Becton Dickinson Case Memo

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Becton Dickinson Case Memo

1. Summary of the key issues

Becton Dickinson (BD) is a large family-owned corporation with headquarters in New Jersey that emphasizes healthcare and diagnostic devices. Founding in 1897, BD has established its reputation based on a paternalistic human resource philosophy, e.g. never fires anyone, and rewards loyalty. Things had changed when Roger Kern was appointed as the vice president of human resources in 1981. He created a first-class traditional HR function at BD that focused on education, compensation, benefit and other key HR functions. In the late 1980s, despite these substantial changes, problems began to surface. More and more employees complained most HR programs and functions were “less
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Merit controls too centralized and rigid.

Based on above judgment, related actions could be-

First, build a business-strategy-oriented HR function team and working principle. Just like Wessel, I will add a new position to the corporate HR staff, director of organizational development, and this person should thoroughly understand business. Meanwhile, I will shift the director of compensation and benefit to a new leader with the same qualification. Considering the lack of business knowledge and awareness, I will initiate a comprehensive HR leadership program. In this program, those HR employees, who have potential but without business experience, will be assigned into non-HR operating divisions to attend a job rotation. In addition, I will invite outside HR professional consultants to provide training about how to change mindset and be a successful partner with business units. On the other hand, HR people must be involved in related business planning. HR people in business unit should attend the weekly, monthly and quarterly business operation staff meeting to gain first-hand information, and co-work with line managers to solve their problems on site. HR people in headquarters should have a keen understanding of requirement from the management team, understand various needs of the diverse business units, and correct, bring in new programs and processes accordingly. A very important change is the HR performance appraisal system. HR
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