A Lesson In Workplace Communication

Thinking back on this now makes me laugh, only becuase my original understanding was the correct one, not the understanding of certain key figures around me at my work. So this post will be about those tiniest of threads in the world of communication, and just how easy it is to across those threads, and really make a mess of things that were so unavoidable. The question of feedback came up. My work had just switched to a different, less expensive, carrier to move our goods from the factories to our store shelves. One of my tasks is handle the product that we receive, and make sure that it is accounted for, before another team of workers moves it onto the sales floor to be sold. So, in essences, I Receive the goods from the carrier, and balance it to what we asked for–on paper. In that process, I am to give feedback to the workers who loaded those goods to begin with.

Two issues arose from this, about us giving feedback to the loaders. First, what mode of communication do we use, and second, what should we comment on? At first, I thought, we use the reservation system that we use to book our carrier appointment’s with. Since I know there is a “comment” section there, we would used that to voice our praise. However, there is a more official log and record software that is submitted by the Department Supervisor, that is use for more formal/internal uses. We workers do not have access to that. The area manager who was asking us to give more positive feedback was thinking of that method over the reservation software that we have access to. So the whole lecture was focused on how to give us access to that system used by the management team. Then what to say?

As one fellow co-worker put it, “there is nothing positive to say about.” I guess, when you come to work, you have certain expectations, like everything will run smooth, and you will do the least amount of effort than the worst day possible. In today’s economy, when labour is cheap, and businesses are asking more from their labour, there are not too many good days at work. So, my friend had a point with positive feedback–why give it when you do not mean it. So even if we have the means to give positive feedback, would one truly give it if given the choice in these circumstances?

For the last week, this manager’s efforts were getting us all on this internal management system. He spent hours trying to set this up. In fact, I heard that he asked the IT team at head office if they could look into this, and see if they could accommodate having us logged onto this network. I could only imagine the feathers being ruffled by upper management once they head of this.

Yesterday, one of the workers told me that there was no way that we were going to have access to the management email system, nor the management software. He added that the area manager had it all wrong–he was thinking of the management email system, but was looking at the carrier’s reservation software we use to book appointments with. I was right the first time, it was the carrier’s reservation software that he was talking about.

It boils down to first having understanding of what to you are communicating, then getting everyone on the same page to communicate with. Of course, then there is the willingness to listen too. If you have not done your research, then your idea will never fly properly.

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