The Business: Digital Comm Essay
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Digital Comm is a new branch of the Digital Communication Corporation set up for the past two years in the city of New Orleans and its employees are drawn from the neighboring counties in Orleans County. Though the company has only been in operation for two years, it has recently undergone major restructuring as a result of the hurricane Katrina disaster as well as the existence of competing telecommunications companies in Louisiana and the wider United States.
Digital Comm has been a part of telecommunications in the US for decades and is responsible for providing services in the area of telegraph/telegrams, land phones, cellular phones, and internet.
Business Objectives The company mainly is service oriented, providing customer telecom support throughout the entire United States. In addition to this, it also provides its customers with access those products that complement its service. These products have for the past year included a variety of landline and cellular phones, personal computers and laptops, mp3 players, and other accessories.
However, the main aspect of the company’s product is in its service of consumers’ needs. A major area of employment for New Orleans citizens, therefore, has been the customer services representation taking place within Digital Comm’ call center. Mission Statement Digital Comm is dedicated to providing universal service in telecommunications on a global scale. The company will offer the best in telephone, wireless, internet, and VOIP services as well as access to cable and television and all other media of communication as they become available.
This company is committed to staying current with the technological advances of the information era, and to provide its customers with the best quality service and support in their use of the technologies. To facilitate this, we will continue to upgrade the knowledge and capabilities of those we hire, and to equip them with the tools necessary to satisfy our worldwide market. Digital Comm is an equal opportunity employer, and is as committed to its employees as it is to its clientele.
Vision The immediate vision of Digital Comm is to improve the relations that currently exist between the employees and management in order to better serve its customers and maintain its corporate image. We value the work of our employees and understand how indispensable they are to the continued operation of the company, as well as to its reputation with its customers. Currently, we look toward improving the status of the employees that remain with the company since its recent downsizing. It is necessary to rebuild their confidence in Digital Comm as a secure working environment.
We look therefore toward providing an increase in benefits, as well as other incentives to secure employees’ trust and support. Values Digital Comm seeks to create and maintain a corporate culture in which customers, employees, and managers feel a sense of security within the system. The company commits itself to handle all business with the utmost integrity, maintaining ethical standards in all areas of conduct. It is also committed to treating its employees, shareholders, and customers with respect and to understand and meet their needs wherever possible.
This company also pledges itself to full and complete disclosure wherever such cannot be deemed to be harmful to any of its stakeholders. Market Research The telecommunications market has recently become more competitive, especially with recent mergers (such as between Cingular and AT&T) and this competition has forced Digital Comm to put into effect a corporate downsizing plan. The problem has also been compounded by the recent hurricane Katrina disaster, which caused more than half the population to evacuate the New Orleans area (U. S.
Census Bureau, 2006). The general scheme included the decision to cease our offering of telecommunications-related products and to stick mainly to the services that go along with them. This decision was made because the market for the tangible products mainly came from the New Orleans population, while the market for services comes from a much wider national base. The scheme also included a global expansion initiative that would begin in the United States, spread to Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and eventually to the rest of the world.
This has come about in response to the convergence of technology in computers and hand-held devices. Cell phones have been integrated with computers, and television and telephone services are now available on these devices through the internet. The provision of service on a global scale has therefore become possible. The competition for telephone services, especially via those programs that provide free voice over internet protocol (VOIP) service, has made it necessary for the company to expand its consumer base on a worldwide scale and to offer a more universal service (Lee & Tsai, 2006).
This will allow not only for the integration of many technologies in one package, but also cater to the needs of the disabled (2006). The “benefits to technology suppliers and operators of implementing a universal service policy include: improving corporate image, acquiring valuable customer information, and utilizing economies of scale to reduce cost and promote a proprietary technology” (Schement, 2000). The parent company’s global expansion had made it necessary to hire within the areas of expansion, and this had further necessitated downsizing in the local branches, of which the New Orleans branch was one.
The company’s headquarters located in New York had decided to reduce the capacity of peripheral branches to the bare minimum and also to outsource to other providers its sale of complementary products. The initiative resulted in a compromise with the major telecommunications trade unions (United States International Telecommunications Union (USITU), Telecommunications Workers Union, Communication Workers Union, and the National Communications Union) and the lay-off of approximately 50% of all customer sales/service representatives, leaving roughly 250 citizens of New Orleans still on staff at Digital Comm.
It proved unnecessary and impractical to pull completely out of New Orleans because of the significant number of consumers within the county that would continue to require our service as well as the many in other states that they could continue to serve. The county consisted of over 480,000 persons (US Census, 2000) when we entered, and though the population has fallen to 220,000 (US Census, 2006), a significant portion (18. 5%) of these persons still rely on the service of Digital Comm.
Plus, the retention of New Orleans citizens is also desirable because of the number of them that speak the Cajun language, a dialect of French—important to the company’s plans to expand to Canada (PBS, 2005). Because of the Charter of the French Language of 1977, which made it necessary for all companies wishing to provide service to the public offer this service in the French language, it has been necessary to retain New Orleans citizens as customer service representatives, a greater portion of which are speakers of the French language than the rest of the United States (Gouvernement du Quebec, 2002).
The labor unions had initially opposed Digital Comm’s lay-off initiative, and since the lengthy negotiation period, many workers are still dissatisfied with their positions within the company. This is especially true since most have had their wages reduced. Since the implementation of the downsizing program, motivation in the workplace has been low, and it continues to ebb. Many who were laid off have left since the Katrina disaster, and this has been considered as the company’s chance to regain ground.
It has been necessary to come up with a scheme that addresses this problem in order that the remaining employees of Digital Comm will have the ability and desire to provide the best service to our US consumers as well as to the rest of the world. In addition to this, the United States International Telecommunications Union (USITU), Telecommunications Workers Union, Communication Workers Union, and the National Communications Union, all have their eyes fixed on this company since the recent turbulent negotiations that led to a compromise between lay-offs and wage-reductions.
It is, therefore, also important to keep the employees happy and motivated in order to discourage further action by these organizations. The following is the proposed implementation of an employee motivation scheme in the form of a reward management system. Strategy Selection and Rationale The Digital Comm Corporation has developed a strategy that focuses on the motivation and reward management of the employees that continue to be employed within the company since its recent downsizing.
The major goal of this rewards program is to improve the security of the company in New Orleans by increasing employees’ perception of job security, challenge, and the ability to move upward within the organization. This is especially necessary due to the fact that the company profits have not been at the level anticipated and tense wage/benefits negotiations have recently been held within the company. The employees will be made aware of the goals of the organization (globally and locally) and be shown how the specific goals of increased productivity and company image are connected to their jobs and the overall company mission statement.
Strategy Details Our system of rewards management is based on the idea that an important means of motivating humans is to provide for needs that are currently unsatisfied (Maslow, 1943). The employees of Digital Comm have just experienced a situation in which their jobs were seen as no longer secure. The need to re-establish job security is an important one at this time, and this can be used to the advantage of the company. It must be made clear to the employees that their job security is tied to their productivity.
Therefore, rewards will be given for such behaviors as punctuality and the ability to establish a good rapport with customers over the telephone. A system of call-points will be established in which employees will receive 10 points for each day they show up early for work and 5 points for every time they return on-time from their breaks and lunches. The number of points will be totaled at the end of every three-month period, and bonuses in the form of company products will be given to the employee that accrues the most points.
Partnerships that exist with the companies to whom we outsourced our accessory production (Comm Gadgets and Exessorise) will provide these gifts. Employees are likely to enjoy such gifts as cell phones, Bluetooth adaptors, modems, or reduced prices for high-speed internet access. Because of the current status of the company and its need to reduce costs, rewards cannot take the form of monetary compensation (such as raises). However, the benefits can be quantified, as will be shown in the budget.
Another aspect of productivity within this service-oriented industry is the ability to handle a large number of customers in the amount of time allotted for each person’s workday. Those customers within the call center (the largest division of our New Orleans branch) who are able to reduce and maintain their average call-time to 5 minutes will receive 30 call-points per day. Furthermore, the ability to handle irate customers is an important aspect of their jobs, and customer irritability is often negatively correlated with their desire to purchase additional services.
Employees that are able to pacify angry customers enough to get them to add services (such as long distance) to their basic plans will have the opportunity of gaining 20 extra points per irate customer. The three (3) employees who accrue the most per period will be awarded the benefits. Outside of the call center, in the area of personal (face to face) customer care, reward management will also take place. Apart from the recognition that comes with winning the quarterly bonuses, employees will have the chance of vying for such benefits as an extra hour of lunch.
This benefit will be given out once per week and the employee that wins this has the opportunity to choose a friend to take along with him or her. This should provide the employee with recognition; plus the opportunity to confer this benefit upon another should supply the worker with a sense of power, affiliation, and esteem (Pardee, 1990). The criteria for winning this benefit are consistent courtesy and proper deportment with the in-house customers and clientele, such as persons who come in person to pay bills or make inquiries, etc.
This reward is especially available to those employees who prove professional and accommodating in their attitudes toward French-language speakers. Because the group of employees who work with customers in person is smaller and work more closely together than our telephone customer service representative, this effort at motivation through improving affiliation and granting power has been deemed more effective in this department (1990).
Out of the partnership that was established with the trade unions (The United States International Telecommunications Union (USITU), Telecommunications Workers Union, Communication Workers Union, and the National Communications Union) has come the idea of establishing a multi-lingual think-tank within the local New Orleans branch (as well as other branches with concentrations of non-English speakers such as Miami and Los Angeles) that will lead quickly into the expansion into the Canadian territory as far as Quebec and beyond.
The ideas implemented in this area will also be translatable to the international level (especially the European Community), where languages other than English are also spoken and where similar laws govern concerning French, the official language of the United Nations (Shyrock, 2007). Though monetary benefits will not initially be provided to these employees, new and distinctive titles plus the opportunity to attain supervisor status will be given. Two employees will be chosen for this, and they will each accrue a raise in salary of $250 per month after six months of service in that capacity.
These people will be in charge of translating the company’s website, brochures, automated telephone directories and other company material into the French language. This will allow the company better standing within the international community and especially the state of Quebec. This will also make it easier to make the transition to compliance with other language codes, considering the similarity of the French language to others like Spanish, Italian and Romanian (Mensching, 2000).