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One significant operational challenge:
In the previous study on the different challenges faced by the ICL students with the Student Job Search Hub (SJSH), four important challenges were identified. The first challenge include a delay in response to job related emails by the student, as a result of which they miss on updates about new job openings, and SJSH is unable to recruit the correct individuals. The second challenge identified in the study was a difficulty in the collection of data and feedback from the SJSH employees due to the improper and incomplete maintenance of data records of the prospective job candidates. Due to the incomplete data as well as improper management of data, it becomes difficult to assess how many students replied to the emails or applied for the job postings and thus adversely affects the image of the organization. The third problem was a misunderstanding about the concepts of SJSH by the students as a result of which they are not able to fully utilize the services. The last challenge was a shortage of human resources manageing due to which the recruitment process gets adversely affected and stresses the existing manage human resources personnel. Of these four challenges, the issue of shortage of human resources personnel was resolved in the study.
The aim of this study is to address the technological problem regarding the collection of data and feedback from the employees, and finding strategies of better data management which can help to optimize the process of searching for students who applied for the jobs or replied to email. The significance of choosing this particular problem is due to the impact of improper management of data in the performance of SJSH, its image in the industry and also reducing the employment opportunities for qualified students, thus making it the second most important issue that needs to be addressed. Late reply to emails and misunderstanding of the students are of lesser importance, since only after an effective data management strategy is implemented, an improvement in the response time of the student can be properly utilized and information regarding SSJH can also be shared more effectively to students.
Management technique to address the challenge:
The challenge regarding the collection of information and feedback from SSJH employees can be attributed to three reasons. The first reason being the employees not maintaining complete records of the student data and thus causing problems while integrating the data to a digital platform. The second reason is the flow of a large volume of data from different regions of the country, making it difficult to consolidate and manage the data. The third reason is a distortion of data due to its complexity affecting the data integrity and reliability. The management strategy that can be used to improve the practice of maintaining complete student records can be capacity management to improve the competency and capacity of employees to maintain complete records. Quality management system can also be used to ensure the maintenance of data qualities such as reliability, availability, integrity and privacy. Additionally, Inventory Management strategies can be used for the effective maintenance and management of the student records (digital and paper).
The challenge with the management of student data by the SJSH employees could be understood by verifying the completeness of information regarding some students, showing that the records lacked completeness. Communicating with the SSJH employees regarding the data management practices also supported the same conclusions. Also, the mismanagement of data could also be exhibited though the practice of maintaining both digital data as well as data on paper, resulting in duplication of data and challenging retrieval of information. Analysis of the SSJH data also revealed the same problem of incomplete records of students. Additionally, researching on the best practices in the maintenance and management of digital data also supported data mismanagement in SJSH.
Problem Identification: Incomplete data entry and data mismanagement
Possible Solutions: Enabling students to directly enter their data through the online portals (for example through phone based apps), which after verification can be stored in the database, digitizing all paper based data, implementing strategies to identify complete and incomplete records and providing reminders to fill up the incomplete records, implementing regular backup of data, implementing cloud storage to assimilate all data centrally and following best practice guidelines for data management.
Decision Making: Training employees to switch to digital data and educating them on best strategies of effective data recording and management can help to ensure better record keeping practices. Additionally, using standardized format and cloud storage for the records can help to ensure its inter-operability and allow sharing and consolidation of a large volume of diversified data from several locations.
Implementation and Monitoring: Digital data can be easily implemented through the implementation of databases such as Oracle or MySQL data servers that can allow easy storage and retrieval of data. Monitoring the digital data ban is done through data audits, which can also be automated in the database systems.
How professionalism was used to identify and resolve the challenge: (with evidences)
In order to address the problem, a professional approach was taken through the application of analytical and management techniques. The identification and resolution of the problem was done with the positive attitude that by addressing the problem faced by the ICL students, their opportunities to acquire the right job in the right time can be ensured. A continuous improvement strategy was used to support better efficiency.
How ethical behavior was used to identify and resolve the challenge
While addressing the problem, privacy and anonymity of the participants was ensured and researchers interacted with everyone with respect and dignity. Moreover, this was done with explicit consent from every participant and from the management. A strict code of conduct was maintained to ensure ethical behavior. Also, legal obligations related to the handling of data and conducting ethical study was also complied to.
How social responsibility was used to identify and resolve the challenge
The study was done in order to support the community of ICL students to have better opportunities of jobs, by supporting better efficiency in the recruitment process. Through the objective of supporting the development of the student community, the identification and resolution of the challenge faced by the ICL students was possible.
How cultural appropriateness was used to identify and resolve the challenge
The study involved working with culturally, ethnically and nationally diverse students from various regions of Australia and across the world, as well as a culturally heterogeneous workforce at SJSH. Addressing the problems required a development of an understanding of the diversity among the students and SJSH employees, and thus understands their perspectives, ideas and expectations.
One conflict that that arose at operational level for ICL Student Job Search Hub and how the conflict was resolved:
While working with ICL Student Job Search Hub, one significant conflict that I faced was while suggesting strategies for digitization of all student records, which implied converting all the paper based records into digital records. During one of the meetings for briefing the SJSH employees, there was a conflict with some of the employees who used to record the student data in paper forms. These employees were more used to the old method of data collection and were not very excited about the change. They came up to me after the meeting, stating that the change was not needed, as the old system of using paper forms worked just fine. They felt like my initiative can destabilize the system and do more harm than good and thus they did not want to support such a drastic change in the system. They were not willing to acknowledge how the digitization of all data can help to improve the interoperability and integrity of data and improve the efficiency of the organization.
What I did and felt?
When the employees approached me after the meeting, I felt that I can use this situation to understand their perspectives and challenges they are facing and how they can be overcome. I listened to everything they have to say regarding how they manage the student data, avoid fields which are not really necessary and optimize the collection of data from several students in an easy and quick way. They felt that it was not necessary to go through all the data to identify the necessary strategic information systems ; however I noticed that they were overlooking the bigger picture of how the manual record keeping made data consolidation and data retrieval a lengthy process and how the resistance for change was adversely affecting the organization. However, I was very polite in the interaction, acknowledging their effort and hard work, and explained them how the change, although challenging, would eventually help the whole organization and the students (and service users). I figured that training them in the new system can help them to overcome resistance to the new system and adapt to it, which I also communicated to them, and they seemed less reluctant about the new idea and showed interest in attending the training sessions.
What I learnt from it?
From the incident, I was able to learn that communicating with the employees helped gain an insight on why the specific problem arose and what could be done to overcome the problem and hence the resistance to change. As I understood that some of the existing employees were not very comfortable with the proposed digitization of the data, they had adverse reaction to the proposal of new system. Training them on the new system can help to overcome such aversion. I also learnt that by using politeness and respect while communicating with the employees help to gain trust and patience from them, which provided me the scope to properly explain to them the bigger picture at stake.
Developing Positive Workforce Culture and Team Engagement:
While working as a group for ICL Student Job Search Hub, my team and I were able to develop an environment of positivity and team engagement in the workplace by focusing on the development of key attributes such as positive communication, active listening, respect, accountability, appreciation for hard work, care for employees, positive leadership and team cohesion.
Positive communication was developed through communication in a clear, understandable, unambiguous manner that focused on the positive aspects of the work and on the opportunities and advantages of teamwork and effective work culture. I was able to develop a positive communication in the team by ensuring the message shared with others was understandable and easily shared.
I also developed a culture where every member would actively listen to each other and with individuals they are interacting. I used shorthand notes to take down important information gathered through the conversations supported by actively listening to every bit of information shared with the team or its members.
Developing a sense of mutual respect to each other as well as a respect to individuality, individual mindsets and diversity in the workplace was another factor that helped in the development of a positive environment in the workplace. This also helped to develop team cohesion and collaboration and support better team engagement. I ensured that the members used their cultural intelligence and competencies while interacting with culturally heterogeneous people. I also ensured that all the members knew each other very well to instill mutual respect for each other,
I ensured that every member of the team was also accountable for their own actions and behavior and expected everyone to take ownership of their responsibilities and actions. Accountability helped to instill a sense of trust in the team and thus supporting better collaboration and interactions within the team. Maintaining list of every member and their responsibilities also helped to ensure accountability in the team.
I recognized that it was vital that the efforts of every member should also be recognized and appreciated to encourage them to continue the good work. The recognition also helped the members realize that their efforts were also helping them gain professional exposure and pave their path to professional growth and development, which motivated them to work harder. I would often send appreciation mails to the members whenever they accomplished a task with great success, exhibiting their skills and hard work.
I also had a sense of responsibility to address and understand the expectations and needs of the members. I showed care for the employees by addressing their concerns and trying to address their expectations. Additionally, I also ensured that the safety and wellbeing of the employees were always considered while taking any decisions. Additionally I also regularly checked with every member on how they were and whether they were facing any challenges in their work.
I was able to demonstrate traits of positive leadership my motivating the members and employees towards a better work environment and better teamwork. I also guided others through my own actions, showing how values such as respect, trust, teamwork, accountability and positive communication can help to develop a positive and engaging environment. Through effective leadership I also helped to develop better communication and cohesion in the team.
Cohesion was necessary to ensure better coordination in the team and better understanding between the members. I was able to develop cohesion by sharing responsibilities to the team members, where they get to coordinate with each other, every member taking care of specific aspects and then corroborating the results to develop the whole picture. And thus, by developing all these values in the team I was able to develop a positive environment that encouraged better team participation.
Own and others learning and performance within an operational context in business day to day activities:
Challenges from during my own learning process:
In my own learning process, one significant challenge I faced was while developing my understanding about technologies that can be used for the business management of data, such as database systems like Oracle or MySQL, with helps in the systematic storage and retrieval of data. This technological aspect was previously unknown to me, and hence it was a challenge to gain a depth of knowledge on this. To develop my knowledge on this topic, I extensively researched the internet and read books in the library. I also communicated extensively with database administrators and information system professionals to further gain insight on this technology.
Some of the challenges faced by my team-members during their learning process
While working with culturally diverse people, my team my team faced two significant challenges. First was to ensure effective communication between them, and second was to ensure cultural competency while working with them. Due to the great diversity and heterogeneity in the workplace, new members often struggled to understand these aspects. To address this problem I paired the new members with an older member, who has a better understanding to help the new member learn and understand. I also trained the members occasionally on the different cultures, their points of view and general expectations to further reinforce their knowledge.