INTRODUCTIONCommunication is a vital part of creatingand maintaining a safe and efficientworkplace environment. How we interactwith clients and staff will affect how wellthe organisation functions and howsatisfying you find your job to be.
In this day and age ‘informationexplosion’ is a well knownexpression. While the amountof information that iscirculating can be daunting, theprocess is improved when:all staff develop goodinterpersonal skills, androutine workplace proceduresare put into place.
Routine Workplace ProtocolsAll organisations have rules for thetransfer of information. Knowing howto use the different types ofcommunication and following thecorrect procedures helps to ensurethat information goes to the correctplace and person.
Interpersonal CommunicationInterpersonal communication is theway we communicate with others.It may be with another person, to agroup of people or to the public.It includes written, verbal andnon-verbal communication.
Do you think communication ismostly done through words? What ifyou found out that communicationis actually 70% non-verbal? Thatmeans it’s your body languageincluding your movements, eyes andeven hands that say things moreoften and louder than your mouth
So what does that tell us? • We will already form an opinion based on a persons body language • Our body language must match the message we are delivering
When communicating withothers, take into consideration:• who you are talking to,• the type of information to be communicated (for example; confidential, good news/bad news, difficult technical information, instructions, general daily information), and• what the most appropriate type of communication to use is (for example; verbal, email, memo, handover). This may be determined by the type of information to be communicated.• At all times staff need to be respectful and polite to one another and to clients. At no time should they raise their voice, swear, or speak in a manner that makes another person feel belittled.
Cultural Awareness• We need to recognise that people come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures and with them they bring a variety of different values, attitudes and beliefs. •All staff need to be non judgemental, respectful and tolerant of each other’s differences. When communicating with people from other backgrounds care needs to be taken to ensure that cultural differences in both verbal and nonverbal communication are considered.
Disability Support We must create a work environment that is safe and supportive of people with disabilities.• Alternative methods of communication are maintained and developed when appropriate (for example; translators, voice recognition software, browser readers).• Professional development is provided to staff to assist in this process.
Conflict ResolutionStep 1• The best way to reduce issues is by open communication. If issues are identified as possible areas for conflict and discussed, the potential for problems is reduced or eliminated. Regular staff meetings, where issues are raised and discussed in an environment where staff feel free to voice their honest opinion without fear of retribution, help in defusing any problem areas before they become a major event.
Conflict ResolutionStep 2If the issue involves conflict with another person(or persons), discuss the problem directlybetween yourselves, with a witness present if youfeel that is necessary. The place to discuss thematter is private with no one listening.Be assertive, but not aggressive. You need to besure that you are calm, do not raise your voice.Explain the issue in an objective manner andclearly state any resolutions that you wish to see.
Conflict ResolutionStep 3• If the matter is not resolved by this method, a mediator may be used. A mediator is someone who can objectively get both parties to explain the issue and state their side of the story. The mediator may be a workmate, or a supervisor. However care needs to be taken that the mediator, if it is a workmate, is impartial and keeps details of the issue confidential.• When mediation is complete and both parties have explained how they feel about the issue, they may be able to come to some sort of agreement. At this stage the conversation may still remain informal with no written report being filed.
Conflict ResolutionStep 4• If the staff member involved doesn’t want to speak to the other person, then they may discuss their problem with their supervisor. The supervisor may either discuss the problem and the staff member decides to take the matter no further.or• The supervisor can discuss the matter with the other person and the matter is then taken no further.or• The supervisor, with agreement with either of the parties, takes the matter to the next level.
Conflict ResolutionStep 5• The next level is a more formal procedure and a supervisor, manager or human resources representative may be involved. Details of the discussion may be entered into the persons work record. The staff member may ask for a Union representative to be present.• In this case the grievance is discussed either without the second party present.or• The grievance is discussed with the second party present.
Outcomes of a grievanceprocedureBetter understanding and improved relationsbetween colleagues.An apology- either written or verbal.A reprimand -either written or verbal.Counselling for one or both parties.Disciplinary action.
Summary• Treat all fellow workers with respect and dignity• Follow workplace protocol and regulations• Consider your body language when dealing with others• Follow correct grievance procedures• Know what is the best way to deliver a message (verbal or non verbal)