HR Program for Cross-Cultural Supervisors
The training consultant has asked the Human Resource Managers to prepare notes for them describing two situations where we saw that communication issues on a team, we were involved on, in the past caused a serious misunderstanding. The purpose of the Human Resource Mangers for doing this is so that we may prepare a program for cross-cultural supervisors in the area of dealing with conflicts. We also need to be aware of how the focus of the conflict can be complicated by cultural differences.
The training consultant has asked us to identify:
- If a problem was caused by only one member, was the problem obvious to others, or were you the only person who noticed it? And how did we deal with it?
- If the problem was primarily between two team members and did not directly involve others on the team, what caused the problem? How did the team deal with it?
The training consultant wants the Human Resource mangers to suggest a communication strategy that would have prevented these issues.
The first problem I would like to describe is a current work situation where-by we were the members of a sales team, and one person on the team was manipulating the “UP’s” system to write more business. The problem was very obvious to me. I started by making an informal complaint to my direct supervisor. However that didn’t see to get any results. I then took it a step further and make a formal complaint in writing. I felt because I was new to the job he was taking advantage of the situation or the fact that he didn’t want a women in his store. They then sent in someone from corporate headquarters to investigate the situation and retrain personnel on the “UP’s” system. It was further investigated that he was pushing the limits of the “UP’s” system and new rules were set into place so it was a fair system. This situation was only noticeable by myself at the beginning but by pushing the issue further I was able to get results.
A communication strategy that we could use in the further to avoid this type of problem would be to have a system in place with the Human Resource department or department heads whereby people could comment on our current company policy. When a problem can arise they can bring it to someone’s suggestions so that people don’t feel as though they are being taken advantage of. Company policies such as these should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that everyone is being treated fairly. In addition, regular refresher courses could be put into place so that everyone understands the system and it is followed according to company policy. For instance a six-month or one year refresher course to be taken by everyone in the company to be sure that no one has any questions on how the system should work. In addition, you could have individual’s role-play different types of situations to give everyone examples of how to handle different types of scenarios.
Looking at the second situation the training consultant asked all the Human Resource Mangers to comment on, I can think of many situations whereby there is conflict between only two team members. For instance, we have one person at work that constantly calls in saying she will be late. Those that need to work with her on a day to day basis know they can not count on her to be at her desk at the proper start time. This situation doesn’t directly involve others only a handful of people who work directly with this person. However, this effect whoever is going to open the store with her for that day. The team deals with this problem by constantly complaining and saying she doesn’t “pull her own weight” at work. Some weeks are more severe than others. The problem is her poor work ethics and the fact that she has been allowed to get away with this type of behavior for quite sometime.
To resolve this issue, I suggest the company put in place some strict guidelines that all must adhere to. The fact that one person can constantly be late without any recourse is unacceptable. The company and the Human Resource department should be into place company rules and guidelines that all must follow. In addition, there must be some type of consequences for these actions. Many companies use write up’s as a way to detour those from being late on a day-to-day basis. However, in some companies these mean nothing or they are not enforced. I think a better solution would be to have a person lose vacation time or personal time from their books. Although, this doesn’t solve the problem if someone has a lot of vacation time left. We must make it fair so that all involved don’t feel as though they have to pick up the slack of one person. It is unfair to ask some to be early 15 minutes every day while others stroll in when they feel like it or when it suits them. Whatever the system you choose to use, it must be enforced. Part of the problem with many write-up systems is that the write-ups mean nothing. A start to the solution to this problem would be to have those directly affected start writing formal complaints against that person until something is done.
The training consultant the Human Resource Mangers to share with others the conflicts we have had to deal with in the past. In both of my scenarios the underlying issue was poor lack of communication. Our first priority should be to open the lines of communication within the teams to unsure we don’t have to deal with these types of situations in the future.
Thompson, Leigh L., 2004, “Making the Team, A guide for Managers, Second Edition”, Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 07458.