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Overview of Red Telecom's Inclusive Strategy 2020 initiative

Organisational Change Context

Red Telecom (‘Red’) is a multinational enterprise in the telecommunications services sector. Its principal business is to provide business and residential customers with a comprehensive range of mobile and fixed line broadband and voice services. Red operates throughout Oceania, with the majority of customers and infrastructure located in Australia and New Zealand. As part of a strategic refresh intended to improve outcomes and service for a range of stakeholders, Red recently launched a new diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiative titled Red’s Inclusive Strategy 2020 (commonly referred to as RISE). Red takes a broad approach to defining diversity, including all characteristics that make employees and customers different. Thus, Red defines diversity as including visible characteristics such as race, gender, age, and physical disabilities, as well as non-visible characteristics such as religion, educational background, social class, and non-visible impairments (e.g., mental health, chronic pain).

RISE identified a number of shortfalls in Red’s existing approach to D&I. For example, the project identified gender inequities such that the senior management team was almost entirely white, male and Australian while the majority of call centre and customer support personnel were female and from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups. RISE also identified inclusion issues for individuals with a disability. For example, employment records indicated that very few Red employees had disclosed a disability, and many customers with a disability indicated that the company website lacked important accessibility features and perceived that Red service staff discriminated against customers with a disability.

RISE also seeks to increase diversity within Red’s workforce by setting the following workforce targets to be met by 2020:

  • Increase women’s representation in senior leadership roles from 11% to 25% (50% representation by2025);
  • Increase LGBTIQ representation across all roles from 2.5% to8%;
  • Increase disability representation across all roles from 0.7% to5%;
  • Increase CALD representation in senior leadership roles from 9% to 15% (25% representation by2025).

Importantly, Red hopes that D&I will be ‘business as usual’ by 2020. To facilitate this transition and improve ‘buy in’ from across management, RISE sets Red’s broad D&I strategy, but different departments have discretion in how they implement the strategy. General managers are expected to work with Red’s HR department to develop specific programs to increase D&I within their work teams. Red’s HR department will ensure that the department-specific programs are aligned to RISE.

The general manager for Red’s Customer Resolution Department has been in this role for approximately one year. Around the same time as RISE was launched, the Customer Resolution Department also underwent a significant restructure in which the entire department was moved to an Australian call centre that relies on multiple work teams, multiskilling of team members, and expanded Team Leader roles. Staff are feeling stressed and frustrated with their jobs, customers, colleagues and overseas counterparts as a result of the restructure.

The current Customer Resolution Department has a team structure. Teams include 8-15 frontline customer service representatives who report to a team leader (team size varies depending on the number of part-time staff in the team). Each team leader reports to both the Operations Manager and the General Manager. Among frontline customer service representatives, the majority (70%) are female, 42% are from a CALD background, less than 2% have disclosed a disability, and 3% openly identify as LBGTIQ. The department relies heavily on part-time staff, of whom 80% are female.

Among the department’s leadership team, only one team leader is female; the remaining team leaders, operations manager, and general manager are all male.

As a HR manager working with the Customer Resolution Department’s General Manager, design a learning and development program for the Team Leaders. Note that the proposed training and development program should clearly align with at least three of the General Manager’s aims and should take no more than 12 months to implement.

Overview of Red Telecom's Inclusive Strategy 2020 initiative

Adequate learning and development interventions for Red Telecom

The analysis of employee training needs have further revealed that for evolving the skills and capabilities of team leaders of the Customer Resolution department of Red Telecom, the most adequate learning and development interventions would revolve around the three types of learning and development interventions combination that would comprise of conventional learning, contemporary learning and futurist learning interventions. Besides, for effectively addressing the training needs of the company’s team leaders the different learning and development interventions that would perfectly fit in are on-the-job training, seminars, coaching, and mentoring. According to Garavan, Carbery and Rock (2012) in addition to these, on-job engagement by increased challenges, simulation exercises, sessions of experiential learning training, productivity groups, learning by co-creating learning by gaming etc. are also equally beneficial learning and development interventions. The wide ranges of learning and development interventions that will be tabled in front of Red Telecom’s management are highly productive and effective in nature besides being interactive and engaging, all together will make significant contributions in keeping the team leaders interests engaged towards the entire course of the program designed. Moreover, it will also contribute in effectively addressing the identified gaps within their existing skills and knowledge in reference of managing the team members of Customer Resolution Department.

The proposal drafted for the learning and development of Red Telecom’s team leaders in particular the Customer Resolution department will make significant contributions in the successful attainment of desirable results besides driving the fulfilment of the General Manager’s goals. The learning proposal is primarily based on two theories namely adult learning and cognitive learning. According to Vallerand, Lapalme and Moïse (2017) the adult learning theory comparing to children the ways adults use for learning is different. This theory is just not a collection of idioms, concepts, and ideas revolving around how adults learn but it rather help in planning individual courses at the time conception, development, and implementation in a way for facelifting the overall learning process. Getting acquainted and incorporating of these theories within the learning and development plan of Red Telecom will significantly contribute in creating applicability by ensuring that the course is designed in-line with the needs of the learners that has been anticipated besides devising instructional strategies aligning with real-time learning situations and choosing the best technology supporting and planning the relevant instructional strategy suiting the information age and occupied/ employed learners. According to Bordonaro (2018) numerous aspects of learning have been recognized by the Andragogy theory, which can be described as the theory and practice of educating adult learners on the basis of five assumptions, four principles, and a five step model aims for promoting self-directed learning. The significance of the experiences of adult learners’ as the footing of future learning is what highlighted by this theory besides emphasizing that focus should be given on relevant learning during the course period and rather than content-oriented, learning should be problem-centred. For commence the adult learning process, realizing that adult learners are completely differ from that of child learns is important for the management of Red Telecom and that their motivating forces, presumptions, desires, and interests are completely different. Hence, it is important to pay attention to certain assumptions for better comprehending the significance of knowing the learners. Transformational learning developed by sociologist and Professor Jack Mezirow is another adult leaning theory describing how learners interpret from their experiences. The learning begins from ‘disorienting dilemma’ from where learners at different levels reflect their experiences and viewpoints with intent to experiment with new roles and reintegration followed by self-examination, estrangement, recognizing discontent, exploring new behaviours, confidence building, action plan, acquiring skills,  new roles, and reintegration.

Red Telecom's approach to defining diversity


Developed by David Kolb, experiential learning emphasizes on gaining learning from own experiences and reflection. To gain success in acquiring knowledge learners should be prepared for actively involving into the learning experiences by performing all requisite actions besides reflecting the experiences either verbally, recorded or even by introspection, obtaining and using analytical skills for conceptualizing the experience and decision making and problem solving skills.

Cognitive Learning Theory, on the other hand according to Arghode, Brieger and McLean (2017) can be described as a broad theory explaining the processes revolving around thinking and differing mental actions besides emphasizing how both are greatly affected by the internal and external factors for cultivating learning within individuals. Normal working of cognitive processes leads to strong functioning of acquisition and knowledge storing however, ineffective cognitive processes leads to learning delays and other problems. Observation, categorization, and forming generalization about ones surrounding environment comprises of cognitive processes. It has been observed that behavioral problems in individuals can be derived as a result of any interruption in these natural cognitive processes. Bringing a change into the disrupted process is where the key to treat these problems lies. According to Denmeade (2017) the function of cognitive learning is based on how information is processed and reasoned by a person that revolves around numerous factors such as problem-solving and thinking skills, memory retention, and the knowledge of material learned. Why brain is widely contemplated as the most is the most improbable network of processing and interpreting information in a human body as one learns new things is explained by this theory. The primary frame of reference in the Cognitive Learning Theory revolves around this very basic concept. This theory further implies that numerous processes in terms of learning can be described by first evaluating the mental processes, which postulates that learning becomes easier with the help of efficacious cognitive processes besides storing new information in the memory for a longer period of time. Cognitive Learning Theory according to MacGill (2018) is further categorized into two specified theories namely Social Cognitive Theory and Cognitive Behavioral Theory where the former is utilized in areas like psychology, education, and communication emphasizing that the knowledge gained by one person can be related directly other people observing through social interactions, experiences, and influences of external media while the later can be contemplated as a psychosocial intercession widely utilized as evidence-based practice in order to treat mental disorders. Although it is highly contributing in treating different conditions of mental health, it’s evident positive results within clinical settings have raised its popularity even in school settings helping the teachers teaching students how they can control their individual behaviors instead of making an attempt of controlling their behavior just with external reinforcement.

Goals for increasing workforce diversity

According to Seidel, Saurin, Marodin and Ribeiro (2017) leadership competencies can be described as skills and behaviors contributing to exceptional performances. For better identifying and developing their team leader Red Telecom can make effective use of competency-based approach to leadership. Researchers have defined the essential competencies of leaders however, the evolution of new leadership competencies are driven by the future trends and strategies of business. Besides, the management should also define its idiosyncratic leadership attributes for creating competitive advantage. Outlined below are the specific competencies related to team leader role within organizations:

Maintain steady ethics: according to Singh (2013) high ethical and moral standards should be acquired by the company’s team leaders besides ensuring that their decisions and behaviour align with it. The team leaders’ commitment towards ethical values will significant contribute in giving rise to safer and trusting workplace atmosphere amidst the team members where they can stay at ease that will further drive in increased individual contribution in terms of social engagement, innovation and creativity. Ensuring that all team members are in same page while routine decisions and expectations are being communicated is important for team leaders.

Establish connection and belongingness: according to Pandya (2014) inculcating a sense of interdependence and acceptance amidst the team members is equally important for the team leaders. This can be attained by encouraging regular and open communication amid the team members, making them feel valued by the company thereby, unchaining their full potentials for enhancing their individual productiveness and emotional welfare. Besides, maintaining a focused attention while interacting with the team members is very important for the team leaders.

Nurture team growth: according to Postu?a and Majczyk (2018) remaining committed towards the team members training and development is also equally important for Red Telecom’s team leaders. This will help in inculcating a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness in them besides triggering their motivational levels to deliver phenomenal individual performances beyond management   expectations. When appreciation will drive the team members, the impact of it gets reflected in their increased productivity and outcomes quality. Batting for the genuine causes of their team members is always critical for team leaders besides providing managerial, training and development support whenever and wherever required, contributing the team in growing together and individually.

Cast vision in the team: inculcating vision within the team members is also important role of team leaders for holding them together besides providing a shared purpose and amalgamated direction. In the absence of vision Red Telecom’s team members develop a tendency of short-sighted aspect of the goals specified or accomplishing their tasks, eliminating its meaning and context. Hence, ensuring that team members are well aware of what they are working towards is very indispensable for the team leaders. Having a clear futuristic vision and how to drive the team members towards this direction, the quantitative goals and breakthroughs is vitally important for the team leaders for successfully achieving the vision.

According to Felce, Perks and Roberts (2016) for improving Red Telecom’s performance it is utmost important that the management immediately sanctions the implementation of the learning and development program designed especially for the team leaders within the Customer Resolution department for promptly addressing the different issues experienced by the team members besides effectively accomplishing the company’s initiatives revolving around diversion and inclusion. The earliest application of the proposed learning and development program will eventually contribute in the timely improvement of the team leaders’ skills and capabilities besides bringing a positive change within the process of their thinking and core beliefs further playing a critical role in effective implementation of the company’s initiative revolving around diversity. It has been evident from the analysis of team leaders training needs different issues such as lack of job security and performance evaluation measures, hesitation amidst the female staffs in approaching their team leaders, negative point of view about the team members with any kind of disability are frequently faced by the team members while working within the team. According to Theodore (2013) it has been observed that these problems have eventually resulted into de-motivation amidst the team members, the impact of which is getting reflected in their individual performances further creating impediments in the successful accomplishment of Red Telecom’s business objectives and initiatives. Hence, immediately adopting suitable learning and development interventions is need of the hour for the company’s management with intent of effectively addressing the skills and knowledge gaps identified amongst the team leaders of Customer Resolution department for driving in greater productiveness within the team members. By addressing the team leaders skills and knowledge gaps Red Telecom can help in improving the supervision capabilities of its team leaders besides helping them in gaining adequate skills about how to keep the motivational levels of the team members high and giving them better moral support, designing productive performance measurement parameters and performance appraisal incentives for team members, increasing female members participation for the roles of team leader, cultivating effective practices for managing disabled members and positive working culture and atmosphere at the workplace.

According to Kuabara and Takahashi (2017) it is important that the proposed learning and development program gets implemented across Red Telecom with the help of formal workplace learning adopted in the form of on-the-job training and resource based training besides adopting informal workplace learning such as encouraging interaction and gaining experiences from co-workers, senior members and peers within the department. Both these approaches will significantly contribute in facilitating of quick addressal of the team leaders’ skill and knowledge gaps ideal for playing the team managing roles. Red Telecom’s learning plan will be based on 70:20:10 model of learning and development, according to which it is recommended that 70% of their knowledge should be acquired by the employees from their individual job experiences followed by 20 % of knowledge from interacting with others and the remaining 10% of knowledge through different training and development programs. The key focus of the 70:20:10 models is on imparting knowledge and skills to the Customer Resolution department’s team leaders with the help of numerous job experiences and interaction with other departmental leaders.

Proposed learning and development program for team leaders

Conclusion

It is evident from the learning and development proposal tabled in front of the Red Telecom’s management that the different types of learning and development interventions that have been incorporated within the proposal will significantly contribute in enhancing the efficiency of the L&D program designed especially for the team leaders of Customer Resolution department. It has been observed that since the gaps identified within the skill and knowledge of team leaders is not similar, any single learning and development intervention may not be much effective and hence, having two or more learning and development interventions will be comparatively much more productive in the successful achievement of the goals of the company’s General Manager by adopting both formal and informal workplace learning process.

References

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Bordonaro, K. (2018). Adult education and academic libraries. Information and Learning Science, [Online] 119(7), 422-431. Available: https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/ILS-04-2018-0030 [Accessed on 2 Oct. 2018]

Denmeade, N. C. (2017). The hero's learning journey. World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, [Online] 14(2), 155-171. Available: https://search.proquest.com/docview/1882369734?accountid=30552 [Accessed on 2 Oct. 2018]

Felce, A., Perks, S., & Roberts, D. (2016). Work-based skills development: A context-engaged approach. Higher Education, Skills and Work - Based Learning,  [Online] 6(3), 261-276. Available: https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-12-2015-0058 Accessed on 2 Oct. 2018]

Garavan, T. N., Carbery, R., & Rock, A. (2012). Mapping talent development: Definition, scope and architecture. European Journal of Training and Development, 36(1), 5-24. Available: https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03090591211192601 Accessed on 2 Oct. 2018]

Kim, J. H., & Callahan, J. L. (2013). Finding the intersection of the learning organization and learning transfer. European Journal of Training and Development,  [Online] 37(2), 183-200. Available: https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03090591311301680 [Accessed on 2 Oct. 2018]

Kuabara, P. S. S., & Takahashi, A. R. W. (2017). ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING, PRACTICES OF DIVERSITY, AND CEREMONIALISM: A STUDY PROPOSAL IN THE MULTINATIONALS CONTEXT. Revista De Administração Mackenzie,  [Online] 18(5), 169-201. Available: https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-69712017/administracao.v18n5p169-201 [Accessed on 2 Oct. 2018]

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