Recruiting Recreational Vehicle Surveyors
Recruiting Recreational Vehicle Surveyors
Liberty Engineering Company is located in a large suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. The company was founded during the 1940s and does a considerable amount of drafting and design work for the major automotive companies and their suppliers. When sales in the auto industry are high, Liberty Engineering experiences a significant volume of work. However, when recessions hit the automotive marketplace, work at Liberty also sharply decreases.
In an attempt to stabilize revenues, the president of Liberty Engineering decided it would be prudent to diversify the company by bidding on government contracts. The company had little experience in these areas, but the president felt that this would not preclude it from bidding on contracts and obtaining them.
Within a six-month period, the company had bid on and lost two contracts. However, a third bid pertaining to the safety and use of recreational vehicles proved to be successful. The contract was for several hundred thousand dollars and was granted on a cost-plus basis. The government was interested in obtaining information regarding how people actually use recreational vehicles such as pick-up truck campers, motor homes, and various kinds of camping trailers. Ultimately, the purpose of the study was to determine what additional safety rules, if any, should be established relating to the manufacture and use of recreational vehicles. Among the pieces of information desired by the government were how much weight citizens place in their recreational vehicles, what kinds of trailer hitches are in use, whether recreational vehicles have proper suspension systems, and to what extent citizens are aware of the safety features of their recreational vehicles.
In Liberty Engineering’s proposal to the government, the company stated that it would recruit, select, and train qualified individuals to survey over 1,000 recreational vehicles. The surveying would be done at three different sites: in the desert, at the seashore, and in the mountains. At a meeting with government officials, three locations were selected: Lake Mead, Nevada; Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; and Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. Two other important decisions were also made at the meeting. First, to ensure consistency of data collection, all surveyors would be trained together at a campground at Smoky Mountains National Park. Second, the employees would then be divided and sent to their respective job sites. It was also decided that each survey crew would consist of one leader and four surveyors, and that two crews would be sent to each data collection site.
All responsibility for recruiting and training the 30 employees (6 leaders and 24 surveyors) fell upon the shoulders of Bob Getz, the new human resource director. Getz had worked as a designer for Liberty Engineering for 20 years before being transferred to human resources. At the same time that a project Getz had been working on for two years ended, the then-current human resource director resigned, so he was a logical choice. In addition, Getz was well-liked by most of Liberty’s older employees and knew a great deal about the company’s policies and procedures. Getz’s major shortcoming was that he knew little about staffing activities.
Before recruiting potential job applicants, Getz knew that he would first need to develop a set of job descriptions for all 30 employees. Since crews would be doing essentially similar jobs, albeit at different locations, he needed only to develop job descriptions for each of four survey positions and that of the leader. Hence, he obtained the list of data that was to be collected on each vehicle, determined the tasks required to collect the data, and divided the tasks into four job positions. Getz realized that the job duties of each surveyor would ultimately need to be changed based on actual experience. Nonetheless, he sketched out the following job descriptions:
Surveyor I: Take pictures of recreational vehicle with a camera. Interview driver and record information received.
Surveyor II: Read and record scale weights for each recreational vehicle tire. Take tire pressures and measure tread depth. Record make, size, and air capacity of each tire.
Surveyor III: Unhook trailer hitch, if present, and record make of hitch, ball diameter, and whether levelers are present. Determine type of suspension on recreational vehicle and count number of leaf springs, if present.
Surveyor IV: Stop recreational vehicle as it enters campground, explain to driver the purpose of the study, ask the driver to participate in study. When survey of recreational vehicle is complete, discuss the findings with the driver.
The leader’s responsibilities would be to plan daily work activities, motivate the employees to do the surveying, complete all forms, and do occasional troubleshooting.
With job descriptions in hand, Getz met with Norm Larson, vice president of Liberty Engineering Company, who was ultimately responsible for conducting the recreational vehicle surveys. During the meeting, Getz learned that all 30 employees were to meet at Smoky Mountains National Park on June 10. They were to be trained on the job for four days, and the company would provide them with lodging and food while they were there. All employees were to provide their own transportation to the park, to their subsequent job sites, and then back home. The company would pay them for travel time but would not provide any mileage allowance, lodging, or food. Upon arrival at the job site, employees would need to find accommodations for July and August, and would receive no lodging or food allowance from the company during their stay. Once work commenced at each job site, employees would be responsible for providing their own transportation to and from the campground.
All employees were to be paid $11.15 per hour. No vacation benefits, sick days, or other major benefits would be provided. The company would, however, provide benefits mandated by law such as Social Security and workers’ compensation. No one under the age of 18 would be hired because of safety reasons.
After the meeting with Larson, Getz decided he should check with the campground management at the different job sites. He learned that most recreational vehicles leave campgrounds early in the morning and enter late in the afternoon. Few arrive or depart between 10 am and 4 pm. In order to survey a maximum number of vehicles, crews would need to work from 6 am to 11 am and from 3 pm to 8 pm, a total of ten hours a day. Therefore, each crew could work a four-day-on and a four-day-off schedule. Getz was told that temperatures at Cape Hatteras would range between 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, while at Lake Mead they would range between 85 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Neither of these locations would provide employees with any shade; hence, employees at these sites would need to work in the sun and wear uniforms, including hats. The Smoky Mountains National Park location would be cooler than the others and surveying could be done in shaded areas. When Getz asked the campground managers whether they knew of any people who would be interested in working on the survey project, their response was, ‘‘You’ve got to be kidding.’’ The manager at Lake Mead campground flatly told Getz that he could not conceive of any person being willing to drive from Lake Mead to Tennessee and back under the conditions he outlined. He suggested that Getz put a want ad in the Cleveland newspaper.
After talking with the campground managers, Getz was quite depressed. He knew that he had to hire 30 employees within the next few weeks. He knew that six of them had to have sufficient leadership skills to get the job done while not antagonizing the employees so much that they would quit. He further realized that the 24 surveyors would have to enjoy the outdoors and be willing to tolerate extreme heat. He realized, too, that the ideal surveyor would be one who had above-average knowledge of auto mechanics, legible handwriting, reasonable communication skills, and an ability to work well with others under adverse conditions. What Getz did not know was how he could recruit and hire 30 people who fit this description.
1.If you were Bob Getz, how would you recruit the needed employees?
2.Evaluate the Lake Mead campground manager’s suggestion that Getz recruit employees by placing a want ad in the Cleveland newspaper.
3.What should the firm do if they are unable to recruit sufficient employees for the job?
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