Crumbles Biscuit PTY LTD is a large biscuit factory that employs a culturally diverse workforce. This report is aimed at recognising current situation and evaluating the organisation, and allocating problems and possible problems. Providing guidelines that will increase profit, efficiency, happier work environment and effective communication are the intention of the report. Proposed program to assess prejudice and stereotyping, learning about cultures and behaviours, improve relationships and specially communication.
Topic for this report is communication in a large company that employs a culturally diverse workforce. There are issues related to a diverse workforce like retaining employees, stereotyping, prejudice, lack of understanding of cultures, communication effectively and utilising employees fully. There are actions to reduce issues with diverse workers and retaining them. Culture is learned behaviour. Culture involves values, religion, norms, behaviour, feelings and traditions people develop over time. Diverse means different, various, many and different. In this relation, it means many different skin colour, cultures and backgrounds.
Crumbles PTY LTD is a large biscuit company, employing little over 120 employees. Senior management runs the business from the top of the hierarchy, with several layers of managerial position following downwards. Crumbles PTY LTD also has accounting and marketing departments, which work solely within their areas of expertise. Head management of departments and factory floor communicates to senior management.
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Work procedures and policies are set out, and can be found in folders in the hall by the main desk. Folders are easily accessible, but rarely read. They are straight forward, and mostly contain instructions on how to perform normal tasks for the floor staff. The biscuit company employs staff from different cultures and backgrounds; senior management wants it to be a culturally diverse employing company.
Increasing numbers of different cultures and backgrounds is joining the workforce.
* Verbal communication can be in form of spoken words to one or more people, as well as written words communication. Talking with someone or to several people, verbal communication can be formal and informal. From the business world it can be a conversation in the hallway, a meeting, newsletter, e-mail, memo, manager with worker discussing work procedures. Barriers to verbal communication can occur if jargon or slang is used, words are unclear or used illogical or person being to ambiguous. In many cultures it is courteous to say yes and nod, it simply means “yes I heard you”, but in Australian culture it means I understand. (Hammond et al., 1992) Illogical organisation of words and unclear, ambiguous or discourteous way of speaking, Jargon, slang, lingo and negative speaking can be interfering with the message.
* Non verbal communication is a way of communicating without words or graphic. While talking the body language sends communication through movements and emotions. Head, hands, body movements, facial expression, gestures, emotion are examples of non verbal communication. Cultures have different meanings for some body movements, a thumbs up in Australia means; “It’s all good” and “good”. While in Latin countries it means same as “giving the finger”.
In some Asian cultures is it a show of courtesy and respect to look below the cheek when speaking to someone, while in Australia it is common with eye contact.
* Communication with shapes diagrams, lines are graphic communication. Shapes like “no smoking” signs, toilette signs etc. Some graphics may have different meanings to people, so misunderstanding may occur.
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* Retaining culturally diverse workforce. Employing a culturally diverse workforce is not easy, but retaining the workforce is known to be even harder. (Farren and Nelson, 1999)
* Stereotyping. Labelling, prejudice about other people groups. People tend to like similar to one self, and dislike those who appear different. Such negative reactions will not let an organisation fully utilise its potential and may create an discontented environment. Hiring, empowering, rewarding and recognising people similar to one self is the danger with stereotyping and ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is believing that ones own culture is superior to others. Understanding other backgrounds and cultures.
* Evaluate the current communication methods, and assess any problems and issues. Find appropriate actions to achieve effective communication to eventually increase profit, efficiency, employee retention and happier workplace environment.
* Efficient communication has many good effects, which is shown in figure:
Approaches to improve communication
The restaurant industry in the USA is dealing with increasing diversity in the workforce. The industry has acknowledged that multicultural training has a direct relationship with retaining staff. Multicultural understanding and improving interpersonal cross cultural skills is improved through diversity training. Increase in female and non white employees is the evident shift in the restaurant industry as well as the hospitality industry.(Lee and Chon, 2000) Training will be necessary in Biscuit factory, to avoid causes of communication problems. Learning about other cultures is also necessary to avoid segregating groups.
Cultural diversity may have significant impacts on older, more traditional organisations. Homogenous workforce create barriers for new diverse entrants, difficulties include; integration and communication with supervisors and co-workers. Diversity may enrich organisations with new cultures, ideas, opinions and other methods of approaching problems. Cultural diversity may reduce group cohesiveness in groups and teams. (Lee and Chon, 2000) Crumbles biscuit factory needs to locate the favourable attributes in the diverse workforce and use them on a correct manner. More pleasant work environment and job satisfaction will appear if workers feel utilised and valuable. Managerial positions will play an important role in including diverse workers, and support training and learning. Managers as well need to learn techniques, to lead appropriate.
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Understanding different cultures and backgrounds may increase effective management techniques in motivating, leading and rewarding culturally diverse employees. This understanding needs to be known with all employees throughout the organisations for better cultural awareness. Cultural awareness helps employees improve interpersonal interactions, understanding of values and communication methods. With the increasing diverse workforce and opening up of boarders, the failure to take advantage of the variety in their employees and other company relations will make it difficult for companies to survive.(Lee and Chon, 2000)
Appropriate training will reduce prejudice about people and improve relationships between different cultures. Multicultural training will improve self confidence for dealing with other people with different culturally background. Failure to integrate multicultural perspective in management training will cause efficiency fall short of its potential.
Managers: Leading not managing
Leading employees will show greater results than managing, which Hammond points out;
“One of the first things companies must look at in multicultural environments is the leadership vs. management issue. Leadership, in contrast to management, deals with values, ethics, perspective, vision, creativity and common humanity. Leadership is a step beyond management; it is at the heart of any unit in any organisation. Leadership lies with those who believe in the mission and through action, attitude, and attention pass this on to those who have to sustain the mission and accomplish the individual tasks. People want to be led, not managed; and the more diverse the working population becomes, the more leadership is needed.” (Hammond et al., 1992) Managerial training can help assist in understanding the appropriate procedure in leading employees, diverse and non diverse workers.
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Recognising leadership diversity is an important step in integrating diverse workforce. Diversity leadership must start at senior management, and reflect throughout the hierarchy. (Salomon and Schork, 2003) Introducing diverse leadership will benefit the company, giving a competitive edge.
Buddy system is when putting 2 workers in a closer work relationship to assist with work related issues. Teaming up a person with language problems with a bilingual worker, or an interpreter can quicker reduce language barriers. Ricoh Electronics, Inc is a Tustin, California based manufacturer of office equipment. It has 26 ethnic groups over 1200 employees. To resolve language issues, the company as a short term plan included an interpreter or teaming up with a bilingual in job training. The “buddy” system worked well, employees are first educated in basic language skills, then in company goals and mission. (Hammond et al., 1992)
Assessing language barriers with newsletters and other organisational documents can be to distribute documents printed in common language on one page and the greatest minority’s language on the other. Minorities will have to read both sides, to learn the common language.
In school, students get mostly taught written communication, less time devoted to interpersonal communication. It is not surprising to find that too few of the cases where a subordinate transmit a message to a subordinate, the message is received they way it was intended. Learning about interpersonal communication will show improved communication with diverse workforces and other occasions. Interpersonal communication will lead to more effective communication; workers will learn more effective ways of sending and receiving messages. Effective communication is complete when the receiver has understood the message as the sender intended it.
Employing a diverse workforce can be a challenge, but retaining the diverse workforce is the greatest challenge. Retaining diverse workforce as well as traditional workforce requires attention, right motivation, support and appropriate guidance. With culturally diverse workforce, a greater understanding of the culture and background is required. Appropriate support at guidance will improve employee loyalty. (Farren and Nelson, 1999)
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Four best practices to retain a diverse workforce:
1. Open communication. Communication holds an organisation together. Opening up communication as the critical first step, but must be reflected by the needs an concerns of employees. Treating people with respect and fair treatment have a higher retaining rate. (Farren and Nelson, 1999)
2. Education and Training. Diversity training is about employees learning other cultures and lifestyles. What is different, what area is sensitive with the culture. Learn to avoid stereotyping, prejudice and biases. Employees should go through teambuilding exercises, sensitivity training, and supervision courses. Microsoft uses diversity training to utilise its diverse workforce fully, and to retain, develop and attract talent. Microsoft uses two interactive diversity training programs; awareness program to reduce stereotyping, and a business program to provide simulated real life challenges, situations and solutions. (Farren and Nelson, 1999)
3. Mentor program. Allocating figures to employees that look like them or resembles as mentors. Include in corporate tapes, in boards of directors and annual reports.
Mentoring is meant for creating opportunities for open communication between employees and newcomers into the organisation. (Farren and Nelson, 1999) Optimally mentoring occurs naturally and establishes a relationship between a senior organisational member and employee. Mentoring can resolve many of organisations communication problems. (Sadri and Tran, 2002)
4. Make managers accountable. Link performance and reward to diversity. Making managers accountable for diverse employees, including it in job description. (Farren and Nelson, 1999)
Mentoring can have several direct positive effects like; support, friendship, counselling, role model, provide challenging assignments and coaching.(Sadri and Tran, 2002)
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Salmon and Schork values mentoring in utilising diverse workforce, and states: “Mentoring is also important in gaining the full value from a diverse workforce”.(Salomon and Schork, 2003)
Hammond, Teresa R, Kleiner and Brian H has a similar program:
“Key steps involved in managing a multicultural workforce are: 1. Acknowledge the differences of the workplace. 2. Examine all policies and procedures and eliminate areas of bias or discrimination. 3. Conduct a needs assessment. 4. Develop training programs to educate both managers and employees. 5. Ensure that management proves its openness and commitment to the program through follow-up measures such as questionnaires and surveys, focus groups, or other means. 6. Be constantly aware of cultural biases and differences.” (Hammond et al., 1992)
Mutual recognition is what we humans depend on, we want to be loved, honour and achievements. Building a relationship includes building integrity, trust, reciprocal understanding and mutual relationship enabling. Relationships are essential in an organisation, because it holds it together. “Balancing the needs for individual recognition as a unique person on the one hand and culturally transcendent recognition as a human being with corresponding, very essential needs, on the other hand.” (Pless and Maak, 2004)
(Pless and Maak, 2004)
Emotional recognition is the most common and fundamental feature that exists between parents, friends and with colleges. Without emotional recognition there will be failure to establish self-esteem and a healthy sustainable relationship with people.(Pless and Maak, 2004).
People may have different ways of found this recognition. Recognising the appropriate ways to establish this recognition with different culturally backgrounds will be essential.
Effective communication is the heart of a successful company. Employing and utilising culturally diverse workforce enriches an organisation with greater ideas, opinions and wider problem solving. Appropriate training with managers and Employees will assist in utilising the workforce to its fully potential. Introducing a buddy system or hiring a short term interpreter will reduce language barriers. Farren and Nelsons program will assist in retaining the workforce; 1. Open up communication 2. Education and training 3. Allocating mentor’s 4. Make managers accountable. Training shall comprise interpersonal communication and cultural understanding. Improving communication and work relations will increase job satisfaction and efficiency.
Farren, C. and Nelson, B. (1999) Executive Excellence Provo, 16, 1.
Hammond, R, T., Kleiner and H, B. (1992) Equal Opportunities International. Patrington, 11, 4.
Lee, C. and Chon, K.-S. (2000) International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 12, 126.
Pless, N. M. and Maak, T. (2004) Journal of Business Ethics, 54, 19.
Sadri, G. and Tran, H. (2002) The Journal of Management Development. Bradford, 21, 11.
Salomon, M. F. and Schork, J. M. (2003) Research Technology Management. Washington, 46, 37.