The session on Effective Workplace Communication consists of a practical application of the classical communication model which explores the communication cycle in depth and in a work context.
Patrick Psaila is a registered psychologist and training consultant working with organisations for the past twelve years after he graduated in psychology from the University of Malta in 1991. Patrick works with various large and medium sized organisations involved in manufacturing, education, health, tourism, banking, and other services as a trainer, consultant, and psychologist.
Patrick has lectured at the University of Malta, the Malta Institute of Management, the Foundation for Human Resources Development, The Malta Employers Association, and the Institute for Health Care. Many individuals are quick to dismiss the effectiveness of online communication, but the Social Information Processing Theory emphasizes how online relationships can be as strong as face-to-face ones. This theory argues that an individual adapts to the person they’re communicating with. It’s not just in the communication field that project managers can use theories for their own personal  development.
Action: The Power to Please program was initiated to give employees more responsibility and accountability. Action: Lee Valley implemented a series of small programs and policies to recognize and reward its employees. Situation: Northwood Technologies software company is trying to create a culture where quality work can be accomplished in the context of a quality life. Action: The company introduced flexible workplace schedules, telecommuting opportunities and the chance to volunteer in the community during the work day.
Result: Employees are less stressed and more content with their workplace because of reduced work-life conflict.
Situation: As a credit union, Vancity employees are at a higher risk of robberies than most industries. Result: Employees are more likely to access needed services and move past some of the trauma. Action: Employees are encouraged to find a work-life dynamic rather than balance because work and home demands fluctuate over time. Results: The support Vancity provides for their employees makes them more successful at work.
Situation: Wanting to make sure that employees have access to health screening tools and information. Action: Ran a Gift of Health campaign where employees had access to tests and consultations conducted by health care professionals during work hours. Action: After further assessment, an improvement plan called the ‘Work-Life Harmony’ initiative was developed and management support was highlighted as a critical success factor. Result: As a result the employees of Kraft Canada were able to see that their leaders were on board with their workplace health promotion initiatives. Situation: For several years, employee flexibility has been a key business strategy at Nordion. Action: MDS Nordion interviewed employees to learn the flexible arrangements that would be helpful, as well as what was needed to make these arrangements successful for both the individual and the business.
Results: Receiving input from employees allows Nordion to see trends and incorporate that information into planning.
Situation: Employees who are parents were facing stress and anxiety about returning to work after the birth of a child. Action: A number of flexible options were introduced to meet the needs of employees who were struggling with the traditional full-time schedule. Action: Employees appreciate the efforts being made to help them deal with life and workload issues. Situation: Employees were struggling to find a balance between work and caring for children. Results: The program got a positive review from all employees because there is less work-life conflict and employees are less stressed because they can trust that their colleagues will be able to come to work and not forced to stay home because there’s no childcare available.
Situation: Husky wanted to make sure that employee health, safety and wellness were integrated throughout the business. Action: The company integrated the Human Resources and Environment and Health and Safety functions into the overall business strategy. Result: The statements, attitudes and actions of management show it is committed to providing a mentally safe and healthy work environment. Situation: Work-life conflict is a common source of stress for many employees and families. Result: Whole families participate in health challenges, such as quitting smoking, take daily walks together and eating healthier foods. Result: Employees of Petro Canada and Burrard Products Terminal describe their flexible work hours as a great way to reduce work-life conflict and improve employee well-being.
Result: The positive results gathered by the annual evaluation proved to employees and management the importance of having a fair, equitable and mentally healthy place to work. Situation: BC Telephone Company (BC TEL) has run corporate health initiatives to support their employees since 1946.

Action: Since the program was initiated, it has evolved from a program focused on alcohol-related issues into a program that does broad corporate social work, providing assessment and referrals for employees who need help coping with problems. Result: BC TEL has shown a long-term commitment to investing in the health of its employees. Result: Walker successfully sued his employer for negligence on the grounds that the accommodations required by Walker in his return to work were not met, putting him in a situation of ‘foreseeable’ psychological harm, which ultimately resulted in his second nervous breakdown. A healthy workplace committee used an organizational culture audit ? a type of situational assessment. Situation: To reduce turnover, Lee Valley wanted to show employees that there was room for growth within the organization. Result: Employees see that opportunities for growth and development come in many shapes and forms and many employees have grown and developed their careers at Lee Valley through these measures.
The session will also address the importance of non-verbal communication, listening for understanding, as well as the psychological forces that impact the effectiveness of our communication. In 1997 he completed an academic and practical Masters programme in Adult and Group Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He specialises in personal and professional development for managers and leaders in organisations, with a particular interest in Emotional Intelligence. He has also trained various professionals in designing and delivering training programmes, counselling skills, coaching and mentoring. Some sociological theories are often used in communication, while communication theories can be applied in pretty much every field out there and not just in journalism and literature. It’s difficult to change how individuals change their habits or their choice of thinking in an instant. This interpersonal communication theory points out how strong bonds can be formed through the very few clues individuals can get from online conversations. When they interact with others, an individual try to accommodate others by changing speech patterns, body language and gestures.
She's currently taking electives on business communication to prepare herself for her undergraduate research. By giving employees the authority to make decisions, it was thought that this would get rid of the stress of asking for permission.
It organized a variety of healthy groups, including a walking club, running club and a badminton club. Consequently, employees can experience increased stress and possible psychological injury and trauma. In addition, Vancity sends in complementary massage therapists or reflexologies to work with the employees.
Vancity offers “care days” rather than sick days, allowing human resources to see whether employees are away caring for themselves, a child or an elderly person.
The employees left the session with a confidential report on their health status which explained whether there were any health concerns. Employees have a chance to talk about stress, work-life balance and to share their general thoughts. Employees understand how the work they do fits into the organization, they have opportunities to provide input and receive feedback, they are held accountable for their work, and ultimately they feel valued and supported. They returned to work with less stress and anxiety and Kraft is confident that it has already positively affected morale and retention. The business needed to find creative ways to provide services to their employees in various settings. CIBC estimates that in its first three years operating, it saved the organization $1.5-million in productivity costs. Also, it had the leads from those departments sit equally beside Operations, and Sales and Marketing at the Management Team table. Not being committed to healthy lifestyles can be a barrier to behaviour change for many employees. The programs were designed in a way that builds social support, which is important to an employee’s mental health. Employees are allowed to use ‘flex days’ and can take up to 15 days of personal leave each year.
Burrard Products Terminal has worked to design a wellness program to meet the unique needs of both their employees and their organization.
As well, M&M benchmarks itself against the industry standard in terms of fairness and equity both in compensation packages and in programs. The company has an average tenure of almost 13 years, turnover of around one employee every two years, and no absenteeism problems. They promote wellness and lifestyle initiatives, ergonomic intervention, fitness facilitation, and employee assistance counselling. This gives employees first crack at these positions and many people have grown and developed their careers through this feature. Finally, eight communication patterns will be explained by means of an interactive exercise.

Patrick is also a Licensed Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and a member of the Society of NLP. He established WorkAssist in 1998 as a professional service that offers workplace counselling, personal and professional development programmes, coaching, mentoring and HR consultancy.
He has delivered keynote speeches and addressed conferences both locally and internationally in the UK and Switzerland. There are some communication theories that can improve an individual’s management skills, especially when interacting with team members. The group members need to have the same goals, and there must be a unity in the decision-making.
This is important in this age where email correspondences sometimes happen more often than in-person conversations. As project managers, it’s your duty to communicate well with your team members and communication accommodation theory can help you understand how and why. Knowing why an employee is away can help Vancity to decide if employees may need addition supports to help them succeed at work. One option developed specifically for individuals who worked shift work was to post shift schedules in advance and allow employees to trade shifts. Action: CIBC hired a company called Children First to build a back up child care centre for its 12,000 employees in Toronto. The Human Resources department proactively monitors the pulse of the employees, which helps inform discussions and business strategy development.
With a sudden increase in workload, he frequently communicated his concerns and requested more staff, but due to financial reasons, these needs were not met.
One of the issues flagged was that employees felt their stress levels were almost unmanageable.
For employees who want to further their education, Lee Valley has an education policy, paying the tuition as long as it has some relevance to their job or is along the lines of professional development.
These patterns, when used effectively bring about a decrease in resistant and defensive reactions in the people we communicate with and an increase in openness and cooperation. It will be difficult to achieve Groupthink since the cohesiveness within the members has to be high. It’s also inevitable to send group messages within the team to quickly disperse instructions and information. However, try to avoid overaccommodation that can happen in four ways: overdoing, sensory, dependency and intergroup accommodation.
Housekeepers have input into cleaning products, processes for cleaning and amenity packages.
Rather than pro-rate the profits based on performance or salary, the company takes 25 percent of pre-tax profit and distributes it equally among all the employees, from senior management to warehouse staff. Outside of Toronto, CIBC contracted Kids & Company to reserve a percentage of their spaces for emergency backup care for CIBC employees. As a result, common misunderstandings that that often lead to unnecessary conflict are avoided and replace by constructive and meaningful interactions.
Sudden changes in plans can disorient some team members, causing them to not function as properly as usual. As a project manager, you need to find a common ground with all the members to make sure that you’re all aiming for the same thing. To keep in mind that online relationships also matter, project managers will put more care with their words and on how to properly relay a message despite the lack of social context clues. If a customer complains, staff members have the authority to have room service send up a cheese tray with an apology.
Prior to his return to work, accommodations for Walker were agreed upon; however, these accommodations were not followed through. Employees said they dreaded coming to work and often spent long hours answering emails on their off hours. Most importantly, the team members must feel that they’re part of the group that achieving the project goals is far more important than their personal differences. But when you’re aware of the Diffusion Theory, you can come up with ways to make transitions effective for most, if not all, members.
However, side effects occur in Groupthink and it’s best to be prepared for that as well.
As a response to the assessments, the healthy workplace committee set a goal of creating a more resilient and mentally supportive workplace and decided to tackle three issues: 1) individual stress management skills, 2) management support skills, and 3) workplace policies around workload.

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