Building A World Class Hr Corporation Management Essay

The situation facing Sonoco is the fact the company is continuing to grow rapidly over an interval of several years, generally through acquisitions in a growing packaging industry. This has led to the development of a large volume of silo founded HR systems for each of the business's divisions, which can be largely influenced by the precise demands of the divisions and by the bought businesses, and hence are divergent in character without a strong degree of strategic direction. That is creating issues for the company, as HR is currently a pricey function that's not providing significant proper value. Because of this, the business has appointed a fresh senior vice chief executive of RECRUITING, Cindy Hartley, with a mandate to develop new organisational set ups for HR in order to save costs; improve talent management; develop more effective performance management systems; and provide customised proper support to the entire business. Hartley has recently implemented lots of new systems and process changes, and has seen some benefits, but nonetheless needs to get over issues related to ineffective skill management and too little alignment between performance management and company strategies (Sonoco Products Company, 2012, p. 5). This article will critically think about your own private learning by sketching upon various academics themes and concepts around managing human resources in order to offer and propose interventions on the research study, as well concerning assess the activities already considered and their efficiency.


As known above, the main issue in the case study is apparently the actual fact that the business has grown by acquisition with a relatively rapid tempo of progress, including making over 60 acquisitions in just a single decade (Sonoco Products Company, 2012, p. 1). Whenever a company grows up through such an acquisition focused procedure, it is nearly inescapable that the HR resourcing and development functions will not be perfectly aligned, and this will hence create silos of HR efficiency, with each individual silo only considering their own specific role and function rather than the strategic goals of the organisation (Alberg, 2007, p. 9). This form of silo centered method of HR can be quite damaging for a company, as it will create an HR function which is aligned to certain requirements of each individual division or department, alternatively than to the requirements of the business enterprise as a whole. The negative effects of this is seen in the case of Sonoco, where HR is targeted primarily on day to day employee relationships issues alternatively than tactical concerns, and where there are high levels of non cooperative competition between the specific divisions (Sonoco Products Company, 2012, p. 3).

The other major important HR problem that prevails in the business is that there's been too little effort to develop a strategic and proactive HR culture in Sonoco. This has led to the emergence of an HR culture which is highly reactionary, with the HR function looked at generally as a watchdog to head off legal and worker relations problem, as well as to assist professionals with specific worker issues such as being able to help managers notify employees they can be being terminated even though they have got excellent performance assessments (Sonoco Products Company, 2012, p. 3). The reactionary aspect of the HR culture also considers the company being broadly unable to hold underperformers responsible. It has resulted partly in poorly performing employees being able to free drive through the business, and partly in payment being considered an entitlement rather than reward, and hence failing woefully to improve performance levels. It has resulted in employees generally being paid at or near the midpoint for all those individuals and careers, which has prevented the creation of any form of meritocracy on the company. Corresponding to Weinberger (2003, p. 29), this creates the 'peanut butter' concern where wages are simply spread evenly to avoid any discontent that can come from rewarded highly carrying out employees and penalising others. That is again evidence of the reactionary culture that avoids conflict and thus fails to boost performance.

These two main issues is seen to be accountable for nearly all HR problems experienced by Sonoco. Specifically, the business is failing woefully to achieve good expertise management as a consequence to a lack of a coherent HR approach across the company and a lack of desire to recognize the best individuals out of most employees. The silo based mostly method of HR also stops effective performance management resulting in the peanut butter issue recognized above. These silos and the reactionary culture also mean that HR struggles to provide strategic support to the business all together. Finally, the lack of a mechanism for identifying and disciplining or terminating poorly undertaking employees has prevented the company from eradicating poor performance, thus hindering cost control as the business cannot effectively save costs by detatching the poorest employees.


This section of the task will give attention to appraising environmentally friendly and organisational framework of the case to identify the primary issues these contexts create for the company and the advantages and weaknesses of the HR procedures, tactics, and systems in light of these issues. The analysis will also consider Cindy Hartley's aims for changes at Sonoco and the motorists of these aims.

The major environmental issues at the time of the case originated from the changes in the presentation industry. In particular, the industry was going right through a period of stagnation and change, with amount now less likely to increase and profits under risk from low cost overseas competition whilst the industry as a whole began to combine (Sonoco Products Company, 2012, p. 2). These developments outlined the major weakness in Sonoco's silo based mostly approach to HR and the causing disparate systems they created. Specifically, Sonoco's HR procedures tended to make it difficult for the company to regulate costs, and hence made it problematic for the business to react to market changes in a way as aggressively as its rivals. This can be seen in the fact that the business's stock price significantly trailed the S&P 50 between 1995 and 2000, regardless of the company increasing net income at this time (Sonoco Products Company, 2012, p. 1). This means that that investors felt the company was underperforming relative to the market, implying that costs could be lower in a far more effective manner.

The other main change in the presentation industry was that customers were becoming more strenuous, with more variations in product packaging and higher degrees of segmentation of many markets. Because of this, clients expected the packaging companies they purchased from to have the ability to source them with competitively priced presentation that was highly responsive to industry trends, also to have the ability to apply new systems and innovative tools to provide higher degrees of customised service (Sonoco Products Company, 2012, p. 2). This is another area where Sonoco's reactionary regulations and practices managed to get difficult for the company to compete, and hence acted as a strong weakness. Specifically, the business lacked a tactical and proactive method of HR, which reduced its overall ability to react to trends available on the market. This supposed Sonoco was limited to developing new techniques as these were required, thus slowing the presentation concept to advertise delivery cycle. The company hence had failed to align its HR function with the demands of the market, which is a key weakness in any HR system (Aswathappa, 2005).

In light of the two issues, it can be seen that Cindy Hartley's objectives for changes at Sonoco aren't simply those tackled in the case. The case suggests that the aims were to increase accountability for ability management; to disperse HR expertise and make systems and operations more consistent; also to provide tactical support to the individual sections. However, in light of environmentally friendly issues revealed, her objectives can also be seen as being to improve skill management and performance management in order to increase efficiency; to boost performance management in order to assist in cost control by allowing the business to terminate underperforming employees; also to provide tactical support to enable the company to become more proactive when responding to the demands of the marketplace.


This section will consider the success of the HR changes at Sonoco, as well as the degree to that they are in line with state of the art HR policies, methods, and systems, and exactly how they could be advanced through the execution of best HR practices relevant to the truth.

The important change at Sonoco has been the benefits of a top down method of performance management, with goal setting techniques and focuses on being put in place at corporate level and trickled down to specific performance goals through negotiation. This practice gets the benefit of participating to employee development needs and job development, as well as linking to the financial rewards system. The system as it stands appears to delegate significant expert to the divisions to create their own goals, and lacks the crucial control and assessment techniques such as business intelligent and analytics to ensure that the performance management system provides strong support to the goals of the business (Elbashir et al, 2011, p. 155). On the other hand, the system gets the benefit of being relatively simple and easy to execute, which Muras et al (2008, p. 65) claim is more important that using sophisticated processes which frequently confuse employees and professionals. The system also implements 360 degree feedback for managers, which is essential in ensuring strong managerial development (Carson, 2006).

One of the primary issues that can be determined with the new performance management system is that it's focused on the value added by the average person. Whilst individual performance important, and will help overcome the situation of employees free driving, it is not consistent with best practice performance dimension techniques. These techniques generally give attention to the blend of specific and team performance, to be able to ensure a balance between the specific and team degrees of performance (Addison and Haig, 2012, p. 37). In particular, a failure to include team performance into the performance measurement procedure dangers harming team identification levels as employees see themselves as individuals somewhat than members of the team. As Solansky (2011, p. 247) records, team identification is a essential driver of performance, and therefore by failing woefully to focus on this there exists the chance the new performance way of measuring system will hamper levels of team work. This is thus something that should be attended to through the execution of best practice in the future.


This section will focus on identifying means of improving the existing HR policies, practices, and systems and exactly how they may become state of the art or best practices. It'll hence focus on making suggestions for increasing the HR routines and addressing the problems identified in the event, as well as determining the right HR framework for Sonoco: either centralisation or hybrid.

As noted above, one of the main element methods you can use to boost existing HR routines is to enhance the performance management system to measure team work and individual efforts to team performance. Regarding to Levasseur (2011, p. 204), modern day organisation development theories hold that this needs to be performed through consideration of varied issues such as team development, discord management and change management in the team context in order to generate high performing teams. Hartley should thus look to include these factors in the new performance dimension construction to ensure high quality outcomes.

The other primary issues to be settled are how to ensure effective expertise management, how to be responsive to industry and market requirements, and exactly how to save lots of costs. All of these issues are from the fundamental question of which HR model to implement: the centralised model or the cross structure. Of these, each option has its own specific give attention to different facets of the company. The centralised model will offer greater cost savings as well as improved talent management across the entire company, as HR will be able to identify talented employees with an organisation large basis and move or promote them as necessary. In contrast, the hybrid model will allow for increased responsiveness to industry and market requirements because of the support provided to the general managers. The hybrid model offers improved expertise management at the divisional level as managers are encouraged to invest in their own people and staff them consequently, although there are concerns over the level of companywide coordination and change management under a cross model (Sonoco Products Company, 2012, p. 6).

In standard, the cross model appears to be more desired as it improves market responsiveness and proactive behaviour because of the support offers to the general professionals. Whilst it will save you $400, 000 less in costs, it still comes close to achieving the $2, 800, 000 cost keeping aim for, and the much better revenue is likely to be much more important for a small business with income of around $2. 5 billion (Sonoco Products Company, 2012, p. 1). Generally, current HR best practice is that the HR function and HR metrics should be focused on strategic alignment forward off cost saving, as this permits higher levels of performance and a far more positive HR strategy (Gates and Langevin, 2010, p. 111).

The main question is hence which approach to talent management and change management is more appropriate. In this regard, it's important to note that, according to Martin-Alcazar et al (2008, p. 103), best practice HR is moving away from universalistic and centralised methods, and towards approval of more contingent solutions. This gives further support to the cross types model, as a model which is more contingent on divisional requirements and therefore better able to adapt to specific organisational requirements, including providing the general managers with the precise brains, support and responsiveness they want in order to cope with a lot more competitive industry environment. At exactly the same time, it is important to note that organisational strategy itself comes with an impact on the very best HR practices, and hence the company should think about a more common and centralised approach if its strategy will better lend itself to this approach. Determining the most effective method of support the organisational strategy should thus be what Cindy Hartley should focus on next.

5. Implementation

This aspect of the essay will consider how the changes should be sustained and the agenda and resources required to be able to effectively bring about the recommended changes, as well as how the company will you know that the changes are effective. The first facet of the implementation should be to implement the hybrid model, once this has been formally determined and designed as necessary to fit the organisational strategy. This will require the concerted effort of all HR resources, with the specific implementation strategy depending on option of these resources and the power of the business to organise them to obtain the necessary features (Wright et al, 2001, p. 701). The relative success of these implementation efforts should be assessed by considering the levels of support provided to the managers, as reported by the professionals, as well as the achievement of the cost savings projected from the implementation of the new model (Becker and Gerhart, 1996) A similar approach may then be utilized to conform the performance management way in the business to the new organisational realities in order to boost team work, with degrees of team performance used in an effort to know these changes work (Armstrong and Baron, 2011).


The learning activities carried out in this module and during the analysis and conclusion of this case study have provided significant abilities in relation to my ability to provide solutions to the case. In particular, whilst learning this module I've learnt how to use theoretical techniques and models from organisation development and recruiting to specific cases and examples. This is seen in my ability to apply theoretical principles such as universalistic and contingent HR techniques, as well as team work and performance management to the case of Sonoco. This may also assist me in my own future managerial job, as I will be in a position to apply these ideas to the firms I be employed by.

The other major way in which the learning activities upon this module have added to my capability to provide answers to the truth is that they have helped me to analyse a sensible situation and determine the main causes of the problem from the symptoms. For instance, in cases like this I could use the literature to link the acquisition established nature of the business's growth to the introduction of its HR silos, and use this to make advice to address this problem. I was also able to identify and analyse the implications of the hybrid and centralised models using theory, and hence make appropriate tips in this field, something which will be useful easily face an identical situation later in my own career.

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