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Question:

Task: Identify the communication context

Assessment Description:

In response to a simulated business case study and workplace scenario, you will plan and lead a communications project team meeting in which you will present a communication issue, propose solutions and solicit feedback from the team. You will then prepare a written reflection on your leadership of the meeting. 

Part A: Lead a team meeting.

  1. Review the case study below, particularly the background to the simulated organisation, current change issues, communication and consultation needs, and your role as Communications Team Manager.
  1. Review JKL Industries simulated business documentation, including strategic plans and operational plans. Note what the organisation does, how it does it, what its goals and objectives are, and who its stakeholders and customers are. 
  1. Plan a communication package (a set of strategic communication activities including at least one written component and one oral, interactive component) to meet the needs of the simulated business.
  1. Arrange a time and location to lead a team meeting on your proposed communication plan to discuss and collaborate on possible improvements. Meet with your assessor to determine your project team composition.
  1. Develop an agenda for your meeting and send it to participants. Include in your agenda discussion of your proposed communication package:
  1. the purpose and organisational context
  2. audience and stakeholder characteristics, and potential barriers to communication
  3. communication objectives
  4. message
  5. an evaluation of proposed media and tactics to achieve outcomes, including personal and electronic methods.

Follow organisational requirements for meeting agendas.

  1. Lead the team meeting. Ensure you deliver your presentation in accordance with deliverables and quality specifications for oral communication and interpersonal interactions outlined below. Ensure you:
  1. follow business conventions for leading team meetings, as well as relevant organisational policies and legal requirements
  1. use interpersonal skills
  2. use verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  3. use active listening
  4. take a collaborative and open approach to receiving feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  1. Submit your meeting agenda and communication plan (revised in accordance with feedback received from team) for approval by the HR General Manager (your assessor) in accordance with quality specifications for reading and writing in an organisational context outlined below.

Part B:

Prepare a written reflection on your leadership of the meeting with the communications project team.
  1. Prepare a written reflection on your leadership of the team meeting. Ensure that the reflection includes the following elements.
  2. List effective management communication characteristics that you exemplified.
  3. Describe a range of electronic and non-electronic communication methods, including situations where they would and would not be used.
  4. Identify and explain effective listening techniques you deployed in the meeting.
  5. Identify team leadership communication responsibilities that you fulfilled, called upon others to fulfil in the context of the team meeting, or have planned for in your communication plan as per scenario.
  6. Explain barriers to communication in a workplace context that you anticipate for your communication package and which you anticipated and overcame in leading the team meeting.
  7. List verbal and non-verbal communication characteristics. Describe how you used at least one of each to lead the meeting.
  8. List at least one piece of relevant legislation and one organisational policy that could impact on workplace communication and that you adhered to in the meeting.

Case study – JKL Industries

JKL Industries is an Australian-owned company, selling forklifts, small trucks and spare parts to industry. They also have a division that leases forklifts and small trucks.

The company’s head office is in Sydney, and JKL has branches in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.

Change, communication, and a historical climate of distrust

After 12 years in business, focusing on forklifts and small trucks, JKL Industries has negotiated the sales rights to a range of large and medium-sized trucks from an overseas supplier. This opportunity will provide JKL Industries with an advantage in range over its competitors.

Taking the sales rights opportunity will, however, entail some significant changes, including significant changes to the current organisational structure over the coming twelve months. The company will reposition itself to focus solely on retail sales and service and exit the underperforming rentals market in which forces such as competition and consumer choice reduce potential profitability.

In accordance with the organisation’s values, JKL Industries intends (to the extent feasible) to recruit from within the company and up-skill or re-skill existing employees presently working in rentals who wish to remain with the company.

Given the company’s previous history of employee grievances over pay and conditions and current plans to restructure, JKL Industries has identified poor communications and an organisational climate of conflict as a risk to business goals.

Communication and consultation issues

An internal management review of the organisation late last financial quarter uncovered the following issues:

  • lack of an overarching approach to information management that helps to promote common understanding of team goals and organisational values and to build strategic relationships
  • slow responses to internal and external customer needs
  • slow and ineffective communication of and implementation of ideas for improved processes
  • ineffective or no use of modern communication technologies and social platforms
  • inadequate consultation, resulting in risks to compliance (particularly WHS consultation requirements) and too little bottom-up information flow from employees to management. The latter results in poor organisational take-up of improvement ideas identified by teams and individuals at lower levels of the organisation and by customer-facing managers and employees.
  • inconsistent application by managers of grievance procedures, posing a risk to employee relations
  • poor sense of employee engagement, empowerment and accountability for work performance
  • distinct lack of trust that management intends to do the right thing by its workers, particularly with respect to organisational transformation and restructure

 

  • poor general awareness of (and therefore poor support of) organisational goals, ethics, values.

 

Transformation

 

Moving forward, to build trust, achieve a positive organisational culture, reduce risk and achieve organisational goals, the organisation is in the process of transforming its approach to communications by:

  • developing an effective policy framework for managing internal communications and consultation in accordance with organisational objectives, business ethics, and compliance requirements
  • communicating and building support for organisational initiatives and objectives
  • managing information flow to:
  • provide managers and employees with the information at hand to perform work rsponsibilities
  • communicate ideas for improvement (top-down and bottom-up)
  • facilitate feedback both to and from employees and management on relevant work performance and outcomes of consultation
  • forming a new communications team to plan and implement strategic communications to achieve organisational objectives.

Your role: Project MyJKL

You are the Communications Team Manager of the newly formed Communications Team at JKL Industries. You report to the HR General Manager. The HR General Manager has asked your team to develop a communication package for JKL employees (provisionally entitled MyJKL) outlining the organisation’s restructure plans over the coming year and intention to retrain rentals employees. The communication of this key message is seen by senior management as key to the organisational restructuring plans. The communication will need to:

  • gain the attention of employees with the organisation’s message
  • underscore management commitment to fairness
  • build understanding of the organisation’s plans and employee role within them
  • win support for plans
  • motivate employees to do their part in building a successful JKL brand.

Senior management is firmly behind this project and is ready to provide resources and personnel as needed.

Your proposed communications will need to be in accordance with the new approach to communications, relevant policies and procedures and legislative requirements.

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