How an organisation communicates Essay
How an organisation communicates
The aim of this assignment is to relate how an organisation communicates its core values and mission to the public, shareholders and employees. This is an objective that can easily get overlooked in the rush to master environmental analysis, strategic choice and outsourcing decisions. However it is important in practice and it is a challenge that many organisations take very seriously. Setting of organisational objectives is the starting point of managerial actions. An organisation’s end results for which an organisation strives is termed as mission, purpose, objective, goal, target etc. Many times, these terms are used interchangeably as all these denote end results.
This unit is about providing direction to people in the organisation and enabling, inspiring, motivating and supporting them to achieve what the organisation has set out to do. It is expected to apply different styles of leadership appropriate to different people and situations. For the purposes of this unit, an organisation can mean a self-contained entity such as a private sector company, a charity or a local authority, or a significant operating unit, with a relative degree of autonomy, within a larger organisation.
Relate the organisation’s purpose, values and vision to people across the organisation (1.1, 1.2, and 1.3) An organisation’s mission is its basic purpose: e.g., what is it for? Why does it exist? A mission statement formalises the organization’s mission by writing it down. Johnson Scholes and Whittington define a mission statement as ‘a statement of overriding direction and purpose of an organisation’. Some companies refer to ‘vision statements’ instead of mission statements. Below is an example of Tesco’s mission statements;
Tesco (a UK supermarket chain) their vision is to be the most highly valued by its customers. Their core purpose is to create value for customers to earn their life time loyalty. This objective sits right at the heart of their business as one part of their values – ‘No one tries harder for customers.’ For Tesco to be considered a force for good, they must be a good neighbour and a responsible member of society. They know that if they look after their staff, they will look after their customers. Work can be a large part of their lives so people deserve an employer who cares. That’s why one of their values is ‘Treat people how we like to be treated’. They are committed to providing opportunities for their people to get on and turn their jobs into careers and across all of their markets they offer a wide range of competitive benefits.
According to Michael Hyatt, the author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform; Get noticed in a Noisy World, it is crucial to translate the core values into behaviours that are easy to understand by your employees. He has identified 6 ways to communicate the core values to every member of the organisation. Living the values; leading by example is the best communication tool any leader possesses. A survey conducted by Deloitte has found that 70% of the employees who agree that their companies had performed well financially said their executive management team speaks to them often about the core values associated with the culture of the company.
Hiring new people based on values; recruiting people who already have values that are in alignment with the company’s core values. You can always easily train a person on how to do the job, but it becomes much harder to train a person to have the same values as your organisation.
Reviewing people based on values; incorporating core values as part of performance management process. Reviewing people based on values is interrelated with rewarding people for demonstrating the values. Business objectives are the ends that an organisation sets out to achieve. A business creates business plans to enable it to achieve these ends – thus plans are the means to the ends. The objectives and plans that an organisation creates are determined by balancing the requirements of the various stakeholders in the organisation. The stakeholders are those individuals and groups that are affected by and have interest in how the business is run and it achieves.
Every business has a range of stakeholders including: The objectives that a company establishes are based on blending the various interests of these stakeholder groupings. For example; an objective to be the market leader, will benefit all stakeholders because customers will receive high quality products, shareholders will receive high dividends, and employees will receive good wages and so on. Organisations create a hierarchy of objectives. At the top level, an organisation will often create a ‘mission’ setting out the purpose of the organisation. This will be followed by a set of objectives relating to such aspects as:
Objectives about employee satisfaction
Objectives about cutting pollution
Objectives about customer satisfaction
Objectives about market share
Objectives about return to shareholders.
A business plan will then enable an organisation to achieve its objectives. The business plan must be set within a time frame and set out how the organisation and the various components of the organisation will work towards meeting required objectives. Responsibilities for delivering various parts of the plan will be allocated to key individuals and performance targets will be established which enabled the plan to be delivered. The business will create a series of polices, programmes and budgets to enable it to achieve planned targets. It is also essential from the outset to clarify how the plan will be evaluated on an ongoing basis. (businesscasestudies.co.uk) Motivation in Virgin Media, the word motivation could be defined as the driving force behind actions and behaviour.
It leads individuals to take action to achieve a goal or to fulfil a need or expectation. Understanding what motivates employees at work ensures that a business not only has employees that have the knowledge, skill and ability to do the job, but who are also committed to achieve a high standard of work. There are much positive behaviour that indicates employees are motivated including taking responsibilities, helping colleagues, a commitment to achieving company targets and goals as well as interest and concern of the business. Virgin Media recognises that reward is one of the many motivating factors for a lot of its people and offers competitive salaries. It also offers bonus schemes such as it’sASPIRE field pay and reward scheme. The scheme rewards every Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 9 or 10 with £10. However, as a forward thinking business, it understands the importance of different motivational factors.
It offers additional benefits including private health care, life assurance, company pension scheme and staff saving scheme. The opportunity to progress within the organisation is also an important factor. All virgin media technicians are managed through the ‘Your Story Framework’ for career progression. This includes regular meetings to discuss performance, review progress against set objectives to enable progression within the company. (businesscasestudies.co.uk) One theorist whose studies became influential is Elton Mayo. Mayo’s research concluded that motivating factors include recognition, a sense of belonging and involvement as well as social aspects of the workplace.
In 1943, Abraham Maslow published his theory of a hierarchy of needs. Maslow identified that as individuals, we have five set of needs. At the first level, basic needs are those of food, water, warmth and shelter with wages that meet those needs. Safety needs include protection from danger, for example; health and safety at work as well as job security. Social needs include a sense of belonging in work teams. He identified esteem needs as those of self-confidence, feeling useful and needed by other people. Maslow proposed that having satisfied all the lower needs an individual would then be able to realise their own potential for self-actualisation. (businesscasestudies.co.uk)
Explain the skills necessary to provide support and advice to people during periods of setbacks and change. (2.1 and 2.2) Change is something that happens in businesses all of the time. Change can occur in an organisation’s internal or external environment. As a result, this process of change is constant. Effective managers are proactive in creating solutions to improve the organisations performance. They must then manage employees through the change process. Managers have to plan and drive change initiatives. This involves managing the change process and making it part of an organisations strategy. Strategies a business achieve its aims and objectives. This helps businesses to develop in a more focused way to the environment in which it operates, whilst facing new challenges with more certainty.
Organisations require skilled and well qualified managers and leaders to drive change initiatives and effectively manage employees through the process. (businesscasestudies.co.uk) When business is booming, employee morale usually soars. It seems like everyone’s getting bonuses, hiring assistants and basking in the company’s success. But when bad news rolls in, the collective mood of employees can plummet. This can happen when the firm looses a big account, suffers a severe downturn or experiences regulatory of legal setbacks. Employees will then look to managers for guidance and reassurance.
During trying times, the manager becomes more than the business owner. They must lead employees by setting an inspiring example. When managers’exhibit strength in the face of adversity, they assure the troops that they are able to steer the company through a rough patch and prevent it from sustaining lasting image. Managers must delegate freely to manage a fast-growth business. But boosting employees’ morale during tough times is one job no one can pass off. (Democratic Leadership style)
Managers should make themselves visible when setback occurs. They should start attending staff meetings they normally skipped. Help clerks do filing, answer the phone alongside customer service representatives or relieve exhausted workers on the assembly line or loading dock. By pitching in with a positive attitude, they will lift everyone’s sprit.
There is no single best way to build morale in the midst of organisational setbacks. While some employees will shoulder crisis without much complaint, many others will react negatively. Managers can customise behaviour to address those employees’ personality. Here’s one morale booster that will work for all employees; see out their advice and act on it. By soliciting their suggestions and implementing as many of them as possible you make them feel like problem solvers who can exert at least some control over an unpredictable situation. This in other word will be identified as the democratic leadership style which is also known as participative leadership.
It is a type of leadership style in which members of the group take a more participative role in the decision-making process. (psychology.about.com) Example; if a country zoning board imposes a steep fine on your business, ask employees for ideas on how to cut costs. Approve even modest proposals to save office supplies; this will help employees take ownership of the crisis and work together to outlast it.(edwardlowe.org) There are different types of support and advice people may need and this could be provided in many ways.(www.invo.org.uk)
Personal/Professional Development; to review people’s progress and performance and provide positive feedback and encouragement and/or to see if they need any additional pointers to further develop their skills. For example, members of the public who take on research roles such as peer interviewing, may need feedback and guidance when they first put their skills into practice.
Practical Support; to help people to familiarise themselves with a new research environment, for example, all research team members might need help with finding their way around a new location or building. Members of the public may need support with meeting their practical needs, such as payment of fees and expenses, making travel arrangements, parking, and assessing childcare.
Emotional/Psychological Support; to help people to cope with any distress that arises as a direct consequence of being involved in research, for example, if they become upset after discussing a sensitive or emotional topic, or from hearing about other people’s bad experiences, or from returning to an environment that has been traumatic in the past. Some people may also be challenged by others about the benefit of public involvement in research and may be helped by being prepared to cope with professional or criticism. Emotional/Psychological Support is often as relevant to researches as it is to involve members of the public.
On-the-job-Support; to allow people to let off steam or raise any concerns after a difficult meeting or frustrating experience. Some of these types of support can be provided through informal mechanism that develops organically as colleagues start to work together and form a team. Others may be better provided through a more formal approach that will need to be properly resourced.
Communicate with Customers and Employees; do not be reluctant to confront bad news. Develop a strategy to disseminate information. It may not be customers you need to talk to, but suppliers and vendors. Managers also have to engage their employees. Listen to staff and address any specific challenges they face. ‘Keep them up to par with what is going on; even you don’t have all of the answers’.
Conduct overall cost Analysis; as a manager, look at where you can reduce overhead. Negotiate with suppliers for a better price, find ways to save money. If the company has a bunch of products that doesn’t sell, cut back on inventory. ‘Companies think that because headcount is the biggest line, item on their budget then that is where they should cut costs. Getting rid of employees is the easiest strategy but it might not be the right one’. ‘Layoffs are generally a reaction versus a well thought out strategy. As a manager, you don’t want to cut so deep it hurts the company’.
Empower Employees; find ways to increase moral and empower employees to be the best that they can be, their inputs and opinions should be valued. ‘Happy employees, take care of customers’. Employees are an important asset because they are in direct communication with customers. Motivated employees attract more satisfied customers which in turn, lead to increased profits’.
Embrace Change; ‘Most people are not good at taking risks when they are threatened, we have a tendency to react by fright or flight’ says James.By becoming too defensive, it could reduce chances which could lead out a set of crisis situations. When face with a company setback, it is necessary to stay positive; look at what is working, be proactive, find new growth opportunities, preserve-hang in there and ride out the storm. (www.inc.com)
Analyse the need for integrity, fairness and consistency in managerial decision making. (3.1, 3.2, 3.3 and3.4) Decision-making is a crucial part of good business. It is good information and experience in interpreting information. Decision-making increasingly happens at all levels of a business. The board of directors may make the grand strategic decisions about investment and direction of future growth (www.tutor2u.net) Often, association leaders must make decisions that members do not agree with but maybe greatly affected by. Members may feel they have little to say over the actions implemented by their leaders. Association staff members are often charged with implementing decisions made by leadership, including communicating the decisions to members and helping members understand that the decision will ultimately result in good. Recently, the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) leadership increased annual membership dues.
This change alone would help to fund the association better and also provide new opportunities and means for future development. This single alteration has expanded the parameters of this organisation dramatically. They are now considering additional functions, retreats, scholarships programs and resources etc. It is no secret that economic times are difficult, we find ourselves suddenly in a world of hopeful get-rich-quick strategies, and ‘’extreme couponing’’ champions. Asking people to give more when they have less is not a decision that is considered to be popular. Although the actions and decisions of our leaders are sometimes confusing to others, we must have confidence in the leadership in place, and in the decisions that they make more times than not, members voted them into the position of leadership. (www.raybourn.com, 2012) I think that for unpopular decisions, the more personal the communications method, the better.
The scale and geographic spread of an organisation will have a big influence, but the nearer one get to a face to face communication, the better. So, phone is better than email. Video conference is better than phone, in person is better than video conference. It is useful to think about unpopular decisions from the point of view of the decision itself (unpopular outcome) the process of coming up with the decision (fair process), and the opportunity to deal with the consequences of the decision (work grounds).(www.changingorganisations.com) Different types of communication styles could be used to communicate difficult and unpopular decisions. In business world, communication is necessary for conducting business in an efficient manner. Any business involves two types of communication; external communication that is directed to the actors in the business environment, and internal communication or organisational communication that is directed to employees.
In addition, it is not possible to imagine organisational communication without conflicts. Conflicts are normal in any organisation, because people have different opinions. People communicate their thoughts, idea, knowledge and fears differently in conflicts situations. Managers and team members should know and understand these different styles of communications to avert conflicts. Oral communication is one common form of internal communication for example, in a group or one to one meeting. Nowadays, electronic communication is growing in importance. This can involve written communication, such as an email, text or tweet or oral communication via video conferencing. Intranet; enterprise has recently developed a new intranet system called ‘the hub’ this replaced a purely information based system. It enables input from employees at enterprise’s locations across Western Europe and North America.
This channel of communication supports enterprise’s core values. When the outcome of a decision is not known with certainty, a manager faces a decision-making problem under either conditions of risks or conditions of uncertainty. A decision is made under risk when a manager can make a list of all possible outcomes associated with a decision and assign a probability of occurrence to each one of the outcomes. The process of assigning probabilities to outcomes sometimes involves rather sophisticated analysis base on the manager’s extensive experience in similar situations or on other data. An example of a decision made under risk might be the following; a manager decides to spend £1000 on a magazine ad believing there are three possible outcomes for the ad, 20 percent chance the ad will have only a small effect on sales, a 60 percent chance of a moderate effect and a 20 percent chance of a very large effect.
This decision is made under risk because the manager can list each potential outcome and determine the probability of each outcome occurring. Accommodation Style; people prefer to keep their emotions in control and to speak indirectly, using metaphors or other techniques to prevent a conflict from escalating and damaging the relationship. Discussion Style; most managers’ keep their emotions controlled but try to speak clearly and accurately about their disagreements to the other person. Engagement Style; people in this group are more comfortable with feelings and express them openly. They try to be direct about what their concerns are and are often passionate in their conversations.(psychosocial.actalliance.org) There is no normal style of communication. It simply varies between people and cultures. Communication styles can vary between people in an organisation.
As we work with people from different communities and countries, it can be expected we will meet people whose communication styles may differ from our own. It is therefore, important to clear up misunderstandings and misinterpretations early on and to be open to different styles of communications. In contrast to risk, uncertainty exists when a decision maker cannot list all possible outcomes and cannot assign probabilities to the various outcomes. When faced with uncertainty, a manager would know only the different decision option available and the different possible states of nature. The states of nature are the events or conditions that can influence the final outcome or payoff of a decision but cannot be controlled or affected by the manager. My suggestion is to use the following as a starting point; Summarise the issues relating to the decision
Outline the process you went through to arrive at the decision Say what the problem is Provide opportunity for people to tell you the implications of the decisions from their perspective Ask them to identify possible action or solutions in response to the implications they raise.
It is more powerful if top senior managers and directors in every work place get to their people (employees) before the decision is finalised, they need to tell workers what they are contemplating and ask them what the implications are from their own perspective. (Don’t assume you know what their perspective is, even if you know them well and used to do their job yourself). You can then problem solve with them about how to alleviate the negative implications they have identified. And you never know, they might identify some positive implications or opportunities the organisation has not thought of.
(n.d.). Retrieved March 4th, 2014, from businesscasestudies.co.uk: http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/business-theory/strategy/business-objectives-planning-and-stakeholders.html#axzz2v2QsaooB (n.d.). Retrieved March 4th, 2014, from businesscasestudies.co.uk: http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/teacher-resources/#axzz2v2QsaooB (n.d.). (K. Cherry, Producer) Retrieved March 5th, 2014, from psychology.about.com: http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/f/democratic-leadership.htm (n.d.). Retrieved March 5th, 2014, from edwardlowe.org: http://edwardlowe.org/digital-library/maintaining-employee-morale-during-setbacks/ (n.d.). Retrieved March 6th, 2014, from www.invo.org.uk: http://www.invo.org.uk/different-types-of-support/ (n.d.). (R. Bowett, Producer) Retrieved March 7th, 2014, from www.tutor2u.net: http://tutor2u.net/business/organisation/decisionmaking.htm
(n.d.). (C. M. Brown, Producer) Retrieved March 8th, 2014, from www.inc.com: http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/10/7-tips-for-dealing-with-a-company-setback.html (Ducham)