ACMA is a travel call centre and internet based organisation that provides flights and accommodation for travellers both internationally and domestically. The call-centre is staffed by approximately 300 people and expects to grow to 400 in the next 12 months. However, within the business issues have been identified around staff engagement. A subsequent series of focus groups were conducted with frontline staff that identified significant problems associated with coaching, communication, and delegation as well as performance management across the company. Each line-manager has a maximum of 10 direct reports. The line managers are promoted from within the business and have received limited leadership or management development.
As a new member of the Organisational Development team you are required to develop a brief report (approximately 2000 words) outlining “how-to” improve one of the following areas: coaching, communication, delegation, or performance management that will be distributed to all line-managers. This should be supported using materials from the relevant module of MGT702. The report should be evidence based as well as practically orientated. The report is to be handed to your Senior Manager and will include the “how-to” guide in the body of the report.
Format: Report Style (Basic). Content includes: Cover Page, Executive Summary, Introduction, Body, Recommendations, Conclusions, and References.
Well-developed executive summary that includes key recommendations
Effective introduction outlines and discusses the purpose, context and implications of the report
One of the topic areas (see below) are explained using relevant references, theoretical frameworks, and support. This should explain what the area is about (your focus) and why it is important (implications of improvement).
An easy to understand guide for line-managers on how to improve the areas of focus. This should be practical in nature – references are not required -
A subsequent series 4 to 8 recommendations (not included in word count) are provided that outline (summarise) the actions the line-managers should take in rolling out the learning program.
Presentation is of professional standard, limited spelling errors, grammatically sound, appropriate headings, effective referencing, conclusion included.
ACMA is a travel call centre and it is an internet-based organisation that gives the accommodation and flight for travellers both domestically and internationally. Moreover, ACMA has 300 employees and it aims to grow into 400 employees in the next 12 months. However, the business has been facing the issues of employee engagement. In this report, the importance of communication in the workplace and the process of improvement of workplace communication among employees will be explained. As stated by Albers and Mazur (2014), workplace communication is significant to an organisation as it allows the company to operate and be produced effectively. Employees within the organisation can experience an enhancement of commitment and moral if the employees able to communicate with each other and with hierarchy. In the first part of the report, the importance of workplace communication will be discussed both practical and theoretical perspectives. In the next section, the process of development of workplace communication will be explained. In addition, a list of recommendations will be provided as a strategy in order to improve workplace communication in ACMA. As a new member of the Organisational Development Team, I am going to develop this brief report and this report is going to be evidence-based and practically oriented.
2. Importance of communication in the workplace
Workplace communication is important as good business always tries to build a team; in a team communication among employees is needed. Employees’ engagement is an essential element within an organisation and the team leaders or managers should facilitate the workplace communication. Workplace communication is important for a small business like ACMA when the whole team is trying to achieve the same goal.
2.1 Significance of business communication
Within a workplace, communication is the important factor as it helps to build and maintain a relationship with the co-workers. If the organisation follows the vertical structure, communication flows from top-to-bottom. Without the effective communication, it would get difficult to foster and construct the productive relationship. In addition, as stated by Keyton et al. (2013), effective communication helps to make a team and team leaders need to take an active part to make a perfect team. Team leaders' open communication encourage for more effective and cohesive team bonding and team members must communicate with each other for a shared vision. Team members must be informed about organisation's objectives, mission and visions in order to understand their job roles. Regular internal communication may lead to having effective team to achieve the common goals. According to Meulenbroek et al. (2016), effective communication helps to manage the employees and it let them understand about work responsibility. For instance, organisations can use the intranet and this communication flows will facilitate the employees' understanding about the job and it would record the communication for future use. Moreover, lack of communication in a workplace may lead to collapse the growth as employees will no longer be motivated. Communication from the higher authority helps to motivate the employees and this can lead to productivity. Most importantly, communication within the workplace in a small organisation ensures the transparency internally and externally (Martin and Siebert 2016). This helps to bond trust among employees and higher management becomes credible to the employees.
2.2 Theoretical perspectives of communication
Lack of communication can occur between management and employees and it would lead to making conflict among employees. For instance, in a small organisation, if the management does not ensure about holiday's particular date to the employees and does not put a notice about this, employees will get confused. Lack of communication increases conflict and it leads t uncertainty that results to stress (Strokes 2016). In a small organisation, employees do not share their needs to the management and limited resources of the organisation become problems for the employees. In order to ensure the perfect communication, within a workplace, employees and management must know about different types of communication. Communication does not always mean verbal communication as observational skills and body language can be a communicative method in the workplace. As suggested by Cenere et al. (2015), non-verbal behaviour in the workplace is eye-contact, vocal qualities, facial expression and body pattern. Moreover, there can be discrepancies in communication as these are related to the contradiction of messages, incongruities and mixed messages.
In verbal communication, the flow of the communication can be different as mechanistic viewpoint states about the simple transmission of an idea from the sender to receiver. In addition, social viewpoint talks about the communication as the interaction between sender and receiver. According to Jackson (2014), in communication, three main sensory channels are visual communication; images and pictures, auditory communication; sound and tones, kinaesthetic communication; touch and feel. Most importantly, supportive communication is related to the interpersonal communication and interpersonal communication is considered as best practice in employee engagement. Interpersonal communication is the method through which the employees can exchange information, verbal or non-verbal messages and feelings of the employees as this communication is face-to-face. Interpersonal communication is related to the supportive communication that is associated to problem-oriented, congruent, validating and descriptive (Goldberg and Rosenfeld 2014). Interpersonal communication skill makes able the employees in solving the issues inevitably in professional life.
2.3 Importance of communication skills
In today's workplace, communication skills are important as soft-communication skill is important in all job categories. Moreover, in ACMA, the employees' communication skills can help in two ways, first in managing the workplace culture and in the second case, their job role is to communicate with the clients as it is a call centre.
Listening is an important communication skill and active listening helps to grow the workplace culture and team working (Argenti 2015). Active listening skill helps to solve the critical workplace issue and it enhances the capability to pass and absorb the data. Active listening also facilitates in exchanging of the information.
However, in verbal communication skills, employees need opening communication in many of the interpersonal encounters. In meetings and negotiation in conflict, verbal communications play an important role. In verbal communication, showing interest is needed and employees can show openness and warmth. Engagement of employees will be easier to the management when the uncertainties of the employees will be cleared. As stated by DeVito (2015), misapprehension and misunderstanding can be cleared through verbal communication, behaviour and performance of the employees.
In addition, non-verbal communication can play a significant role in the workplace for the employees as gestures speak louder. Non-verbal communication shares clues between two employees or management people. These include eye-contact, blink rate, gestures and facial expressions. In a face-to-face meeting with the clients and in meetings, the employees of small business need to be sensitive to body language. Non-verbal abilities are repetition, contradiction, substitution, complementing and accenting (Broadbent 2013).
3. Understanding guide for line-managers on how to improve the areas of Communication
Leaders in an organisation need to understand the ‘wrong in communication’ and they need to take immediate action. In ACMA, as it is a small business organisation, the organisation needs to follow some steps:
The line-managers of ACMA need to understand the attitudes of the employees and they can identify to which the communication breakdown extends. This highlighting of the issue can be graphed with statistics as this would allow the firm to target the critical zones of communication failure. In order to solve the communication, understanding the communication breakdown needs to understand in all perspectives with specific attributes. Line-managers of ACMA should be serious about the active and effective communication. The line-managers can set a baseline as it would be helpful in measuring the progress of the communication improvement. The highlighted benchmark can be used for future purposes and it can provide the comparing the research statistics to the line managers. In order to solve an issue, the root cause of the problem needs to understand and it helps to make an adept strategy for the management.
In ACMA workplace, the line-managers need to ensure one thing that there is a constant and clear flow of communication among employees and all-levels hierarchy. The employees need to speak up about their views, ideas and feelings. The line-managers need to take the initiatives to express and encourage the employees to have the communication-friendly environment. Within ACMA, the management can use intranet software, like a social media for the employees. The management can communicate effectively through this and employees can also share their views through this. In managing the employees to put their communicating thoughts, ACMA can use communication tool as this type of tool has very significant role in maintaining communication and workplace culture. Sharing thoughts increases communication flow as line-managers can set examples in the workplace. Communication software tool creates a channel to inspire the employees in simplified and constant communication. Encouraging social interaction from desks or during lunch can increase the level of bonding among employees of all levels. Building relationship colleagues need to be facilitated. The senior managers in ACMA need to keep the door open for any kind of issues as an open-door policy of the management helps to make workplace communication-friendly.
In a small organisation like ACMA, the line-managers can ask the team members to take a one-on-one meeting. In these meetings, team leaders can understand the issues of the employees. Conducting these meetings on weekly basis, it is important to sort the schedule of the line-managers. Line-managers can take meetings with the team leaders and this strategy will help the line-managers to increase the flow of communication. One thing that the line-managers need to understand, the communication message must not be altered when it goes top-to-down approach. Holding team meeting within a team can increase the bond and trust among employees and new employees would get more chance to interact and communicate with others to keep the team engaged. Line-managers must be mindful when they are communicating with employees; words, body-language and tonal quality are some important features along with avoiding fillers.
The most important in communication in a workplace, the communication should flow in two-ways, not just one is a passive observer and other is the sender of the message. The two-way interaction helps in soliciting the business case, taking feedbacks and getting involved in discussions. In sending the message to the message from the upper-level, the line-managers should understand that the audiences' demands are being met. Communication measurement should be done through the delivery of messages and channels of using in sending a message to the employees. In ACMA, the business is trying to expand from 300 employees to 400, in expanding the numbers in employees, the management needs to care enough to listen to the employees’ issues and demands. The two-way process of communication, line-managers will understand that they are being judged in driving the accountability and in engaging the employees in communication. For example, if the line-managers or HR sends an e-mail to the employees, they must encourage the employees to put feedback on this in order to communicate their thoughts.
4. Subsequent series recommendations
- i) Line-managers need to find out and highlight the key issues in communication in the workplace of ACMA
- ii) Line-managers should facilitate ACMA in creating communication-friendly workplace through using communication tool software
iii) Line-managers should hold meetings face-to-face on weekly basis with team leaders
- iv) Line-managers should take the initiatives to make the communication two-way
- v) Line-managers can provide training programmes (on-the-job) specifically on increasing communication where the employees lack (for example, diversity training to increase cultural competence)
- vi) Line-managers need to provide the employees with progress reports and they can track the impact of communication training
The effects of developed and improved communication would not appear overnight in the workplace of ACMA. However, in engaging the employees among each other to facilitate the productivity, smooth communication flow can reward this. Line-managers must be the mentor in improving the communication and they can brainstorm the ideas to develop the communication. As a line-manager, it is vital that communication efforts must inspire and educate the employees. The ACMA firm needs to have a commitment to provide possible training and they must recognise the workplace communication literacy. Communication in the workplace leads to errors to decrease and the operation of the organisation to run smooth. Moral of the ACMA’s employees and motivation can be developed through communication flow.
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Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C. and Lewis, M., 2015. Communication Skills for Business Professionals 7. Cambridge University Press.
DeVito, J.A., 2015. The interpersonal communication book. Sydney: Pearson.
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