Monday, February 15, 2010


Topic: Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

The Rundown:

Employee assistance programs were originally designed as a way to help treat those struggling with alcoholism in the 50’s and then later they added drug abuse in the 80’s and now have included mental health as well. Some places use them along with terminating the employee offering them a place to get better after while they look for new employment. Now many companies use them as part of a benefits package or as an additional supplemental help kit. The degree of treatment varies as well with some places offering extreme amounts of help and others offering minimal assistance to employees.

Da Hook:

I spend a lot of time bagging on my employer on this blog. This topic however I must give them credit for. They are above and beyond, they bring in mental health officials regularly to meet confidentially with employees and to set up meetings outside of work to further the treatment if needed. It is all at no cost to the employee and if an even more aggressive treatment is needed our benefits package covers a great deal of this as well. I have never used it personally but I know that some of my co-workers have and that they have spoken very highly of the program and the help that they received.


It is vital to a company’s long term health to assist its employees when they are incapable of helping themselves, EAP’s are a great way for them to do this and if made known to employees effectively can be a huge asset to the people of the company.


How can employers best inform their people about the different EAP’s they offer?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Upon discussing the topics of chapter 7 and chapter 8 in class today I was struck by the different types of training that all of the individuals in my group have been through, and it seemed to me that there was a mostly negative tone regarding the process of training. How quickly we forget that many times we are trained on the the things that actually make us successful as well as those things that frankly suck about training. There are actually many times that training happens that is very good and I enjoy it. There also seemed to be a feeling amongst the class that all companies should have an internal training division and that they should only use them, this is just silly. There is a necessity to have outside training groups, some companies are small and do not have any need for a training department, others are technologically incapable of training their crews. There are many reasons why someone would use them.

We didn't really discuss the evaluation process but I believe that many of my group would have felt similar to the way I do about the political nature of it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Political Appraisals

Topic: Political Behavior in Performance Appraisals

Brief description: It is critical for employers to formulate a performance evaluation that is free of political appraising. Political appraising is when an appraiser gives an inaccurate appraisal in order to benefit themselves. There are many reasons why an evaluator would do this. One is that the appraiser may get bonuses or a better evaluation themselves if their team is evaluated higher. Another possibility is that an evaluator may have a problem with a particular employee and may know that the only way that they can eliminate them is by the individual getting poor evaluations, these are just a couple of the many reasons that there could be suspect evaluations.

Emotional Hook: I can’t imagine how bad it would suck to be released from a position because an employer gave me a poor evaluation that I did not deserve. I have to admit though that I have personally given individuals that I like a better evaluation than they deserved and now that I am older and able to look back at that I see that at times I may have been unfair to others that deserved chances at a promotion because I gave a friend that wasn’t as good of an employee a better evaluation.

Question: What are the best ways for an employer to eliminate political appraisals of its employees?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...

Discussion Topic: Honesty and Drug Testing

Concept and brief description:

Testing: Employers face many difficult decisions and tasks when attempting to select the appropriate candidate for a position and then also to ensure that the candidate is following through with the rules and policies of the hiring authority. Some of the ways they can attempt to most accurately determine the ethical fortitude of an applicant are honesty test, given on paper, these are tests that ask the applicant to respond to how they would handle certain situations and they can be used to evaluate the honesty of an applicant or an employee. These paper tests are given now due to the polygraph test being made unlawful to administer to employees. Besides honesty tests employers can administer drug tests but it may be a tricky situation to navigate through. Some employees feel that this is a violation of their privacy and that the company may be forcing an improper search and seizure through blanket testing. It is also an embarrassing thing to be accused of drug abuse and may cause the individual to be labelled a drug user regardless of the outcome of the test. Here are some important guidelines for a company performing drug tests to follow.

Administer the test systematically to all applicants for the same job.

Use drug testing for jobs that involve safety hazards

Have a report of the results sent to the applicant, along with information about how to appeal the results and be retested if need be.

Respect the applicants’ privacy by conducting tests in an environment that is not intrusive and keep results confidential.

Besides drug testing companies may chose to perform fitness-for-duty testing. Which allows them to test the applicant in certain ways that show if the applicant or employee is unfit for work for a number of reasons, the issue with these is that they are costly to operate.

Emotional Hook:

I often find myself wishing that my work would perform fitness-for-duty testing. I work with people that clearly cannot meet the physical requirements that are clearly outlined in our job descriptions. Many cannot lift the needed amount or run the distance needed, most of these are not related to drug abuse in any way but are more size and fitness related but none the less they put myself and many of my coworkers in a bad position due to their lack of physical ability on the job, and I wish that my work would enforce many of the standards that it has in place for them.

Key points to discuss:

Employers are placed in a precarious situation when it comes to using testing to determine the quality of applicants or employees. Employees can find reasons to object to many of the testing procedures. It is a difficult task to perform these tests and have as little opposition as possible.


How can organizations most effectively weed out bad applicants and employees?

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Discussion Topic: Recruiting

Concept and brief description:

Recruiting: The purpose of recruiting is to continuously maintain a pool to hire new candidates from to prevent having a shortage problem. The key is to always have a replacement ready to fill a need as quickly as possible once a position is opened. They find candidates, and attempt to have a seamless transition. They act as a buffer between planning and the actual hiring process.

Emotional Hook:

I have an interesting view of recruiting, since I worked as a professional recruiter (headhunter) for a period of time. This was a very intriguing job for me that allowed me to see the hiring process from a whole new prospective. I was able to stand beside the candidate and many different companies to see the variety of different techniques and methods involved in recruiting and placing individuals.

Key points to elicit and discuss:

It is so important to have a good recruiting pool because there have been many times that I have seen a staff shortage that causes many issues due to having no qualified people to replace the person that left.

Facilitative question:

What are some additional benefits to recruiting?



After discussion in class I have come to realize that the more different we are as individuals the more similar we are as a workforce. I notice that each of my class mates have the same or very similar experiences that I have had in the past as well. As we were discussing the process of HR and job analysis or lack there of I came to the conclusion that either the majority of HR people are incompetent, their job is very difficult, or workers just like to complain about things. The rest of my group had similar stories to me and after speaking about it I can see how difficult of a job this would be for just one person, even in positions where there are multiple HR specialists or managers the work load would be relatively heavy. I still feel however that mine is incompetent at his job.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Job Analysis...

Topic: Job Analysis

Concept and brief description:

The text states (I agree), that job analysis is so important to HR managers that it has been called the building block of everything that personnel does. This is true, it s through the proper implementation of the job analysis process that most of the remaining functions of an HR manager can be reduced or eliminated. Here are a few of the duties that go along with job analysis:

- Work Redesign: restructuring a job or responsibilities to maximize each individual

- HR Planning: The process of determining what positions are needed and what each individual is expected to bring to the table for the position.

- Selection: Picking the right person for the job

- Training: Uhm yeah training the person to be able to better perform their duties.

- Performance appraisal: Determining the performance of an individual/team in the opportunity that has been presented.

- Career Planning: Helping an individual and the entity to maximize the long term potential of each individual.

- Job Evaluation: Evaluating jobs to determine an accurate and efficient pay schedule.

Emotional Hook:

I struggle with this section, greatly. I work for the state, and it is no secret that government jobs are not known for maximizing potential at all times and at the State Hospital it is atrocious. I am admittedly biased and perhaps overtly negative regarding the HR department at my place of employment but I feel they are abysmal. The positions are essentially the same as they have been or decades, and the pay is also the same. I have worked there for 5 years and make the same amount as someone who started this morning and the same as someone with 30 years service that may retire tomorrow. Our scheduling and handling of each individual is poor, and it leads to a very high turnover rate and an ever increasing expense for training and hiring, not to mention unqualified workers putting others in predicaments that could be avoided. It also seems to me that a good employee will be let go within weeks of being hired but the “Fat” is never cut from the remainder of the workforce, leaving again underperforming individuals with gainful employment. ARGHHHH!!!

Key Points:

It is a crucial aspect of HR which leads to it being a crucial element of the workplace. For an entity to be truly successful it must be continually improving and performing these tasks. It is only through these processes that the gems can be kept and the others weeded out.

Facilitative Question:

How can an HR manager most efficiently perform these tasks?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

After thought

So I after discussion in class and some time to think a little bit about the subject, I feel more concrete than ever about this subject. It was not really a surprise to me that my class mates had similar situations as I did, it was however surprising how many times we had all seen issues with workforce diversity, and they were all nearly identical. Our group had all had situations at work where an individual would come into the workplace and would not immediately gel with the group and the change would initially cause some disruption to the equilibrium of the workforce. This is where I was surprised, the group seemed to agree that there was an obvious line that the way this new person was handled would determine the immediate future of the team. When handled poorly the team would suffer and the new individual usually suffered as well and often takes the blame for the follies of the group. If the team is able to adapt to the new member bringing in the diversity then that person's uniqueness acts a springboard to elevate the group to new heights.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Workforce Diversity...

Topic: Diversity in the work force

Concept and brief description:

A Diverse workforce: The workforce of American business is changing, more and more diverse backgrounds of people are joining the workforce today. As the numbers of racial, ethnic, and gender continue to even out it is growing more important for companies to adapt to the diverse individuals and groups that will be joining their ranks. Statistics show that the fastest growing area is among Asians and those belonging to the group “Others” which do not fall into the category of white, African American, Asian. One of the biggest reasons for the change in workforce diversity is immigration. As the number of new people coming to the United States continues to grow, so too must the diversity of those working here.

Emotional Hook:

I am sure that I am not alone when I say that the change in the diverse people that I work with has altered the way that I go about my work day. I have many co-workers from all over the world and the cultural and ethnic differences cause there be different ways of communication and present miscommunication opportunities as well.

Key Points:

With an ever changing environment at the workplace it is vital be on our toes communicatively. With every different form of diversity comes new challenges to the process of sending and receiving coded messages. It is important that we remain open minded and are aware of the need to be sensitive to the differences between ourselves and our coworkers. If we are able to communicate properly then diversity can be one of the greatest strengths to an organization.

Facilitative Questions:

What are some ways to bring out the positive aspects of group diversity in the workplace?

Intro to Me

Introduction to Me

My name is Wes Johnson, I am a 31 year old male living in Springville Utah. I have been married for just over 8 years to my beautiful wife Keri. Keri works as an Ultrasonographer at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in the perinatology department. I work at the Utah State Hospital and have the past 6 years. I am a Psychiatric technician, a fancy way of saying I am a psychiatric orderly, basically. My wife and I have two little girls, Brooklyn (5) and Hadley (3) that are along with Keri the light of my life.

I grew up in southern Utah county in Payson, where I enjoyed playing all sports but found myself mostly drawn to wrestling. I wrestled all through my developing years, and through out high school as well. I still enjoy most sports and really have a yearning to spend time outdoors. I love to mountain bike, play paintball, hike, or do pretty much anything else in nature.

After graduating from Payson High school I served a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in New York City speaking Cantonese. Upon returning home I began my college studies at what was then UVSC in the fall of 1999. I was studying Psychology and had a desire to become a profiler for the FBI. After a couple of semesters I decided to stop school to foolishly try to work and save money for my wife and I, and didn’t go back to school until 5 years later. Once I returned to school my focus was different, I had worked in psychology and wanted no part of a career in it anymore, so I decided to work towards a job in either sports or the media. These interests led me to the Communications department.

I am now finishing up my bachelors degree this semester and hope to be able to find a job working with people in the fields I enjoy most, preferably the biking industry. HR would play into this as well as I enjoy working with people and would really be interested in an HR position, so this class has a great deal of interest to me.