November leadership style of your current hire
November 18, 2010 Memorandum From:Principles of Management Team 1 To:Mountain West Health Plans, Inc RE:Customer Service Department We’d like to go over some key leadership issues that lie within Mountain West Health Plans, Inc’s Customer Service Department. We’d to review the overall performance of Mountain West Health Plans, Inc’s new hire Erik Rasmussen. We will also compare the leadership style of your current hire with that of recent retiree Evelyn Gustafson identifying strengths and weaknesses of each individuals leadership styles. In addition, we will identify the primary issues with Mr.
Rasmussen’s leadership style and provide specific recommendations as to how to address these issues. We firmly believe that the Customer Service Department will operate more effectively and efficiently if our recommendations are taken into consideration. Here are the issues: After Erik Rasmussen acquired his new position, he was challenged by upper-level management to increase efficiency and lower costs in the Customer Service department.
To address these concerns, Mr. Rasmussen, made it priority to increase the number of calls per hour that each representative handled.In contrast of Mrs. Gustafson’s “open door policy,” Mr. Rasmussen’s “No-nonsense” approach was put into effect.
For the first time ever, the company measured the representatives’ performance against statistical standards that emphasized speed, recorded the customer-service calls, and used software that generated automated work schedules based on historical information and projected need. Efficient, non flexible scheduling was the goal. In addition, the company cut back on training. Indeed, Mr. Rasmussen reached his goal. The calls per hour have increased dramatically.Although Rasmussen’s primary goal was to control the increasing costs of the labor-intensive department, it should have been done so more effectively and with regards to the overall well-being of the company.
The results prove to increase in quantity however the quality seems to have decreased drastically. Due this we recommend the following midcourse corrections for Mr. Rasmussen: ? Rasmussen should talk with the past director of customer service, Evelyn Gustafson, to get an insight on how she was so successful in gaining and retaining employee satisfaction. Rasmussen can take some ideas from Ms.Gustafson and include them in his individual approaches to reach a median.
This will relax his “no-nonsense” approach and make it easier for employees to work with him thus increasing company morale. ?Rasmussen should increase training opportunities. Many of the customers’ complaints were about receiving inaccurate information from inexperienced representatives. Increasing training opportunities will allow the employees to be better informed on the products, in turn providing the correct information to subscribers. However, to avoid high cost he can do the training approximately twice a month. We suggest that Mr. Rasmussen allow employees to take periodic breaks throughout the day similarly to that of Evelyn Gustafson.
However, we suggest that breaks are taken alternately so that someone is on the phone at all times. This will give employees time to refresh themselves and clear there mind for a brief moment. This will increase company morale tremendously. ?We recommend that Mr. Rasmussen began offering incentives to employees based on their performance. This will encourage employees to operate more effectively while still providing quality service.
This will also give Mr. Rasmussen more interaction with employees on a softer approach. We will now go further into detail as to why we suggest the above recommendations. Evelyn Gustafson, retired director of customer service for Mountain West Health Plans, Inc. was an Interactive Leader. Interactive Leadership indicates that the leader favors a consensual and collaborative process, and influence derives from relationships rather than position of power and formal authority. (pg 360) Evelyn had mostly female nonunionized employees.
Evelyn has a Women’s Way of Leading her employees, which is common in female leaders. Researchers indicate that women’s style of leadership is indifferent from men and happens often in today’s organizations. Using data from actual performance evaluations, one study found that when rated by peers, subordinates, and bosses, female managers score significantly higher than men on abilities such as motivating others, fostering communication, and listening. (pg 360) Although Evelyn had a women’s way of leading her employees, she had a few strengths as director of customer service before she retired.Evelyn was liked by her employees because she was a female and her subordinates were mostly females as well. Evelyn gave her subordinates flexible working schedules, frequent breaks while at work, and offered plenty of training opportunities that kept her employees up-to-date in the health company’s changing products and in the latest problem-solving and customer-service techniques.
As director Evelyn also kept the turnover rate low as 10% for her department compared to most common turnover rates for customer services employees between 25-45%.Evelyn may have been an Interactive Leader and very lenient toward her mostly female subordinates but she was not a bad leader by far because the new director Erik Rasmussen has been doing a good job at something but in some cases not so much. Under Evelyn’s direction customers were getting good service but giving complaints about being on hold to long but the employees were well educated on the products and services. Under Erik’s direction employees were uneducated on the products and service but were responsive to customer’s calls.When it comes to leader there are vital characteristics that one must encompass. There are many different styles of leading, some more effective then the next depending on the subordinates.
In regards to Evelyn Gustafson who is a retired director of customer service for Mountain West Health Plans, Inc, her leadership style was very distinctive. Evelyn was an Interactive leader, a leadership style that indicates that the leader favors a consensual and collaborative process, and influence derives from relationships rather than position of power and formal authority.This leadership style is prominent in females with authority.
Researchers specify that a women’s style of leadership is sympathetic in comparison to that of a man and is becoming more in today’s work environment. Using data from actual performance evaluations, one study found that when rated by peers, subordinates, and bosses, female managers score extensively higher than men on abilities such as inspiring others, fostering communication, and listening Although Evelyn was very popular among her subordinates, but her leadership style affected her output as director of customer service.Customers began to complain about the amount of time they were on hold.
This could be a result of the leniency she had with her employees. The overall goal of customer service is to cater to the satisfaction of the customer, and under the management of Evelyn the effectiveness and efficiency in which her department operated was in jeopardy of not satisfying the overall goal. Under the Interactive leadership style that Evelyn applied with her subordinates she allowed the overall goal of her department to be jeopardized.
Although Evelyn had a low turnover and was well liked by her employees she lost site of the strategic goals of the company. Under Evelyn’s direction customers were getting good service but giving complaints about being on hold to long. After the retirement of Evelyn, and under new management the statistical numbers that Evelyn lack were restored under the leadership of Erik.
On the contrast, Erik Rasmussen was a hard working, no nonsense young man. Through my interpretation the student would categorize him as a neutralizer.The text clearly defines a neutralizer as one who counteracts a leadership style and prevents a leader from displaying certain behaviors (pg. 383).
Being a neutralizer does come with certain strengths and weaknesses. As a member of this group my objective is to highlight the strengths and identify the sources of his influence. In the case of Eric Rasmussen he exhibited certain leadership traits that were beneficial to the growth of the company. Mr. Rasmussen implemented a strategy that increased the number of calls a representative would take per hour.
Mr.Rasmussen also was given the task of bringing down the costs in a department where salaries accounted for 70 percent of the budget. As a Manager Mr. Rasmussen complied with the requests of upper management, and made the necessary changes for the expansion of the company.
The con of his efforts was that Mr. Rasmussen brought down the morale of the employees. According to the text the turnover rate in the department went from 10 percent to a whopping 30 percent.
Mr. Rasmussen made strides in effectively managing the budget, but at the same time made the work environment less fun for his employees.Mr.
Rasmussen also cut back on training, so even though the budget was decreased he took away from enhancing the employees skill set, so in turn misleading information was given to the customer. Mr. Rasmussen must find a balance if he is to aid in the expansion of Mountain West.
True indeed, he did cut costs and developed a strategy that aided in the time that customers were on the phone, but at the same time he took away from the employee experience. No one wants to work in an environment where they are not able to express themselves, or they feel like there opinions are not valued.Mr. Rasmussen through my reading had good intentions, and was motivated by the fact that he was given a chance to be in a leadership role. One thing about being a leader is that you have to be able to take constructive criticism. If the group member was Senior Vice President Martin Quinn, a conversation on implementing those strategies and creating a positive work environment would have to take place.
Our company is fueled by results, but at the same time we do want to provide exceptional customer service skills. The same fire that Mr.Rasmussen has is good, but in order for his role to be a positive one he must tone down his dictatorial nature, and give his employees a sense of pride in their job. As Erik Rasmussen tried to effect change with his leadership style, there were some weaknesses along the way with that change. He should have taken in consideration a look at the overall company history and experience of the other representatives as a manager. Instead he tried to change things too quickly when he first came in to do the specified task.
If he would have known what to really work on and what to improve on then they would have been better off as well. The company developed a have a few disadvantages in the end when they decided to cut back on training, though Erik did try to do as much as he could to bring costs under control. In addition, Rasmussen was trying to overachieve. Overachieving can hurt you but also help you just like it did with him. He was so eager to do well in first position that he didn’t consider all the options. He changed verything in opposition to how Evelyn Gustafson did things.
The company’s goal after Rasmussen came in was efficient, not flexible, scheduling (Ch. 11 Leadership, pg. 399). For the most part the costs were decreasing so that was his main purpose but had weaknesses as well. Cutting back on training left most representatives in the blind spot.
Subscribers were starting to complain a lot more. Without the proper training representatives lacked accurate information which made subscribers feel like there was no experience being shown towards them (Leadership, pg. 99). Also it was said that the representatives sounded like they had to rush and not really think about or thoroughly explain to the subscribers which came across as another weakness.
The effects of the changes Erik Rasmussen made were mixed. It worked for the company and against the company at the same time because when the company increased something in a certain department, it decreased in another. Again, this also worked against because for the first time the company began to measure the representative’s performance and need.Overall Erik Rasmussen had a great influence on the company by being able to come in as manager and increase in the companies scheduling and performance (Leadership, pg. 398).
On the other hand others within the company might look at him as trying to do too much too fast making them look bad without considering any concerns throughout the company. The basis of his influence was from Martin Quinn and Gustafson. Rasmussen looked at the situation as if he was put in that position to make certain changes for the best and also to act upon the things Gustafson was more offset about with the other representatives.
So some of the effects of the changes that were made helped the company to progress, there were lower department costs, clear performance, as well as an increase in calls per hour (Leadership, pg. 399). To conclude, Both Erik and Evelyn have strengths and weaknesses with their leadership styles. We believe that the company can run more effective and efficiently if the two leadership roles met somewhere in the middle. If Erik softened his approach, he will increase the quality and morale of the company while building a better relationship with employees. This will have a direct relationship with the overall quantity and turnover rate.Mr.
Martin Quinn, we definitely recommend modifications in Erik Rasmussen’s leadership style. Although Rasmussen’s primary goal was to control the increasing costs of the labor-intensive department, it should have been done so more effectively and with regards to the overall well-being of the company. Rasmussen executed his primary goal, but the changes that he made caused the company’s morale to decline, the turnover rate to increase, and more complaints from customers. In order for the company to thrive, it is vital for Rasmussen to make adjustments to his actions.