Re- aligning the workforce to a ‘new business’ at O.I.G.
The primary theme of the paper is Re- aligning the workforce to a ‘new business’ at O.I.G. in which you are required to emphasize its aspects in detail. The cost of the paper starts from $119 and it has been purchased and rated 4.9 points on the scale of 5 points by the students. To gain deeper insights into the paper and achieve fresh information, kindly contact our support.
SHR015-2 Assessment 2: Case Study: Re- aligning the workforce to a ‘new
business’ at O.I.G.
Optimal Insulation Group (O.I.G.) provides a range of insulation products to the construction
industry, customised to the requirements of medium-to-large size firms specialising in both
domestic and commercial construction projects. It is a subsidiary of a Canadian company,
First Quantum Materials Ltd, headquartered in Vancouver. In the past year, new markets in
home insulation appear to be developing whereby O.I.G. has the opportunity not only to
supply large corporate customers, but smaller, locally-based builders and home
improvement merchants also. Because of increased competition, reliance on the new market
is estimated to increase in terms of overall business share.
The UK subsidiary is based in Manchester and Cardiff and has 6 departments: information
systems; product development; specialised support staff; marketing; finance and HR. The
company has expanded considerably since it was founded four years ago, initially with the
close guidance and support of First Quantum Materials. There are 295 full and part –time
employees (195 in Manchester; 100 in Cardiff), mostly recruited in the past two years. O.I.G
is an ‘agile’ business which means employees have to be technically adept and highly
flexible in response to specifications of what clients want. They work in project teams (some
as ‘virtual’ teams) that can vary in membership, forming and disbanding as projects require.
O.I.G.s strategic goals are to secure sustained growth by the development and marketing of
materials designed to meet new and continually changing UK / European standards of
insulation efficiency in building design and also to provide ever-improving levels of service to
clients based on more bespoke products. The growth plan is based on an aggressive 20% year
on- year- growth in like- for- like sales…however, there is not clarity on how this can / should
be achieved, for example through buying market share or more high profile marketing. One
year into that business plan and it is clear that revenue into the business is falling short of the
growth required and the CEO has suggested a review of staffing levels at both sites and an
initial information item on this has recently been published in the O.I.G. Staff Bulletin, but initial
internal HR recommendations have also been circulated on a ‘need to know’ basis.
The nature of the business clearly indicates that competitive success can only be achieved
and sustained by developing and sustaining human capital advantage. A Pfeffer type, highperformance
work system (HPWS) based largely on the practice of the parent company has
been introduced. Priority has been given to the introduction of rigorous recruitment and
selection procedures, extensive and relevant learning and development activities, and
incentive pay systems. A considerable amount of work has also been done to upskill O.I.G.’s
HR Team to use new techniques associated with human capital analytics (HCA).
The former chief executive has returned to Canada and a new chief executive has been
appointed from within the company. The HR director, who associated well with the new chief
executive, thought that this presented him with an opportunity to do something about
ensuring there was a closer match between the workforce and how it is arranged and the
strategic business objectives of O.I.G. This ‘alignment’ process had been introduced by the
previous HR director who left at the same time as the last chief executive and was a
fundamental part of HPWS, but he did not think it was working very well.
A major operational business objective at O.I.G. was defined by the incoming chief executive
as: improving business performance by each individual’s effectiveness in applying HPWS.
This requires close collaboration between employees and line managers. This message was
transmitted by the CEO 18 months ago, direct to all employees at a staff event.
The HR director got a senior HR business partner to investigate how HPWS and the use of
HCA by the HR department was working in practice. From a number of discussions with staff
she confirmed it was not working very well. Some managers were clear about the key
features of HPWS and were keen to see the use of an HCA measurement map in relation to
specific high performing work practices (see Table 1 below) by both line managers and staff,
working with their respective HR business partners. The majority however were not
particularly interested, regarding it as a chore, so that if they did it at all they did not do it
very well. She reviewed the way it had been introduced and found that a detailed and wellwritten
booklet had been produced giving guidance. Because O.I.G. tended to operate in
separate departments it was unclear as to what extent this information had been
disseminated to employees.
Table 1: HCA Measurement Map.
1. Investments in
This is the intervention / series of interventions intended to drive business
results. It can be any type of investment in human capital – a training event, a
recognition programme, a performance management process etc.
These are non-financial values that suggest whether you are on the right track.
They might be things like internal / external hire rates / implemented
improvement ideas / numbers of complaints etc.
3. Business Results Often referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs) business impact ‘metrics’
are tied to a financial value. If a metric does not have a financial value, it is not a
business impact metric.
4. Strategic Goals The desired end result of the initiative or set of initiatives. For most
organisations, this ultimately boils down to improving financial performance –
either by increasing revenue , decreasing costs, or both.
adapted from Pease et al (2013) Human capital analytics
She analysed the ratings given by line managers in each department on a 5 – point scale
from E (the lowest for unacceptable performance) to A for exceptionally good ‘alignment’.
Only two of Pfeffer’s seven practices were researched though.. (‘sharing financial and
performance information across the business’ and ‘self- directed teams with delegated
The results for ‘sharing information..’ are given below (Table 2):
She found the results were very skewed to the higher levels – 11 per cent were ‘A’, 74%
were B (highly effective alignment), 12 per cent were ‘C’ (acceptable alignment), 2 percent
were ‘D’ (improvable performance) and 1 per cent were ‘E’. She also analysed the
distribution of ratings in each department and established that there were considerable
variations as follows (Table 2 below):
Table 2: Reporting of employees’ ability to share information across the business
Departments Rating percentages
A B C D E
Information systems 12 80 7 1 0
Product development 10 70 15 4 1
9 60 24 6 1
Marketing 15 60 18 5 2
Finance 5 65 20 8 2
HR 5 40 55 0 0
There is a high turnover of staff (Table 3), but the causes of this are unclear. However, the costs of
addressing this issue are significant, due to high costs of advertising using the specialist trade press
(around £4,000 per position advertised). The CEO is keen to know whether there is a relationship
between staff turnover and high training costs (Tables 3 & 4). The HR Business Partner had no
access to financial information, but a friend in Finance was able to produce some data for Table 4.
Table 3: Staff attrition
Departments Turnover (L/H =
Manchester; R/H =
Overall size of team,
Manchester 1st; Cardiff 2nd
2014 2015 2016
Information systems 4, 1 2, 0 6, 3 20, 15
Product development 8, 0 5, 1 11, 4 35, 20
9, 4 11, 2 14, 4
Marketing / Sales 12, 9 18,10 28, 15 60, 30
Finance 4, 2 3, 1 5, 1 40, 20
HR 2, 2 3, 1 6, 2 10, 5
Table 4: Training costs
Departments Training costs (1st = Manchester; 2nd = Cardiff)
2014 2015 2016
Information systems £15,000;
£2,000; £1,500 £35,000;£15,000
N/A £25,000; £20,000 N/A
£27,000; £14,000 £32,000; £7,500
Marketing / Sales £24,000;
£27,000; £18,000 £25,000; £15,000
Finance N/A £9,000; £5,000 £17,000; £11,000
HR N/A £18,000; £7,500 £10,000; £5,000
A separate consultant commissioned by the outgoing CEO has produced some data on
other aspects of the Pfeffer Model that has been applied at O.I.G. This is in the possession
only of the present CEO who has had the information for a while, but has not had the
opportunity to discuss formally with the Head of HR because she does not normally attend
1. Employment security:
Staff have been told via the Staff Bulletin that the need to ‘innovate’ new products for the
non-corporate market is of major importance.
2. Selective hiring
O.I.G. staff tend to be hired based on length of service in similar jobs (internal & external
applicants) together with skills testing. Usually appointments are by panel interview based on
job descriptions produced by HR. Application rates are high because advertising in the
professional press is accorded high priority and this is supplemented by ‘big page’ ads in
3. Self managed teams & decentralisation of decision making
There has been an increasing shift to ‘virtual team’ working but the effectiveness of this has
not been monitored so far.
4. Extensive training
HR control access to formal accreditation to required certifications e.g. related to essential
health and safety / manufacturing practice. However, there is a pool of money divided
between the divisions based on a historic parent company formula that accounts for around
60% of O.I.G.s ‘spend’ on training.
6. Reduced status distinctions & barriers
The company are proud of their achievements here and have introduced new dress codes
for both male and female staff. Managers no longer need to wear suits, and ties are optional
except when meeting clients. Men and women can ‘dress down’ on Fridays but women are
not allowed to wear trousers in the workplace. Separate catering facilities for ‘management’
and ‘operations’ at both sites were initially combined but very quickly the staff canteen has
been closed at Manchester for reasons of economy and a catering van from an external
agency now supplies the overall workforce there.
7. Extensive sharing of financial & performance information
This occurs, but for ‘commercially sensitive reasons’, it tends to be circulated outside of
management only after a time lapse of around 6 months.. Cardiff staff feel they are the ‘end
of the line’ on company communication which comes via line manager briefings which are
not always held promptly because of ‘operational pressures’ at the factory and the inability of
LMs to always attend the briefings held by the CEO which are usually at the Manchester HQ.