Strategic HRM – Solution for NMIMS Assignment



Solution for NMIMS Assignment

June 2019 Assignment Solutions

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Q1. “Performance management system which is an alternative to management by objectives evaluates the performance of the employees in the job and analyses the areas of development. It also assesses the individual strengths and weaknesses of the employees in the job. Give example of one FMCG/banking organization you know of, that was able to evaluate the performance of an employee in alignment with the organizational objective. Evaluate and justify the complete process. (10 Marks)
Q2. Critically assess how humour and simulation-based training can be used to motivate staff who are undertaking low skilled, repetitive, mundane and unsatisfying tasks. Give examples to support your narrative. Also share example from a manufacturing unit where humour-based training can be linked with the learning, reduced turnover, performance improvement and satisfaction of the employees. (10 Marks)
Q3. Cisco sources revealed that the company had a policy of attracting the ‘top 10-15%’ people in the networking industry. It believed that if it could get the best people in the industry and retain them, it would remain the industry leader. According to Cisco’s vision statement, “Attracting, growing and retaining great talent is critical for sustaining Cisco’s competitive advantage.” Thus, effective recruitment was used as a powerful strategic weapon by the company. The company began to use revolutionary techniques like the ‘build-the-buzz’ strategy, which was centred on the primary market for its products, i.e. the Internet. Cisco’s recruiting team identified the candidates whom they felt the company ‘should hire,’ and then figured out the way those potential candidates did their job hunting and designed hiring processes to attract them to the company. Cisco recruiters targeted even passive job seekers – people who were happy and successful in their current jobs. Barbara Beck (Beck), Vice President, Human Resources said, “The top 10% are not typically found in the first round of layoffs from other companies, and they usually aren’t cruising through the want ads.” Cisco changed the way it posted advertisements in newspapers. Instead of listing specific job openings, the company featured its Internet address in its ads and invited prospective candidates to apply. This move helped Cisco to direct all job seekers to its website where it could inexpensively post hundreds of openings and provide information regarding them. It also advertised its website in cyberspace to reach candidates who surfed the net from around the world. The company was thus able to monitor and measure its recruiting programs through the number of visits to its site. Since most people visited Cisco’s website from their jobs, the company could identify their place of work. Cisco worked towards removing some of the frustration associated with applying for jobs. The company learned to attract happily employed people through focus groups. These focus groups targeted senior engineers and marketing professionals in other companies and found out how they spent their free time, the websites they visited and the how they felt about job hunting. These insights helped the recruiters. For example, it was found that most professionals like to watch movies in their free time, websites on ‘corporate cartoon Dilbert’ were extremely popular and most professionals hated job hunting. Cisco, thus, linked its website to the Dilbert web page (, which registered around 2.5 million hits per day, mainly from engineers and Internet-savvy managers, it also bought space on websites like Travel Quest (, a reservation service provider. These steps turned Cisco’s website into an extremely useful recruiting tool. The website also offered features through which applicants could fill their resumes online or create one with the help of Cisco’s resume builder. In this way Cisco attracted active and passive job seekers. The focus group’s exercise made Cisco realize that a candidate would approach the company if he had been informed by a friend about better opportunities at Cisco. This led to the launch of the friend’s program in April 1996. Cisco also reached out to potential applicants through a variety of routes which were unusual in recruiting. It began frequenting art fairs, beer festivals and certain annual events in which people from Silicon Valley participated. These places proved to be very ‘fruitful hunting venues’ as they attracted young achievers from various successful infotech companies. Cisco recruiters mingled with the crowd, collected business cards from prospective candidates and spoke to them informally about their careers. More than 1,000 Cisco employees volunteered for the Friends program, attracted by the referral fee, which started at $ 500 and a lottery ticket for a free trip to Hawaii for each prospect they befriended and who was ultimately hired. In this program, Cisco employees were matched up with people who approached the company as prospects and who shared similar backgrounds and skills. The Cisco employees then called the prospects to inform them in their own words about life at the company. Cisco advertised the friend’s program in movie theatres in San Jose and received around 100 to 150 applications each week. By 1997, about one third of new recruitments were made through the Friends program. Cisco launched a tool called Profiler on the employment page of its website to accelerate and standardize online resume submission. The Profiler asked applicants to provide educational and employment information through appropriate selections from pull-down menus. Cisco also found that applicants and recruiters were not totally comfortable with, the time-consuming recruiting process. To speed up the hiring process, Cisco hired inhouse head hunters to identify qualified candidates for managers. After streamlining its recruitment policies, 1996, Cisco conducted an employee survey to find out how the new recruits felt on their first day at work. The survey showed that some new recruits felt lost on their first day – their phones did not work; their computers had no software and if it did they had no idea how to use it. It was also found that most of the employees did not get their email addresses for two weeks. To address the above problems, Cisco launched Fast Start, an employee orientation initiative. Cisco installed computer software, which tracked the hiring process and alerted the team about the new recruit’s arrival. As a result, every recruit started with a fully functional workspace and a whole day of training in desktop tools. Cisco believed that its new recruitment philosophy should also be made a part of the overall corporate culture. By late 1999, Cisco’s job page was recording around 500,000 hits per month. The company generated a stream of reports about who visited the site and fine-tuned its strategy accordingly. By the time the new recruitment initiatives were established, Cisco, which was hiring approximately 8,000 people a year, received 81% of the resumes were from the web. Eventually, 66% of the new recruitments were from the candidates who had sent their resumes through the Cisco website. It was also reported that about 45% of company’s new recruits came from the Amazing People Program. Cisco’s hiring cycle also came down to 45 days from 68 days. The recruitment costs in this ‘direct mode’ amounted to $6,556 per capita, which was around 40% below the industry average. Referral rates at Cisco were twice the industry norm and that created a performance edge as most recruits were qualified employees with vast experience. By 2001, referrals and the friends program accounted for 50-60% of new employees. Most importantly, the retention rate at the company had also increased. The employee turnover figure was 6.3% in 1999, a very low rate compared to the industry norms, which varied from 18-28%. According to company sources on average Cisco employees accessed the corporate e-HR site 16 times a day for information about job cuts. Analysts claimed that Cisco’s innovative and aggressive recruiting initiatives were to a large extent responsible for the company’s expansion at 40% per year and recruiting 250 employees every week despite the global dot-com slump.
a. According to Cisco’s vision statement, “Attracting, growing and retaining great talent is critical for sustaining Cisco’s competitive advantage.” Analyse the various recruitment strategies adopted by Cisco. (5 Marks)
b. Cisco believed that its new recruitment philosophy should also be made a part of the overall corporate culture. Explain the various key aspects that are to be considered in recruitment philosophy by companies like Cisco. Discuss how Cisco is benefitted by adopting innovative recruitment philosophy. (5 Marks)

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