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4.0 Human Resources & Leadership (week 3)
4.1 Case Background
Online: Role and function of Human Resources
STI’s marketing staff told that because of the shortage of talents in marketing department, she introduced an excellent marketing professional to the marketing department, but nobody cared about the talent she recommended, or even acknowledged him. She expressed her frustration. In addition, Ms. Goy, the new head of HR, had no idea about any information on STI staff recruiting and training, or even what HR employees has done every day. This situation was worrying.
Face-to-Face: People, Teams and Leadership
The senior HR staffs missed the former CEO Pope a lot. They said that when Mr. Pope was in office, he often organized staff meetings to guide the members and give them inspiration. He also often praised the excellent departments and individuals who contributed to the company and made them feel successful. However, the situation is completely different after the new CEO takes office. There are no staff meetings, no encouragement and guidance, and even no concern about what the employees do. Besides, STI employees anonymously complained that their new supervisor, Ms. Goy, has broken many company regulations since she took office. She has no sense of responsibility and no goal, which leads to the lack of team cooperation in HR department. All problems are solved by employees alone. If they encountered problem that they cannot solve, they put aside. Many problems that cannot be solved make employees feel SIT has become a very bad place.
4.2 Problem Identification
Online:
1. Unclear Division of Work.
One of the main responsibilities of HR is attracting and keeping talents, however, there is no people to take this duty in the HR department of STI, which could be caused by the unclear division of work. In order to keep their positions or benefits in the company, people do not like to have other new competitors usually, especially when they consider their own interests higher than the general interests of the organization. In addition, the unclear division of work in the HR department means there no reward or punishment for somebody who has the authority to recruit new employees. On the contrary, if someone did that, other colleagues will have negative feeling about him or her. It is the reason of why there is nobody in the department of Goy will take this duty for recruiting new employees.
2. Unsupervised Works of Employees.
Goy as the head of HR department, she has no idea about what her employees have done every day. It could let people to think that their job is not important, and then they will slack off their jobs and disappoint with the company.
Face to Face:
1. Lack of Guidance and Counselling Training
Employees need guidance and counselling training to improve their working performance. When they confused or encountered some difficulties they need a direction or a way to solve problems. If the manager can help people in this way, who will be admired by the employees. It is not only good for establishing an efficient working team, but also can promote self-confidence of employees.
2. Unstable Regulations
It could make employees very confused and disappointed, if the regulations are changed frequently or unreasonably. People complain about Goy, mainly because that they do not believe the new regulations are better than before, or even don’t make sense. As a result, they doubt the management ability of Goy, and then lose the confidence with the company.
4.3 Recommendations
Online:
Clear division of work is the foundation of management and operation, which allows for job specialization, and work should be divided among individuals and groups. Therefore, firstly, Goy should know the duty and job of each division, and the relationships among each division. Secondly, utilizing reasonable rules and rewards and punishment system to adjust some unsatisfied performance of employees.
Face to Face:
1. Setting up a learning organization in SIT is a necessary thing that Goy and other top managers should consider about. Giving employees useful guidance and counselling training can improve their working experience and confidence. Hence, organizing people to learn new knowledge or help each other to solve problems has significant meaning for STI to establish a harmonious and efficient working environment.
2. If Goy wants to change or enact some new regulations instead of pervious one, suggesting to give employees time for understanding it and trying it before formally executing. In addition, Goy also should consider about equity and emotion of employees with these new regulations.
5.0 Marketing (week 4)
5.1 Case Background
Online: Argue about whether to develop new products
The two brothers Mr. Uan and Mr. Pok have had a heated debate over whether to develop new insurance products. CEO Mr. Uan believed that STI should learn from its competitors to expand its sales market and develop new insurance, that is, to provide pet insurance for pet owners; at the same time, he also thought that STI should take risks in developing other new insurance, such as building insurance, car insurance, etc., while COO Mr. Pok held that STI should focus on life insurance and medical insurance to maintain customer loyalty because STI has been doing these products for 30 years.
Face to Face: Digital Marketing
Dr. Pok believed that STI’s website was outdated, and there were many problems in product online marketing, such as STI’s lack of online inquiry, price display, English version, and even vague descriptions of their insurance packages. In addition, there were no STI insurance products pages on Facebook or Google, instead, they were all competitors’ pages. Moreover, there were no other apps or social media to sell STI insurance products. Therefore, at present, the marketing mode of STI is urgently needed to be improved and strengthened.
5.2 Problem identification
Online:
Lack of unified business philosophy
The two brothers Mr. Uan and Mr. Pok have had a heated debate over whether to develop new insurance products. Mr. Uan was advocating the development and expansion of new products, while Mr. Pok held that STI should focus on life insurance and medical insurance to maintain customer loyalty because STI has been doing these products for 30 years. The inconsistency of CEO’s and CEO’s management ideas and concepts will lead to the unclear development direction of STI, which will hinder the future career planning of STI.
Face to Face:
1. Outdated marketing methods
Marketing strategy is the strategy of occupying the target market determined by companies with their internal and external conditions. Enterprises formulate marketing strategy is to give full play to their own advantages and stand out in the competition, maximizing economic results with less marketing investment. (Baidu, 2018) STI was failure to keep its website updated, such as, no product details, no price display, no company information and no English version about website etc. STI lacked digital presence and digital marketing, such as, no social media advertising (Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.) and no Mobile Apps. These would make STI at a disadvantage in the market competition.
2. Lack of excellent marketing team and market segmentation was not obvious
There were some problems in organizational structure, such as, no marketing manager to guide team for decision-making, no focus on Thailand 4.0 etc. The most important was that there was no clear market segmentation in STI, and the sales market only focused on Thailand without considering overseas market, which has no advantage to STI in the competition of the whole insurance industry.
5.3 Recommendations
Online:
1. Developing New Markets
STI should pay attention to marketing and set up a special marketing department to focus on market research, analyze product data, find methods to enter the insurance market, then to occupy market share gradually, and at last to enter the overseas market.
2. Developing New Product
In the modern market, the competition among enterprises is becoming increasingly fierce. If enterprises desire to maintain their competitive advantage in the market, they have to innovate constantly and develop new products. STI should learn to find more potential customers in new markets though developing new products. STI marketing employees need thoroughly understand the needs of the market and customers, and develop products that meet the needs of customers. This will not only bring profits to enterprises, but also consolidate the good image of enterprises in the market.
Face to Face:
1. Strengthening network marketing mode
Network marketing has the characteristics of wide dissemination and large amount of information, and the cost of enterprise investment in network marketing is much lower than that of traditional marketing mode. In recent years, the Internet has become the carrier of all kinds of information dissemination, and the development of Internet marketing has gradually matured. STI could make full use of network marketing, strengthen communication with customers, so as to increase sales of products.
2. Improving brand awareness and establishing loyal consumer groups
STI needs to constantly update the company’s web pages and content, so as to establish a more personalized and humanized corporate image. At the same time, it is helpful for STI to update product information and tap consumers’ desire to consume by using Internet to provide customers with its insurance information and timely and appropriate replacement of new product information to maintain the enterprise’s online site. The freshness, attraction and affinity of information release can stimulate the \ consumption desire of customers, and guide consumers to buy STI insurance, thereby improving the possibility of product sales.
3. Building a marketing team for market segmentation and positioning
Besides network sales, marketing should be carried out in various ways, such as mobile phone APP, TV advertisement, etc. In addition, it is necessary to build a marketing team to locate the market segmentation and research marketing strategy for STI and on this basis, SWOT model could be used to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the STI and the opportunities and challenges in the external market.
6.0 Accounting (week 5)
6.1 Case Background
Online:
Long-term housing banker informed CEO Uan that he needed to see STI’s accountant because he found some irregularities in STI, but the company’s accountant left three months ago and there was no new accountant yet. The head of HR, Ms. Goy, recommended her husband Tom as a new accountant, because she said Tom had a background in accounting. Tom said he would be happy to take up the position and would like to serve as a company accountant for a long time. However, because Tom had no accounting experience, although he has learned accounting knowledge, it is difficult for him to take over the actual work immediately.
Face to Face:
House banker asked CEO Mr. Uan to submit the company’s balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement to view the operation of STI. The banker wanted to meet the CEO and discussed the company’s financial situation with him, but Mr. Uan had no accounting knowledge and he did not know how to answer the banker’s questions at all. Hence, he hoped that the new accountant Tom (Mrs. Goy’s husband) would teach him some accounting knowledge to deal with the banker’s problems. At the same time, Tom had no accounting experience. His balance sheet and profit statement were incorrect. The imbalance sheet was also a big issue in STI.
6.2 Problem identification
Online:
No professional accountant
Accountants provide information and basis for the development of enterprises, forecast and analyze the business status of enterprises, and give advice and suggestions for business decisions. However, STI’s former accountant resigned three months ago, and there was no new accountant at present. Ms. Goy recommended her husband Tom as a new accountant, but Tom did not have practical work experience though he own accounting background.
Face to Face:
1. CEO has no basic accounting knowledge
The house banker asked to meet the CEO and discussed the company’s financial situation with him, but Mr. Uan had no accounting knowledge and he did not know how to answer the banker’s questions. He could not understand financial statements, nor could he understand accounting terms. This was very disadvantageous to STI, because only when senior leaders understand basic accounting knowledge could they know the current financial situation of the company and make correct economic decisions.
2. The imbalance sheets
The imbalance sheet was also a big issue in STI. There is no doubt that the financial statements play a vital role in every company. Through analyzing and utilizing the information about balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement, enterprises’ accountant could gain a full understanding of the sales and operating status. On this basis, companies could predict and analyze the future development prospects by the past operation. From financial reports, the existing problems in the activities could be found out, the gaps and reasons could be found out, and improvement measures also could be put forward. Therefore, the imbalance sheet in STI would lead managers to fail to understand the financial situation of their enterprise, which has a negative effect on the development of STI.
6.3 Recommendations
Online:
Strengthening HRM and recruiting excellent professional accountants right away
Adjust the organizational structure of STI, strengthen the management of human resources department, pay attention to employee recruitment and training. Once employees leave, HR department should be able to find qualified replacement staff immediately. Ms. Goy, HR Director, should pay more attention to staff turnover, recruitment and training. She needed to keep abreast of STI’s human resources.
Face to Face:
There were two ways of solutions, the one was short-term solution and the other was long-term solution.
As for short-term solution:
1. Prepare the correct financial statements, such as balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, etc. because the correct financial statements could help top leaders understand the current financial situation of STI and know how many assets and liabilities STI has, so that they could make wiser decisions.
2. Ask Tom to help CEO Uan quickly understand the most basic financial knowledge and prepare for meetings with the house banker. If possible, postpone the meeting.
3. STI needed to immediately find a professional accountant from accounting firm to train Tom so that Tom could better understand the actual financial management.
As for long-term solution:
1. It was necessary for STI to hire senior financial experts to build an excellent professional financial team to handle STI’s current and future budget, procurement, investment, financing, capital operation and other financial affairs.
2. The recruited accountants should be meritocracy rather than cronyism in order to avoid encountering family conflicts which would result in corruption and other issues.
3. Set up a supervision department to supervise financial issues and prevent conflicts of interest.
7.0 Finance (week 6)
7.1 Case Background
Online: Introduce to Financial Markets
STI financial manager Ms. Money Penny said COO Dr. Pok asked her to invest a lot of money in Bitcoin because he believed that Bitcoin had benefited a lot in recent years. But for her, investment cannot be blind, it needed to consider potential risks and the development of financial market. She hoped that consultants could help her persuade COO to carefully consider investment decisions and do not blindly invest in order to make money.
Face to Face: Financing and Investing
As a financial manager, Mrs. Money Penny has never played her role since the death of her former CEO. The new CEO was not aware of STI’s current financial situation, Mr. Uan and Dr. Pok did not attach importance to the financial department, nor did they ever require companies to prepare financial statements and predict business activities, which led to Mrs. Money Penny’s intention of finding a new job.
7.2 Problem identification
Online:
Blind investment
The upper managers did not trust the financial manager Mrs. Money Penny and did not accept her opinion about investment decisions. At the same time, COO Dr. Pok desired to invest blindly in bitcoin without prediction and planning, which would cause unpredictable economic losses to STI.
Face to Face:
1. The top leaders never check the company’s financial statements, nor do they attach importance to the opinions of the financial department.
2. Mrs. Money Penny, the financial manager, has never played her role since the death of her former CEO and she decided to hunt for a new job.
3. STI has no real investment plan in place.
7.3 Recommendations
Online:
In term of bitcoin investment, STI should consider the current situation of the company regarding its accounting & finance department which is not well set up, no report or serious financial plan has been developed yet. The recommendation is to focus first on having a performing department with the right people in the right positions. Once change implementations are executed and the financial situation of STI is under control, further discussions about specific investments can be faced.
Face to Face:
1. Top managers should pay more attention to financial manager and set up a proper accounting team to support the financial manager. The importance of financial manager to the company is urgently known by CEO, COO and HR. It is important to have recordkeeping before moving further on with complex analysis.
2. STI needs to create a Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) team for budgeting, forecasting, and analysis, which will be used to support the most important corporate decisions. According to Principles of Best Practice FP&A (Lawrence Serven, 2017), it is significant that effective FP& A will have a positive impact on the company and it also shows the benefits of good practices.
3. To hire a professional finance firm to be STI consultant in the case if top managers insist on distrust Mrs. Penny or She left STI.
4. In terms of Mrs. Penny, she could make all financial statements and information transparency so that other department and employees could be able to understand some financial information and make appropriate budgets and decisions based on these data.
5. STI could adopt new financial technologies, such as using artificial intelligence to help finance department conduct financial analysis and forecasting, and assess risks in order to make more informed financial decisions.