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Global Communications Benchmarking

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Global Communications Benchmarking

Global Communications has several problems facing it due to their outsourcing project and the accompanying layoffs. Team A focused on four issues facing Global Communications and used generic benchmarking to find possible solutions. The issues faced were not unique to Global Communications and in fact are common in the business world. The issues were diversity and inclusion, layoff management, management-union relationships, outsourcing, and advertising campaigns. The goal was to once again make Global Communications' a leader in the communication industry.

General Electric (GE) has several groups that provide access to management for various groups within the company (General Electric, 2007). Abercrombie and Fitch had a well deserved and documented reputation for hiring based on race, closing off avenues of valuable input (CBS News, 2004). Global Communications had minimal dialog between upper management and the union and employees and could learn from GE's example of gathering input from employees from all areas of the business. By empowering employees to create change and implement new ideas Global Communications could have ensured that the employees have an invested interest in seeing the business succeed. The goal would have been to inform and share because no matter how much access to management employees have, layoffs are sometimes inevitable.

Charles Schwab and Ford are two examples of a proactive approach to layoffs. After exhausting all other options, the layoff decision was made. Ample notice, generous severance packages, rehiring options, and positive spins all helped to keep morale up (When bad things happen to good companies p.2). Ford and Schwab were able to turn a potential crisis into a positive event by providing a plan to recover from the layoffs. Remaining employees were ensured that their jobs would be safe as the company worked on realignment to better provide employees with the tools to complete their job with less manpower. Conversely, Dallas Morning News and Inacom used poor notification practices and severance packages, resulting in very low morale and lawsuits. These companies had forgotten about the people aspect of layoffs and instead paid attention only to the bottom line numbers. Layoffs should be handled with tact and compassion; instead these companies resorted to layoff speeches, conference call dismissals, and padlocked facility doors. Global Communications made the layoff decision without exhausting all options (American Journalism Review, 2005). It seems that Global Communications put a low priority on taking care of the employees being laid off, a clear breach of ethics. A suggestion was made to bring in a career counselor but it seemed to be more of a media ploy for publicity rather than a real interest in the employees. With proper communication, Global could have minimized conflict with the union.

Toyota has been recognized as building quality cars at its New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. automobile plant. Its Lean Manufacturing system empowers employees to make changes that other companies would not allow. The system builds mutual trust between all levels (European, 2001) and creates a sense of pride and ownership across the board. On the flip side Providence Hospital (in Alaska) failed to listen to nurses over serious patient-care issues, resulting in a damaging strike (Nawar, 1999). Global Communications should have viewed the union as a partner, rather than an adversary. They were concerned with how the union would react to the news that they were looking to outsource labor so they chose not to clue the union in. The union was clearly willing to take cost cutting measures to keep the company lean as they had already taken significant reductions in benefits. Integration negotiation is an effective way to build this partnership (Kreitner-Kinicki, 2003). The union is now pursuing legal action due to the poor handling of the situation. Having the union on their side would not have hurt Global Communications. If presented with the numbers and plan for outsourcing and given time to do their own projections the union would have either countered with a plan of their own or conceded to outsourcing. Even with the best negotiation practices, a company may be forced to outsource work to save money.

Two examples of poor outsourcing practices are Capital One and Verizon Wireless. The result was a failed overseas call center. The website for Marsh & McLennan Companies has information about this. Large scale employee transfers from Verizon to Amdocs (Verizon, 2007). Microsoft on the other hand has made outsourcing work. Its careful planning has helped mitigate the associated risks and has reduced development costs. The web site for ZDNetasia talks about this interesting fact. Global Communications needs to fully plan its outsourcing move, including what foreign companies it will use, what security concerns are relevant, and what measures of success are to be used. A problem-solving method like the nine step process would help make sure all solutions have been identified. Because outsourcing can cause bad publicity, Global should use an aggressive advertisement campaign to market its new services and rates.

Apple's iPod advertising campaign has been very successful, making iPod the most popular music playing device on the market. The Apple revitalization that began with the I-Mac has continued into 2007 and the ultra hip advertisements have made iPod the brand name for media players. Turner's advertising for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force cartoon caused mass hysteria, including two arrests and countless bomb scares. The advertising initially meant to advertise a movie version of the popular late night cartoon proved that all publicity is not necessarily good publicity. The Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie opened to poor reviews and an even poorer box office performance. Global Communications needs to carefully construct an advertising campaign to clean its public image. For over a fifteen year Apple had taken a decisive back place to the PC and the technology was seen as square and obtrusive. In the late 1990's Apple underwent a drastic makeover and advertised their products as hip and out of the box. While the company did not change the way they sold themselves did and they have seen a great turnaround as a result. Global Communications cannot make the mistake Turner Media did of not evaluating the audience of the campaign. They attempted to sell a cult cartoon aimed at the college set to the mass market and the experiment backfired.

By using generic benchmarking on each company, Global Communications will be able to find innovative solutions enabling recovery from the bad publicity, layoffs, and poor union relations. Each company has much experience to give to Global. Global can learn

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