Best Practices Writing Assignment

Best Practices Writing Assignment

This paper needs to reflect the information and built off of the paper I’ve uploaded “The least privileged” attacted.

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Best Practices Writing Assignment

Cover Page: None

Report Length: 5 – 6 pages + Reference/Works Cited page

Line Spacing: 2.0

Font: 11-point Arial

Number of Sources: 5 minimum (Use quantitative/numerical sources)

Headings/Subheadings: Yes

Page Numbers: Yes (Your choice)

Page Margins: 1-inch top, bottom, left, and right

Clarity/Content: 65 points

Organization: 15 points

Style: 20 points

 

 

Best Practices Writing Assignment

 

In large corporations, HR staff (and sometimes non-HR staff) are asked to research specific topics, issues, or problems and provide recommendations to upper-management regarding possible solutions or steps that the business should take to address them most effectively. That research often includes a description of “best practices.” Best practices are ways that specific organizations effectively deal with a problem or issue, or recommendations made by experts about how to deal with a problem or issue. As one example, an organization might want to implement some kind of a wellness program, but they might not be sure HOW to implement it. Should it be tied to insurance costs? How should participation be incentivized? What kinds of activities should be included? How should the program be described to employees? As another example, a company might be interested in implementing some kind of drug testing program. What are the privacy issues involved and how can they best be addressed? What are the best types of tests? Which employees should be tested and when?

Here’s what you need to do: a) identify an HR topic, issue or problem of interest to you (see subsequent page for sample topics), b) research that topic in academic, practitioner, and online sources to identify best-practices or recommendations for solutions, and c) write-up your findings with a critical analysis of what you’ve found. Focus on QUANTITATIVE EVIDENCE to support your analysis. The written paper should include 5 – 6 pages of text (5 minimum, 6 maximum, 2.0 line spacing 11-point font Arial), and a reference or Works Cited page.

There will be an early checkpoint (Week 12) for turning in your topic, as well as references from at least five (5) sources that you can potentially use for your paper. This checkpoint is intended to ensure that everyone has a reasonable topic with at least five (5) sources on which they can base their paper. At this point in the process I might steer you in a different direction if I think your topic is problematic (e.g., too broad, too narrow, not HR, not enough sources).

The text of the paper should include two (2) major sections: 1) a description of the “problem” (e.g., legal requirements or laws, social trends, adoption of new technology, etc.) and why this is of concern to organizations (and HR specifically), and 2) a description of best practices and/or recommendations for addressing the problem. This should include a critical analysis of the information you find—not simply a regurgitation of the information. For example, you might find two different recommendations/best practices in two different sources: use your judgment and critical argument to inform the reader about which recommendation might be most relevant in which type of situation. This is where an analysis of the quantitative data or studies would also be relevant. Remember, this paper is designed to give you practice writing a report on a specific issue to upper level managers.

I expect that you will integrate a minimum of five (5) different sources into your paper, though you might rely more heavily on some than others. These sources might include practitioner-oriented publications (e.g., HR Magazine), news sources (WSJ, Newsweek, Time, etc.), academic journals, or books. If you cannot find at least 5 legitimate sources (dictionaries and Wikipedia are not legitimate sources), pick another topic! You may use your textbook and/or material from this class as a source, or interviews you conduct with experts on the topic, but you need at least five (5) legitimate sources with data/numbers on your topic.

Start your search at www.library.missouri.edu with the Business Source Premier database. With this database, you can narrow your search to relatively recent articles and search by keywords in the article title or abstract. You may also want to search for PDF white papers online that are often published by organizations that do research in numerous HR areas. Use PDF as one of your Google search terms.

Beware of plagiarism. Always parenthetically cite the work from which your information is drawn (even if you are not using actual word-for-word text from the source), and if you use text directly from someone else’s work, you must put that text in quotation marks and parenthetically cite the original work. In general, you should use very few (if any) quotes. You may use any standard referencing format (e.g., MLA, APA) as long as it is complete.

Your paper will be graded based on a number of criteria: clarity/content (e.g., was the problem described clearly? Were the arguments straightforward and easy to understand?), organization (e.g., Was the paper organized in a clear manner—introductory problem definition, argument 1, argument 2, argument 3, analysis, conclusion? Did the writer use headings and subheadings correctly?), and style (e.g., Writing is compelling, appropriate grammar, correct and sufficient references). To be clear, inattention to detail (spelling, grammar, citations, etc.) will result in a lower grade.

 

Examples of Possible Paper Topics:

 

I want you to choose a topic that is of interest to you. I also want to make sure that you choose something that is relevant to HR and is neither too narrow nor too broad. For example, “training” is too broad, and training New York City firefighters about sexual harassment is too narrow. However, “sexual harassment training” might be just right. Similarly, using web-based training or “webinars” for training salespeople might be at an appropriate level of scope. Early in the semester (see schedule) I’m going to ask you to provide me with a short (max 1 paragraph) description of your proposed topic, along with at least five (5) good sources that you will be able to use to address this topic. This should help you get on-track with a good topic, and will help ensure that there is at least “something” in the literature on the topic for you to work with. Here are some other ideas for topics, though you are free to choose others:

 

· Best practices in developing or retaining international managers

· Best practices in CEO compensation

· Best practices in using technology to help geographically dispersed teams communicate

· Best practices in using technology for training purposes

· Best practices in using human resource information systems

· Best practices in managing temporary workers

· Best practices in managing contract workers

· Best practices in recruiting techniques (job boards, company recruiting websites, job fairs)

· Best practices in developing effective training simulations

· Best practices in outsourcing HR activities

· Best practices in succession planning

· Best practices in managing family businesses

· Best practices in benefits administration issues (e.g., transition to defined contribution, same-sex partner benefits, childcare, managing healthcare costs, wellness programs, gym memberships, flexible spending)

· Best practices in managing commissioned-based pay

· Best practices in effective labor relations (e.g., negotiating first contracts, grievance processes)

· Best practices for conducting effective performance appraisals (e.g., using HRIS)

· Best practices for expatriate compensation

· Best practices for enhancing worker engagement

 

Some Other Advice About Your Paper

 

Clarity/Content (65 points):

 

· Use quantitative/numerical evidence when available, which should be nearly always.

· This is formal writing, and you should use a formal “voice.” That means you should avoid using slang or colloquial phrases (e.g, “Nowadays,” “oftentimes,” “It’s kinda like….” Or “he went totally nuts,” “behind the curve,” “takes a hit,” “makes all the sense in the world,”) or language that is too conversational (“So, I say to myself ‘why is that?’” or “you might not think this is a big problem”). Use language that is clear and precise. If someone reads one of your sentences, and thinks “I’m not sure what that means,” then you should fix it!

· This is not an opportunity for you to get on a soapbox about some issue (e.g., CEO pay– “the amount that CEOs make is clearly ridiculous” or drug testing “companies that do drug testing are violating employees’ rights!”). Do not assume that your own perspective is the right one, or the only one. Present what you find on the topic with balance, and guided by facts or data you find in your sources. For example, instead of saying “CEO pay is ridiculous” you could frame your argument in terms of the concern for HR (e.g., “Many CEOs make very large salaries relative to other employees. For HR, the issue is whether the firm can justify CEO pay relative to firm performance, by linking levels of compensation to the accomplishment of organizational goals”). The conclusion section might be a good opportunity to provide a little of your own viewpoint (e.g., “It is easy to understand how that rate of growth of CEO pay over the last 3 decades might make people question whether CEOs deserve such high salaries”). But remember, the key to this paper is making suggestions about best practices, not taking a stand on an issue.

· Don’t beat around the bush! The very first paragraph of the paper should let the reader know what the paper is going to be about, and what the general “problem” is that is going to be addressed. Moreover, within that first paragraph, the very first sentence should be strong and clear. For example, in a paper about using social media in recruiting, your first couple of sentences might sound like this: “Human resources departments know that the people make the place, and they are looking for any type of edge they can get in recruiting the best employees. In this paper, I will review three social media tools that organizations can leverage to give them access to sources of applicants that they might not otherwise reach.” BAM! The reader knows where you are going, and now you can present information and arguments that will make sense.

· Some other little specific things:

· Avoid sexist pronoun usage (i.e., use “he or she” rather than just “he”—for example, don’t just refer to CEOs as “he”). Even better, use terms that don’t require gender: e.g., “CEO compensation” or “employees” or “applicants.”

· Use the correct words. (Use Word’s spell check and grammar check to catch many common errors.)

· Alphabetize your reference list—usually by the last name of the author.

 

 

Organization (15 points):

 

· Make use of headings and subheadings. Doing so often helps YOU (the writer) organize the information you’ve collected in a meaningful way. For example, a paper on the use of social media might have an introductory heading called “Social Media and Recruiting” and then the content might be broken up into additional headings “Facebook and Recruiting,” “LinkedIN and Recruiting,” and “Recruiting with Twitter.” You might have a final heading called “Conclusions” or “Practical Advice.” Use of headings is a fabulous way of letting the reader know how the content of your paper is organized. They also reduce the need to craft good transitions between paragraphs, because they act as a natural break in content.

· Do not use “orphaned” headings or subheadings as the last line of a page. Instead, insert a page break and move the heading/subheading to the next page.

· Avoid super-long paragraphs. Generally, a paragraph should contain a single definable idea. If you write a paragraph but can’t summarize the point of that paragraph in one short sentence, you probably need more than one paragraph. You should be able to get 2-4 paragraphs per page of writing. No paragraph should be longer than 11 LINES (1/2 page).

· Use topic sentences and transitional expressions to guide the reader from paragraph to paragraph and sentence to sentence.

 

 

Style (20 points):

 

· Please, please, please, spend 30 minutes re-reading your paper to fix all the obvious grammatical problems (e.g., repeated or missing words, unclear or incomplete sentences, missing punctuation, etc.). Some people find it helpful to read their own writing out loud. Better yet, have a friend or family member read your paper and tell you where there are problems with grammar or clarity. Tell them to be critical, because you can be assured that I will be critical. I can’t tell you how frustrating and distracting it is to read a paper where it’s clear that the author never did even a cursory edit of his/her own work.

· Quoting: If you DO use text directly from a source, it should be set in quotation marks and referenced in the text. However, a good rule of thumb is that you should not need to quote things in a paper unless the original text presents something in a very artful way that will help the reader understand something clearly. Most of you should not use any quotes. Any time you are tempted to use a quote, try to paraphrase or restate the content of the quote instead, and then reference the author (in parentheses) at the end of the sentence that carries that content. If you DO use quotes, they need to be explained or described or otherwise set-up by you in sentences before or after the quote. Do NOT use quotes as a replacement for your own writing. The writer must explain why the quote is relevant or important.

· Avoid hyperbole and exaggeration (e.g., “CEOs are richer than God,” or “Sexual harassment is the biggest problem that organizations have ever faced….. EVER!!!!”). Also, do not misuse the word “literally.” For example, the phrase “It will literally make my head explode” is appropriate in the context of someone attempting to diffuse a bomb, but not for someone who is confused by too much information.

· Get to, too, and two right, as well as their, there, and they’re.

· Get apostrophes right. “My dog’s coat has fleas” (dog is singular) vs. “The dogs’ coats all had fleas” (dogs is plural).

· Avoid the words/phrases “In today’s business world….” or “To start off….” or “proven” (seldom is this true: use suggested, shown, demonstrated, believed, etc.), or “downfall” (use “weakness”).

· Nearly every paragraph should have at least one or two parenthetical citations. Presumably, you are NOT an expert in the field you are writing about, so you are referencing articles written by people who are experts. Thus, you cannot have too many parenthetical citations. Too few parenthetical citations is a form of plagiarism and will cost you points (-5 points per missing citation).

· You will be submitting your work to Turnitin, which will find passages in your writing that may require direct quotes. Please make sure to insert quotation marks if you are using word-for-word quotes from your articles. However, again, you should be paraphrasing and summarizing not over-relying on direct quotes. Either way, you need to insert citations to give credit to the author who provided the information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Professor Chris Roberts for sharing this writing assignment and allowing me to adapt it to my needs.

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