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HR Best PracticesResearch Paper

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HR Strategy Plan

The author of this report is charged with concocting a fictional organization of some defined type and industry and then laying forth a human resources plan for that organization. The human resources plan in question will have several major components. These components will include an overview of the organization, a description of the organizational structure and how the organizational will and should work. Questions that will be answered will include how the organization will operate, whether the organization will be domestic only or international in nature, who the competitors will be, the critical success factors that will exist, what the culture will be like, the information that will be communicated and why people would want to work for the organization. Three major parts of all of that will include recruitment and selection practices, performance management and ancillary topics such as diversity programs, succession planning and how employee retention will be garnered. While writing an effective human resources plan is not rocket science, it is something that has to be done carefully and thoughtfully so as to avoid any potential ethical or legal pitfalls.

The Plan

The organization in question will be a certified public accountant (CPA) firm. Services will include bookkeeping and tracking tasks that other firms need done because there needs to be (or should be) an unbiased third party involved. Really, the firm is a small business form of larger CPA firms like Ernst and Young, Deloitte and Touche and so forth. Rather than serve national and international clients, the firm will serve local and regional clients in the area of Houston, Texas. The firm totals about 250 people in total and is mostly the accounting professionals in question and their managers. However, there are also some entry-level clerical people and other low-skill workers that maintain the building and do menial tasks that the accountants are over-qualified to do. The firm in question is knowledge-sector only and does not produce a physical product. Rather, it is a service-oriented form that performs services that are related to compliance, tax filing and auditing (Davis & Matson, 2014).

The firm operates like most firms of its type and size. There are a modest amount (about two to three dozen) managers and executives that manage everyone else. There is a modest but not over-sized payroll and human resources department that manages all of the affairs and needs of the firm on an in-house basis. There is a general counsel that assists in legal matters and the human resources staff that helps craft and enforces the policies that are created in conjunction with the executives and legal eagles of the firm. External advice is sought when needed but this is avoided whenever possible due to the costs involved. Good for the firm is the fact that Texas is fairly low-key when it comes to human resources and payroll laws. However, compliance with federal laws is something that always shifts with the recent Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) being a good example and this is especially true for small business (Kautter et al., 2014).

The competition to the firm will be similarly sized CPA and accounting firms that operate for clients in the Houston area. Most of the national companies are in the mix as well but they generally go for the "bigger fish" and likely do not scale down to the size of client that this firm will be involved with. As such, most of the competing firms will be local in nature or at least regional and will normally be in the Houston metropolitan area or it will be a semi-national firm that has a regional office in the area. Basically, this firm will serve clients who are too small and/or cannot afford to be served by the "Big Four" account forms or other firms that are similar in size and scope like Grant Thornton and so forth.

Critical success factors to the firm are the rapport that local and regional firms have with local client as compared to larger firms who are often guilty of using a cookie-cutter approach. The larger firms do not have the time (or often the inclination) to customize service and interface options to smaller firms due to their desire and preference to just get as much revenue as possible. Indeed, the larger firms have to avoid customization a little bit as doing otherwise would hurt their bottom line. The accounting firm covered in this report is small enough that the "little guy" can get the higher level of service they need without hurting the services being rendered. It is like the difference between people who want a Corolla, a cheaper Toyota, versus people who want a Mercedes. Both salespeople and companies will work hard but the former will have to have higher service standards due to the car being cheaper and less prestigious (Closs et al., 2014).

The culture of the firm is low-key in that it is not cutthroat or aggressive but it is one that demands mutual respect, high attention to detail and a high standard of work. People will not be intimidated into being good workers but good work will be expected and work that is faltering on a consistent basis will not be tolerated. Indeed, accounting standards are what they are. However, many audits and other investigations are random and ill-motivated in nature. Thus clients have to be assured that the firm will take care of it when the need arises and that some audits are simply unavoidable. That being said, best practices will always be employed to avoid all of the above as much as possible. Information will be communicated in a paperless and online fashion when it comes to pushing out to employees but will be done through standardized (or remedial, as needed) training to employees. People will be cross-trained and taught so there is less discord and problems when someone departs the company or is shifted to another role. Succession planning will be used to ensure continuity when it comes to higher-level non-executive positions and all managerial positions. Basically, the higher the position, the more planning in advance that will be done to facilitate a smooth transition to a new person holding the role, whether that be someone internal or external but it will usually be the former rather than the latter whenever possible. Deference will be given to internal people when it comes to higher positions but an infusion of external talent will be used when necessary to keep the talent pool stocked and the firm operating as it should be. If a position's filling requires an external hire, the firm will not shy away from that (Ellinger et al., 2014).

People would want to work for this firm because it is one of the better (if not the best) CPA/accounting firms in the area and the pay scales certainly match. Again, those pay scales will require strong work ethic and quality work overall. However, there will be an extremely strong link between performance and pay. However, it will not be so strong and unwatched that it leads to people cutting corners to get more work done and/or to make more money. Indeed, this is an ethical pitfall that CPA's are trained and taught to avoid and the firm will make sure that it does not happen. There will absolutely be a trust but verify approach. People will be paid for both the quality and quantity of their output and concern will be extended to anyone that has issues with either. Lastly, it should be clear that some people will have 10 clients while others will have 50. Indeed, some clients are very extensive in what they need and require and this will often mean that more time should be allocated and there is nothing wrong with that. So long as the client and the firm are on board with the extra billable hours and the extra billable hours are indeed needed, that is the way it should work. It is like the difference between an individual taxpayer who just needs a simple 1040EZ vs. someone who needs an extensive amount of time and filings rendered due to the complexity of that person's tax situation. The 1040EZ will probably take less than an hour and the second person will probably require several days of service (Yeoh et al., 2014).

On that note, performance management will be done through a regimented annual review process. However, there will also be ad hoc and intermittent reviews done along the way. When someone does a very good job, it will be pointed out. However, when someone does a substandard job, it will also be pointed to. Of course, people do make mistakes as we are only human. However, so long as mistakes are learned from and progress is sustained over time, the firm will not hassle or demean the person and feedback will always be constructive. There will never be a "gotcha" mentality but rather a "just make sure… [END OF PREVIEW]

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HR Best Practices.  (2015, January 25).  Retrieved September 21, 2017, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hr-best-practices/4923438

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