This is the end of my 12-week-employment at Star Industries (SI). Finally, I have just finished my internship program at this prestigious window and door making company in the role of Human Resources General Manager. Now, I am not a manager anymore.
As far as I can remember, when entering in Human Resource Department (HRD), I felt a little bit nervous in that I had not made acquaintance with my team members before. Amazingly, I was the only man in this department. After getting to know each other, I felt better and a tiny bit surprised later because four other HR newly employed women elected me as a leader or a general manager of HRD although it was not my first time to be in a position of a team leader.
As a member of SI, I had to follow strict dress-code rules, which required very formal outfits to be dressed (button-up shirt, trousers, and shoes). At first, I felt rather stiff and uncomfortable in that never before had I dressed formally like that. I asked myself why I felt in this way. Upon reflection, I have learnt that it is business etiquette, every businessperson or company staff always follows this formal dress-code. Dressing formally also indicates I am a professional employee working in a corporate environment. From my experience, I learn that if I do not follow the rules regarding dress-code stated in the employment offer, I will be penalized. Therefore, in my future career, being in the position of a white-collar staff, I believe that dressing formally creates respect in that the way I dress will affect and imply my job position and illustrates that I am taking the job seriously.
For our routine communication in the company, it is popular to use email to communicate news or informative messages across or inside the department. My problem was that I could not know how to convey bad news to my targeted audience. First, I had a task to inform one staff member who was frequently late at work that he could be sacked. However, I failed to achieve my communication objective when just typing few words to ask him to come to see me, without talking about the exact date and time and even I did not know how to use subject line effectively. After having some training sessions with my Chief Executive Officer (CEO), I comprehend that an effective bad news email should be clear, precise, appropriate in the level of formality, and specific. Additionally, for bad news information, I have to use what I call, Kiss Kick Kiss method, and ‘buffer’ in order not to make people feel disappointed and frustrated. Since this experience, I planned to change because I was aware of my limitation. Indeed, when I came up with the situation of the company’s seal supplier who provided deficient seals for window making process, I knew how to communicate this bad news effectively without deteriorating the relationship between the seal supplier and the company. This formal learning on writing effective bad news email from my CEO’s sessions will benefit me a lot for my communication skill in my future career in the human relations industry, especially when conveying negative messages to my clients or my colleagues and still remaining sincere and firm relationship.
Conflict sometimes occurred when I, my staff, and other departments were discussing about company problems that contributed to the negative situation with the big order of customer X. I realized that the conflict between my department and finance department was attributed to the discord with respect to goal incompatibility. The Finance Manager and I actually had a disagreement on the decisions made because of different objectives in both departments. The Finance Department (FD) failed to approve a budget of $20,000 to run HR activities because FD wanted to cut costs. However, I wanted more budgets to open more training workshops for workers. Conflict occurred and eventually, I could not hold HR activities effectively because of lacking budget, thus to cause the window deficiency in the customer X’s order. I was quite frustrated when my efforts to strengthen my department performance and to run sufficient training classes could not turn into reality owing to the communication problems and conflict handling styles of both Finance Manager and myself. Upon reflection, I believe that our decision-making process failed to incorporate the mutual goals in each department. After learning a model of styles to handle conflict (Thomas, cited in Daft et al, 2010), I appreciated that both the Finance Manager and I had avoiding style, which reflected neither assertiveness nor cooperation. Based on my experience, now I understand that in order to be compatible in terms of goal congruence, I should apply collaborating style, which reflects a high degree of both assertiveness and cooperation in order to avoid goal incongruence. To be specific, in my future career, so as to make decisions, I have to collaborate and inform other departments in advance about my decisions and try to compromise any benefits and costs associated with these decisions. By doing that, I believe, to a certain extent, I can avoid conflict and goal incompatibility.
Composing a business report to communicate informative messages to the whole company is also an interesting and challenging part of my responsibilities. At first, my HR staff and I found it quite difficult to discover any issues related to our department and their findings. However, through careful research by releasing surveys and statistics about employee satisfaction to measure how satisfied the employees were, my staff, and I had better understanding regarding what issues involved in our department that contributed directly to the problem with customer X. After identifying the main issues, I asked myself how to come up with resolutions and recommendations for those. Meetings between HR members were held. By undertaking research on the Internet and reading relevant books, eventually, we were able to come up with recommendations for our findings. Completing the business report will benefit me a lot in my future career in the human relations industry. Now I have the ability to utilize and issue polls and surveys in order to gauge the clients’ and employees’ satisfaction. This, I think, is quite an important soft skill that consequently facilitates me a lot in my future job.
Daft, R L, Lussier R N, Achua C F, Dubrin, A J, Bratton J, Grint, K, Nelson, D L, 2010, Leadership and Management for RMIT university, 1st edn, Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited