You are the Vice President of Human Resources for Nittany Fone, a manufacturer of “smart” cellular telephones. Nittany survived a recent financial crisis and business has stabilized. In fact, the future looks bright and now the CEO wants to plot a path of growth.
Some background : Nittany Fone competes primarily in the eastern half of the U.S. with the more well-known international producers of smartphones and you market your phones primarily through the major cell phone carriers, although you also sell your phones directly to consumers on your website. You are able to compete with much better known competitors because you have added some unique apps to your phones that enable them to broadcast exclusive showings of college sports for alumni and fans. Your phones also come in the colors of the purchaser’s favorite college team. Nittany Fone has exclusive contracts with the Big East, the ACC, the Big 10 and the SEC college athletic conferences to broadcast all of their athletic events. Its business plan for next year involves:
- Increase sales by 10% by:
- increasing our penetration among Big East, ACC, and Big 10 and SEC fans;
- adding new teams and conferences to our menu; and,
- adding new exclusive offerings (e.g., Broadway plays and rock concerts) to attract new customers and to broaden our customer base.
- Reduce our overall cost structure by 8% while maintaining our proud “made in the USA” manufacturing base.
- Upgrading our product offerings (both phones and apps) to meet the ever improving product line and new apps continually introduced by our competitors.
- Continue to maintain our excellent reputation for customer service and support, which we consider to be one of our competitive edges.
One additional piece of information is that employees have been disheartened by the ups and downs of our business and it is tough to get them to buy in to making more changes. The result has been lower morale and excessive turnover.
Your task is to come up with strategies for HR to execute that will contribute to Nittany Fone achieving its four business goals listed above. More specifically, what HR programs, policies, procedures, functions, etc., should we look at that might better position our organization to meet these goals? For example, how do we encourage positive change in our employees and our supervisors? What do we look at in terms of hiring, training, designing pay plans, and creating and maintaining a corporate culture that encourages and rewards the behaviors Nittany Fone needs to grow and prosper?
There are undoubtedly a number of additional facts that you may need to completely analyze the situation. Please make whatever reasonable assumptions you need to fill in any factual “blanks,” but please identify what assumptions you are making.
Then in a memo of at least 500 words, prepare a game plan for your boss, the CEO, on what HR can do to help Nittany Fone achieve its business goals.