This case study focuses on the issue of communications. It describes a range of ways in which organisations communicate with their workforce in order to:- help employees understand fully what they are required to do provide feedback on how well they are meeting that requirement give them an opportunity to share ideas on how products and services can be improved let them know how the company is succeeding and its plans for future development.
FKI is a multinational group of companies engaged mainly in engineering. It has member companies in the UK, the USA and Europe. The independently managed Companies within the Group are involved in design and manufacture and supply a wide range of high tech solutions to engineering production and services, to the material handling, hardware and automotive engineering industries. FKI member Companies have customers throughout the world and have earned an international reputation as leaders in their field. Building and maintaining a reputation such as this is gained by dedication to quality and technical excellence - a clear priority when meeting customer needs.
This means that the Companies must stay ahead of competitors in aspects of quality and innovation. But it is the people within those companies who are vital to its success in rapidly changing markets. Employees at all levels need to cope with rate of change unlike anything they have known before - a pace of change which will go on increasing.
Meeting the challenge of change has meant that restructuring within parts of the Group has been necessary in recent years. This has caused uncertainty and anxiety amongst some employees, requiring their commitment to the company, their patience and goodwill. What are the priorities of successful Companies such as those in the FKI Group when it comes to handling change? Managers throughout FKI Companies acknowledge that success comes through people at all levels working as a team.... working together to solve problems. If they are to do this successfully, they need to communicate properly. This means Talking!
The process of communication
Communication needs to flow in all directions in a successful organisation. The Board needs to devolve their objectives through management to all employees but equally need to be able to receive ideas and input from all corners of the business.
Here are some of the ways businesses communicate:
Each employee receives an annual statement from the Managing Director of his or her Company which summarises Company successes or problems in the previous year. It provides an outline of changes planned for the year ahead and how these fit into the Company strategy for the medium and long term. It also summarises the financial progress of the Company. Team Briefings
Messages about new developments and changes in production methods or the solutions to problems can be rapidly cascaded by team briefings - a regular and systematic provision of up to date information. The Board agrees key messages, these are communicated face to face with managers, managers pass these on in face to face meetings with supervisors and they in turn pass on the messages through similar meetings with production teams. Working Groups
"Quality Improvement Teams" Sometimes a problem can be solved or change achieved by bringing together people from different departments and different levels to deal with a specific issue. It might be the introduction of a different manufacturing process or a problem with defective products, missed deadlines or customer complaints. The Group is brought together to discuss a particular issue for a specified period, it makes recommendations and disbands. Quality Circles
Groups of people meeting together to deal with problems of quality which they have identified in their day to day work. The groups are retained on an on-going basis. Membership is voluntary, meetings are held during normal working hours and the...