Tania Kay was the Marketing Manager of Consumer & Food Products Corporation of Canada. She had held a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science before completing her MBA from one of the premiere business schools in Canada. She had one physical ailment, as she was born with a dislocated hip, due to which she had undergone surgeries thrice, when she was fourteen months old, then when she was twelve years old and again after 7 years, when she had attained the age of 19 (Angeloni, 2013). She did not limp or give any other indications of her condition, till the point she used to get very tired. The only major difficulty Tania always experienced, was with her balance.
The marketing department of ConFood had gone for a team-building retreat, which involved a scavenger hunt through the woods of cottage country in Central Ontario, with tree climbing, rock climbing, canoeing and a five-kilometer hike. Tania obviously could not participate in most of the activities which were carried out, due to physical ailments (Baumg?rtner et al., 2015). She did not want to disclose the physical limitations to her colleagues and so she had talked about her problems with one of the managers. Marianne Renfrew, Tania’s boss was the only person to be aware of the problems which Tania had. Still, she did not talk to her regarding the problems which she had faced in the retreat as her previous experiences, along with the knowledge about the psychology of attribution which she possessed, could allow people to judge her as a person negative attitude, incompetent or someone who always complains (Burgstahler & Doe, 2014). During the debriefing session, when feedback was shared by team members for one another, Tania saw that somebody had suggested her not to be negative in her approach as the approach made everyone else feel down as well. Tania felt at a loss after the marketing team’s team-building retreat.
Keeping in mind the fact that Marianne Renfrew knew about Tania’s condition, to some extent, anyone else in Tania’s position would have communicated the situation, which she faced during the retreat and debriefing sessions, to her boss as she was the only person aware of Tania’s situation (Butterworth et al., 2012). This would have helped Tania get moral support and not feel let down or alone, having got disregarded as a team member. Disability can affect any person in any point of time, so this is an issue which is not abnormal. Communicating the problems in an effective manner help solve grave situations easily (Dong et al., 2013). Marianne Renfrew could have in turn communicated the issue which Tania was facing, to all her fellow employees, which would have made Tania’s colleagues behave with her in a cordial and affectionate manner (Gold et al., 2012). On the other hand, Tania also would have felt that she was an integral part of the team, despite not being able to take active part in all the activities due to her dislocated hip.
The team building retreat for the marketing team involved various kinds of activities with the teams engaging in scavenger hunt through the wilderness of the scout camp to collect different puzzle pieces. The team which could put together the puzzle pieces would win the scavenger hunt. The hunt involved a rock wall climb, five-kilometer trail hike and tree climbing. Tania, who had a dislocated hip, in the very instance thought that she would not be able to participate in the activity as she might fall down (Kaletta, Binks & Robinson, 2012). She did not want to reveal the limitation which she carried and hence, she had a talk with one of the facilitators. The process used to plan, run and evaluate the team building weekend through carrying out various activities like rock climbing, tree climbing and canoeing need drastic changes for the benefit of the employees, especially for Tania, who has a disability of dislocated hip (Lindsay et al., 2012). The activities should be such, which would help build the culture, personality and work ethics to ensure that an organization runs in an effective manner.
The recommendations on the changes are needed, for making the process used to plan, run and evaluate the team building weekend because these changes would help in making the marketing team involve themselves better and also make Tania, who has suffering from disability to feel a part of the group. The recommendations are as follows:
Before going ahead with the team building retreat, management should have made sure to let every employee know about the kind of activities set to take place during the event. As communication is key for any organization to carry out their objectives in the desired manner, so they should have made sure to understand how comfortable every employee would be in taking active part in all those activities (Mitra, 2013). This exercise would have allowed Tania to communicate her problems to the management, which could have ensured transparency and better treatment of Tania and her problems from her colleagues.
The activities should have been aimed more for establishing right attitude in workplaces and bring forth necessary developments among the employees. Rock climbing, canoeing, tree climbing and a five-kilometer hike would require team effort but that would not enable any individual person’s growth. Active participation from members would help in successful implementation of the activities but if persons with disabilities are not taken into consideration along with special provisions for them, then those activities would not make any use for them. In this case, Tania felt left out from the group as she had physical problems, due to which she could not take part in any of the activities. Disabled people need to get recognition. Adoption of a unique identity which is socially invisible and deciding to disclose, allows other members to understand the social label attached to the ones holding any sort of disability, which might subsequently intervene with functions of work and social aspects (Claire & Beatty & MacLean, 2005).
Employees could be made to go through certain live situations to help them be better marketers, which would get reflected through the activities and allow them to excel in their work. This would have also allowed Tania, suffering from a dislocated hip, to take active part and gel with other colleagues in the best possible manner to get the best output, thereby make those activities a success. That would have allowed Tania to feel better and not get isolated. Research indicates that people having concealable stigmatized identities tend to go through more of negative outcomes in all three forms, psychologically, behaviorally and physically, than those with visible stigmas (Quinn & Earnshaw, 2011).
The activities undertaken by the management for the team-building retreat could have been based on knowing people better and consider arranging grooming sessions. This would have ensured people to get groomed and set the right tone for working effectively in the workplace (Ravalier, Dandil & Limehouse, 2015).
The debriefing session should be held to highlight the strong points of the employees, rather than allow employees to provide feedback for another. Every feedback for each and every employee would be different as perceptions for different individuals are different. Negative feedbacks have adverse effects on the psychology of employees and hence should be discouraged by categorically specifying the need to express their positive views on the employees. This was exactly not done in case of Tania, where a feedback from her colleague was “try not to be so negative, it’s a real downer for everyone else.” This statement had direct impact on the psychology of Tania, where she had started to feel that she was not a part of the marketing team after the team-building retreat.
Open-voicing of concerns is something which employee generally tend to avoid but in this case study, Tania, who has been suffering from a dislocated hip, could not take part in any of the team building activities that were taken up during the marketing retreat. Moreover, she did not express or share her problem with anyone, fearing that she would be judged as a negative individual, incompetent or a whiner (Santuzzi et al., 2014). This made her feel miserable and also the facilitator-led debriefing sessions were so humiliating for her that she did not know what to do. She was confused whether to disclose or if she would not disclose her problems to everyone, that would mean further alienation from her teammates and repetition of similar situations (Trainor et al., 2012). Some of the things which the management could have done differently to encourage more voicing of inclusion related concerns and also develop a more inclusive culture are:
The situation of employees like Tania Kay, who suffered from disability like dislocated shoulder, should be encouraged to participate and not feel left out.
Words of encouragement from the management’s side for all employees to voice their opinions openly, would work wonders to provide them the much needed confidence and assurance that their problems would be heard and recognized (Santuzzi et al. , 2014).
Management should introduce some personality building exercises to make the employees become aware of the surroundings, so that they could develop mutual respect for one another and not treat people having some sort of disabilities, with disrespect (V?rlander, 2012).
Importance of organizational culture would come into play while encouraging employees to voice their concerns related to feeling alienated from the group due to some sort of disability. Organizational Culture is a set of expectations, commonly held to understand how people behave (Martin 2002, Schein, 1985). The need to coordinate with one another for carrying out any sort of activity would come to good effect and help make employees realize the art of doing things together.
The success of an organization relies on the ability of the organisation to appreciate, encourage diversity and in realizing the benefits. Organisations should assess the issues related to workplace diversity in such a manner that altogether the company can prosper and reap dividends out of it. Diversity is inclusive of race, gender, age and background. Diversity not only talks about how people perceive themselves but the manner in which they view other people. The perceptions of the employees influence to a great extent the interactions taking place within the company. Human resources professionals should deal effectively the issues related to communication and adaptability so that the company can grow in the positive direction. Successful organizations know that immediate action is needed and they are willing to utilise the resources in order to ensure that diversity is maintained in the workplace (Byrd & Scott, 2014). Employer makes changes so that the employees feel more comfortable to work within the organization. Flexibility should be of benefit for both the parties and it helps in providing superior outcome. Formal flexibility refers to the human resource policies that have been officially approved and that entitles the supervisors with flexibility and discretion in carrying out work within the organization. Informal flexibility, on the other hand, is indicative of the unofficial policies which has not been written down but are available for employees (Barak, 2016).
The approach of an organization can be either proactive or reactive in nature. The organization should act as the provider of equal opportunity for all kinds of employees. The employees in an organization come from different kinds of backgrounds and so their cultural ethos should be taken into consideration in framing the rules and policies. Employees of different state having different kind of cultural backgrounds often have to migrate to other states so that in order to get a suitable job.
Dearth of jobs often compels people to move to another state. They try to assimilate themselves with the cultural milieu of the different place after moving to the different place. Often people get the opportunity to move abroad to fulfil their career goals. The company should be co-operative enough in understanding the cultural ethos of the people coming from a different place so that their sensitivity is not harmed. They should be given leave during festivals so that they can come back to their native place and enjoy themselves. Understanding the needs of the employees is important for the successful growth of an organization. The employees are provided with respect if their cultural sensitivities are understood. They suffer from inferiority complex if their personal values are taken for granted. It can prove to be a stumbling block in regard to job satisfaction and can prove to be detrimental for the growth of the organization (Kundu et al., 2017).
The framework of an organization should be developed in such a manner that the needs of all kinds of employees are satisfied. This can be in relation to job-sharing, arrangements of working from home, telecommuting and flexible timings. Child care facility along with that of part-time working and maternity leave can go a long way in providing the women in the workforce with flexibility so that they can perform their maternal duties perfectly before joining office. It is often found that organizations are blatant to the needs of women and this often forces the women to leave the organization and perform their maternal duty. Consideration for the circumstances and maternal needs of women should be given top priority while framing the policy in an organization (Ali, Ng & Kulik, 2014). The work schedule should be made flexible so that the women can work and also fulfil their duty towards the family. Appropriate understanding for the concerns of women can go a long way in providing flexibility and encouraging them to perform better in the organization. This kind of policy helps in drawing lines within the organization and helps in bringing diverse individuals together.
Changing mindset is essential in bringing changes within the organization and implements drastic changes for the successful growth of the organization. Employees in the present age look for work-life balance when they work in a company. Employees who are young and have not yet married feel the need of flexible timings so that he can follow his passion. The prerogative of an individual should be given importance and considered so that the individual feels inspired to work in a company and provide greater outcome (Tran, 2017). The organization should be flexible in its policies and should have a empowering culture and at the same time should be able to keep the workforce engaged and happier.
The organization can carry out an audit before designing the workplace flexibility practice. An internal survey can be carried out in order to understand the preference and value of the employees. An external survey can also be conducted in order to get idea regarding the market practice. This can help in designing a robust system that can evaluate the needs of the employees (Guillaume et al., 2017). External benchmark can be made use of in order to bring positive changes within the organization (Wheeler, 2015). Sexual orientation in the workplace is often a cause of discrimination and should be done away with completely so that the organisation can grow positively. Discrimination on the basis of sexual discrimination can adversely affect the job status and the working environment. People with different sexual orientation are often harassed and different treatment is meted out to them thus causing them to suffer from insecurity. They can be overlooked in times of promotion and they can be wrongfully terminated.
Disability is another arena on the basis of which discrimination is done in the workplace. There is a general notion that the output coming from person suffering from disability is less as compared to that of a normal person and so discrimination is often carried out against them (Rudstam et al., 2016). Monetary cost compensation should be provided and they should be measured independently with the help of an external panel in order to prevent any kind of prejudice. Awareness should be raised in the organisation so that disability is recognized as a serious issue. The regional integration organizations should come together and see to it that the organizations are not discriminating on the basis of gender. Any claims on discrimination should be addressed in the right manner in the organization. An employee is often put in a less desirable position and they are forced to take leave of absence. Proper harassment policy within the organization can help in mitigating the harassment that arises on account of disability discrimination (Badal & Harter, 2014).
The organisations should frame policies that mitigate bias within the organization. It should not rely on the bias in relation to individual perception and structured interviewing that has real-scoring against that of criteria can rightfully addresses the problems arising out of workplace diversity. The organisations should work in the arena of “unconscious bias” and research should be used in order to assess whether the right methods are being used in terms of recruitment, selection and leadership training (Phillips et al., 2016). The strategic human resources management should highlight on the three elements-integration, alignment and consistency. The initiatives taken should not undermine or work against each other.
Resisting to changes proves to be a barrier in ensuring unity within the workplace. Miscommunication should be avoided within the teams and empathy can help in dealing with discrimination in the workplace. Resistance proves to be a major reason in forcing the minorities to bear insult and it limits the vale in relation to new perspectives. Misallocation of human resources is termed as glass ceiling and it provides an invisible barrier for the employees and it prevents them from achieving the executive position. The difference between that of wage and the level of education in relation to male and female employees offers proof of the barrier that exist in the workplace. Another social behaviour that acts as a challenge relates to that of ‘homophily’. It refers to the tendency of the individuals so that tey can associate with other people (Santuzzi & Waltz, 2016). This tendency is highlighted during the hiring process along with that of informal socialization pattern within an organization. Managers should be proficient at handling this kind of challenge with the help of awareness along with that of clever delegation. Managers have to understand the cultural predisposition in relation to the subordinates so that they can ensure that cultural rules are not violated.
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