Acme Bakeries LTD operates 85 bakeriestHRoughoutEngland,ScotlandandWales. They are grouped into fiveregions, each controlled by a regional director, whose staff includes aregional hr manager. Headquarters inLondonhas a small HR department headed by the group HR director and including a grouplearning and development adviser. Each bakery is run by a general manager,whose team consists of a prODuction manager, a sales manager, an accountant andan engineer. General managers are often recruited from these positions but manyare recruited externally, usually with no experience in the trade.
Because of the specialized nature ofbakery operations it was felt that trAInee general managers should have atleast one year’s training before taking up a general manager post. This tookplace at a number of bakeries and trainees spent about three months inproduction, three months in sales, two months in accounts, two weeks inengineering and the rest of the time working with a general manager. It wasleft to the general managers of the bakeries to arrange the training. Thesewere selected because of their seniority rather than their ability orinclination to spend time on looking after trainees. Their normal approach wasto get trainees to go through all the main operations, for example breadproduction, or running a wholesale round, and then sit down next to thedepartmental manager and observe what he (usually) or she was doing.
Trainees were sometimes sent on a one-weekleadership course offered by an external provider.
As a result of this approach, trainees werebored rigid. Many left in desperation (only half the trainees survived thewhole period last year) and most of those who remained had a lot of theinitiative and inspiration drained out of them by the time they got their firstposting.
Something had to be done and the grouplearning and development manager took it on himself to do it. This was astrategic issue. The future of the business largely depended on having a steadyflow of qualified and engaged general managers – in effect they ran thebusiness and its success flowed from their expertise and efforts.
The group learning and development managerdecided that his first step was to analyse the job of bakery general managersto determine what they had to know and be able to do to be successful. Hisanalysis looked like the following.
1. Tasks requiringtechnical knowledge – production
● Typesof products.
● Qualitycontrol procedures.
● Commonfaults in products and how to avoid and remedy them.
● Machineand plant characteristics and procedures to use in emergencies.
● Healthand safety precautions.
2. Tasks requiringtechnical skills – production
● Introducingnew methods of production and products created in the company’s productiondevelopment centre.
● Developingnew products to meet local needs.
● Investigatingproduction problems and snags.
3. Tasks requiringtechnical knowledge – sales
● Methodsof conducting sales surveys (ie developing wholesale or retail rounds).
● Methodsof planning wholesale and retail rounds.
● Methodsof setting up and controlling rounds.
● Otherapproaches to developing sales.
4. Tasks requiringtechnical skills – sales
● Assessingsales opportunities.
● Negotiatingsales contracts.
5. Tasks requiring administrative knowledge
● Tobe maintained.
● Otherprocedures, eg requisitioning stores, material and equipment.
● HRpolicies and procedures: recruitment, discipline, griEVAnce, equal opportunity,managing diversity, etc.
6. Tasks requiringadministrative skills
● Interpretingand taking action on financial reports and budgetary control information.
● Preparingand presenting reports.
7. Knowledge requiredof HR policies and procedures
● Theemployment law framework.
● Rewardpolicies and procedures.
● Learningand development policies.
● Jointconsultation policies.
8. Tasks requiringpeople management and social skills
● Controllingoutput and quality of work.
● Conductingperformance reviews.
● Dealingwith complaints from customers.
● Dealingwith grievances and disciplinary problems.
● Conducting performancereviews.
● Dealingwith underperformers.
● Chairing and participating in meetings.
On the basis of the information givenabove, including the knowledge and skills analysis, draw up a revised programmeof training for general managers making, use of any approaches to learning anddevelopment that you think might be appropriate.