F&H Solutions Group aims to help organizations devise solutions to the ever-increasing problems associated with a more complex and competitive marketplace.
The following are examples of how our experienced professionals have assisted clients in meeting their training and labor relations challenges:
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
One of F&H Solutions Group’s largest telecommunications clients was acquired by another company. This acquisition resulted in the creation of a multibillion-dollar global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks. The new organization expressed a need for diversity-related consulting work to satisfy the requirements of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) conciliation agreement. The agreement required the organization to implement a full-scale diversity program and report its progress to the EEOC on a monthly basis for the next three years.
During the first year, FHSG experts were instrumental in creating and training our client’s first Executive Diversity Council and in conducting diversity training for more than 670 of its employees. We also reviewed and revamped the organization’s human resources (HR) policies and practices. Since then, we have conducted additional projects related to its compensation and benefits policies and performance management review systems.
Equal Employment Opportunity Investigations
A client contracted with FHSG to outsource all its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) investigations and draft appropriate responses to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of the company. One of our investigations at one of the client’s warehouse facilities resulted in three discrimination charges being filed immediately afterwards, all relating to the same complaint against a specific supervisor. The case, which involved a hanging noose, received widespread local media attention and had the potential to cause great damage to our client’s reputation.
Following the filing of several supplemental responses and after satisfying multiple requests for additional documentation, the EEOC dismissed all three discrimination charges filed against the company, finding no probable cause and releasing the company from any liability.
Expert Testimony for Bankruptcy Court Proceedings
A client facing severe financial problems had been unable to negotiate new collective bargaining agreements with its unions. As a result, the company sought bankruptcy court approval to abrogate those labor contracts under Section1113 of the bankruptcy code if it was unable to negotiate new consensual agreements. The client hired FHSG to provide expert testimony in bankruptcy court regarding the cost burden of those contracts.
Our team developed a detailed analysis of the company’s labor cost structure. One of our consultants appeared as the client’s expert witness in bankruptcy court. Our analysts also met with the union’s financial analysts to evaluate the union’s arguments and determine whether the parties could reach a settlement.
The bankruptcy court ultimately ruled in favor of our client.
Expert Witness in Commercial Business Arbitrations
A client disputed its payments under a commercial business agreement, contending that the other company’s labor costs were not competitive with those of the rest of the industry and that it was paying over-market rates for the other company’s services. The client hired FHSG to provide expert testimony in a business arbitration to determine whether and to what extent the other company’s labor costs were noncompetitive.
One of our consultants appeared as the client’s expert witness in its business arbitration. Our analysts developed extensive documentation of current and historical labor cost components of multi-employee groups at the other company and the peer group, including costing models and comparative cost analyses.
The arbitration was decided in favor of our client, reducing the rates it was required to pay the other company by several million dollars.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Administration
A billion-dollar company was managing its own family and medical leave requests, requiring its in-house administrative staff to devote the equivalent of three full-time persons to oversee the process. The company then hired F&H Solutions Group to take over the administration of all Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests. We use a proprietary automated administration and tracking system. As a result, the company was able to use its administrative staff to focus on its core operations. In addition, the centralized monitoring of the FMLA requests resulted in reduced FMLA usage and an overall reduction of lost time in excess of 15 percent.
Labor Contract Negotiations
An international client had posted net losses for a few years running and was at risk of filing for bankruptcy. FHSG initially was asked to provide strategic guidance and labor analysis support for negotiations with the company’s heavily unionized workforce. Our team led the negotiations with labor and helped secure collective bargaining agreements for the two represented labor groups.
Our role was then expanded to include the restructuring of individual employment contracts for all remaining employees, as was required by local law. All the labor changes were part of a successful reorganization that has enabled the client to return to profitability.
Proactive Employee Relations
A manufacturing company was experiencing poor employee productivity, quality issues, significant waste, excessive absenteeism and a safety record that was the worst among industry peers. Additionally, union organizers were active in the community. F&H Solutions Group was engaged to help achieve a new corporate culture. We administered an employee opinion survey, developed recommendations from the employees’ feedback and implemented changes in some of the most critical problem areas.
Our team addressed structural issues by developing sound personnel policies that were understood and consistently applied. The most significant policy change was the adoption of an attendance policy based on an objective point system, which reduced absenteeism by 75 percent. We also implemented a new pay structure, which ensured jobs were paid fairly compared with one another and the labor market. Other changes established clear lines of promotion, providing more opportunities for employee growth. In addition, a group incentive plan was created that rewarded everyone whenever production, quality, waste and safety goals were achieved.
Management members had strong technical knowledge, but they lacked leadership ability and communications skills. We provided coaching and training that improved the performance of all but one key manager, who decided to leave the company. The supervisors and managers learned they were accountable for positive employee relations, not just production. Finally, the company enlisted our vital signs services where we periodically evaluate morale, provide coaching and suggest recommendations for improvement.
As a result, the company has achieved record levels of productivity and quality. Scrap rates are the lowest in its history, and the company has been free of accidents for 16 months.
Sexual Harassment Allegation Investigation
A small law firm needed a consultant to investigate allegations of sexual harassment involving one of its top partners and his legal assistant. The managing partner was anxious to have the investigation completed as soon as possible. He wanted not only to avoid a potential Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge/lawsuit, but also to attempt to salvage the 35-year legal career of the accused as well as the career of his accuser.
A F&H Solutions Group consultant conducted interviews with both individuals and drafted an investigative report summary and recommendations for the client. The client was so pleased with our work that the law firm also contracted with us to provide one-on-one executive coaching sessions for the alleged harasser to re-emphasize the firm’s zero-tolerance harassment policy. As a result, both individuals were able to maintain their working relationship at the firm.