees and resolve them in a professional manner. Brandon is a very laid back type of person, but seriously knows his business, as well as the people he hires, however just as other managers have difficulties with their employees, Brandon has his fair share of challenges also.
The author found Brandon to be very easy to talk with, and realized he had great people skills which must show through with his interaction with employees and customers alike. From a general standpoint (appendix A1), Brandon described he is just like any other manager running a store with young adults for employees and sometimes has problems with disrepect and abuse of the employee discount as they try to give it out to their friends etc… (Skwirsk, 2012). The author then directed the focus of the interview to Brandon’s recruitment style for his business (Appendix A2).
Brandon described how he actively engaged customers (regulars) who came into the store and asked if they would be interested in working their. On top of this very personal style of recruitment he worked off employee referrals, as well as having a “Now Hiring” sign in the window of the store, and various signs around the mall (Skwirsk, 2012). When asked how Brandon selects his employees (Appendix A3), Brandon described in detail how he performed several rounds of interviews to determine whether the person was a good fit.
Upon the first interview Brandon would get a feel for the person, their communication skills, and would also go through the interviewee’s resume and ask about past job histories, and follow up with time gaps between jobs. The first interview usually gives Brandon a good idea of the interviewee and if he/she may be a good employee for the store, but after the interview he also calls the previous supervisors listed on the resume and checks in to get an accurate perspective of the interviewee’s professional and personal skills, as well as his/her work ethic.
Brandon was very concerned with the interviewee’s level of professionalism, open communication abilities, and absences/tardiness as this is an on-going problem with several of his current employees. If the reports back from the job references are good and meets Brandon’s expectations, Brandon then calls the interviewee back for a second interview, and if it goes well again he reports he usually hires them on the spot (Skwirsk, 2012). This leads into the next interview question regarding employee training (Appendix A4).
Brandon stressed the importance of learning the ropes of the job through actively shadowing and observing either himself or other top-sales floor workers. Brandon does not utilize computer training systems for his employees as he thinks (and has found) the best way is to actively engage in the work environment and learn from others (Skwirsk, 2012). Brandon also believes in motivating his employees through open and positive communication as well as having a positive attitude (Appendix A5). Brandon also mentioned how he motivates employees to enjoy their job and get top sales by actively participating with them on the sales floor.
By showing himself as a manager will work as a floor worker when needed it shows his employees he is on their level and is not afraid to work. Along with motivating employees comes the sometimes struggle with attitudes on the job. The author asked Brandon how he handled or reinforced job attitudes both positive and negative by his employees (Appendix A6). Brandon replied that he takes time out of his work day to approach employees that are both showing either positive or negative attitudes.
Of course positive jobs on the attitudes is usually shard with the customers and great for business, however negative attitudes towards customers or fellow employees can severely bring down the energy of the work environment, not to mention lower sales. Brandon explained how he approaches and takes the particular employee who is having a negative attitude aside to speak with him/her one on one in order to understand the reason for their negative attitude. He finds that his employees typically have a positive attitude unless they are having a bad day.
Brandon listens to the concerns or issues going on with the employee in question and offers a “pep talk” to get them back out on the sales floor in a more positive mood. Brandon did stress that if he continually has issues with an employee with a negative attitude towards peers or customers and it gets to be an everyday occurrence and the attitude does not “shape up’, after several warnings (counselings) and documentation of such he will fire the employee because it is bad for business (Skwirsk, 2012). The author also asked Brandon how he gives feedback to his employees (Appendix A7).
Brandon discussed how he believes in and practices quarterly reports with his employees in which they go over their sales achievements, strengths, and weaknesses. During these quarterly meetings with reports he offers the employee(s) feedback on their job performance including constructivecriticism. Brandon also stressed how sometimes simply talking with employees is not enough to create positive change in the business so setting up goals for employees to strive for has been very successful as he looks over the goals about every two weeks and checks up with the employees on their progress.
The author also discussed the idea of employee incentives and asked Brandon if he had any incentives for his employees (Appendix A8). Brandon offers incentives to his employee to also keep them motivated, and having and incentive to work toward keeps the employee positive and gives them some friendly competition amongst other employees. For example, along with yearly meetings or followups for employee analysis for raises, he also offers sales competitions amongst employees and the winner receives a gift card that is usually to a nice restaurant.
Brandon reports that the gift card incentives work very well as motivation for employees and also increases sales due to their drive to win (Skwirsk, 2012). One of the hottest topics the author was excited to discuss with this footlocker manager was how he to manages conflict in the workplace (Appendix A9). Just as how Brandon approaches employees and customers on a very personal and professional manner, he does this too when it comes to managing conflict.
Brandon notes how although of course no one likes conflict, it always aoccurs in life, and primarily in business, and the key is to know how to settle it in a proactive manner. Brandon shares that he is firm but fair with second chances for employees, but if misbehavior and frequent conflicts between employees and others (employees, supervisors, or customers) continues after several documented write up’s, he has no choice to do what is best for the team and the overall business of footlocker and fire the worker who continually is causing conflict.
Brandon realizes that this is easier to do if the employee is not that good of a worker but he also shared that if the worker is good at his/her job he will speak with her more and even move him/her to a different job position or shift to reduce tension and potential conflict with another specific employee (Skwirsk, 2012). Two Major Problems. While Brandon and the author discussed several challenging aspects he encounters working as a manager of Footlocker, he identified two of his most major problems; 1)Theft, and 2) unprofessionalism and tardiness of employees (Appendix A10). Theft.
Theft is a problem in almost any business because there will always be those customers (ans sometimes even employee) who try to shoplift. However, Brandon describes “stealing” differently and exposes how employees abusing their generous employee discunt is essentially the same as stealing from the company. Brandon fights this problem by paying close attention to employees when they make their purchases, and also makes sure that when they make a purchase they are off the clock and have another employee ringing them up properly. Along with the issue of shoplifting comes the issue of the cash drawers coming up short sometimes.
Brandon made sure fix this problem by designating specific workers on specified nights to sdhut down the drawers and have proper documentation of the event, as well as a whitness to closing ut the drawers at the end of the night. To fight against customers stealing from the company Brandon hired a worker to dress as a customer and monitor the store for possible shoplifters. This particular worker would always be in close proximity to the other customers and could alert Brandon or the manager on duty of any potential shoplifters and then follow procedure including calling mall security.
Shortly after Brandon implemented these changes, the shoplifting and “stealing” rate went drastically down. Unprofessionalism and Tardiness. As a Manager, Brandon also faces the challnge of his employees being unprofessional and tardy, or otherwise irresponsible. Brandon shares that this type of behavior is mostly linked to the younger highschool and college age employees from time to time. He does not seem to have this problem with his middle aged or “older and wiser” employees and veterans of the footlocker he manages.
He explained how he thinks that some of the younger employees may view their job as a stepping stone to something better or are just using it as a means to pay their way through school. Brandon shares with the author on how, although he likes these younger employees because they often connect well with customers of their own age its a challenge to get them to be professional or realize that when they are at work, they need to act appropriately. So far Brandon has tried addressing the employees right on the scene of an issue of nprofessionalism by pulling them aside and explaining to them how their conduct with the customer(s) was inappropriate and sharing knowledge on how to communicate in a more professional manner. As for the tardiness issue, Brandon also takes it upon himself to address the employee in question for tardiness on the spot. Although he speaks to the employees about the importance of being on time or being in open communication with management in the case of legitimate reasons for being late, he still has a problem with this. If Brandon can set some stricter boundaries for the issue of tardiness as far as punishment goes it should greatly reduce his problems with tardiness and absenteeism.
Recommendations References Bakhare, R. (2010). SCMS Journal of Indian Management; . The Manager and Conflict Management. , 7(4), 41-57. Retrieved November 9, 2012, from the ebscohost. com database. Gibbs, T. , Heywood, S. , & Pettigrew, M. (2012). McKinsey Quarterly;. Encouraging your people to take the long view. , 1(4), 129-133. Retrieved November 9, 2012, from the ebscohost. com database. Jamail, N. (2012). Hire Fast, Fire Faster.. Hire Fast, Fire Faster. , 78(3), 24-26. Retrieved November 8, 2012, from the ebscohost database. Wilden, R. , Gudergan, S. , & Lings, I. (2012). Journal of Marketing Management; . Employer branding: strategic implications for staff recruitment. , 26(1/2), 56-73. Retrieved November 9, 2012, from the ebscohost. com database. APPENDIX A Interview Questions and Answers A1. What are some of the general problems you have encountered with employees? A2. How do you recruit employees? A3. After the recruiting process, how do you select particular employees for your business? What do you look for in them) A4. As a manager, how do you motivate your employees? A5. What style of training do you use for new employees? A6. How do you handle both good and bad attitudes of employees while on the job? A7. How do you give feedback to your employees (both positive and negative)? A8. Do you give your employees incentives? And if so, what are they? A9. How do you as a manager manage conflict between employees, supervisors, and customers? A 10. What are the two biggest problems you have faced as as the manager of footlocker and what have you tried to resolve these issues?