A CASE STUDY OF THE MANAGERIAL COMMUNICATION PRACTICES AT LAICO STUDENT RECRUITMENT AGENCY
Laico Student Recruitment Agency (LSRA) is a student recruitment firm in which many partners are involved in internal and external operations. As such managerial communication is important as it guides these processes. This study looks at the communication practices adopted by the organization and the weak areas that can be improved on. Based on the scenario, the study also gives recommendations on how to improve the managerial communication processes and ultimately make the company and the employees more successful.
Laico Student Recruitment Agency is a profit making company based in New York that primarily facilitates applications into universities abroad for students who wish to pursue their studies there. The organization has about fifty employees; five senior managers and five supervisors. Communication in this organization is extremely important considering the number of people involved in the process both internally and externally. With close communications being made with the students, parents, universities and visa processing bodies; a communication breakdown would have far reaching repercussions. Managerial communication refers to the function that allows managers to communicate not only with each other but also with the employees. Information is passed horizontally and vertically down to the subordinates (Hynes, 2016).
At Laico, managerial communication is seen to take two forms. There is interpersonal communication often seen between the managers and supervisors and there is also organizational communication often done through meetings or written communications sent down to the staff members. Morning meetings provide the avenue for the managers to address the employees verbally as they talk of the different issues to be dealt with or to update the employees on any policy changes. During the meetings issues pertaining to the sales targets, visa issues and change in application requirements are addressed (Hamilton and Munter, 2013). In most cases, meetings at Laico are held between the managers and the supervisors, who then pass down the information. In some cases, managers also use phones as the company has internal lines that allow direct communication.
Written managerial communications at Laico are generally in the form of emails. Managers and supervisors communicate with the employees through emails on all urgent matters especially relating to handling of particular students. The emails are considered as formal communications as they bear the signatures of the senders and can also be retrieved for future references. But an even more effective form of communication used by the managers is their nonverbal cues. From the facial expressions, body language and gestures, employees are able to receive the messages the managers are not saying verbally (Columbia, 2013). While most downward managerial communication is informal and concentrates on how different tasks are to be executed, the communication between the managers is generally informal unless they are at a meeting.
Hypothesis: The Scenario at Laico Student’s Recruitment Agency
Having worked at Laico, one of the greatest issues faced by the employees was the communication breakdown between the management and the staff members. While the staff members deal directly with the students, the supervisors take over part of the process especially when negotiating terms with the universities. Any updates on the application processes as well as the charges to be made are communicated to the managers and then the supervisors. The same applies for any changes in the fee structures.
However, at times the management takes a few days to communicate these changes. As a result, the students are given the wrong advice and the wrong fee structures. The organization has a system in place that indicates the application fees and tuition fees and is meant to be updated by the managers and then accessed by all employees as it is essential for everyday dealing with clients. Unfortunately, the management delays in updating this as well. Since most of the time the application or tuition fee has increased, the staff members are forced to tell the students to increase payments, a factor that many of them resent. This then causes discord between the students and the employees as they perceive the change of information as dishonest or at times due to incompetence.
Moreover, since the employees deal with the students and parents directly, they are in a better position to understand the needs of the customers. However, upward communication with the management is difficult with little attention being given to the suggestions made. Unfortunately, this means that many of the issues are left unaddressed and the employee motivation stays low.
Using information observed while working at Laico, this case study will analyze:
- How the current managerial communication practices are affecting internal as well as external processes.
- How the managers and supervisors at Laico use communication to enhance employee as well as organizational success.
- How is communication used at Laico to resolve conflicts and ensure effective interpersonal relationships?
Analysis and Results
Managerial communications between the managers are the basis for the formulation of the organizational goals. These goals are them communicated to the staff members on emails and memos outlining the sales targets and other procedures to be followed. However, while these are clearly communicated, the top down communication at Laico had a weakness in the sense that information was not communicated urgently. By not updating the system with the correct tuition and application fees, dissatisfaction and distrust developed between the students, parents and organization.
This trust is essential as the organization is a service company and word of mouth is the most effective means of generating referral customers. As such, the sales targets were affected and feelings of discontent developed between the management and the employees. In Laico, communication is vital as different parties are involved and interconnected. Miscommunication not only results is loss of present and potential clients due to dissatisfaction but also penalties by some of the parties. As such, the breakdown of managerial communication negatively affects both the internal and external processes.
Managers have effectively used communication to enhance employee and organizational success. The emails sent detailing how tasks are to executed reduce any chances of errors as they serve as referral materials providing employees with guidance (Hamilton and Munter, 2013). By following the instructions given, any responsibility for errors is shifted to the management. But even of more importance is that the Laico management uses the different formal and informal communication platforms to communicate with employees about their satisfaction when any employee performs well. In any communication to the employees, they remain courteous making the employees feel appreciated and ready to keep trying for more sales.
Upward communication is minimal at Laico unless it directly relates to the duties assigned. As such conflicts between employees are settled amongst themselves without involving the management. However, in dealing with the students, parents and partners, conflicts at times arise due misinformation as earlier indicated. Since most communications are done through emails, managers and supervisors are copied in so are aware when an issue rises up. In most cases, the managers communicate amongst themselves and then give instructions on how the issue is to be satisfactorily handled while keeping the interests of the organization at the top (Columbia, 2013).
The managerial communications are generally efficient but a few things could be changed to make them even more efficient. First, the managers and supervisors must appreciate the urgency of the information they handle and its relevance in the everyday operation of Laico. As such, the system that is used by the staff members to retrieve operational information must be updated in a timely manner so that internal and external processes can be improved. By directly interacting with employees, they can establish informal communication practices that would allow them to update employees and also listen to what the employees think (Hamilton and Munter, 2013).
The management should also use the communication practices to communicate more positive messages that acknowledge the work that is being done by the employees. While it is appropriate that instructions on how a task should be handled is passed down, employees need to be commended through the same channels when they show exemplary skills or input (Columbia, 2013).
While managerial communication is generally downward or horizontal at Laico, there is need to invest more in a upwards communication system though it may be informal. This is important as it allows the employees to approach the management and alert them of the issues and conflicts going on. The management is also able to get the employees input on different activities and this will help them understand their capacities better. Furthermore, it would be essential in building a collaborative environment that will allow managers to communicate more effectively and the employees to seek guidance and clarification when needed. This is critical as it also allows the managers to measure how their communications are received and if they have been clearly understood (Hynes, 2016).
Managerial communication at Laico is essential, affecting both internal and external processes. While the practices are dominantly horizontal or downward, it is just as important that upward communications are invested in. Managerial communications are most effective when the message being communicated is delivered in a timely manner while the information is relevant. By ensuring employees understand the organizational goals and vision; managers enhance the chances of organizational success (Columbia, 2013).
- Columbia C. (2013) Management Communication: A case Study Approach. 2nd ed. Pearson
- Hamilton L. and Munter M. (2013) Guide to Managerial Communication: Effective Business Writing and Speaking. 10th ed. Pearson
- Hynes G. E. (2016) Managerial Communication: Strategies and Applications. 6th ed. Sage Publications Inc. Califonia