Performance Management, Human Resources and Hershey’s “Sweet Mission”: A Case Study

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This paper will review the trends in human resource management using the case of Hershey’s “Sweet Mission.”  First, we will review what constitutes a performance management system. Next, a redesign of Hershey’s own performance management system will be recommended. This redesign will function so that its most inclusive of all the firm’s employees.  The third section will examine how I as an employee would interpret Hershey’s emphasis on diversity.  The fourth question will review what human resource trends have been identified in the chapter and which one of these trends impacts Hershey the most.  The final question will review the effect of mentoring on Hershey’s corporate culture.  

First, what constitutes a performance management system?  In simplistic terms, a performance management system is a set of measures that are used to determine that an organization’s goals and objectives are being met. As an integral part of the company culture, it relies upon regular communication between a manager and employee. This communication revolves specifically around ensuring the employee understands the organization’s goals and objectives and is properly prepared to meet them in a manner that is as efficient and cost-effective as possible (“Performance Management”, n.d.). In general, there are several features of a performance management system including the following reproduced courtesy of the above reference: 

1. Creating a Review of the Job Description and Duties;

2. Setting Performance Expectations;

3. Keeping Performance on Target;

4. Realigning Performance if necessary; and

5. Ensuring a Comprehensive Performance Evaluation Meeting takes place.

Proper training of all staff and managers is crucial to the implementation of an effective management system. The redesign of Hershey’s performance management system is to be recommended for its participatory and “inter-active” management system.  The system’s design relates to how young staff members need for “challenge, autonomy, and results,” is satisfied by permitting them to set company goals and track progress on projects.  This approach engenders a notion of egalitarianism among the staff at the firm in that all are participating actively in its management.  The traditional management approach leaves this role of tracking and evaluating almost exclusively to older, experienced managers. Staff tends to be passive and uninvolved actors in those kinds of workplaces and not at all included.

How would an employee interpret Hershey’s emphasis on diversity?  An employee at Hershey’s would interpret the firm’s diversity policies as a strong effort towards inclusion of all staff members.  This is crucial to building a strong and efficient team. If some team members feel less privileged than others it can create serious conflict within the management system. Therefore, it’s not surprising that over the last two decades more firms are introducing diversity policies.  These policies are designed to inculcate a culture of inclusion that is expected to be observed by all staff members.  In the inevitable happenstance that such policies are violated some staff members, the firm has already notified all staff and management of the consequences. 

Human resource trends: In general terms, critical trends in human resource management include how to retain and reward the best employees, how to develop the next generation of company leaders and how to develop a company culture that will attract the best talent in the industry. Firms in recent years have moved toward an inclusive culture.  Although by inclusivity in this context is meant, allowing all staff members to participate in the firm’s development.  Many top companies, and even government agencies, are asking employees in all occupations, to voice their opinion on topics related to the issues most pertinent to the firm’s future success.  This approach is very much a “backward mapping” or “bottom-up” type approach to corporate management.  This approach allows policy ideas about improving the firm’s performance and workplace culture to flow up from staff whose views are often ignored, but who occupy strategic places within the firm or organization (Elmore, 1988).  From such strategic places, staff can sometimes spot troubling issues or make useful suggestions that would escape the attention of most in management. 

The human resource trends most relevant to Hershey’s business model would be the last: how to develop a company culture that will attract the best talent in the industry.  Hershey’s emphasis on diversity, mentoring, team building and fun, is meant to make the workplace into a welcoming environment.  Most private-sector managers have determined via many studies, reviews, and interviews, that low morale and general employee dissatisfaction are problems endemic to the 21st-century workplace. Few employees would knowingly choose to seek employment in such workplaces.  However, Hershey has promoted a corporate culture that would attract workers that seek a deeper sense of fulfillment in their work lives and a deeper sense of social and professional connection to their co-workers. 

What is the effect of mentoring on Hershey’s corporate culture? According to the case study, mentoring was introduced as a means to promote the firm’s values of diversity, inclusion and strong team building. The mentoring program is designed to allow veteran staff members to pass information crucial to the firm’s mission onto newer employees. The case study refers to this as leaving a legacy.  But this has the effect of building inter-generational social capital because it is often the habit of staff members to segregate by age group (and other types of groups too).  The mentoring program encourages newer staff to view older team members as sources of learning and experience that will more efficiently ease their transition into the workplace culture. Such a program also helps management reinforce the firm’s values on newer employees. It also fosters a climate of mutual respect among all participating staff members. 

References

Performance Management System. (n.d.).  Hrs.boisestate.edu. Retrieved from http://hrs.boisestate.edu/performance-management/

Elmore, R. (1988).  Backward Mapping: Implementation Research and Policy Decisions. In Williams, W. (ed.) Studying Implementation: Methodological and Administrative Issues (18-35). NJ: Chatham House.