Question details

This case was written by Alan Cabelly, Ph.D. and published in
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This case was written by Alan Cabelly, Ph.D. and published in 2009 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This learning tool is currently offered free of charge to HR educators and students for use in HR classrooms at universities. Portions of the original case were modified with permission from SHRM for use in HR 520 – Capstone: Applied HR at the University of Scranton.


Case Description


High Growth Industries (HGI) is a regionally accredited chain of daycare centers in northern California with headquarters in San Francisco. HGI has established an excellent reputation during more than 30 years of service and has worked hard to achieve its motto “foster high growth for your child”. It was recently awarded its largest contract ever; in just six months, HGI will be the sole provider of daycare services for all central and northern California state agencies.


HGI currently operates 17 daycare centers, mostly near San Francisco, Sacramento and Napa Valley. These centers employ 163 teachers, childcare specialists and aides. Thirteen centers are more than 15 years old, and 60 percent of workers have been with HGI more than 10 years. Centers range in size from two to 19 employees.


You were recently hired as HGI’s first vice president of human resources. You left an HR director position in a major manufacturing organization out of boredom. With an HR degree and 20 years of progressive HR experience in various industries, you have seen it all. You have always been quite successful and eagerly anticipate the challenge that HGI’s president said would be yours, yet you cannot help feel somewhat uneasy at the enormity of your future tasks.


The HR function is in shambles. You were unable to find an affirmative action plan, training documents or other basic personnel information, including I-9s. Although the company has been unionized for the better part of 20 years, labor contracts are available for only the past five years. The teachers’ union nearly struck two years ago over wages and conditions, although the specialists/aides union appears less militant. Each union is a union shop. Both contracts expire January 1 next year.


In the past, the president and each center’s managers performed all of the organization’s personnel functions by the seat of their pants. Recruiting was by word-of-mouth, performance appraisals rarely occurred, and the president was the chief union negotiator. “Management by walking around” is constantly practiced; the president visits each childcare center every month. Most managers are happy with the management style and the flexibility it provides them.


The data surrounding HGI’s upcoming expansion are astounding. You will be adding between 1,200 and 1,500 daycare workers, and a commensurate number of support staff. There will be approximately 40 new daycare facilities, some as far as 350 miles away. You wonder if enough skilled and certified teachers are available.




Case Analysis


Although the scenario is brief, there is enough information for you to make effective decisions. At the same time there are enough unanswered questions for many speculative assumptions to be made.


In your new role as HGI’s first vice president of human resources, prepare responses to the following.


  1. The CEO has asked you to participate in the strategic planning process for HGI. Specifically, the CEO wants to you prepare a SWOT analysis for HGI from your perspective as the new vice-president of human resources. The CEO then asked you to use the SWOT analysis that you created to imagine/describe where HGI should be in two years. Explain your rationale.


  1. Next, the CEO asked you to prepare a formal report includes the following: a vision statement and a mission statement for the HR function at HGI. Further, the CEO asked that you create a plan for what HR will do to help move HGI in a positive direction. Finally, the CEO asked you identify additional resources that you might need to put your plan into action and to provide a budget and rationale for the additional resources.


  1. How would you propose to get buy-in for your HR vision of the future from the entire organization? Discuss your action plan and your rationale.


  1. As noted in the case overview, the HR function is in shambles. From your perspective as the new HR leader, discuss your plan for addressing the issues in the HR function in the


First week. Explain your rationale.

First month. Explain your rationale.

First three months. Explain your rationale.

First six months. Explain your rationale.


  1. From an HR perspective what are the legal issues that need to be addressed at HGI? How do you propose to deal with these legal issues? Explain your rationale.


  1. Create a plan to deal with the union and labor relations in general at HGI. Explain your rationale.


  1. What types of staff development do you envision for your HR team? Explain your rationale.


  1. Create a plan for how to deal with the current way in which recruitment and staffing is conducted. What changes will you recommend? Why? How will you then deal with issues related to the proposed expansion in the numbers of daycare workers and support staff? Explain your rationale.


  1. Particularly with the proposed expansion of staff, how might the communication needs of the company change? What role(s) should HR enact to help facilitate improved communication throughout the organization? Explain you rationale.


  1. Compare and contrast the present and future realities associated with the corporate culture of HGI. Discuss the potential effects that the future realities might have on (a) the CEO and (b) the HR function. Explain your rationale.


  1. Create a total rewards plan for HGI. What types of direct & indirect compensation do you envision for the newly expanded HGI organization? Explain your rationale.


Available solutions