Barbara Tucker looked out her 6th floor office window to view the sprawling campus of the Douglas Medical Center (DMC). Her employer, Ballard Integrated Managed Services, Inc. (BIMS), provided food and hospitality services on a contractual basis for all patient and staff needs. As general manager of this site for BIMS, Barbara was concerned about her staff’s morale. She felt that it had been weakening over the past several months, but she could not figure out why. The turnover rate seemed somewhat higher than usual, but no new information was emerging from exit interviews. Her department heads and supervisors agreed that something was happening to morale, but they could not tell her why either.
Headquartered in New York City, BIMS is a support services company that specializes in providing housekeeping and foodservice to corporations and institutions. A nationwide company, BIMS contracts with large organizations that prefer to focus on their own core competencies and lease support functions to outside vendors. BIMS distinguishes itself in this highly competitive industry by combining several services: housekeeping, foodservice, general cleaning, and physical plant maintenance. The BIMS list of clientele includes 22 Fortune 100 businesses, over 100 midsized firms, 16 major universities, 14 medical centers, and 3 larger regional airports.
Located in a major metropolitan area, the contract for this 510-bed regional medical trauma center includes the full range of BIMS services. Four months ago, the two firms had completed negotiations to renew their contract, extending the initial 3-year, just-ended arrangement for 5 more years. The Douglas Medical Center had been very pleased with BIMS’s work to date and had been willing to renew under the same terms and conditions. The BIMS corporate headquarters had also been satisfied with Barbara Tucker’s management of this site and her successful efforts to renew the DMC contract.
As general manager, Barbara is responsible for three divisions at this site, each with its own management staff. The food service division, led by Flora Torres, is responsible for providing daily meals for the 5,300 staff members, nurses, and doctors as well as the general public in the six cafeterias. In addition, they prepare specialized meals for patient care. In this division there are 182 full-time equivalent positions; however, given the nature of the work, only 129 of those positions are actually full-time. An additional 106 part-time workers are currently scheduled to address the variable needs of this 24-hour operation. Twelve professional staff members help Flora manage this group of 235 craft workers.
The hospitality division, managed by Henry Dumas, is responsible for refreshing each hospital room, including changing the linens on empty beds, replacing towels, and sanitizing bathrooms, which includes maintaining the public areas: hallways, lobbies, elevators, and so on. The hospitality staff comprises 76 full-time workers, 28 part-time workers, and 10 supervisors who provide 18-hour service. In addition, a full-time skeleton crew of 10 workers and 1 supervisor handle any unplanned nighttime demands on all 7 nights of the week. Altogether, Henry manages this department of 114 craft workers and 11 supervisors.
The Physical Plant Maintenance division, led by Matt Lee, is responsible for all of the nonmedical equipment and physical aspects of the medical center. His full-time staff of 56 workers provides daily custodial services to areas not handled by hospitality, such as laboratories, offices, reception areas, clinics, and others. They clean, repair, or replace carpets, window blinds, wallboard, light fixtures; and service elevators and other nonmedical equipment such as beds, chairs, carts, stands, and tables. To provide off-hour service, four additional employees cover the evening shift and graveyard hours each week. Based on experience, this minimal coverage has proven adequate. Four supervisors help Matt manage this physical plant group. Altogether, BIMS employs 409 full- and part-time workers and 27 managers or supervisors in these three divisions, Along with Barbara, the three division managers form the top management team at this BIMS site. Including the 12-member office support staff—HRM, bookkeeping, and clerical support—the BIMS staff total is 452 workers.
Considering the low-skill nature of the majority of positions, BIMS typically experiences an annual turnover rate of 55 to 60% at this location. This rate is common for the industry in general and typical for BIMS in particular. However, during the past 4 months the rate has climbed to over 64%. Replacing the workers is not a particular challenge, as the area labor pool is sufficient; however, the increased cost of this activity is troublesome. Additionally, managers and supervisors do not understand why the rate has increased. Workers are providing the familiar response for leaving, not revealing any new information. The increase in the turnover rate remains a puzzle.
Whatever the cause of the higher turnover rate, a general malaise has settled over the staff. Use of sick time has increased. A large number of workers appear to waste time throughout the day. Their work has become poor, resulting in an increase in complaints from the hospital administration. After discussing the issue with the three division managers and HRM staff, Barbara has approved their suggestion of surveying the workers in an attempt to identify the root cause of their decrease in morale.
Debbie Horner, the HR manger at this site, originally made the survey suggestion to the senior management team. It has been about 2 years since she completed her MBA, and Debbie is excited about the opportunity to apply some of the research ideas she learned during her program. Debbie’s thesis concentrated on employee motivation, so she feels well prepared to tackle this current problem. Because of her background and education, Barbara has agreed to assign the leadership of this project to Debbie.
Drawing from her school experience, Debbie developed an employee survey instrument (see Exhibit A). She decided to administer the survey to all 449 employees; the top management team is excluded. Although responding will be voluntary and anonymous, the survey will be delivered with the biweekly payroll checks to ensure that each worker receives one.
The questions Debbie created asked workers to express their view about working conditions, shift hours, quality of training, level of compensation, fair treatment, internal company communications, and job security. A few demographics were also to be collected so that Debbie could separate responses by division. Her intent is to compute descriptive and frequency techniques, and then further study the data for possible correlations. The survey was initially sent out two pay periods ago, and a reminder message was provided with the last paycheck. A total of 78 responses have been received, which is about a 17.3% response rate. Debbie was somewhat disappointed at this rate but recalled from her studies that this lower percentage was common for a survey. She decided that additional efforts to encourage participating would be unlikely to generate many more useable responses.
The raw data has been coded and entered into a spreadsheet titled Survey A Data Set by Debbie’s office support staff (see Exhibit B). Your Learning Team acts as a consulting group to the top management team. General manager Barbara Tucker has asked your team to analyze the data—including making sure it is useful, valid data—interpret it, and then prepare a 5- to 7-slide Microsoft® PowerPoint® slideshow to present the results (see Exhibit B for the data set details). She has also requested a 1,050- to 1,750-word written report to accompany the slideshow that details the team’s findings. Exhibit A
BIMS Employee Survey
Using the scale provided, record your answer by circling the number that is closest to your view where 5 is a very positive response and 1 is a very negative choice.
Very Negative Very Positive
1. How well do you enjoy working for BIMS?
2. You enjoy your assigned shift.
3. Your request for your desired shift was fulfilled.
4. How many times have you called in sick in the last month?
5. You are well trained for your work.
6. You are paid fairly for the work you do.
7. Your supervisor treats you fairly.
8. Your supervisor’s boss treats your division fairly.
9. The company is good at communicating.
10. You do not fear that you will lose your job.
A. In which division do you work?
B. How long have you worked for BIMS?
C. What is your gender?
D. Are you a manager or supervisor?
Sally, the office support staff member in charge of data entry, made a decision when she was entering the data: For any missing data, she would enter a 0. She felt that would best represent any questions that people failed to answer. She also has a bad habit of typing 6 when she means 5. However, she was very careful when entering an employee’s length of service. She did not make any errors in that column when she converted the years and months into just total months.