GameStop’s Employee Relations Program
College of Business, Baker College Online
MGT 20110A – A3 Human Resource Management
Instructor: Patti Powell
In this research paper the importance and process of creating effective employee relations will be evaluated. Employee relations is the process of managing the relationship of employees with the organization and with other employees. In order to get an understanding of the elements involved in employee relations, this paper will break down GameStop’s employee relations program.
GameStop’s Employee Relations Program
One of the many factors of creating a successful business is to develop an employee relations program. The purpose of an employee relations program is to manage the relationship of employees with the organization and with other employees. According to Gregg Learning, a well-managed employee relations program influences nearly every human resource decision (2017). The process of creating an effective employee relations programs involves maintaining organizational culture, developing employee engagement, resolving workplace conflict, conducting workplace investigations, and managing employee discipline (Gregg Learning, 2017). In this research paper GameStop’s employee relations program will be evaluated.
GameStop first opened in 1984 as a small educational software retailer in Dallas, Texas When it first opened the company was named Babbage’s. This name came from Charles Babbage who is known for coming up with the concept of the computer. Babbage’s was then sold to Barnes & Noble in 1999 and merged with Funco shortly after. In 2000, Funco changed the company’s name to GameStop. GameStop eventually separated from Barnes & Noble in 2004 and began building its global family of brands which include EB Games, Micromania, Game Informer magazine, and ThinkGeek (GameStop, 2017a).
Today, GameStop is a fortune 500 company ranked 346. GameStop’s headquarters are located in Grapevine, Texas; close to where the company first opened. The company has expanded greatly since it first opened and is now the world’s largest video game retailer. GameStop operates over 5,700 stores across 14 countries (GameStop, 2017a).
The company is best known for their buy-sell-trade program, PowerUp Rewards customer loyalty program, and their selection of new and pre-owner video games consoles, accessories and video game titles, in both physical and digital formats. Overall, GameStop’s success is due to their excellent employee relations program that handles over 53,000 employees and will be evaluated throughout this paper (GameStop, 2017a).
Communication Styles for Maintaining Employee Relations
Communication is very important for maintaining employee relations. This is because it makes employees feel valued and also informed. GameStop uses a variety of communication styles in order to maintain employee relations. One communication style they use is a code of standards, ethics, and conduct (GameStop, 2018). GameStop uses this to communicate the standard operating procedures, guidelines and policies. The code of standards, ethics, and conduct also communicates the organization’s mission, vision and values. Additionally, GameStop encourages employees to give feedback through a learning management system, typically used in their training and development program, called Level Up (Gale, 2016). Feedback creates an opportunity for two-way communication which is essential to address employee issues and concerns. GameStop also communicate with employees through Level Up by giving them side missions every few weeks that educate them on new products or games they will be selling (Gale, 2016).
The Importance of Diversity
At GameStop diversity and inclusion are very important elements in their organizational culture and help to maintain an effective employee relations program. According to GameStop, “to value diversity requires action on part of our associates, not just words” (GameStop, 2017b, para. 1). This means that GameStop does not just say they value diversity they take action to promote diversity. One way they promote diversity is by committing to equal opportunity and not tolerating discrimination against any applicant, associate, or customer (GameStop, 2017b). Another way GameStop promotes diversity is through the eight employee resource groups they offer which include: Alliance, Black Organization for Leadership and Development, Unido, Veterans, Women’s Leadership Council, visAble, NextGen, and Pan Asian Council (GameStop, 2017-b). These employee resource groups promote diversity by spreading awareness in order to overcome adversity and identify recruiting and mentorship methods for those that commonly face discrimination. According to GameStop, a diversity provides more benefits than just effective employee relations it also provides a greater richness of resources, experiences, ideas and talents to draw upon (2017b).
Resolving and managing workplace conflict is very important for maintaining an employee relations program. GameStop handles conflict management by addressing how to handle possible conflicts of interest in their code of standards, ethics, and conduct. GameStop identifies conflicts of interest as any activities, transactions, or relationships that are incompatible with the impartial, objective, and effective performance of duties (GameStop, 2018). They address these conflicts of interest by requiring employees to report any conflicts of interest for themselves, members of their family or household as well as any known conflicts of interest for other employees (GameStop, 2018).
These conflicts of interest are then documented with a signed conflict of interest disclosure form and may gain management approval. If not approved management will attempt to resolve the conflict of interest. In the case of a conflict of interest caused by a relationship management will try to resolve the conflict by placing either or both individuals in another store, region, location, or department or terminating either or both individuals if no suitable alternative position is available. Dealing with conflicts of interest is very important because they can create opportunities for fraud and favoritism and damage workplace morale and productivity (GameStop, 2018).
The Importance and Impact of Training and Development
GameStop uses training and development because it impacts employee engagement which creates an effective employee relations program. At GameStop they use a learning management system called Level Up and have managers, that competed train-the-trainer, mentor and coach new hires as part of the initial training process (Gale, 2016). Level Up works by allowing new employees to do their training in a gamified environment, in which they receive points, badges, and avatars for completing learning missions, taking quizzes, and leaving feedback (Gale, 2016).
The learning missions last no longer than 30 minutes and covers topics such as how to deliver excellent customer service, how the buy-sell-trade program works, and information about specific products and services. Employees must complete all of the basic training missions in the first weeks of employment for the initial training process (Gale, 2016).
After the basic training missions are complete Level Up can be used for development. Employees can use it to develop their skills because they are given the opportunity to do any training levels. Completing additional training levels shows ambition and is tracked and reported to management so they know which employees have the potential to grow in the company. Lastly, GameStop also helps employees develop their skills by offering educational partnerships and tuition reimbursement.
Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation Strategies
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation strategies both help develop employee engagement which is important in creating an effective employee relations program. GameStop does exceptionally well at creating extrinsic motivation strategies. They create extrinsic motivation by offering competitive wages, paid time off, employee discounts and tuition reimbursement (GameStop, 2017b).
Furthermore, GameStop also creates extrinsic motivation by offering eligible and interested associates a variety of competitive medical, vision, dental, prescription, long-term or short-term disability and life insurance plans (GameStop, 2017b). Additionally, GameStop also offers some intrinsic motivation. For example, individuals that are passionate about video games are intrinsically motivated to work at GameStop due to the information on new products they will be exposed to. GameStop’s focus on diversity and inclusion could also be an intrinsic motivation for those that desire to feel like they belong and are valued. Intrinsic motivation can be hard to strategize because it is more likely to vary than extrinsic motivation but GameStop successful created both.
Performance Measures and the Performance Management System
Performance measures are important because they can track the efficiency of the employee relations program. The performance measures are then used by the performance management system to identify solutions to improve the employee relations program. One type of performance measure used by GameStop are stay interviews (Business Wire, 2019). Stay interview help managers understand the reasons employees stay and what might cause them to leave. This information can then be used by the performance management system to improve employee relations program by adding elements that increase retention and engagement. The information can also be used to assess the progress and improvement made by the employee relations program. According to Business Wire, GameStop uses stay interview opposed to exit interviews (2019). This is most likely do to stay interview proactive rather than exit interviews that occur after an employee has already decided there is a need to leave.
Performance appraisals assess an employee’s effectiveness and productivity. This information can then be used to decide which employees earned a reward and which employees need to be terminated. Termination may be required if an employees’ low productivity and effectiveness cause a lower morale. Furthermore, this information can be used to analyze the effect of training on employee performance and make any needed revisions.
GameStop performs performance evaluation in order to assess this information. In order to make sure the performance evaluations are accurate and the right actions are taken GameStop prohibit discrimination (GameStop, 2017b). This is important because discrimination during a performance appraisal could make a certain group appear less effective and productive.
Team Building Concepts
Team building is important in an employee relations program to encourage a positive and productive relationship between employees. At GameStop they use their learning management system called Level Up to promote team building. Level Up as mentioned previously is a gamified environment. This environment includes a leader board with shows employers where their store stands (Gale, 2016). Adam Scott the creator of Level Up added the leader board to create a sense of teamwork in which employees have to work as a unit to move up (Gale, 2016). This type of team building concept works excellent at GameStop because most employees are gamers and will find Level Up appealing which will encourage them to participate (Gale, 2016). In addition, Level Up also allows employees to post comments and feedback which creates open communication and is very important in team building. Therefore, GameStop’s team building strategies are successful because they encourage participation and communication from employees.
The Staffing Process
The staffing process is important in employee relations. For effective employee relations the staffing process must maintain ethical hiring and termination practices. The staffing process should also maintain accurate classification, qualifications and responsibilities of a position before they begin recruiting in order to avoid future issues. GameStop does very well at providing the qualifications and responsibilities of open positions they are recruiting for (GameStop, 2019).
GameStop also maintains employee contracts that classify them as part-time, full-time, or temporary (GameStop, 2019). Furthermore, GameStop also prides itself on being dedicated to equal opportunity not only in recruiting and hiring process but also in training, promotion, transfer, performance evaluation, compensation, benefits, separations, social or recreational programs, or in any other employment action (GameStop, 2017b). Lastly, GameStop practices ethical termination practices by establishing that violating the law or code of standards, ethics, and conduct result in disciplinary action up to and including termination (GameStop, 2018).
Best Practices of Labor Relations
Labor relations refers to managing the relationship of a union with the organization. GameStop does not have any U.S. employees that are represented by a labor union or are members of a collective bargaining unit. GameStop can continue to prevent unionization but must avoid committing unfair labor practices. The best practice for preventing unionization is to inform employees of the inaccurate information presented by supporters, the disadvantages of unions such as dues, and negative experiences elsewhere due to unionization (Mathis, Jackson, Valentine, & Meglich, 2019). Another practice for preventing unionization includes forbidding the distribution of union literature during work hours (Mathis et al., 2019). Most importantly to remain union free, companies must be proactive and develop good employment practices; earn employee trust; encourage employee feedback; offer fair, competitive compensation; and build supportive supervisory relationships with workers (Mathis et al., 2019). This is most important because unions are often formed when employees feel mistreated or find their environment unfair or undesirable.
GameStop has a very effective employee relations program. The program manages the relationship of employees with the organization and with other employees very well. Having an effective employee relations program is very important for businesses because employees are essential to run a business. If businesses fail to maintain an effective employee relations program they will experience a high employee turnover. This is due to employees having little motivation or engagement due to missing or poor elements in the employee relations program. These missing or poor elements could include a lack of communication, allowing workplace conflict or discrimination, or no intrinsic benefits. The high turnover rate will end up costing the business a lot of money and could even bankrupt a new business.
Business Wire. (2019, April 25). GameStop honored for workforce development programs. Businesswire https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190425005721/en/
Gale, S. F. (2016, April 11). GameStop takes training to the next level. Chief Learning Officer https://www.chieflearningofficer.com/2016/04/11/gamestop-takes-training-to-the-next- level/
GameStop. (2017a). About GameStop. http://news.gamestop.com/about- gamestop?c=130125&p=about
GameStop. (2018, December). Code of standards, ethics, and conduct. GameStop.
GameStop. (2017b). Culture. GameStop https://careers.gamestop.com/en-US/page/culture
GameStop. (2019). Jobs at GameStop. https://careers.gamestop.com/search
Gregg Learning. (2017, April 27). HR basics: Employee relations [Video file].
Mathis R., Jackson J., Valentine S., & Meglich P. (2016). Human Resource Management. Reader