Frontier Printers Case

Problem Statement Frontier Printers is lacking strategic human resource objectives that are necessary to address the organizational growth and incorporate changing technological trends. As a result they are at risk of not being able to attract/retain valuable employees and could face potential legal litigation. Critical Facts Frontier Printers is a small-family business and has seen a 50% growth in the number of employees in the last three years. The departure of the press operator and the driver was attributed to a lack of opportunities for growth within the company.
The firm plans on focusing on computer skills and cross-training. In the next two years the firm plans on integrating vertically by introducing new equipment that’ll allow the production of color separation which will reduce cycle time tremendously. This should help the company to increase its outputs more efficiently. The industry has experienced the introduction of various new technological advancements, one which will allow “direct-to-film” to occur that will eliminate the need for two of the employees in the Pre-Press department but will require two new jobs requiring technical skills in another department.
The firm does not have any contingency plans for departure of current employees. Currently, a very limited amount of employees have the knowledge to operate the current software which could potentially have serious implications. There is also no formal job analysis evident or list of job descriptions to properly implement performance evaluations. There are no formal qualifications or training for new recruits as it is done on an ad hoc basis by the management team. Analysis: Starting as a small-family business, Frontier Printers has been operating in the industry for longer than 60 years.

Within the last three years, they’ve seen an enormous growth which has resulted in the realization that they need to develop strategic human resource objectives. This will be further analyzed in three main sub-issues; lack of job analysis, the need for human resource expertise, and adapting to technological improvements. Job Analysis Job analysis is the formal process of identifying the particular aspects of the job duties and requirements. Conducting a job analysis allows a firm to know the necessary skills and abilities that are expected from an employee to fulfill the job responsibilities.
When there is a vacancy in Frontier Printers the job requirements and abilities are discussed by the business owners, Bonnie and her father, who later determine which employee fills the vacancy. Nevertheless, the firm does not have any explicit list of job requirements. This has caused other issues within the organization especially in terms of recruitment, selection, training and development of employees as well as their job evaluations. Recruitment becomes an issue when previous job analysis has not been conducted because the firm cannot give a realistic list of job descriptions and requirements to attract the proper applicants.
If one does not know the details of a job than it is impossible for them to recruit accordingly. Upon a vacancy, Frontier Printers would initially search the current employee base, and then look at the pool of job applicants that are already on file. If they cannot find someone, only then will the organization advertise the vacancy to the public. If a proper job analysis was conducted it would become very critical for the firm to use it as a guideline to recruit rather than using a trial-and-error method to find employees.
Since the organization does not have clear strategic objectives that it needs to pursue, recruitment takes place without a clear direction. Selection is a process of choosing the best fit applicant for the job from the pool of applicants. Selection is also an issue the firm faces because there are no set guidelines to follow when comparing people’s skills and abilities to the job duties and responsibilities. The firm has to initially determine the most important set of skills and capabilities (through a job analysis) before judging applicants fit or unfit for the vacancy.
Training is an important component of highly technical jobs, and these jobs will be increasing in Frontier Printing. However, because the company has no formal qualifications for any jobs the training is informal and conducted on an ad hoc basis. This has resulted in departure of valuable employees because although the employees may have seen themselves succeeding in other positions, they were unable to get any exposure to it. If job analysis on all the jobs were conducted, job descriptions would be available to everyone and employees wishing to ransfer to another position would have been able to do so. Departure of employees also arose due to other factors such as lack of strategic alternatives for retention of employees. For example, cross-training could have been utilized as a method of retention. However, once again, because there was no formal job analysis conducted, it would have been difficult to implement such a project without any guidelines. Thus, strategic human resource objectives are necessary to resolve the issue of proper training and improve plans for retention of employees.
Currently, Frontier Printers does not have any development programs to improve the skills of its employees. This has caused retention issues as valuable employees left because they did not see any opportunities for growth within the organization. With the proper strategic human resource objectives in play, these types of problems can be prevented. Performance evaluations are a major issue in the company. There have been terminations based on “poor performance” where the paperwork detailing the reasons why is inadequate.
This is a major issue because terminated employees may sue on the grounds of wrongful dismissal. In order for an accurate evaluation to take place, there needs to be pre-established criteria and organizational objectives which can be compared to the performance and productivity of an employee. These are currently lacking in Frontier Printers and needs to be addressed. It is evident that when Frontier Printers was a smaller company a proper job analysis was not critical to the operations of the business.
However, with a growing company this lack of job analysis can cause negative results regarding HR issues as it does today. The growing employee base is making it a necessity for Frontier Printers to implement human resource objectives in order to best resolve problematic issues from occurring. Need for Human Resource Expertise Frontier Printers has no strategic management objectives and needs to bring in some HR expertise to help them to create and implement these. Bonnie’s father Randall has been owner of Frontier Printers for over 60 years.
In the last three years they have experienced 50% growth in employees and revenues are growing at projected rates. Bonnie has known for the last year that changes were needed but knows the company can’t afford to hire a full-time human resource professional. In order for Frontier Printers to address the organizational growth and to adapt changing technological trends they need to invest in HR expertise and develop strategic management goals and objectives. Frontier Printers has already created a mission and vision statement but have not defined its values and goals.
The stakeholders will have to lead, support, implement and measure its strategic objectives while being competitive and consistent. With efficient HR expertise, they should be able to access, forecast, predict, design and implement its strategies in direct sync with the organizational goals. Along with strategic management Frontier Printers also faces challenges adapting to technological changes. Adjusting to Technological Improvements Frontier Printers is going to be facing some challenges trying to incorporate new technologies into their everyday activities.
The introduction of new technologies will require the development of technical skills. This has the potential to provide good career and skill-building opportunities for the employees. It will also allow the company to gain a competitive advantage by improving its efficiency. However, Frontier Printers already has some troublesome situations present when dealing with technology and could potentially face more problems in the future if the integration of technology into their workplace isn’t properly managed.
The current problematic situation that’s present within Frontier Printers and their technology is the fact that a very limited amount of employees know how to use their software. Randal and Ida Harris are the only two employees that know how to use the software for billing, payroll and/or financial reports. Also, Randall and Thomas are the only ones who know how to use the software for estimate pricing. This is a problem because if one of these three employees left the company replacing them would be costly and difficult.
Also, if all three of them decided to quit then nobody would know how to use the software! The introduction of new technologies into the organization is inevitable and necessary to keep up with the competition and demand of the market. Challenges involved with this will include training the employees on how to use the new technologies, and what to do when some jobs will be depleted while other ones are created. If Frontier Printers can successfully handle these adaptations of new technologies it will help them to achieve continued success.

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