Subject: Inappropriate Computer Usage • Recently, we discovered that some employees are making inappropriate use of the company’s Internet and email systems. We wish to remind you that our company’s computer resources, including hardware, software, email and the Internet, should only be used for company business. • As we recognize that there may be some confusion about what constitutes personal use of company computers, here is a list of inappropriate activities: • Forwarding of email chain letters • Surfing the internet • Downloading files containing pictures and applications • Subscribing to personal news groups and Internet mailing list • Within the last few weeks, we have had to endure many server crashes and sluggish computer response times because of inappropriate email and Internet usage. If these problems continue, we will be forced to monitor or record employees’ computer usage. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action—even termination for serious and repeat violations--or, in the case of our consultants, a change in status. • I am sure that none of us knowingly want to harm the productivity of our company. If you have any questions about computer usage, or would like further clarification of this policy, please contact me at extension #4241.
MAIB 2001 Class 3: Organizational Structure and Organizational Strategies in Business Communication
LEVELS OF COMMUNICATION • INTERNAL MESSAGES: for recipients within the organization • EXTERNAL MESSAGES: directed to recipients outside the organization
INTERNAL FORMS of COMMUNICATION Oral: One-on-one conversation, telephone conversation, interviews, group meetings, presentations, televised speeches, teleconferences Written: E-mail, memo, fax, newsletter, informal reports, formal reports
EXTERNAL FORMS OF COMMUNICATION Oral: Networking: face-to-face and phone, public relations, meetings, presentations Written: Fax, letters, reports, contracts, press releases
TIPS FOR SELECTING COMMUNICATION MEDIUM • Do you need a permanent record of this communication? (historic, legal) • Will my receiver(s) be receptive to my message? • Where and how large is the audience for my message? • Is the message long or complex? • Is the message or the response urgent? • Is credibility a concern?
ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION • Is concerned with the movement of information within the company • Depends on the organizational structure or design of an organization
FORMAL AND INFORMAL CHANNELS Formal Communication Channels Management creates structures to control individual and group behavior and to achieve the organization’s goals Informal Communication Channels Develop as people interact within the formal, imposed system, and social and psychological needs emerge
BUREAUCRATIC STRUCTURE Rigid Formal Communication: • Communication is dictated by procedures manuals, job descriptions, organizational charts, strict and exact rules and policies Disadvantages: • Distance leads to potential distortion of info • Only the top can see the big picture
Similarities People are “insiders” Some shared knowledge/info. Some shared motivation/goals Shared organizational structure Differences Organizational level Individual expertise/knowledge level Organizational orientation Length of employment INTERNAL AUDIENCE CHARACTERISTICS
STRATEGIC FORCES INFLUENCING BUSINESS COMMUNICATION • Legal and ethical constraints • Diversity challenges • Globalization • Changing technology • Team-oriented approaches
DIRECTIONS FOR INTERNAL COMMUNICATION FLOW • DOWNWARD • UPWARD • HORIZONTAL
1. DOWNWARD COMMUNICATION From top to bottom (manager to employee): • Teaching about job roles and skills • Orienting to company’s goals and policies • Evaluating job performance and success • Eg. Briefings, instructions, explanations, feedback, motivational pep talks
2. UPWARD COMMUNICATION Quality of feedback depends on quality of downward communication: • Quality of communication depends on employee’s trust in the manager • Informs management about problems and successes of employees and policies • Why or when would employees not communicate with their managers?
3. HORIZONTAL COMMUNICATION Interactions between people/units on the same hierarchical level • This is the major channel for co-ordination • Current emphasis on cross-functional work teams promotes more horizontal communication • A good manager will promote productive interactions on the horizontal level
UPWARD/DOWNWARD COMMUNICATION Rewrite the following memo twice, changing style and tone to fit the situation: 1) Rewrite it so that John is the team leader 2) Rewrite it so that Fred is John’s supervisor To: John From: Fred Date: July 8, 2001 Subject: Monson Project Team I am concerned about the team’s progress on the Munson Project. I feel we should be further along than we are at this point. Perhaps you could visit with me sometime tomorrow so we could talk about how to improve the team’s progress. I would really appreciate hearing your perception of the problem.
REMEMBER THE THREE PRINCIPLES BEFORE YOU WRITE: • PURPOSE • AUDIENCE • MEDIUM
How do Readers Read? • We read opportunistically: we are time and answer-driven (the “bottom-line” approach) • We read selfishly: to find only the information that pertains to US and our department • We read quickly: to find the answers as quickly and efficiently as possible
Answer Readers’ Questions CONTENT: • What’s the main issue here? • Why should I care? • What can be done? • What should be done? • What are the costs? • What are the benefits? • Why should I believe you? ORGANIZATION: • Where is the information I need?
A good document has three important elements: • CONTENT • ORGANIZATION • LAYOUT
ORGANIZATION • Don’t organize your information to reflect your thought processes; rather try to “manage” your reader’s response • Readers want the RESULTS of your thinking, not the thinking itself • Follow the 3-step “Army” approach to focus your reader • Organization should be determined by PURPOSE and READER
PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIZATION • Logical: classification or division according to some key principle • Order of importance (also pro-con/con-pro) • Recommendation-rationale-implementation • Problem-analysis-solution
AUDIENCE Interested Supportive Informed ARGUMENT One-sided Pro-con Deductive Descending SELECT PERSUASIVE STRUCTURES ACCORDING TO AUDIENCE Approach style: Tell or Sell
AUDIENCE Unengaged Hostile Uninformed ARGUMENT Two-sided Con/pro Inductive Ascending SELECT PERSUASIVE STRUCTURES ACCORDING TO AUDIENCE Approach style: Consult or Join
Use YOU-Oriented Writing • Speak from the reader’s point-of-view, not the writer’s • Emphasize what the reader wants to know to show your concern • Build goodwill through positive emphasis
1. Focus on What the Readers receive, not on what You can Do for Them • Identify reader benefits ME-attitude: I have negotiated an agreement with Apex Rent-a-Car that gives you a discount on rental cars YOU-attitude: As a Sunstrand employee, you can now get a 20% discount when you rent a new car from Apex ME-attitude: We provide health insurance for all employees YOU-attitude: You receive comprehensive health insurance as a full-time UF employee
2. Give Specific Details and Info. the Reader Needs • Refer to the reader’s details specifically to imply involvement, and supply necessary details for clarity ME-attitude: We are shipping your order of September 21 this morning YOU-attitude: The two Corning Ware starter sets you ordered will be shipped this afternoon and should reach you by September 28 ME-attitude: Your order will be expedited soon YOU-attitude: The desk chair you ordered should arrive within the week
3. Omit your feelings, and Don’t Forecast the Reader’s Feelings • Omit your feelings (except for congratulations/condolences), and don’t tell readers how they will react/feel ME-attitude: We are happy to extend you a credit line of $5,000 YOU-attitude: You can now charge up to $5,000 on your American Express card ME-attitude: You’ll be happy to hear that your scholarship has been renewed YOU-attitude: Congratulations! Your scholarship has been renewed.
Change the Attitude in these examples: • We require you to sign the order before we will allow you to receive delivery • I am very pleased that I can offer my customers these advantages • We are thrilled that we can open this restaurant in this area • Before we can allow you to write checks on your account, we request that you sign the enclosed signature card
Logical organization • Always begin with ideas the reader can easily understand and accept • Use the same system all the way through • Work out a suitable layout and format to help the reader • Use tables, graphs, and pictures whenever helpful and appropriate • Make important items STAND OUT
Goals of the Performance Review • To motivate and educate the employee • To protect the organization
Importance of Performance Reviews • Serve to reinforce your corporate culture and goals and clarify position responsibilities • Aid the employee to clarify job requirements, improve performance, and set new career goals • Provide the basis for promotions and raises
VALUE OF REVIEWS FOR EMPLOYEES • Emphasize and clarify job requirements • Give employees feedback on their efforts • Develop guidelines for future efforts
Difficulties of the Performance Review • The positive goal (to boost employee commitment and performance) conflicts with the negative goal (to defend the company against litigation) • Managers and supervisors may be distanced from the work events of the employee by time and place • Employees are emotionally invested in the assessments and may be defensive or hostile
Varieties of Performance Reviews • Formal annual performance review/report: very rigid process and product. Frequently seems punitive rather than constructive • “360 degree” reviews: give employees feedback from multiple sources-- from above, below, and horizontally • More democratic and flexible evaluation: employee plays a part in writing the review, and document is designed collaboratively
Strategies for Writing an Effective Performance Review • First clarify the GOALS of the review carefully: informative and helpful to employees, OR protective and legally binding for the company? • Be very SPECIFIC and detailed, both for credibility and clarification purposes (keep a performance log that documents incidents pertinent to an employee’s performance) • Emphasize the IMPROVEMENT aspect of the evaluation: state specifically some possible steps for improvement
Potential Readers • You, as well as other managers and supervisors, will read performance reviews to evaluate employees and promote or demote accordingly • Employees have a legal right both to read and comment on the performance review in writing • Human resources officials will probably read and approve the document • Lawyers, grievance officers, judges, and juries become involved in litigious situations
Strategies for Successful Performance Reviews • PURPOSE • CONTENT • TONE
PURPOSE As long as the purpose of the performance review is not focused on termination of the employee, then • Be action oriented and provide useful guidelines for the employees • Remember your role as mentor: you need to motivate and educate employees so that they may become happier and more efficient workers • Focus on problem resolution: suggest specific ways that the situation or skill can be improved. Indicate how non-compliance will have an impact on future effectiveness. • Discuss the performance review with the employee being evaluated (perhaps even invite input during the writing process)
CONTENT • Base your performance review on the job description (gives expectations for the position) • Do not focus simply on an employee’s traits (lazy, co-operative, arrogant) • Focus on specific behaviors (averaged 14 customer service calls a day; continued to shop on the internet and send personal e-mails despite being warned on 2 specific dates to stop) • Explain the problems caused by the employee’s behavior rather than attacking the behavior itself • Base the review on your top priorities: a long “laundry list” of necessary changes will be demoralizing. • Close with an overall summary, or a friendly comment about future success
USE SPECIFICS • Vague: John does not manage his time as well as he should • Better: John submitted 3 out of 5 of his monthly reports 4 to 6 days after they were due • Vague: Peter calls in sick a lot; his co-workers say he is an alcoholic • Better: Peter called in sick 10 days in the last 2 months. Co-workers state that his behavior at business lunches is embarrassing and unprofessional.
TONE and ORGANIZATION • Positive or neutral reviews should follow the direct pattern; negative reviews should be more indirect in their approach • Emphasize improvement and future actions rather than past transgressions • Keep the tone objective and unbiased, and the language nonjudgmental • End, if possible, on a positive note