Becton Dickinson’s HR Department: Case Analysis

  1. Becton Dickinson and Co. started off as a family business and grew gradually until it became a public limited company. As the company evolved so did its Human Resource Department. Initially, the company focused on employing relatives of employees as it believed in family structures but as time passed by more and more employees became a part of the company.
  2. The HR Department was then later built on policies such as providing employees with medical and other benefits, giving them the right compensation, job posting, helping employees achieve their career goals and education. The company did not fire its employees and the employees also did not want to leave the job as it provided them with recreational and social events.
  3. The HR department faced a lot of problems after the changes had been made because the policies were not implemented or carried out on time. The department became bureaucratic and unresponsive to the needs of the business. A new program was introduced by the name of Back on Track which led to many cuts in programs that had been introduced initially and layoffs. The company needed to get the reputation of its HR department back on track. They needed to make some drastic changes that will turn the boat around for the department.
  4. The main problem with the Hr department was that it did not communicate effectively. Human Resource is a support function to the rest of the divisions within the organization. They need to help the other departments and work with them. The problem here was that effective communication was not taking place because of which nobody could operate efficiently.
  5. Another problem that existed within the company was that they would hire people who did not fit the job description. To counter this problem BD needed to interact with the candidates and understand the skill set that they held. This skill set should then be compared to the skills needed by the employee on the job. After this, the decision should be made.
  6. The culture at BD was not of support and development it was more bureaucratic. This means that employees rarely moved from one department to the other and even when they did, they did not learn much. For this, the top management needs to take an active and develop a culture of learning and development for the employees. A way to achieving this is by rotating employees among all departments. This would also help counter the problem of the managers not being very broad-based.
  7. With the help of job rotation, the managers will have more knowledge of the different departments and this will help develop an area of expertise for him but at the same time, the manager will be able to understand all the other functions well.
  8. The company also needs to undertake written and psychological tests which will help determine who the employees are who have high potential. Apart from such tests, the supervisors can also be asked to evaluate the employees working under them, a judgment as to who is a high potential employee can be based on this evaluation.
  9. Training is a vital part of human resource development. All organizations are actively participating in training programs and are asking more and more of their employees to attend such sessions. Training programs help develop a skill set for the employee; they can also help him achieve his career goals along with performing well in his current job. The training should not focus on only specialized skills but also some basic skills such as non-verbal communication or interpersonal communication. This would help the departments interact with each other and be more proactive to the needs of the business.
  10. The main component of benefits is that they are linked to the goals of the business. Thus if an employee helps achieve the goals, he or she will be rewarded. BD made a mistake by making the achievement of benefits more competitive. This might go against the organizational goals and mission. To overcome this problem, the company needs to realign its benefits with its goals. This will help achieve the goals in a better manner and the employees will feel that they also benefited from the achievement of the goal.
  11. The HR department at BD needs to take a proactive stance and prepare for the future instead of just reacting to the environment and then developing a strategy. This makes the actions taken by the department unnecessary and the damage has already been done. The department needs to focus on the organizational goals and objectives and then make their own goals and objectives with the help of these.


Williamson, A.D. (1991). Becton Dickinson ©: Human Resource Function. Harvard Business School, 491-154, 1-18.

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