Human Resource Management: Dreamworks Animations

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28 April 2016

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With Jeffrey Katzenberg as their CEO, DreamWorks Animation’s business encompasses animated content creation for theatres and television as well as merchandising and licensing of their associated characters (Fixmer, 2013). DreamWorks Animation has been an exemplary example when it comes to keeping its employees happy at work, being voted 12th on Fortune’s 2013 top 100 best companies to work for (CNN, 2013). DreamWorks Animation goes through great measures in order to maximize the potential of their employees by ensuring that they are always motivated.

By organizing regular special events such as movie screenings and family get-togethers, DreamWorks Animation acknowledges on ensuring work-life balance (Stanger and Groth, 2012). Jeffrey Katzenberg would also initiate communication with his employees daily through social media (Stanger and Groth, 2012). Apart from motivating the employees, this gesture removes the barrier between employer and employee, allowing effective communication. To encourage freedom and expression of creativity, the company allows employees to personalize workstations and create an environment which would maximize their potential (CNN, 2013). DreamWorks Animation depends heavily on their employees who will directly affect the quality of products.

To ensure that DreamWorks Animation is able to meet organizational goals and gain a competitive edge over competitors such as Disney Pixar and Sony Entertainment, it is important that the right human resource management practices are being utilized to maximize the potential of the company and to create a high-performance work system. Such a system is achieved through human resource management by reacting to trends such as increase in emphasis of knowledge workers, empowerment of employees, and improving of teamwork (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.35). .

Analysing and design of jobs
For DreamWorks Animation whose main business focus is on the development and creation of animation using state-of-the art technology, this process requires technical knowledge and creativity from their employees in many different specializations. Therefore, it is imperative that job analysis and design of jobs must be done to match the right person to the right job and maximize the potential of the company. The first step is using work flow analysis to gain a better idea on what the work needs to be done is.

This is achieved by first determining the products of DreamWorks Animation, followed by the work processes including activities required to produce it, and finally the inputs such as raw materials, equipment, and human resource (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.100). In the case of DreamWorks Animation, an animation is produced using state-of-the art technology by teams of experts in niched specializations from content creation up to licensing. After determining the work processes and inputs, the next step is to zoom in to the specific job roles and functions.

Through the use of job analysis, DreamWorks Animation will be able to get more detailed information and understanding of the jobs in order to match it with the people which best fulfils its requirements (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.103). The company can get more information about certain job roles and requirements using the Fleishman job analysis system by asking existing employees to fill up surveys based on 52 categories of abilities (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.108).

Having been in the job for a certain period of time and accumulating experience in the certain specialization, a 3-D modeller, for example, could advise on what kind of software knowledge is required by a prospective employee. Once the information is gathered, the next step is to
create the job description which would list out the task, duties and responsibilities of the specific job (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.103).

This is important as it provides prospective employees with a clear indication of what is expected of them and the key roles which they will be playing in the job. For DreamWorks Animation, a company which requires knowledge workers who possess specific skillsets and talents in order to fulfil roles within the production process, the emphasis on job specifications is important. By evaluating the job function and understanding the inputs which they invest in such as the equipment and technology, DreamWorks Animation would have to indicate clearly the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics required for the job (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.103).

By indicating the need of certain software skills or technical certification important in content creation of an animation, DreamWorks Animation will be able to attract the right people for specific jobs. Using job design and redesign, DreamWorks Animation could enhance job performance by fully utilizing the strengths of their employees (Rehman, 2011). One of the ways is by designing efficient jobs, for DreamWorks Animation, could be the passing down of operating procedures from senior employees to speed up certain work processes. Being assigned to specific jobs for extended periods could demotivate employees due to the monotony of the job.

By introducing self-managing work teams giving autonomy with regards to schedules and duties to achieve project based objectives, employees feel more empowered and the job becomes less rigid (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.116). Introducing flexi-time whereby employees are allowed to choose their working times as long as they meet targets set by the company, DreamWorks Animation can also benefit from having a more motivated workforce, in turn encourage generation of creative ideas and improve efficiency.

DreamWorks Animation is a company whose product creation involves an intensive work process which requires the expertise and technical nous of knowledge workers. Through the use of job analysis and design, they could benefit from finding the right people for the right jobs by clearly defining the description and requirements (Rehman, 2011). DreamWorks Animation could also increase efficiency and motivation of their employees, benefitting from increased productivity and reducing the turnover rate.

As DreamWorks Animation depends on development and creation of creative content as their main business function, the quality of employees they have plays a large factor on the quality of product produced. Therefore, employees become the most important resource the company has, and being able to identify and attract potential employees through recruiting becomes a top priority.

The decision made by the company in recruiting consists of three main aspects; personnel policies, recruiter traits and behaviours, and recruitment sources (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.143). In order to attract top talents in their relative specializations to choose DreamWorks animation over their competitors, the first step is using image advertising. Under personnel policies, image advertising is the focus on creating a good impression of the company by advertising the positive experiences of working for them (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.144).

By advertising what DreamWorks Animation has done to provide opportunities for existing employees to showcase their talents and how they have provided a working environment which encourages creativity, the company would be able to appeal to potential employees who value such a working culture. In many cases, especially in a highly-competitive labour market where top talents in the animation industry are highly sought after, DreamWorks Animation should also adopt personnel policies such as lead-the-market pay in order to attract employees with top potential.

This is achieved by paying the potential employee a higher salary compared to any others in the current market for the same position (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.144). For DreamWorks Animation where top talents are needed in niched positions for the creation of their product, they could also offer the potential employee benefits in the form of profit-based bonuses from the project they will be working on.

This way, not only does DreamWorks Animation benefit from acquiring a top quality employee, the employee would also be highly motivated to excel due to added benefits. Once the personnel policies are in place, the company would have to make decisions based on recruitment sources. It is important to use the appropriate sources to attract the ideal employees out of a huge job market (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.145).

One option is through internal sources whereby current employees are sourced to fill up newly opened positions. This can be done through job posting whereby information of the position is communicated to the employees through employee publications or the intranet (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.145). By recruiting through internal sources, the company will benefit from having an employee who already has experience in the industry and would be able to adapt easily. It will also increase the morale of existing employees as they will see the opportunity for future advancements with the company choosing to recruit from within.

DreamWorks Animation could also choose to recruit through external sources such as tertiary institutions. By tapping onto universities, especially those with good reputation and track record for producing the top students in certain specializations, DreamWorks Animation could benefit from attracting the best talents.

This is done through enhancing of the company’s presence by attending job fairs and providing internships to students (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.151). In order to attract the best talents, top companies such as Google have not only provided interns with the opportunity to participate in real projects, they are also paid in the average of US$6000 per month (Buxton, 2013). Once the recruitment process has been completed, DreamWorks Animation should also evaluate which sources attract the best talent and this would help them with future recruitment decisions.

Last but not least, DreamWorks Animation should ensure that they provide training to the recruiters who are an extension and representative of the company. By providing guidelines on what are the behaviours to display as well as information which should be provided, recruiters will be able to appeal more to the prospective recruits. With proper utilization of human resource practices in recruitment, DreamWorks Animation will benefit from recruiting the best employees in the industry. This is important as it ensures that not only will they be able to create and develop the best products, they will also gain a competitive edge over their competitors by staffing the company with employees possessing the right competencies and are able to fit in seamlessly to contribute towards achieving organizational goals (Chew and Horwitz, 2004).

Performance Management
Another important human resource practice DreamWorks Animations should look into is managing of their employee’s performance. There are three main purposes for performance management and the first one is to achieve strategic purpose whereby the company will be looking to reach organizational goals and business objectives (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.236).

It is also done for administrative purpose which helps the DreamWorks Animation make decisions on appropriate compensation as well as identifies employees who are not meeting required standards (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.237). Lastly, is to achieve development purpose whereby the strengths and weaknesses of employees are evaluated to provide them with feedback or suggestions to improve their knowledge and skill (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.238).

The first step to effective performance management is to understand the desired outputs and goals set for the company (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.236). For DreamWorks Animation, the overall objective would be hitting certain profit margins from the successful launch of a new animation. Next, is to evaluate the goals and performance requirements set out for individual employees in order to achieve the organization’s goals, the consequences and performance outcomes should also be evaluated (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.236). Once the goals are set, it should also be followed by observing and providing of constructive feedback to employees to guide them in achieving the goals (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.235).

With the process in place, DreamWorks Animation should decide on methods or combination of methods most suited for measuring performance. One of the methods could be attribute measurement through graphic rating scale. Through this scale, the employees are being rated based on a list of traits and to what extent do they display such traits (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.242).

This is a highly customizable method which allows DreamWorks Animation to rate their employees according to certain traits which are important for the company such as knowledge and creativity. The company can also measure results through management by objectives by setting goals flowing from top to bottom which contributes to achieving the overall organizational goals, and using of these goals to evaluate performance of employees (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.248).

The goals are often set by individual departments through discussion between managers and employees whereby the goals are specific and challenging (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.248). For DreamWorks Animation whose business objectives hinges on the success of their animated content, using its profitability as a measurement for evaluating performance is also valid.

However, such a method might be unable to predict factors
such as climate of the market and efforts put in by the employees (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.249). By comparing between employees using the simple ranking method, DreamWorks Animation would also be able to have an idea of how employees fare among their peers. This method is carried out by ranking the employees in the department from the best downwards (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.240). With the method of performance management formulated, the next step is on the delivery to the employees.

DreamWorks animation should emphasize on scheduling regular appraisals to ensure that their employees have ample time to correct. Managers providing the feedback should also be trained on how to deliver and prepare for the appraisals (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.257). To minimize any errors in performance management which may result from difference in standards of judgment or bias which may occur in any of the above methods, DreamWorks Animation should utilize the 360-degree performance appraisal. This method gathers feedback not only from managers, but from the peers, customers, as well as the individual (Noe, R.A. et al., 2014, pg.253). Performance management should also be done in a legal and ethical way to ensure that employees are treated fairly.

With proper performance management, DreamWorks Animation will be able to benefit from not only having employees who have a clear idea on what are their goals and ways they could improve, constructive guidance and feedback will also ensure that the company is focused on achieving a common objective. As a result, the productivity of DreamWorks Animation will be improved and employees will be more motivated to work towards their goals.

With the above human resource management practices in place, in the next five years, DreamWorks Animation will be able to benefit from understanding specific requirements of each job and improve productivity. Having the right people at the right job where their talents are fully utilized, they will create effective workgroups and ensure that their resources are well invested to improve performance. Through finding ways to improve on the current jobs would also be beneficial in their corporate branding as a top company to work for, attracting the best talents around the world.

The improvements to existing jobs would also ensure that the employees are given more support and encouragement to realize their potential, therefore empowering employees. With the right recruitment practices, it would also ensure that their resources would be maximized on sources which would generate quality hire. The emphasis on performance management also allows gives a clear direction on organizational goals and guides employees towards working more effectively. On the whole, DreamWorks Animation will be able to create a high performance work system, they will also see a huge increase in employee morale and reduce turnover rate.

Reference List
Buxton, R. 2013. Google Intern Salary Reached $6000 A Month, Plus Free Food And Gym. Huffington Post [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 June 2013] Chew, I.K.H. & Horwtiz, F.M. (2004): ‘Human Resource Management Strategies in Practice: Case-study Findings in Multinational Firms’, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 42, 1: 32-56. CNN Money (2013). Fortune: 100 Best Companies to Work For. [Online] Available at: [Accessed

5 June 2013] Fixmer, A. 2013, DreamWorks Animation CEO Says TV Will Give Revenue Boost. Bloomberg [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 June 2013] Noe, R.A., Hollenback, J.R., Gerhart, B., Wright, P.M. (2014): Fundamentals of Human Resource Management, 5th Edition, Singapore: McGraw-Hill. Rehman, M.S. (2011): ‘Job design and job performance relationship: A study of Pakistan Public Sector employees’, Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research In Business, 2.12: 562-76. Stanger, M. & Groth, A. 2012. 23 Companies With Employee Perks That Will Make You Jealous. Business Insider [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 June 2013]

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