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BUS 2303, Professionalism in the Workplace 1

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VI

Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

5. Summarize techniques used to promote positive relationships in the workplace.
5.1 Define the role of the human resources department.
5.2 Explain how mentors can help new employees.

6. Explain the dynamics of teamwork.

6.1 Describe the ways in which a mentor can work with a new employee to solve problems.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Activity


Unit Lesson
Chapter 8
Article: “Who Mentors? Contextual Prosocial Motivation and Willingness to be

a Mentor.”
Unit VI Assignment


Unit Lesson
Chapter 8
Article: “Who Mentors? Contextual Prosocial Motivation and Willingness to be

a Mentor.”
Unit VI Assignment


Unit Lesson
Chapter 8
Article: “Who Mentors? Contextual Prosocial Motivation and Willingness to be
a Mentor.”
Unit VI Assignment

Required Unit Resources

Chapter 8:

Human Resources and Policies

In order to access the following resource, click the link below.

Bear, S. E., & Hwang, A. (2015). Who mentors? Contextual prosocial motivation and willingness to be a

mentor. Human Resource Development International, 18(1), 58–75. Retrieved from


Human Resources and Policies

BUS 2303, Professionalism in the Workplace 2



Unit Lesson

Employee Orientation

It is Sunday, and tomorrow is your first day at your new place of
employment. You are excited as well as nervous. There is so
much information running through your mind as you prepare for
your first day. You are picking out your outfit and making sure
your first impression is a lasting one. You are writing notes to
make sure all your questions are answered. You have read your
job description over and over, but that still leaves many
unanswered questions. As you arrive to your first day for your
employee orientation, you will most likely report to the human
resources (HR) department. This department is accountable for
employee orientation as well as hiring, training, compensation,
benefits, performance evaluations, complaints, promotions, and
changes in your work status. Apart from the supervisor, the
human resource department is an employee’s primary link to the
employer (Anderson & Bolt, 2016). When starting a new job or
position, you will likely work with HR to discuss the organization’s
policy and vision statement. Also, HR may assist you by
arranging a mentor.

HR’s role has changed over the years, but one constant is the building of a quality team of employees through
the hiring process. Among the many services provided by HR departments, the responsibility of hiring is
critical to an organization’s ability to provide positive customer service. Look at it this way—it is much easier
to be selective and hire the right employee with a focus on customer service than to try and teach this unique
skill to just any employee. Employees who understand how to easily serve the customer tend to be higher
producers in satisfying the customer. In turn, organizations with high customer satisfaction ratings tend to
have more loyal, repeat customers and have a tendency to prosper regardless of the economy.

Employee Handbook

Not all companies have employee handbooks, but most larger companies do. This is a good guide to keep so
that you can refer back to it to answer questions. In most cases, an employee handbook outlines an
employee’s agreement with the employer regarding work conditions, policies, and benefits (Anderson & Bolt,
2016). Consider if your friend asks you to go on vacation a few weeks after starting your new job. You may be
in a probationary period, and you will want to double check your company’s policy on vacations during this

It is important that you read and understand this guide, and many companies will allow you a couple days to
review the document. During this time, take notes on topics that you might have questions or need
clarification on. In many cases, you will be asked to sign an agreement document stating that you understand
and will comply. Do not sign until all of your questions or concerns are answered. For example, if you have a
question about vacation time, it is best to ask prior to signing and stating that you understand the policies.

Employment Status

The hours you work during a regular week will determine your employment status.

 Full time employees work an average of 30-40 hour per week. According to the Internal Revenue
Service (n.d.), the full-time employment works an average of 30 hours per week, or 130 hours each

 Part-time employment is determined by the employer and labor department in that state. However,
there are laws that protect the employee. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law to
protect the employee to insure they are compensated by the federal minimum wage for hours worked
(U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.-a).

 Temporary employees may be hired for a certain time period to ensure they are a good fit for the

New employee orientation
(Spettacolare, n.d.)

BUS 2303, Professionalism in the Workplace 3


Performance Evaluations

A performance evaluation ascertains how work
performance will be measured and is used to gauge
employee success at the organization. Performance
evaluations can occur after a probationary period,
annually, or even twice a year, and the employee should
know the criteria in advance.

A good manager or supervisor should lay out a
performance plan so the employee has guidance on what
is expected from him or her. For example, many
government agencies use the Performance Management
Appraisal Program (PMAP). This allows the employee and
manager to evaluate performance throughout the year.
However, in order for this to be effective, you must have a
mid-term evaluation to let the employees know where they
stand, if there is anything to improve on, and what they
are doing well.

In advance of the first meeting, the supervisor will send the employee the PMAP by email so that the
employee can look it over. This will prepare the employee for the meeting. During the meeting, the employee
and supervisor will discuss the various employment expectations and how the employee is performing in
specific areas such as professionalism or communication. At the end of the evaluation, both the employee
and supervisor will sign the PMAP so there is an agreement document. This also allows the employee look
back, if necessary, to check on his performance expectations.


Many organizations will assign a mentor to help new employees as they train and learn the new processes
within the organization. When many hear the term, mentor, they may think of an older, wiser individual who
sees potential in the mentee and guides him or her into greatness. Think of the movie, The Karate Kid, for
example, where Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel LaRusso about life’s lessons and karate, and Daniel wins the

In a professional setting, mentorship can look a bit different. For starters, the mentor is usually assigned to
you by the organization. The mentor may have asked to help train, but not always, and the mentor may or
may not have experience in this role. Additionally, the end goal is to help you learn the about the organization
and its mission, not necessarily to learn about life skills. However, good mentors can be good listeners and be
empathetic, and a friendship can develop.

When facing a new challenge, it can be helpful to get your mentor’s opinion on it. If you are having issues with
a difficult client, for example, consider asking your mentor to review your email before you send it or to attend
the meeting with you. This way, your mentor can give you feedback and guidance that will help you navigate
not only this challenge but those you will face in the future.

The best mentors are those who are good listeners, empathetic, experienced in the organization, and have
strong time management skills. Your mentor will likely be someone in a similar role to yours, and you may
even have the opportunity to serve as a mentor in the future. If this is something that interests you, take note
of the skills you would need and how your mentor helped you.


Most employees connect employee benefits with health care; however, employment benefits are much more
than simply health care and may include 401k matching, paid vacations, and life insurance. Not all employers
can offer every benefit, so it is important to carefully review the exact benefits offered whenever starting a
new job or position.

Employee benefits
(Ihorzigor, n.d.)

BUS 2303, Professionalism in the Workplace 4


An example of a benefit that is also a requirement of U.S. law, which many employees are unaware of, is the
Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. You are strongly encouraged to become familiar with this act, as it
may be useful to you at some point in your career. FMLA allows employees to take unpaid but protected
leave due to family medical issues that can arise, including the birth or adoption of a child, a serious medical
condition, or a family member with a serious medical condition (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.-b). If you are
facing one of these situations during your employment, this may be an option to discuss. Please keep in mind
that your employer must fit the criteria.


Unions are designed to advocate for employees within the organization (Anderson & Bolt, 2016). There are
various unions that represent many workers, such as public sector unions that represent teachers and
government employees. Additionally, there are craft unions that represent those who learned a craft from a
master and manufacturing unions that represent auto and steel workers. Regardless of the type, the labor
union is an organization that acts as an intermediary between its members and the business that employs
them. The main purpose of labor unions is to give workers the power to negotiate for more favorable working
conditions and other benefits through collective bargaining (Utility Workers Union of America, n.d.).


Starting a new job can be both exciting and intimidating. There is a lot of learn about your new employer, and
through the employee handbook, mentors, and the orientation, you can learn the expectations and the
benefits of your new role. If you have questions or concerns, the HR department is there to help you and
answer your questions. Additionally, many organizations provide mentors who are familiar with the job role
and can help make you feel welcomed and comfortable.


Anderson, L. E., & Bolt, S. B. (2016). Professionalism: Skills for workplace success (4th ed.). Boston, MA:


Ihorzigor. (n.d.). ID 82610530 [Graphic]. Retrieved from


Internal Revenue Service. (n.d.). Identifying full-time employees. Retrieved from

Spettacolare. (n.d.). ID 133807056 [Graphic]. Retrieved from


U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.-a) Compliance assistance – Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.-b). Family and Medical Leave Act. Retrieved from

Utility Workers Union of America. (n.d.). What are the benefits of being a union worker? Retrieved from

What are the Benefits of Being a Union Worker?

BUS 2303, Professionalism in the Workplace 5


Suggested Unit Resources

In order to access the following resource, click the link below.

The below video segment explains the reasons why mentoring is beneficial:

ClickView/VEA (Producer). (2008). Benefits of mentoring (Segment 7 of 9) [Video file]. Retrieved from

The transcript for this video can be found by clicking the “Transcript” tab to the right of the video in the Films
on Demand database.

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