Case: The Employee Retention Committee
General Hospital has an administrative committee known as the Employee Retention Committee. This group’s role is to address issues having a bearing on turnover, with a stated goal of reducing undesirable turnover and thus enhancing retention. The committee consists of the following personnel
Dave Andrews, an administrative assistant who inherited chairmanship of this committee upon entering his position with the hospital. He called the present meeting about 10 days earlier, having notified two of the others by telephone and two in person.
Harriet Roberts, the hospital’s employment manager.
John Dawson, a staff nurse in the intensive care unit.
Alice Morey, director of food service.
Arthur Wilson, staff physical therapist.
The meeting was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in Andrews’ office. Andrews returned from lunch at 1:08 to find Roberts and Wilson already there. At 1:12 Dawson entered and Andrews said, “I’d like to get started, but where’s Alice?”
Somebody responded, “Don’t know.”
Andrews dialed a number and received no answer. He then dialed the call center and asked for a page. A moment later a call came in.
Turning from the telephone, Andrews said to the rest of the group, “She forgot. She’ll be here in a minute.”
“Dave, I wish you had a larger office or a better place to meet,” said Dawson. “I don’t know how we’re going to fit another person in here.”
“I know it’s small,” Andrews answered, “but both conference rooms are in use and I couldn’t find another place. Say, holler out to Susan and tell her to find another chair—we’ll need it.”
Wilson said, “Dave, can you open your window a little? It’s already stuffy in here.”
Dave opened the window a few inches. Just then Alice Morey arrived, squeezing into the office with the extra chair that had just been located. It was 1:18 p.m.
Andrews said, “I guess we can get started now.” He shuffled through a stack of papers and said, “I’ve got a copy, if I can—oh, here it is—of a recent turnover survey done by the human resource directors in the region.” He looked at Roberts and said, “I assume you have this?”
“Yes, there’s a copy in my office. But I didn’t know I needed to bring it.”
Andrews said, “Well, I think that from this we can assume—”
Dawson interrupted, “Dave, wouldn’t it be better if we could all see it? Then you could go through it point by point.”
Andrews said, “I guess you’re right. I have just this copy.” He turned toward the door and called out as he waved the document, “Susan, I need four copies of this. Right now, please.”
Turning back to his pile of papers Dave said to the group, “The last time we got together there were a number of things we decided to look for. I don’t remember just what we assigned to whom, but I’ve got it here somewhere.” For a half-minute or so he leafed through the papers before him, then he turned to his desk and began to leaf through folders in the file drawer.
While Dave was looking, Morey turned to Roberts and said, “Say, what have you been doing about finding that new dietician we need? You’ve been dragging your feet on the employment requisition for three weeks and Elaine is leaving in another week and we still haven’t had any candidates to interview.”
Roberts responded. Her sharp tone sparked a defensive reaction and a lively discussion ensued.
Andrews located the paper he was seeking and Susan returned with the requested copies. Andrews distributed the copies and fixed his attention on Morey and Roberts as he waited for an opening in their discussion. At 1:32 the group returned to the subject of employee turnover.
“Now, about this regional survey,” Andrews began.
Wilson said, “What about the survey? I thought you wanted to start with the things we agreed to do the last time we met.”
“Who cares,” said Roberts, “let’s just get started.”
Dawson looked at his watch and said, “Let’s get started and finished. I have an ICU staff meeting at 2:00.”
The meeting settled down to a discussion of the regional survey and the preliminary information each person had gathered since the previous meeting. At exactly two minutes before 2:00 Dawson excused himself to attend his staff meeting. At 2:08 Morey was called over the paging system, she left the meeting and did not return.
At 2:12 Andrews said he felt they had tentatively decided on their next step but required some input from the two parties who had already left. He then started to excuse the other two with the suggestion that they get together again after two weeks, but his telephone rang and he answered it himself, his usual practice, and talked some four or five minutes before returning his attention to the two remaining in his office. He said, “I guess that’s it for now. I’ll set a time for the next meeting and let you know.”
When the last of the participants left, Andrews called Susan to remove the extra chair. As she did so he reflected gloomily on how difficult it was to get anything substantive out of a committee in this organization.
1. Perform a detailed critique of the Employee Retention Committee meeting. List the occurrences or omissions that you believe indicate faulty committee practice, and state why you believe so and what should have been done differently.
2. Comment on the composition and membership of the Employee Retention Committee, and indicate how you would structure and position such a committee and how you would thoroughly describe its mission, purpose, or charge.