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Effective communication has its own benefits in the workplace. Effective communication from managers to employees will result in the employees doing their job well. A good management style together with a positive communication approach will be quite effective in the workplace and will lead to better understanding between the employee and manager.
For an organization to be successful communication should happen both internally and externally.
Internal communication: between management and employees.
External communication: this takes place between staff and clients.
Let us consider Vodafone as a case study to illustrate the effective communication skills
Internal Communication: this takes place inside the organization between the employees and management. Here the employees act as stakeholders. This communication may take place in any of the forms listed below:
Vertically: this the top down approach which happens from the senior employees to juniors associates. The ultimate goal here is to improve the performance of tasks and make the junior employees understand the company's priorities and requirements.
Horizontally: this takes places between various teams and across departments. The goal here is to make sure roles are effectively carried out and tasks completed.
Intranet with restricted access to people within the business is a great tool for promoting better communication.
External communication :this takes place with customers. Vodafone has laid a principle for communication as "We will communicate openly and transparently with all of our stakeholders within the bounds of commercial confidentiality". Vodafone believes that this will reduce the barriers to communication. It makes sure that its messages are conveyed both verbally and non verbally.
For verbal communication the company has set contact centers so that the staff can be in direct contact with the customers and further giving an opportunity for its staff to talk to the customers about the issues.
Non verbal communication can take place through various methods such as advertisements in television, newspapers and other media, the Vodafone logo. This also acts as a method of determining the position of the brand. Further methods of non verbal communication include SMS to contact certain customers. Sales information can be reached out to customers through literature in the Vodafone shops.
The many forms of communication through which Vodafone reaches out to its customers are as below:
Promotion and sales material- Vodafone makes sure that the advertising material is correct and follows its Business principles. This also helps the information reaches out responsibly to its stakeholders together with promoting its products and services.
Awareness and Information: Vodafone promoted the use of mobile phones responsibly in the cars. It took the complex material and translated the information in easy to understand form and made the public aware of the new law and appropriate use of phones in the car.
Explanation and guidance: mobile phones have health effects on human beings. But the latest scientific research has something new and Vodafone needs to convey these findings clearly to the customers.
Motivation to dedicate Employees
A well motivated staff is a key to a productive and pleasant environment in a workplace. Motivating the employees must be one of the key responsibilities of a manager. An effective management and leadership reflect through effective motivation of employees in the workplace. Understanding the human nature is a key to effective employee motivation.
The key to performance improvement in an organization is motivation. Motivation is very essential for any business to survive and excel. Motivation is a skill and must be learnt. Performance can be defined as a function of ability and motivation as below
Job performance= function (ability)(motivation)
Ability depends on education and training. Motivation has the following seven strategies through which it can be initiated:
- Fair treatment of people
- Positive and high expectations
- Satisfying the needs of the employees
- Setting goals at work
- To restructure the jobs
- Set rewards and recognition for performance
Every organization has its own ways to motivate the employees to ensure that goals and targets are reached .
Obstacles to Effective Performance
The main obstacles to effective performance in an organization are as follows:
Culture is related to beliefs, values and customary ways of doing things. The main reason for employees leaving the company is cultural mismatch. According to the present culture employees are required to have a clear understanding of short term and long term goals. The employees are required to have a shared vision and values as well as being productive and motivated.
The organizational culture is determined by the leadership style and practices in an organization and hence plays an important role especially during acquisitions and mergers. Every organization has a set of values and beliefs. When an employee is exposed to a new culture, the individual goes through a state known as culture shock. When the companies merge the employees from the non dominant company need to adapt themselves to the new culture of the dominant company.
Let us consider Barclay Plc for instance. Barclay acquired Lehman Brothers and one of the major issues for Barclay after this acquisition is to take into consideration the two different cultures in these two companies. Most of the employees of Lehman Brothers have left Barclay and a few did not join Barclay. This makes it clear that the employees are not ready to adapt to the new values, leadership styles, beliefs and practices of the Barclay culture. One of the biggest challenges to the management at Barclay is to make employees accept the new culture. The change in culture ultimately has an effect on the motivation level of the employees, their commitment to the organization and their engagement in work. Another consequence of an acquisition is that the individuals from the non dominant organization will feel like loss of identity and the others will have a superior feeling. This will ultimately affect the company achieve its goals and objectives.
Another major issue of culture when the two organizations were merged is it will divert the attention of the employees and make the less productive. The attention of employees will be diverted to issues such as job security , feeling of discomfort working with new employees. Job security is the main issue as there will be duplication of departments and to manage the staff, the organization can reduce the manpower.
The job profiles may be redesigned which may have an impact on the performance of the employees. The employee's motivation, attitude and performance are determined by the culture. Motivation and culture go hand in hand. More an employee is motivated; the culture will be healthier. The key factor to be dealt in any organization is motivation. If an employee is not motivated properly then the employee will have problem accepting the new culture which will impact the individual's ability to do the job effectively and efficiently. The company should have flexible culture if a decision of acquisition is taken. This will allow the new employees to adjust to the new culture.
Culture reflects the style of management and leadership. A slight change in the values, leadership style and ideas will help the new employees adjust to the new environment. This is not easy task, but since Barclays has taken a decision of merger it should be ready to consider changes in its culture and leadership style.
Except for change nothing is constant in this world. Every activity in an organization results in some change. It can have a positive or negative effect depending on the communication made through change. The acquisition of Barclay and Lehman Brothers bought together a huge change in both organizations. New strategies and policies, procedures and work environment were created for work in both organizations. Change should involve people and not be imposed on people.
Preparing the employees of an organization for change is a very vital task and it is the responsibility of the management to do this. This can be done through various methods such as through oral communication, via training programs or through counseling. The major reason for the Lehman employees leaving Barclays when the two organizations were merged is that the change was not managed properly.
The key principles needed when planning to manage change are as follows:
Every person reacts to change differently.
Each person is different and has its own perceptions and preferences. A few people always look forward to change and new things and it easy to handle them. But it is a very difficult to handle people who always like things the way they were. These kind of people will experience stress and dissatisfaction and negative attitude towards their counterparts preferences.
Every person has his own needs and priorities
A few people work just for money but a few for the self and social identification. Change can be managed effectively by designing jobs in a better way through job redesign, job rotation management etc.
Managing expectations realistically
The organization should make clear to its employees that it cannot make everyone happy at the same time and this should be communicated effectively and realistically. The relation between expectations and reality is very important.
The management should do the tasks listed below in order to manage change effectively:
The management should inspire people and set certain objectives, goals and values for the organization
It should set up a communication network such as face to face interaction so that new ideas and policies can be easily communicated. If there are any obstacles in the way of communication then those should be removed as this will help people accept change.
Change can be made inevitable by promotions, recruitments and rewards.
When Barclays merges with Lehman conflicts were natural to arise as people from two different cultures and two different companies were merging. Starting with small disputes, conflicts may reach to higher levels which will ultimately affect the organization. Since the culture of both organizations is different each will have its own ideas, strategies, perspectives and goals.
The different types of conflict that may arise when people of two different cultures merge are as follows:
Conflict with boss
Since the manager has a more experience and bigger perspective it will not be good to encounter conflict with the boss. In order to avoid such a conflict it is better not to question his authority and any ideas and views should be presented in the form of suggestions.
Conflict with colleagues
Different point of view will lead to conflict between employees. This can be done resolved through proper communication.
Conflicts with the subordinates
Conflicts can be handles effectively by one of the following ways:
Each person should be given freedom to express their views.
Conflicts can be sorted to a greater level by identifying positive minded people.
Not everyone may have a broad vision as ours. So communicating and discussing our vision will help keep conflicts away.
Changing nature of Modern Work Organizations 
There many factors that contribute to the changing nature of work at organization, but the two main factors are:
Current market scenario requires organizations to be more competitive and customer focused, hence there is an increased pressure on the organization
The breakthrough in IT and communication is another factor. For example mobile and internet have made work to be separated from time and space.
Organizations have changed their focus and their main principles are:
Defining vision and values from the consumer's perspective
Creating a value chain i.e., defining activities and process that add value to customers and link them
Remove activities that add no value to the organization.
Reducing inefficiencies in the tasks in an organization.
These principles have added value to the organization enabling them to respond rapidly to customers' needs and supporting change and encouraging innovation.
The base of any organization depends on the policy, the values, the vision, the philosophy and goals set by the management. These act as the driving force for the organizational culture. Culture in a workplace determines the leadership style, the type of communication and group dynamics within the organization. The employees in the organization perceive the culture as a quality essential at work which has an impact on the degree of the employee's motivation. This ultimately affects the performance, personal growth and self development which ultimately affect the organization from achieving its goals.
The above discussed concepts such as communication, motivation, culture etc, make up only a small part of the theories of organizational behavior and theory. The success of any organization is determined by the application of the concepts of organizational behavior in the organization.
The best way to handle conflicts in a workplace is to address them through discussions and debates. Conflict can have a positive effect within the organization if it is addressed effectively. A successful manager is one who takes time to address and deal with the conflict. This in turn will lead to a healthy and diverse work environment.