Read the case study about the current and projected employment needs of the customer service division of Irontown Incorporated. The objective of this case study assignment is to determine the short-term strategy for filling expected staff needs.

Background

Irontown Inc. formed a separate, centralized customer service department 10 years ago. From a beginning with 40 employees, the customer service department has grown to over 80 employees currently. This expansion has roughly paralleled the growth of the company which has occurred organically and through acquisitions.

Currently, the customer service representatives (CSR) are all located in a suburb of Pittsburgh, about 20 miles from the corporate headquarters.

There are three levels of CSR:

  • Probationary trainee (trainees work under the direct supervision of a CSR 2 for two weeks initial training)
  • CSR 1 – can resolve any issue within the boundary of the CSR script
  • CSR 2 – can supervise trainees and resolve issues beyond the CSR script up to $100.00 cost

The pay and benefits package are competitive for this type of work in this region.

The hours are split between two shifts, 7:00 AM ET to 3:30 PM ET (thirty minute unpaid lunch break), and Noon ET to 8:30 PM ET, Monday through Friday.

The staffing on the shifts is split about evenly.

CSR 1s promote to fill CSR 2 vacancies after completing a two week training course.

The company has experienced turnover for employees who complete their probationary period in the range of 24% per year, which is not unusual in this type of work. Almost half of the trainees do not complete their probationary period.

Irontown’s customer relationship software is very basic and not in line with the competition in their industry sector. The software allows access to customer’s purchase history, but not to all of their history of contacts with the company. Further, it does not develop a record during a customer contact so that information is available if the call is escalated to a CSR 2.

Irontown management has identified two issues that need to be resolved.

  • First, there is an immediate and critical staffing shortage that is requiring extensive overtime and excessive customer hold times. Financial Services has estimated that the cost of operating with such limited staffing exceeds the costs of any of the three options identified by the senior HR team (noted below).
  • Second, the company plans to either:
    • Outsource their customer service department within one to three years, or
    • Build more comprehensive internal capacity, including a new software platform.
  • A team has been formed to study this issue and make a recommendation within two months.

You and the HR team have been charged with developing and implementing a solution to stabilize the situation within two months.Three options have been identified along with an analysis of their relative benefits and limitations:

  • Recruit and train new employees
  • Contract with an employment services vendor for contingent employees
  • Contract with independent contractors
Option Relative Cost Start Up Time Quality Control Integration with Current Operations
Recruit and Train New Employees Medium Six weeks High Good
Contract for Contingent Employees Low Three weeks Low Poor
Contract with Offsite Independent Contractors High One week High Medium
Staffing Levels Current Desired Turnover Projection Time to Train Projected
Surplus/Shortfall
Probationary Trainee 0 As Needed 50% Two weeks to become CSR 1
CSR 1 50 70 24% Two weeks to become CSR 2
CSR 2 5 8 24%

The Customer Service Management team has expressed the following concerns relating to contingent workers and independent contractors:

  • Only people trained by Irontown Customer Service managers should do CSR 2 level work. This adds time to the startup estimates in the table.
  • Temps must receive the same supervision and training as regular trainees.
  • Two additional CSR 2 positions should be added to the table above to interact with non-employees and ensure quality.
  • All non-employees need to be under the control of Irontown supervision.

Review the context provided and develop a short-term staffing plan that resolves staffing surpluses and/or shortages. In your case study analysis, include the following:

  • Brief summary of current and projected employment needs in the case
  • Analysis of data and conclusions
  • Review of applicable law, human resource principles and discussion of how they apply to this case
  • Recommended plan of action with rationale
  • References, at least three other than the textbook

Write your case study analysis in three to five pages in a Word document. Follow the APA style for writing, editing, and citation of sources

 
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