Challenges in Workplace Communication
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Published: Tue, 14 Aug 2018
1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The main purpose of this report writing is to find out about communication and communication challenges that are faced by different people in their workplace. Our major focuses was on business house based in South Auckland. This was made possible by conducting interviews on three different people working for different companies and doing various research. After completion of this research it was easier to know how communication challenges are faced by people in their workplace and how problem can be solved.
To start off on our research a request letter for interview was send to three different people working for three different business. This was done to find out communication challenges and strategic that are faced by people in their workplace. Time and date was set for an interview with them and interview was conducted with a set of questionnaire in relation to communication challenges at their respective workplace. The three different people that interview was conducted were Mrs Bikashni Prakash, Mr Romit Prakash and Ms Nicky.
After the completion of interview thanks giving email were send to each one of them for giving their precious time and related information regarding communication challenges in their workplace. According to interview the most common communication barrier that was found in workplace were language barriers. As my interview environment was a supermarket and many customers that come in supermarket were of different races and not all of them know English. Some of the customers are from India and they speak Punjabi language so it becomes hard sometimes to communicate with them.
The final step was to prepare report based on communication challenges and barriers that are faced at different workplaces with different people. Since communication is a vital part of any business it must be understand well by people a single breakdown in communication can lead to a big problem for a business. It is important for every individual in a business to know how to faced challenges.
Table of Contents (Jump to)
Communication is transferring information from one place to another. Communication is a simple definition but how we communicates becomes a lot more complex. Proper communication leads to understanding of a situation. If there is a communication breakdown misunderstanding occurs which leads to problem in a business. The theory of a communication states that communication involves both sender and receiver passing information through communication channel. Communication channel is a way in which we communicate. It is important for a business to choose a proper communication channel since it has different strength and different weakness. Communication are always complex and it is a two way process. Communication in a business can be of two type internal and external. Internal communication occurs within a company among employees, between employers, supervisors and workers. External communication happens outside the company it mostly occurs between customer or clients, suppliers, government department e.g. bank, IRD and with other companies and stakeholders. Therefore it is a must to have better understanding of a communication and its process.
- Verbal communication that is spoken face to face or through telephone.
- Non-verbal communication it is how we present ourselves through body language.
- Written Communication through letters, emails, internet and media.
- Visualizations – graphics, charts, maps and logo.
Five main purpose of communication are to inform, persuade, create goodwill instruct and to inspire.
It helps people manage and maintain organisational operations. Communication happens in may form and it is different means for different situation. Communication is used to become familiar which leads to friendship. This is good for company since it helps workers to work together by knowing each other’s strength and weakness. But sometimes this cause distraction workers spending time chatting which affects the production.
Conflict is the main problem by the use of communication employees may disagree and argue with each other and management on a situation. It can cause tension and can affect the production. Conflict happens in a company due to workers demand not met and misunderstanding between and among workers.
“Communication barriers is anything that gets in the way of clear communication between sender and receiver.”(Sandra 2006). Barriers are the main cause of communication breakdown. There are different type of communication barriers.
- Physical Barriers this happens in many different forms. It can cause by phone, internet, communication distance and physical objects in the way of a sender and receiver. Other physical barriers which cause communication breakdown can be tiredness which cause difficult in concentrate. Hearing, sight and speech problem also environment problem that is how when and why we communicate. Lack of non-verbal information. Technology or medium that is what we used to communicate e.g. phone call or txt. Technical problem sometimes happen when phone line is not clear or network is down. Grammar, spelling punctuation and sentence structure it distracted attention from message. Also due to lack of visual clues in the telephone conversation when don’t know the age or what’s the other person state of mind or expression.
- Emotional barriers this takes place when we are upset, worried or sad and can miss what others are responding. Anger, embarrassment and fear are strong emotion which affects the communication. Often people don’t express their emotion because sometimes it makes others uncomfortable. Not expressing emotion is a barrier because it inhibits the development of relationships, trust and open communication. Defensive, negative or overly assertive also affects means we don’t pay attention to suggestion for improvement or by breaking others trust and be too self-confident and unaware of others needs and rights.
- Language based barriers this is most common. The main factor is not knowing the language. Since New Zealand in a country of multi race different people all over the world lives here and everyone doesn’t know others language so it becomes hard to communicate with them. The influence of one language to another some words in some languages look much alike but it has different mean in different language. The way we pronounce words and using idioms i.e. unusual or non-literal meaning we give to words that are in common usages this leads to misunderstanding. Different abilities with language due to education. Tone the way words are said and by using jargon technical terms.
- Psychological barriers this happens due to religion, politics and valves what an individual beliefs. Personality is the nature and character of individual and the experience. Lack of confidence and feedback that we don’t receive and attitude to communication or style e.g. some people are better in speech then writing.
- Gender and Culture major issues in communication. Gender is the differences between men and women their listen differently. Men listen for information and know what to do next whereas women listen for feelings and empathise. Women concentrate on relationship while men focuses on tasks. Culture has many influence and impact on communication due to difference in traditions and behaviours the way we met and greet with others. Understanding culture difference is important in business.
- Technology there are many benefit of technology such as texting on mobile, sending email using PowerPoint for presentation and internet for research but still there are effects of this on communication due to lack of feedback since technology is not available to everyone.
This assignment was given to us by our Business Communication tutor Mrs Sheetal Singh. This is part of our Business Communication 520 paper. The due date of this project is on Friday week 12.
Interview was conducted with three different people working for three different organisation in order to find out communication challenges faced by them at their workplaces.
The main objectives of this assignment was to find out communication challenges that is faced by different people at their workplace in New Zealand. During this research it was also found out how communication barriers affect work of an individual and to find out how to overcome those problem in a workplace.
The method used in completing this assignment is by doing interview of three individual working for different organisation. Also assignment as completed by doing internet and text book research.
My first candidate was Mrs Bikashni Prakash. She works for Food for Less Supermarket as a Checkout Supervisor located at 64 Atkinson Avenue Otahuhu. For the past nine years she has been employed in this company and has been living in New Zealand for more than eleven years now. She is an Indo Fijian and speaks Fiji Hindi and English. There are roughly 30 employees working for Food for Less and age group of employees are from 20 – 50 years. Her duties includes managing checkout, doing customer service, dealing with customers and suppliers. During her work experience she has faced many problems regarding communication challenges and barriers.
The main communication challenges faced by Mrs Bikashni Prakash in her workplaces were language barriers since she is working for a supermarket and many of the customers that comes in a supermarket are Indians from Fiji and India. They are from many different cultures and races. It is sometimes difficult to communicate with these customers because of the language since some Punjabi customers don’t know English and their Hindi is quite different from Fiji Hindi.
Her problem was solved by one of the staff who is Punjabi she seek help from her understanding what the customer was saying. She mostly spend her time with her workmates to know about different language, socialise with different people. If she is not sure about something she always ask for feedback from her workmates and by listening properly to what customers are saying.
Mr Romit Prakash is a Director of Globex Importers and Exporters which is located at Atkinson Avenue Otahuhu and has been living in New Zealand for more than 15 years. Mr Prakash started his company five years ago. He is an Indo Fijian and his main language is English and Fiji Hindi. There are roughly 15 workers working for him and their age groups are between 20 to 40 years. His responsibility include managing overall company checking all the packing and delivery of items are done properly and on time, dealing with clients and suppliers.
The main communication challenges faced by Mr Prakash in his company were gender and culture barriers. People working in his company are from different races who are Indo Fijian and islanders. They have different cultural behaviour and the way sometimes the workers speak makes it hard for understanding. They tend to speak their own language and not adapt to others. Gender barriers also happen in Globex since both male and female works here. Other barriers that affect operation of Globex are language and technology problem. Since nowadays everything is done by machines but sometimes due to breakdown of machines lead to delay in packing and production. Language barriers also affect his workplace since all his staff are always talking in their mother tongue language affecting others as not all are able to understand. This tend to make other staffs think that they might be talk against them so discrimination becomes a factor from here amongst the workers.
He resolved this communication barriers by letting his staff spending some time together during breaks to know about each other culture and language. To overcome gender issues in his workplace he divided different sections of packing room to males and females so that packing was done amongst and no time was wasted. Since male workers were able to lift heavy boxes for loading and offloading whereas females were doing packing, sealing and labelling of products dividing work equally
To minimise challenges related to technology issues, it was a rule that no mobile phones were to be used during working hours. All mobiles had to be put in locker so that staff can concentrate on their work instead of diverting their mind elsewhere. And another solution he tried to implement was by regularly servicing of machines and having spare ones so that if one breakdowns other one is available and work wouldn’t stop.
Ms Nicky is a Manager at Super valve which is located at 29 -33 Hall Avenue Otahuhu and has been employed for 6years now. She is from India and has been living in New Zealand for almost 15 years. Her responsibility includes managing checkout operations, general running operations of the supermarket, dealing with staff’s relation matter, dealing with customers and supplies complaint. They are roughly about 30 staffs working for Super Valve and most of them are Punjabis from India. Few Islanders and Indo Fijian are also working whose age groups range from 20 to 50 years.
The main communication problems faced by Ms Nicky at Super valve is culture and language barriers. It is a multi-racial supermarket and it has different races of customers. Some are Islanders, Indians from Fiji and India, Kiwi and Europeans. Sometimes aged customers come to shop who are not able to speak English and communication problems arises there. Culture barriers are also happening since workers working are from different races. Technology barriers also occur sometimes as well as emotional barriers this happens when a checkout operator or customer service personal are upset or having some personal problem it directly affected their work in terms of not smiling to customers and talking to them.
She tried hard to overcome this problem by letting staff spending sometimes together, socialising to know each other culture and language. Ms Nicky always tried to have back up system available in case of technology or machine breakdown. Counselling are also affordable so that sometimes if management feels that any workers are in some types of problem, trainings are provide of how to serve customers and be friendly to them. All this relates to having small workshops within the company
To conclude this research communication challenges that are faced by people at their workplace are basically the same. The major communication barriers that people face are language barriers. Other barriers that are found in workplace are culture and gender barriers, technology and physical barriers. Language barriers are the most common barriers in my research with responding with all the candidates facing communication challenges at their workplace. This can happen between co-workers or with customers. Technology barriers takes place since not everyone’s educated and don’t have access to technology or may lack the confidence, experience and knowledge to use them e.g. in most supermarket EFTPOS machine are available but some customers don’t have the knowledge as to how to swipe the card or what function to use for which account. Culture and gender barriers this takes place because New Zealand is a multicultural country and everyone should have equal right. It is very much important to understand and respect each other cultures and races. Physical barriers takes place due breakdown of communication channel or not getting full and proper information.
The impact of communication channels and barriers on workplace blocks understanding of messages in many different ways which affects both sender and receiver. Aware of barriers can help to avoid communication breakdown and less effect on communication problems. Secondly barriers can cause organisation to business, customers and reputation. Not proper communication can cause communication gaps and bring misunderstanding in an organisation. Lastly, employees should understand each other and their culture which can help to prevent arguments and fights and people using slangs language often can be offensive and can lead to affect others workers in particular workplace and customers.
After compelling all the information gathered through interviews and research some of the recommendations that can be made to prevent communication barriers at workplace. Most of general communication barriers can be overcome with knowledge, sensitivity by understanding theory and monitoring your behaviour. Instead of using technology for communication in some case communicate face to face. Socialization of workers with each other should be done to learn about different language and others culture. Try to use body gestures if possible in communication if other parties can’t understand your language. By acting ethically, openly and honestly which can bring positive communication. “Treating others as you wish to be treated yourself ’’ (Sandra etal 2006).
By increasing awareness we can help to elimate effects of emotionality. Try to being sensitive to one’s mood aware of how that might influence others before communication an important message. By creating an atmosphere where emotions will not come as a barrier and by giving constructive feedbacks. Pay attention what others are saying try to listen carefully. Communication should not take place under mental stress and by using appropriate language which is suitable for recipient.
By developing good communications, skills can overcome the communication barriers by understanding the basic of communication skills knowing what communication really is. By having courage to say what you think be confident and doing practice to developed advanced communication skills. By engaging your audience by making eye contact, gestures and avoid sending mixed message. By using body language beware of what your body is saying and by development effective listening skills. When using verbal always try to speak clearly.
- 3 Interview Letters
- 3 copies of emails
- 3 questionnaires
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