Final Reflection

Looking through my posts on this blog, I came to realise that personal communication was not an easy task indeed. This is further backed up by my project experience with my group mates. Some may be cooperative and take the initiative to complete their parts, however some may choose to ignore their responsibilities, push the job to others whilst claiming the credit for work that they have not done.

This experience can definitely be applied to my future working life. There will be all kinds of people out there and this allows me to brace myself for it. I am grateful to have learn more about the different communication styles and getting access to resources which would not have been available if I did not take up this course. This class was entertaining with all the class activities and interaction with my classmates.

If I have to name one topic that I am most familiar with, it will definitely be how to respond to negative feedback. My group and I spent hours researching on the idea as well as perfecting our pitch. We tried conducting our research from different perspectives and gained many comments from industry professional.

I would conclude that this project was fruitful and fun to do. My group had a lot of fun coming up with the story line and plot of our video. At first, the video idea that we came up with,  was funny but it was not educational. We wanted to let people learn something out of the the videos. We continued to brainstorm and finally, we are ready to present what we have to the class.

At the end of this post, I would like to thank Brad and my fellow classmates for making CPD such a fun filled module. All the best to everyone’s future endeavors! 🙂

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Project Synopsis (Final) – How to receive and respond to negative feedback

Introduction & Problem Statement

It is common in any organization for management to provide feedback to their employees such as through performance appraisals. Regardless of an employee’s career stage, receiving negative feedback may not be the most pleasant feeling. Different employees take feedback differently. Some may view it as an opportunity to learn and grow, whereas some may view it as a personal attack. Everyone will receive at least one negative feedback in their life. The individual who handles it well will stand out compared to the others who may choose to ignore it.

Project’s Thematic Focus

Due to the nature of the hotel business, frontline employees face the challenge of meeting the expectations of both the guests and their superiors. During peak seasons where occupancy is high, these employees are challenged beyond their limits to ensure a smooth operation in the hotel.  It is inevitable that frontline employees make mistakes such as a double check-in to the same room. Being the hub or nerve center of a hotel, the front office also serves as a lightning rod for guest complaints. The employees have to deal with negative feedback especially with the frequency and intensity of guest complaints.  

Other than the guest, the superior who has to oversee the operations in the hotel would also perform the duty of providing feedback to the employees on areas that requires improvement. The feedback could be provided during official performance reviews or in in-the-moment coaching. In both cases, the employees on the receiving end may get upset, defensive or even demoralised which may ultimately affect their work performance.

The main issue that employees face is having to respond to the negative feedback in the different situations in a hotel. The ability of handling the feedback sets the employees apart in their way of learning and developing in the organisation. Hence, it is important that employees understand how feedback can allow them to better contribute to the hotel.

Nature of project’s professional importance

Highlighting the appropriate responses to negative feedbacks from both inputs – guests and superiors, helps the employees to further progress in their course of job and also allows them to continually enjoy what they do in the frontline.

Especially in the hospitality industry where feedback drives performance, it is equally important to ensure the employee receives the feedback right as much as having the management providing the feedback right. This is supported by a survey conducted by Zenger and Folkman (2014) where 96 percent of the respondents mentioned that when negative feedback is delivered and received appropriately, it is effective at improving performance. As the industry is driven by sales and experience, feedback is valued. Therefore, it is crucial to point out the various responses employees could have when receiving feedback.

Objective and scope of study  

The aim of the study is to better understand how employees can respond to feedback positively in the hotel industry.

Potential Solutions

The hotel may face major challenges such as absenteeism and employee turnover which can become widespread if the hotel do not take action in helping employees deal with negative feedback (Kraft, D. n.d.). The solutions proposed for this problem are long-term rather than short-lived ones so that they can address the root cause of the issue.

In order to do that, the employee have to understand the concept of feedback. A feedback is given so that an individual will know if their behaviour is acceptable.  It is allowing the individual to know if he or she should continue or to change the undesirable action. It helps learners to maximise their potential at different stages of training, raise their awareness of strengths and areas for improvement, and identify actions to be taken to improve performance (Kennedy, D., & Mcgarthy, D., 2015).

The proposed solution will be in the following ways:

  1. Listen carefully and do not react first – This is to ensure that the receiver of the feedback understand what the criticism is about before reacting. Do not get defensive and have some time to absorb the feedback.
  2. Assess the feedback – Being able to differentiate between an opinion and fact will allow receiver to respond effectively and comprehend the situation more clearly. Also, check if the feedback is accurate by evaluating the feedback objectively.
  3. Request time to think – Thank the commenter for the feedback before confirming that the commenter’s concerns have been understood and that the receiver would like to get back to the commenter at a later time. It defuses the emotional load for the receiver and understand where the commenter is coming from. Furthermore, even if it is hard to understand from the commenter’s point of view, the receiver can seek out friends or family members to get alternate opinions.
  4. Understand it but don’t dwell on it – After having the opportunity to think and discuss with others, understand the feedback and improve on behavior and attitude. After working through feelings, let the negativity go by remembering that it is just a job and it does not correlate the receiver’s value as a human being
  5. Apologise and clarify – Head back and apologise to the commenter. The receiver should be aware of what has been done wrongly as well as what could have done better. The commenter will appreciate the effort which the receiver took to analyse the problem as well as the next steps to take to get rid of that negative attitude or behaviour.
  6. Use it to make yourself better – Negative feedback may be positive as it allows people to have opportunities to grow. Even though such feedback might not be pleasant to hear, it provides another perspective to consider. Therefore, whenever a negative feedback is received, process it, think about how to learn from it and move on.

Benefits to the workplace

Every organisation seeks to create a culture where feedback can be shared and received effectively. The benefits of an improved feedback system would bring long-term benefits to the company which includes higher employee engagement, job satisfaction and lower turnover. Multi-source feedback is believed to increase motivation among staff, translating into positive behaviour change, increased productivity and self awareness which are fundamental for the progress of any organisation (Saedon H. et.al., 2012) When employees are able to acknowledge negative feedback and are equipped with the knowledge on handling them, they will be more prepared to accept it.

Research Methods

The team would collect primary sources through observations in the hotel and interviews with frontline employees will be conducted to understand how they address the problems faced.

Our teammate, Riley, has encountered negative feedback given by a guest when she was working in the hotel during her internship. Initially, she found it difficult to accept the negative feedback as she felt that it was not entirely her fault. However, after the incident, she managed to get some advice from her seniors at work. Some of the solutions listed above was the advices given by her seniors which was relatable to her situation at that point in time. On top of that, she added ways to deal with the feedback. Therefore, the solutions suggested was extremely relevant and can be applied to the industry.  

Our research has also included relevant academic journals and articles that will be used as references to supplement our primary data.

Conclusion

The hotel industry is a challenging and fast-paced environment where employees will meet guests from all walks of life. It is essential for the employee to be able to adapt and approach feedback in a positive manner. This would allow them to improve and grow in their career ladder.

 

Project Synopsis – First Draft

Project Synopsis (First Draft)

The interpersonal communication identified is how employees receive and respond to negative feedback from their superior. It is common in any organization to provide feedback to their employees such as through performance appraisals.  Regardless of the career stage, receiving negative feedback may not be the most pleasant feeling. Different employees take feedback differently. Some may view it as an opportunity to learn and grow, whereas some may view it as a personal attack. Everyone will receive at least one negative feedback in their life. However, how you handle it, is what makes you stand out from the others and defines your character.

Project’s Thematic Focus

The focus of the intercommunication problem is in a hotel context. In a hotel, there are many interactions ongoing in the lobby. There will be instances when an employee receives feedback from the superior in the guest’s’ presence. A front-line employee of the hotel had been facing grooming issues and is not performing up to the hotel’s standard. The duty manager had been observing this employee for months and given numerous feedbacks to her.

On one occasion, the employee did a wrong check-in for a guest whereby the room was assigned to an existing staying guest. The duty manager reprimanded her while she was serving the guest. The employee felt embarrassed in front of the guest but managed to suppress her emotions. However, the duty manager was still not pleased with her actions even though she had made an effort to change in both situations. It is also the period of conducting performance appraisal. The employee was then given a negative feedback in her appraisal on the above mentioned issues which led her to be demoralised and having thoughts of resigning. If this continues, the hotel may face high employee turnover if the employee does not know how to deal with such feedback in a positive mindset.

The challenge that employees faced is to respond to the negative feedback given the different situations in a hotel. The ability of handling the feedback sets them apart in their way of learning and developing in the organisation. According to a survey conducted by Zenger and Folkman, 96 percent of the respondents mentioned that when negative feedback is delivered and received appropriately, it is effective at improving performance. Hence, it is important that the manager substantiate with reasons behind the negative feedback and the implications as a result of the employee’s actions.

Nature of project’s professional importance

In today’s hospitality industry, service is not the core drive for revenue. New factors such as experience and quality of engagement also contributes to the satisfaction of the guests. Therefore, communication is at utmost importance and is inevitable. Employees faces communication in all areas of their work phases, be it in the frontlines or at the backend operations. Hence, it is important to surface the potential communication issues in this area.

As the industry is driven by sales and experience, feedbacks are valued. Therefore, it is crucial to point out the various responses employees could have when receiving feedback. As what was mentioned above, we will be focusing on the responses to feedback from the upper management.

Objective and scope of study (Missing)

As

 

Proposed data collection (Missing)

Collectively, we will………….

Potential Solutions

As mentioned, the company may face major challenges such as high turnover and employee dissatisfaction if their employee do not have the right mindset to deal with negative feedback. The solution proposed for this problem have to be long-term rather than a short-lived one whereby it has to solve the root cause of the problem. In order to do that, the employee have to understand the concept of feedback. A feedback is given so that an individual will know if their behaviour was good or bad, it is not a personal attack. It is simply allowing the individual to know if he or she should continue what he is doing now or to change that undesirable action. It all leads down to understanding where the other party is coming from.  

The proposed solution will be in the following ways:

  1. Listen carefully and don’t react first – This is to ensure that the you understand what the criticism is about first before reacting. Do not get defensive and give yourself some time to absorb the feedback.
  2. Assess the feedback – Is the feedback a fact or just an opinion from the others? Being able to differentiate between an opinion and fact will allow you to respond effectively and comprehend the situation more clearly. Also, check if the feedback is accurate, have you really done such a thing? Evaluate the feedback objectively.
  3. Ask for time to think – Thank the person for his feedback before confirming with him that you understand his concerns and that you would like to get back to him at a later time. Also, add on to ask him if there is anything else he would like to let you know. This shows that you take his concerns seriously and will ensure there’s nothing left unsaid. By asking for time to consider,  it helps you to defuse the emotional load and put yourself in the person’s shoes to see where he is coming from. Furthermore, even if it is hard to understand from the person’s point of view, you can seek out friends or family members to get alternate opinions.
  4. Understand it but don’t dwell on it – After having the opportunity to think and discuss with others, understand the feedback that the person gave and get an understanding on what you have to work on. Use this opportunity to think about all the ways in which you can improve your behavior and attitude. After working through your feelings, let the negativity go by remembering that it is just your job and it does not correlate your value as a human being
  5. Apologise and clarify – Head back to the person and apologise to him. Let him know that you know that you have done wrong, how you have felt as well as what you could have done better. The other person will appreciate the effort you took to analyse the problem as well as you are clear as to what are the next steps to take to get rid of that negative attitude or behaviour.
  6. Use it to make yourself better – Negative feedback may be positive as the person wants you to become better and allows you to have opportunities to grow. Even though such feedback might not be pleasant to hear, it gives us another perspective to consider. Remember that it is how you handle negative feedback from others which makes you stand out from the crowd. Therefore, whenever you receive a negative feedback, process it, think about what you can learn from it and move on.

Benefits to the workplace

Every company seeks to create a culture whereby feedback can be shared and received effectively. The benefits of an improved feedback system would bring long-term benefits to the company which includes higher employee engagement, job satisfaction and lower turnover.  

 

Conclusion 

Reflection: Interpersonal Communication

This incident happened when I was an intern at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay. It was around 1pm where it was chaotic for the front office department. All the guests were either busy checking in or out. With only three check in counters available, the queue was long with all the guests getting impatient and frustrated. My supervisor told me to do some crowd control and to lead all guests to the nearest and shortest line possible.

My hotel have this special priority check in counter which is normally only open for its loyalty programme (LP) members. With this immense amount of guests, the counter opened for all guests. I started leading guests to that counter where most of the guests are under the LP. There was this guest who was queuing in the priority queue, got frustrated and started scolding me, telling me that he is a silver member (second last tier of the LP) so why does he have to wait so long. I apologised and seek his kind understanding that it is the hotel’s peak hour as well as most guests queuing in front of him, are loyalty members like him.  He continued to show his displeasure and told me that he can get me fired easily. Another guest decided that he was going to show some support to his fellow guest, started scolding me too and told me that I was incompetent in my job.

I felt wronged by them and how was I incompetent? Is it just because I could not give them what they wanted? If they really do want to be treated as VIP loyalty programme guests, they can buy the premium package where it allows them to have personalised check in with no queue, at the lounge. But since they didn’t, they are just like any other LP guest and why should they expect a special treatment when there might be others with even higher LP tier are queuing alongside with them?

That was the moment when I felt that customers are not always right and they just wanted to have someone to vent their anger on and it doesn’t matter what I say as it will just sound like excuses to them. They only want to hear what they want to hear. That happened when it was my fourth day at work and there was not any senior to help or guide me as everyone was busy attending to guests.

What could have I have done better to explain to the guests?

How do each of these areas connect to your personal branding?

Being well eloquent and showing good body language are a few excellent ways to promote personal branding as it shows others an unique professional side of you which sets you apart from other colleagues or others in the industry.

Well eloquent may also refer to you having great emotional intelligence skills such as speaking the right thing at the right time and managing your emotions before you speak. When you have a good body language, it can omit confidence as well as good social skills.

Hence, these two factors will help in one’s personal branding.

Self Introduction Email

To: Brad
From: Leau Lin Wei Riley
Date: 14 January 2017
Subject: Self Introduction

Dear Brad,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Riley and I am currently pursuing Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Business (Hons) in Singapore Institute of Technology. Previously, I completed a Diploma in Tourism and Resort Management in Singapore Polytechnic on May 2015. Prior to that, I graduated from Tampines Secondary School with a GCE O-Level Certificate.

During polytechnic, I went for a six months internship at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay. Through this internship, I had an in-depth learning of the hotel’s operations and was able to gain real-life working experience. I was trained to be meticulous in my tasks as well as how to handle different situations tactfully.

In communication, I feel that my strength is being a good listener. I learnt to apply critical thinking before I speak so that my emotions do not get the better of me. Being a good listener is important as it allows a person to think in the other person’s point of view and understand their intentions. It enables a person to gain knowledge and insight from others when they talk about things that we have yet to experience.

However, my weakness is that I am not very expressive during communication as I prefer to hear more about the other person rather than talking about myself or my feelings. I would like to improve on this weakness as it does not encourage effective communication between two parties.

Best regards,

Leau Lin Wei Riley

Revised on 16 January 2017