Friday, 7 April 2017

Critical Reflection

Personally, CPD II was a hidden gem to my degree program here in SIT. In this course of 13 weeks, I have been exposed to many theories and insights in the study of communication and it's research. Some concepts that truly impacted the way I think include the Thomas - Kilmann conflict management model, along with the concept of self. These concepts made me question the level of understanding I have over myself, and whether I truly want what I think I do. The most important factor why CPD II presents this level of value to me, is because such concepts transcend the module itself, and can be applied immediately in different aspects of my daily life.

Regarding the project done in CPD II, the topic of choice was heavily influenced by the members, including myself. Considering that 2 members were once in the housekeeping problem, the first issue that came to mind was the communication barrier that is prevalent in Singapore's context. Having been in the housekeeping department in The Fullerton Hotel, it was easy for me to relate to the problem. This familiarity made it easier to work on the project along with my group mates. Lucky for me, I was blessed with three other highly involved members, who continuously worked on the video and synopsis together. Jo in particular had a lot to contribute, given her extensive period at The Fairmont Hotel, providing insight into the problem she witnessed herself. Most importantly, Jo shared how Fairmont approached this problem, and which was how we collectively proposed the solution which held its realistic elements.

In totality, the knowledge in CPD that was imparted to me stay with me for the rest of my life, and I would like to thank Brad for his passion in teaching. It is not easy to engage students in an ungraded module, but I am glad Brad successfully brought our attention to the importance of this module.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The synopsis - 1st Draft


1. The Introduction:

According to Adecco, Millennials (born between the 1980s to the 2000s) are currently the largest generation in the workforce and will make up an estimation of 75 percent of the Singapore workforce by the next decade. (Channel NewsAsia, 2016) However, as Millennial continue to take over the workforce, hospitality industries face high turnover rate and manpower shortages. (Faldetta, Fasone, & Provenzano, 2013) The negative characteristics such as “long working hour, poor working environment, salary and lack of pay and benefits” turn them away from this industry (Tan et al., 2016), especially in housekeeping department.


Many hotels have to rely on foreign talent to make up the numbers of headcounts in that department. According to Faruk & Nedim (2015), in the hotel sector where almost all the work is provided by people, communication is seen as an important issue for continuity and efficiency of organization. However, as most of the foreign talents do have not a good command of English, cause them to face difficulties in meeting managers and guest expectation.

2. Problem Identification:
The core area of the interpersonal communication problem should be described very concisely.

The interpersonal communication problem will revolve around the language barriers between housekeeping managers and room attendants in Singapore. As hotels rely on a lot of non-english speaking staff notably in housekeeping, It is not easy for room attendants to understand instructions conveyed by the housekeeping managers (HM Staff, 2009). This can be an impediment to proper training and supervision if they have a poor command of English to interpret guest requirements too, hence unable to prepare the rooms up to the brand’s standards.

  • Statistics (unable to find yet)
    • percentage of RAs that are foreigners and cannot understand english in the local context
    • justification for training (turnover rates, foreign labor rates)

3. Objective of Study:
The purpose of your study focus and its search for viable solutions to a particular problem should be explained.

The purpose of the study is to understand how language barriers can cause a variety of problems in the hospitality industry which can hamper the communication between room attendants and managers. It will highlight the possible consequences if language barrier problem is not addressed well. Most importantly, this study will alleviate this language barrier issue so as to reduce unnecessary issues for hotels such as
  • eg. guests think it's rude when they don't get replies, but in fact is due to room attendants not understanding and inability to answer back in english
  • eg. ra misunderstood certain instructions and set up the guest room incorrectly
  • -eg. managers requiring excessive repeating of instructions and sign language to convey simple instructions to RAs, hence low productivity and job efficiency
  • Result in unhappiness in three parties (guest, manager, ra) and affects team morale
  • eg. hotel reputation prone to be tainted, reduces returning customers, reduce profits eventually when rooms are not made to the brand’s standards (LQA mystery shopper too)

4. Potential Solutions / Implementation for Problem Resolution:

Pertaining to the language barrier issue, the team has decided to an implement an English language training program to improve the speaking standards of housekeeping staff. The housekeepers will be rotated to attend this course of 15 lessons to prevent manpower shortage issues and successfully educate all housekeepers. The program will be compulsory for all housekeeping staff with problems speaking the language. In addition, the course of lessons will be made available online and the staff will be taught how to access then. Devices to access the material can also be provided to the housekeepers to use during or after work hours, where they may have spare time to view and self-educate. A learning management system may be set in place to verify if they have clicked and view the resources, making it easy for the HR department to determine whether or not the room attendant has completed the course. As the housekeeping department might usually find it hard to cope with manpower, this training program may be fully implemented online without the physical lessons taking place during work hours.

5. Proposed Data Collection/Research Method:

In order to better understand the language and communication barrier between housekeeping staff and guest, a series of in-depth interviews will be conducted with several employees who have similar experiences in their workplaces. Primary data would be collected by having interviews with current or previous housekeeping staff to understand more about their day-to-day operational issues. In addition, academic papers will be cross-referenced from multiple sources to further strengthen the findings, and provide alternative viewpoints on the topic of language barrier in the hospitality industry, specifically housekeeping department.

6. Benefits:

The benefits of having training would be the understanding of the English language for housekeeping staff who otherwise would not be able to communicate with guests in basic English. This would allow ease of communication between guests in the hotel and housekeeping staff, and prevent the occurrence of a communication breakdown due to the language barrier. This would reduce operational issues, and thus, reflect well on the hotel’s reputation.

7. Concluding Thoughts: everyone
Information can be presented on what your team sees as possible outcomes for the workplace.

References:

Channel NewsAsia. (2016). Companies take steps to attract, retain millennials. [online] Available at: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/companies-take-steps-to/2478514.html [Accessed 03 Mar. 2017].

Faldetta, G., Fasone, V., & Provenzano, C. (2013). Turnover in the hospitality industry: can reciprocity solve the problem? Volumen de Negocios En La Industria de La Hospitalidad: La Reciprocidad Puede Resolver El Problema?, 11(4), 583–595.

Faruk, S., & Nedim, Y. (2015). Organizational Communication in Five Star Hotels and Experienced Problems. International Journal Of Science Culture And Sport, Vol 3, Iss 4, Pp 126-139 (2015), (4), 126.

Tan, Z. M. A., Baharun, N., Wazir, N. M., Ngelambong, A. A., Ali, N. M., Ghazali, N., & Tarmazi, S. A. A. (2016). Graduates’ Perception on the Factors Affecting Commitment to Pursue Career in the Hospitality Industry. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 224(IRSSM-6 The 6th International Research Symposium in Service Management), 416–420.

HM Staff (2009) .Topple the language barrier. Available at: http://www.hotelmanagement.net/housekeeping/topple-language-barrier
[Accessed 02 Mar. 2017]

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Revised Communication Problem


Synthesising the thoughts provided by both my blogging group and Brad, it is evident that i had a slight lack of empathy that day. Almost all of the comments feedback my involvement in the hospitality industry and I should better understand the predicament of the service staff more so than a regular person. This could be attributed to the hunger and desperation for food that day, along with a lack of sufficient rest due to the load of many assignments. Nonetheless, it is definitely not a valid excuse and my peers are handling the numerous assignments as well.

Referring to the Thomas - Kilmann conflict mode instrument, it is important for us to adopt the appropriate conflict mode at the right situation. If an inappropriate mode is chosen, it will produce undesirable results. Pertaining to the situation, I assumed the 'competing' mode and resulted in more conflict than necessary. While it was mentioned in class that not all conflicts are bad, unnecessary conflict is. Also. Jo brought up a good point previously mentioned in class; the importance of the matter. Does the patty in the burger really matter that much and does it warrant that much energy from me? Of course, the answer is no. 

Given the scenario again, I would assume the 'compromising' mode, attempting to find middle ground in the conversation as I still want my burger replaced. Negotiation between myself and the manager who replaced my burger should take place and both parties will need to make concessions in order to resolve this issue. I would also ask myself the significance of the matter if caught in similar scenarios again. These trivial and minor issues should not bog down my day and waste time that could be well spent on other assignments and leisure. 


Friday, 17 February 2017

Reply to Mr Bennert

Dear Mr Bennert,


Thank you for taking your time out to write this letter and for your sincere feedback to improve on your stay at Pineapple hotel. 

Apologies for the unpleasant experience you had at Pineapple hotel recently on the 6th of January. After checking your booking #99887766341,  we have noticed that your booking does not include morning breakfast at our hotel. We apologise for the miscommunication from Agoda, and it possibly could have been truncated in the process. We deeply regret that the experience was not ideal and we are truly sorry for the lapse in service. 

With regards to the poor reception provided by our staff when you approached them about the breakfast, We have relayed your feedback to the front desk staff and will seek improvement towards our service standards provided. 

We truly appreciate your review. We hope that you give us the chance to change your perception of our hotel and in order to do this, we would like to extend a free breakfast to accompany your next visit with us. Attached in this email is a voucher that may be redeemed as you approach the front desk counter on your next visit. 


Sincerely, 


Kieman, Guest Relations Officer

(194 words, Simin and Kieman) 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Submission 2: Reflection

Just three days ago, I encountered an interpersonal communication problem at Macdonald's. When I received my meal and started biting on the burger, I realised that there was no patty in between and got extremely frustrated. It was the first time I have ever had a burger with no meat in it. Heavily offended, I confronted the lady who took my order at the counter and confirmed that the burger was meant to contain meat. I proceed to lash out at her asking how such a mistake could have been made. I was shortly handed a new burger, this time with everything in it. However, the entire ordeal of the experience was ruined the appetite and I could not enjoy the meal regardless.

Given this situation, there were few people involved. Firstly, the lady who took my order behind the counter, the food preparation staff in charge of making the burgers, followed by the manager who had to approve my 'free' burger as well as myself as a customer. After calmly thinking it through, there are a few possibilities that resulted in my faulty burger. The staff preparing the burger could have packed it incomplete, or perhaps it was meant for someone else instead of my order. 

During the entire process, I felt anger, disappointment, frustration and could not keep my cool. I expected Macdonald's to never fail at making burgers and when the expectations were not met, there was under-delivery of service which led to my service gap. This has resulted in a loss in faith for Macdonald's personally, but I will not abstain from eating with them again. I might however visit other outlets rather than this particular outlet. 

How would I prevent myself from lashing out in frustration? 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Question:
How do some of the key areas discussed connect to your personal branding?


To start off, to brand yourself would mean developing a unique identity that sends a message to the people around you. Personal branding would thus refer to marketing oneself to potential career prospects and even peers. So far, CPD II has provided me with me with important knowledge that could be applied in a bid to improve my personal branding. The most pivotal learning points I received from CPD II includes the element of self-awareness, the Johari window, EQ and its significance, and communication climates.

In self-awareness, it dawned upon me that we might not truly understand and accurately perceive what we aim to achieve in life. Certain key aspects were touched in during the lesson on self-awareness especially the part on the difference between what we want and what we need. It also questions us on our suitability on the track we are on, in this case referring to the hospitality industry. Through this identification process, we are equipped with the confidence of being in the hospitality industry which results in a higher level of assertiveness when branding ourselves. This conviction will be related to the potential employee and allow us to shine in our interviews to get the job.

The Johari window clearly outlines the types of information we are sharing with others and what others completely have no clue on. In this regard, we gain awareness on the types of information we divulge and receive from and to others. This awareness aids in communication and provide understanding that a 'hidden' window exists. The Johari window also poses as a framework to myself when branding myself personally to know that I might be 'blind' to what others think of me, as well as my ability to keep things 'hidden'.

EQ is a vital must-have in our field of hospitality, where most of us will be pursuing our careers in. EQ provides the basis for skills including empathy, customer service and social skills. These terms are frequently mentioned in the field and often discussed in our classes. EQ is thus an aspect of CPD that taught me more regarding personal branding. In communicating our personal brand, we are required to possess self-honesty as well as optimism. These feelings and emotions can be felt and communicated to potential employers, through non-verbal communication that has been mentioned in class multiple times.

Lastly, communication climates are extremely interesting and applicable when mentioned in class. It allowed me to realise to difference between supportive and defensive behaviours, where defensive behaviours might be accidentally communicated without intention. I learnt that being too certain might come across as defensive, and being provisional might actually be a better method to communicate my personal brand to others. It should not come across as too much of a brag and contain ultimate certainty that over-promise and eventually result in failing the set expectation.

In totality, CPD II has bestowed upon me important knowledge that I would not have acquired without and provided tools to be applied and improve my personal branding. Given the hospitality- specialised environment during academic term, we would not have been exposed to information of this calibre.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

BHB2802 Interpersonal Communication - The Learning Portfolio - Submission 1

Dear Brad,

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Kieman, a student of yours in Friday's class. I was originally from Singapore Polytechnic, where I took a similar course in hospitality, graduating with a Diploma in Tourism and Resort Management in 2014. Prior to this, my secondary education was conducted in Greenview Secondary School accompanied by a primary education at White Sands Primary School.

Regarding my work experience and exposure, I have been to various firms for part-time stints. Most recently, I have taken up a role at UBER Singapore, where I was a brand ambassador and had to convince drivers from other ride sharing apps to drive with UBER. Before this role, I was once a Researcher at Amandate Pte Ltd, an executive search firm. During my time, I searched the market for potential candidates to fill various positions in different industries according to my client's needs and convinced them to make the jump to my client. I had to also work with clients to understand who they might be looking for. 

In terms of communication, I feel that my strength is in building rapport with people around me, but I have major shortfalls when making professional presentations as well as formal networking sessions. In these contexts, it might be due to self-induced pressure and stress which ultimately affects my performance. As much as I am aware of this problem, I constantly struggle to find a solution around it. I hope that given my time with you, I would be able to overcome these personal barriers and allow me to evolve into a better communicator in formal settings. 

Thank you for taking your precious time out to read this! Looking forward to class for practices I might be able to adopt and improve! 

Regards,


Kieman 

Revised: 10/02/17

Read: Karine, Jo