Critical Reflection

Career and Professional Development II has provided me with a fresh perspective on communication, which I can put to good use in school, as well as in the workplace.

Throughout the course of the module, we had gone through a range of topics – interpersonal communication, active listening, conflict management, non-verbal communication, which has taught me things that I have never knew about, or neglected, in communication. Furthermore, the impromptu speeches have given me the opportunity to experience what it is like to speak before a group on such a short notice.

The most memorable session had to be during the project presentation, where my team, consisting of Han Tong, Joey, and myself, showcased the fruits of our labour. We managed to deliver a presentation on an issue that we felt strongly for, and shared our knowledge on workplace bullying with the rest of the class.

In all, after the completion of the Career and Professional Development II module, I had gained a better appreciation of the art of communication, and will surely take the skills I have learnt with me no matter where I go.

Project Synopsis

Introduction

As Singapore embarks on a journey to establish itself as a regional hub for the events sector in the years to come, many of the locally-based event organizers and firms are working hard to take on more projects to play their part in growing the industry. However, this surge in productivity and performance comes at a price – stretching limited resources and overworking employees to meet the various deadlines imposed. An event operates like an exponential curve; it starts slowly and gradually as the event nears, the workload builds leading to the event itself. Burnouts happen frequently if the workload is not managed properly. As a result, there is a loss of human touch and staff welfare across the industry, with supervisors and managers pushing their team to the limit in exchange for results and performance.

Problem Statement

While it is heartening to know that the phenomenon does not occur in every workplace, a more pressing issue exists on hand – workplace bullying. Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper (2011) defined this as “harassing, offending, socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someone’s work tasks repeatedly and regularly, over a period of time.”

It has been reported that many employees in Singapore have seen themselves fall victim to workplace bullying – with 24 percent of local employees indicating so in an online survey conducted by JobsCentral in 2012 (Goh, 2014). Employees reportedly experienced bullying in various manners, and these can be classified as being either clear-cut or subtle.

Problem Definition

Clear-cut examples of workplace bullying would include physical abuse, such as being slapped and pinched, and verbal abuse, in the form of hurling vulgarities or insults. Subtle manners of workplace abuse are harder to identify and would include things such as making degrading remarks and being ostracized at work by colleagues.

Though it may be easy to cast a blind eye to such incidents at work, it is an issue that should not be ignored, as the repercussions can be severe for the targets of bullying. A study has shown, as cited in Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper (2011), some targets may consider suicide as a solution to their problems. Mental well-being can also be affected, where targets may suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The same study quoted above on 199 participants, who experienced bullying, has shown that 84 percent of them have PTSD symptoms attributed to workplace bullying by their superiors. Workplace bullying can affect one’s self-esteem, leading to a sense of hopelessness and lower self-worth and even depression (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011).

This problem may also affect work productivity of the company (Rajalakshmi & Gomathi, 2016). Additionally, there is a co-relation between bullying and absenteeism due to sickness (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011). As such, this means that victims of bullying are more likely to be absent from work, affecting the overall productivity of the company.

Objective of the Study

The aim of the study is to explore the concept of workplace bullying – specifically in the areas of verbal abuse and being ostracized at work – as these are the most likely scenarios to occur in the events industry.

Through this study, the team hopes to achieve several key objectives. Firstly, the team aims to raise awareness of workplace bullying in Singapore, and inform the relevant stakeholders in the event industry that such situations do exist. According to an interview with an employee at Concepts Events Marketing,  most of the workplace bullying that takes place in the events industry includes verbal bullying and ostracising of subordinates. Due to the nature of the work, teamwork is part and parcel of the job. There will always be a few members who cannot work well in a team, and get ostracised. Therefore, it is crucial to make known to relevant stakeholders – human resource managers, managers of different tiers, and employees about the pressing issue.

Secondly, the study will highlight the various signs and symptoms of workplace bullying, which will help stakeholders identify such incidents in the workplace. Lastly, it aims to educate victims on the various platforms to seek help from. This will allow both the victims and witnesses of workplace bullying to understand the seriousness of the issue, and help them know how and where to seek help from.

Proposed Solutions

According to the Ministry of Manpower guidelines, every employee can be reminded to take charge of their own personal safety and wellbeing at work. To deal with workplace bullying, the victim should firstly, be familiar with the workplace harassment procedures in the organisation and report it to the appropriate parties. Companies are also advised to implement proper reporting procedures, or establish a harassment reporting line with an environment where whistle-blowers will be protected.

Additionally, employees are encouraged to seek help from their colleagues, and a buddy system can be adopted to solve such issues. Alternatively, external help can be sought to resolve workplace bullying. The affected person can consider approaching associations, unions, or professional organisations to seek help from. Some of these avenues include, the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), The Legal Aid Bureau (LAB) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM.)

For employers seeking to create training programs relating to peer support, they can approach the Trauma Recovery and Corporate Solutions (TraCS) for advice, and acquire the required resources. Alternatively, the victim can consider making a police report if the situation escalates. If the victim need legal advice, they can approach the Community Justice Centre (CJC), who are able to provide legal advice to individuals needing help.

The team firmly believes that the education video produced will be able to aid in raising awareness about the real extent of workplace abuse in a typical workplace within the industry. Also, it serves as an educational tool for both the employers and the employees, in learning about how to identify workplace bullying, and knowing how to handle such situations within the workplace environment.

Research Methodology

In order to better understand the extent and impact of workplace bullying within the various workplaces in local events firms, a series of in-depth interviews were conducted with several employees who have witnessed such incidents first-hand within their companies. However, pseudonyms will be used to protect these individuals, as they have agreed to the interview on the condition that their identities will be kept confidential. In addition, academic papers will be referenced from multiple sources to further strengthen the findings, and provide alternative viewpoints on the topic of workplace bullying as a whole.

Concluding Thoughts

Workplace bullying is a pressing issue that is not commonly highlighted, but yet on ongoing phenomenon that has to be addressed due to the consequences. The team is keen to provide solutions to address this issue and is fully confident that the proposed solution will be effective in resolving the problem of workplace bullying. 

Bibliography

Einarsen, S., Hoel, H., Zapf, D., & Cooper, C. (2011). The concept of bullying at work: The European tradition. International perspectives in research and practice, 3 – 30.

Goh, N. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/facing-up-to-bullies-at-the-workplace

Rajalakshmi,M., & S., G. (2016). Relationship between workplace bullying and organisational culture. Global Management Review 10(2), 71-82.

Tripartite Advisory on Managing Workplace Harassment. (2017). Mom.gov.sg. Retrieved 21 March 2017, from http://www.mom.gov.sg/~/media/mom/documents/employment-practices/guidelines/tripartite-advisory-on-managing-workplace-harassment.pdf?la=en

Written By: Han Tong, Joey, Leon

Project Synopsis – Draft 1

Introduction

As Singapore embarks on a journey to establish itself as a regional hub for the events sector in the years to come, it has meant that many of the locally-based event organizers and firms are working doubly hard to take on more projects to play their part in growing the industry.

However, this surge in productivity and performance has come at a price – stretching limited resources and overworking employees to meet the various deadlines imposed. The event industry is like an exponential curve; it starts slowly and gradually as the events near, the workload builds leading to the event itself. Burnouts happen frequently if it is not managed properly. As a result, there is a loss of human touch and staff welfare across the industry, with supervisors and managers in some companies pushing their team to the limits in exchange for results and performance.

Problem Statement

While it is heartening to know that the phenomenon does not occur in every workplace, there is a need to recognize that a more pressing issue exists on hand – workplace bullying. Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper (2011) defined this as “harassing, offending, socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someone’s work tasks repeatedly and regularly, over a period of time”.

It has been reported by The Straits Times, a local newspaper, that many employees have seen themselves fall victim to workplace bullying – with 24 percent of local employees indicating so in an online survey conducted by JobsCentral in 2012 (Goh, 2014). Employees reportedly experienced bullying in various manners, and these can be classified as being either clear-cut or subtle.

Problem Definition

Workplace bullying that is considered clear-cut would include physical abuse – such as being slapped and pinched, and verbal abuse – in the form of hurling vulgarities, or insults. Subtle manners of workplace abuse are harder to identify, and would include things such as sexual harassment – making degrading remarks, molest, and being ostracized at work by colleagues.

Though it may be easy to cast a blind eye to such incidents at work, it is an issue that should not be ignored, as the repercussions can be severe for the targets of bullying. A few studies have shown that some targets may consider suicide as a solution to their problems. Mental well-being can also be affected, where targets may suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A study on 199 participants (who experienced bullying) has shown that 84 percent of them have PTSD symptoms attributed to workplace bullying by their superiors. Moreover, workplace bullying can affect an individual self-esteem, leading to a sense of hopelessness and lower self-worth and even depression (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011).

This problem may also affect work productivity of the company. Research has also shown that victims of workplace bullying are more likely to have sleep difficulties. As sleep is one of the important factor for maintaining health and well-being, the lack of sleep may lead to poorer health which can result in a lower level of productivity from the employee. Additionally, there is a co-relation between bullying and sickness absenteeism (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011). As such, this means that victims of bullying are more likely to be absent from work, affecting the overall productivity of the company.

Objective of the Study

Hence, the aim of the study is to explore the concept of workplace bullying – specifically in the areas of verbal abuse and being ostracized at work – as these are the most likely scenarios to occur in the events industry.

Through this study, the team hopes to achieve several key objectives. Firstly, the team aims to raise awareness of workplace bullying in Singapore, and inform the public that such situations do exist within the country. Secondly, the study will list the various signs and symptoms of workplace bullying, which will help employees to identify such incidents in the workplace. Lastly, it aims to educate readers on the various platforms to seek help from. 

Research Methodology

In order to better understand the extent and impact of workplace bullying within the various workplaces in local events firms, a series of in-depth interviews will be conducted with several employees who have witnessed such incidents first-hand within their companies. However, pseudonyms will be used to protect these individuals, as they have agreed to the interview on the condition that their identities will be kept confidential. In addition, academic papers will be referenced from multiple sources to further strengthen the findings, and provide alternative viewpoints on the topic of workplace bullying as a whole. 

Proposed Solutions

To address the problem of workplace bullying, the team will look to produce a short five-minute educational video on the abovementioned topic. In this video, the team will first address the signs and symptoms of workplace bullying by playing out a scenario. After which, the effects on the victims will be shown – to illustrate the sufferings and impacts that bullying causes. Lastly, methods to resolve the situation or avenues to seek help from, will be highlighted and mentioned at the end to close off the video.

The team firmly believes that the education video produced will be able to aid in raising awareness about the real extent of workplace abuse in a typical workplace within the industry. Also, it serves as an educational tool for both the employers and the employees, in learning about how to identify workplace bullying, and knowing how to handle such situations within the workplace environment.

Concluding Thoughts

Workplace bullying is a pressing issue that is not commonly highlighted, but yet is an ongoing phenomenon that has to be addressed due to the consequences that is attached to it. The team is keen to provide our solutions to address this issue and is fully confident that the proposed solution will be effective in resolving the problem of workplace bullying.

Written By: Han Tong, Joey, Leon

Service Recovery Email

Dear Mr Bennert,

I am Leon Ng, a guest service agent at Marina Bay Sands Singapore. Thank you for staying with us, and I am truly apologetic about the incident that you had experienced during your recent stay.

At Marina Bay Sands, we strive to provide our guests with the best service possible, and leave our guests with a memorable experience at the end of their stay. We sincerely regret that on this occasion, we did not anticipate your needs well, and had left you feeling frustrated during your short stay with us. However, we do assure you that this is a one-off incident.

As each of our guest are highly valued, on behalf of the management, I would like to offer you and your family a complimentary one night stay at the Orchid Suite in Marina Bay Sands. Additionally, entry to the executive club lounge will be made complimentary for you and your family.

Please contact me directly by replying to this email, or contacting me at 61231234 with your intended date of stay, and I will personally ensure that your stay is well-taken care of.

I look forward to hearing from you, and we will be delighted to serve our promise on your next visit.

Yours sincerely,

Guest Service Agent

Leon Ng

leon.ng@mbs.com.sg

www.marinabaysands.com

 

 

Reflection: Interpersonal Issue

For this reflection, I would like to share about an interpersonal communication problem that I faced during my internship at an events company.

The incident took place during the preparation for one of the events that I was involved in. My role in the team was to ensure that the venue was properly set-up for the corporate event that was scheduled to take place the following day. At the venue, I was working with a colleague to setup various exhibits in the event space, according to a floor plan provided by the client. This task was finally completed after a few hours, and it was just in time for the client’s inspection of the site.

However, when the client arrived and saw the exhibits, she expressed her anger, and exclaimed that the exhibits were wrongly arranged. Apparently, the current set-up was entirely different from the floor plan that she had. At that point, I was definitely upset with her remarks, as we had set it up painstakingly accordingly to the plan that we provided to us in the morning. Even though we tried to explain that the plan was what we were given, and that no revised version had been received back at the company, the client was adamant that we had made the error on our end.

After all, this was a client of the company, and there was a need to maintain a cordial relationship with her. I wonder what we could have done to appease her in that situation?

 

How do the various areas of communication connect to your personal branding?

The various areas of communication comes together to form an individual’s personal branding in several ways.

Firstly, a person needs to practice self-awareness to be able to discover what he or she is capable of as an individual. This is the foundation of personal branding, as it sets the tone for the person to truly discover how he or she wishes to be identified by others. This is further influenced by self-esteem, which helps in strengthening the belief that an individual has about his or her capabilities, and can greatly alter how a person chooses to brand himself or herself to others.

Next, a person’s emotional intelligence (EQ) affects how one is perceived by others, as it plays a huge role in determining how well a person is able to control his or her emotions, and react to different scenarios. If harnessed well, EQ can help an individual to stand out against others, by allowing him or her to perform better than others when placed in the same scenario.

Lastly, the various verbal and non-verbal cues that a person displays will create an impression in the minds of others. For instance, a person who communicates with little to no eye contact may be deemed as lacking confidence, even if he or she did not intend to project such an image to others.

Together, all the areas of communication come together to paint a complete picture of the individual in the eyes of others, hence influencing one’s personal branding.

Formal Email: Self-Introduction

To:              Mr Brad Blackstone
From:        Leon Ng
Date:         16 January 2017
Subject:    Self-Introduction

Dear Brad,

I am Leon, currently a second year undergraduate in the hospitality business programme offered by the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). Prior to pursuing my bachelor degree in SIT, I graduated with a diploma in business studies from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), with an added focus in Entrepreneurship during my final year of studies.

While my course of studies back in NP placed an emphasis on commerce and business management, the various clubs and societies that I was involved in had cultivated my interest and passion for event operations and management.

This interest was further fuelled after completing my 4-month long internship at Pico Art as part of my industrial attachment last year. I had the opportunity to work on events of varying scale, ranging from company-wide to nation-wide events with established corporations, which has shown me how dynamic the industry can be.

When it comes to communicating in person, I feel that I am relatively observant and able to pick up non-verbal cues fairly well when conversing with others. In addition, I am comfortable with converting ideas and concepts into writing when needed.

On the other hand, there are instances where I get stumped when trying to express my thoughts or opinion in a manner suitable for academic setting. Also, I have a tendency of speaking quickly subconsciously, and often have to slow myself down to remain audible.

Thus, I am looking forward to the opportunity to enhance my writing and communication skills through the course of this module.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Leon Ng

– edits made on 28 Jan