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Unit 4.Name : Communication Skills
Level 4 : 15 Credits
The Older Management Team (SMT) of a local medium sized organization has become aware of communication problems within their organization. Consumers have been complaining of poor service, the Managing Director is shocked to see spelling errors in letters, and now suppliers have refused to deliver further goods until they receive a response to their emails and phone calls about their outstanding invoices.
You work with a coaching consultancy, Practice Solutions. An experienced colleague, Asha Cumari, has established what the problems are and you have been asked to deliver the proposed solutions.
You took the following email and attached a statement from Asha.
I have recently visited SHDE Holdings and attach my report. Please read this carefully.
I would like you to complete this project. They want a workshop on communication with some training materials (e.g., a manual or hand-outs) plus a report for SMT. Please carry out the following tasks:
Make a formal statement for the senior staff and line handlers at SHDE Holdings. (AC 5.1). You will want to use charts and graphs to show knowledge as relevant (AC 5.3)
This report should include:
- The process of communication (AC 1.1) and why communication within organizations is sometimes not effective (AC1.3), giving examples form SHDE Holdings
- The modes of information that should be used for different objects (e.g., letter for regular interaction with customers, telephone call for an explanation of a complicated matter, email for confirmation of detail). Please help this with an assessment of what other companies do and examples of that could apply to SHDE (AC 1.2)
- How organizations portray themselves through their communication. What image does SHDE Holdings currently have? Give an assessment of other organizations and the images they represent through their communications (AC 2.3)
Design an oral presentation (using presentation software) with supporting notes for the customer-facing team at SHDE Holdings. (AC 4.1, 4.3). Please add:
- Formal information systems that should be used to interact with customers. Please assess various ways. (AC 2.1)
- A study of the effectiveness of social media to interact with consumers. Please use modern patterns (AC 2.2)
- An evaluation of the impact of individual relationships on information (AC 3.1)
- An assessment of the impact of non-verbal communication on oral communications (AC 3.2)
Please deliver your presentation to staff at SHDE Holdings represented by XXX (AC 4.2)
Please attend a conference with me. Using the written and oral statements from the tasks you have just made, I will want you to:
- a) Evaluate the effectiveness of your oral performance skills (AC 4.4)
- b) Review your written statement (AC 5.4) including the rules you have used (AC 3.4)
- c) Assess the impact of technology on both oral and written communications (AC 3.3)
- d) Following our discussions, I wish you to produce written documentation from this meeting (AC 5.2)
|Unit Grading Structure||Pass|
|Assessment Guidance||Assignments in accordance with awarding organization guidance|
|Learning Outcomes The learner will:||Assessment Criteria The learner can:|
|1 Understand how internal communication takes place within organizations||1.1 Explain the process of communication1.2 Assess the appropriate use of different modes of communication for different purposes1.3 Analyze barriers to effective communication within organizations|
|2 Understand how organizations communicate with customers||2.1 Evaluate formal communication systems usedby organizations to communicate with customers2.2 Analyze the effectiveness of using social media to communicate with customers 2.3 Assess the images organizations portray through their communications|
|3 Understand the factors that impact on the effectiveness of communications||3.1 Assess the impact of personal relationships on effective communications 3.2 Assess the impact of non-verbal communication on oral communications3.3 Assess the impact of technology on oral and written communication3.4 Review the use of conventions in written communications|
|4 Be able to present oral information effectively||4.1 Design an oral presentation for a specified audience4.2 Present complex information orally4.3 Use technology to support presentation skills4.4 Assess effectiveness of own communication|
|5 Be able to communicate effectively in writing||5.1 Communicate complex information for specific purposes5.2 Document a meeting5.3 Use charts and graphs to convey quantitativedata5.4 Review written communication|
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SHDE Holdings Communication Skills & Sample Assessment Task
SHDE is an electrical supplier with regional repair centres and shops. The organisation is currently experiencing operational problems that are affecting customer satisfaction. Many of these are outside the scope of this report. Training Solutions has been asked to focus on communication issues both within the company and with suppliers and customers.
SHDE Holding is an electrical company operating locally. They have been established for 10 years. However, it is only in the past 3 years that their market has grown rapidly. Their turnover and payroll have tripled within the last year. It is anticipated to grow by a further 100% within 3 years.
They are currently experiencing high levels of customer complaints and staff turnover. The communication difficulties exist in all areas and at all levels of the business.
Two solutions are proposed: a training session and a report to inform and influence SMT and line managers.
3.0 Research method
During week commencing 15 June, a consultant from Training Solutions spent 3 days at SHDE Holdings. The following research activities were carried out
- Desk review of customer complaints
- Desk review of policies and procedures
- Interviews with 10 staff including the Managing Director, Operations Manager, 2 shop floor staff, 2 delivery staff, the HR Manager, one payroll assistant, the receptionist and the Premises Manager
SHDE Holdings has expanded rapidly in the past 3 years. There has been a huge increase in complaints from both customers and suppliers. Staff morale is low and staff turnover high.
It is clear that this company value their customers and had a record of excellent internal and external customer relations. The SMT is shocked to find that complaints have increased by 50% and staff turnover is high. They acknowledge that there is a communications issue within the company.
Customer complaints have risen by 50% within the last year. The causes for complaints are varied. Only 3 % concern the product itself. Over 55% of complaints concern delivery. (Most are about late delivery. The remainder are about delivery to an incorrect address). The delivery staffs acknowledge these problems. They are sent notes in the internal post about changes to delivery details – and by the time they receive them the package has often been sent. Sometimes they are told about changes (verbally) and fail to write it down. There appears to be no formal system for communicating changes to orders.
25% of complaints concern poor face to face communication during the delivery of customer service on the shop floor. Some complaints referred to rudeness. One complaint made it clear that there was clearly conflict between staff on the shop floor. Other issues include misunderstandings, the fact that the store only sends texts to advice of delivery times and many of the older customers do not use texting. There are also poor letter skills, appearance of staff and the tone of some of the communications received is inappropriate.
There are no formal communication policies and procedures. As a result:
- there is no protocol for answering the phone
- complaints are often not acknowledged (and it may take some weeks for a formal response)
- there is no standard protocol for internal communication – some use internal post, others use email or word of mouth
- the company Facebook page was recently used to inform customers of product changes
- suppliers are not dealt with consistently
- Communication between line managers and their staff is random. There appear to be no regular meetings to disseminate and gather information.
- The SMT do not meet regularly
The communication problems at SHDE Holdings affect all areas of the business. Poor communications hinder all levels of staff within the company, and the customers are badly served. There is huge potential for the growth of this company but for this to materialise these issues must be addressed.
6.1 A series of training workshops is required for customer facing staff. These workshops to be delivered to all staff and cover both internal and external communication
6.2 In order to improve performance SMT need to be advised of best practice in terms of organisational communication. A formal report for the senior staff and line managers at SHDE Holdings should be provided
Guidelines for assessors
The assignments submitted by students must achieve the learning outcomes and meet the standards specified by the assessment criteria for the unit. The suggested evidence listed below is how students can demonstrate that they have met the required standards.
|Task number||Assessment criteria||Suggested evidence|
|1.||1.1, 1.2, 1.3,
|Oral presentation, presentation slides,
presentation notes, witness testimony
|Witness testimony, written preparation documentation, minutes