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Please begin by reading the required background material for this module. After you have read them and reflected upon them imagine that you are an employee development consultant for Allen Customer Services, a large book and audio retailer customer service center that processes online and phone orders.

Allen Customer Services Division of Paxton Conglomerates, Inc.

While the majority of sales come from retail stores, a little more than one-third are made through the customer service center. In addition to sales, the customer service center is responsible for working with customers to ensure quality, market rewards programs and to support customer needs. Among the key metrics for the organization are market share and profit.

The organization is composed of 30,000 employees, working at the more than 1,000 retail locations. Approximately 5,000 employees work at the customer service center, and nearly half of those employees are unionized. Operational supervisors, who are nonunion employees, manage most of the union personnel at the customer service center.

The Request

Directors from the customer service center key staff have asked you to offer more training to the customer service supervisors. The directors suggested that supervisors are not managing properly, and as a result, customer service is not consistently meeting its goals or the organization’s goals. The directors are concerned that the situation will escalate and negatively affect market share and profit.

The directors feel that the supervisors—particularly recently hired supervisors—do not have the skills needed to perform their jobs effectively. Apparently, the quality of the recruiting pool for supervisors at Allen Customer Services has been weaker than the directors remember it being in the past. Currently, training for supervisors is inconsistent and may be lacking. There are existing training programs available to supervisors, but there is no requirement that they participate. Also, the training is designed for leaders across the organization and not specifically for the supervisors in the customer service division. Existing training delivery metrics are mostly composed of reaction measures (e.g., “rate how much you enjoyed this training session”), with a few learning measures included (e.g., “select the example below that represents a correct way to track attendance during a shortened workweek”). Learning outcome metrics specific to the operational supervisor job are nonexistent; no measure of the effect of training on job performance takes place.

The Follow-Up

After meeting with the directors, you meet with the organizational development director. The organizational development director is your manager and is responsible for ensuring that consulting solutions are appropriate and will help Allen Customer Services reach its goals. The organizational development director, who has been with the organization for eight years, tells you that the issues with the supervisors may relate to something different than training because training currently exists for supervisors. Directors expressed the same concerns almost five years ago and special technical training—highly encouraged but not mandatory—was created for the supervisors at that time. That training focused on tactics supervisors could use and seemed to resolve the performance issues over time. Slowly, new supervisors who had struggled at the outset improved their skills. The organizational development director also points out that the customer service center directors may not be close enough to the supervisors to provide full information.

Background Summary

Here is what you know as you begin preparing your recommendations:

  • The customer service center directors are having trouble ensuring their units meet operational goals.
  • Customer service center directors report that supervisors are the source of the issues. According to customer service directors, supervisors are not receiving enough training. Directors believe that the worst-performing supervisors are the newly hired operational supervisors.
  • The organizational development director believes the source of the issue may not be the supervisors. If it is an issue with the supervisors, it may be something other than a training issue.

Your assignment is to respond with your recommendations on how to address the situation. You will first need to focus on the major problems and address each one as specifically as possible. In your paper, recommend what the organizational development department should offer as a consulting solution. Support your recommendations with outside sources and real-life employer examples (citing the employers by name). Identify the business need and then support your suggested solution through an interpretation of the existing data.

Bring in at least 5 library sources to help strengthen your discussion.

Please upload your paper by the Module due date. Paper length: 6-7 pages, not counting cover and reference pages.

Required Materials

Calo, T. (2008). Talent management in the era of the aging workforce: the critical role of knowledge transfer. Public Personnel Management, 37(4), 403-416. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1631659851).

Farfan, B. (2011, June 12) Fortune 2011 least admired companies list—U.S. retail industry companies. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from

Feldman, D. C. (2001). Career coaching: what HR professionals and managers need to know. HR. Human Resource Planning, 24(2), 26-35. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 75508280).

Garavan, T. N. (1997). Training, development, education and learning: different or the same? Journal of European Industrial Training, 21(2), 39-50. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 117541996).

Moore, T., & Vandermey, A.. (2011, February). 100 best companies to work for. Fortune, 163(2), 91. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 2267662191).

Popescu, L., Popescu, V., & Iancu, A. (2010). The economic impact of employer investment in training. Economics, Management and Financial Markets, 5(1), 170-175. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from ProQuest. ( Document ID: 2084371351).

Sambrook, S. ( 2005) Exploring succession planning in small, growing firms. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development. 12 (4), 579-595. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from ProQuest.

Sharma, R. & Bhatnagar, J. (2009). Talent management – competency development: key to global leadership. Industrial and Commercial Training, 41(3), 118-132. Retrieved November 30, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1858564321).

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