Critical Reflection

Looking back at my learning journey in Career & Professional Development, I am glad that I have learnt more than I expected. More than just the content that was taught, I felt that I learnt the most through the activities we did in class. All the impromptu speech we had to make helped me practice my presentation skills aiding my confidence when it comes to presenting in public (which this was one of my weaknesses when it comes to communication as seen in my very first blog post).

Furthermore, I was quite surprised in the way how myself and my classmates was all actively participating in class, which made the entire learning journey more enriching and enjoyable. I would say that it is one of the only module that kept me thinking, stimulating my mind on the various topics we spoke about. The topic I did with my group members for our video was quite interesting too. Through the group project I had further insight on the issue of workplace bullying in Singapore, which is a real problem that had to be handled seriously.

Overall, it has been a wonderful journey. Special thanks to our lecturer Brad for his guidance. See you all next time 🙂

Signing off,

Koo Han Tong

Project Synopsis

Introduction

As Singapore embarks on a journey to establish itself as a regional hub for the events sector in the years to come, many of the locally-based event organizers and firms are working hard to take on more projects to play their part in growing the industry. However, this surge in productivity and performance comes at a price – stretching limited resources and overworking employees to meet the various deadlines imposed. An event operates like an exponential curve; it starts slowly and gradually as the event nears, the workload builds leading to the event itself. Burnouts happen frequently if the workload is not managed properly. As a result, there is a loss of human touch and staff welfare across the industry, with supervisors and managers pushing their team to the limit in exchange for results and performance.

Problem Statement

While it is heartening to know that the phenomenon does not occur in every workplace, a more pressing issue exists on hand – workplace bullying. Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper (2011) defined this as “harassing, offending, socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someone’s work tasks repeatedly and regularly, over a period of time.”

It has been reported that many employees in Singapore have seen themselves fall victim to workplace bullying – with 24 percent of local employees indicating so in an online survey conducted by JobsCentral in 2012 (Goh, 2014). Employees reportedly experienced bullying in various manners, and these can be classified as being either clear-cut or subtle.

Problem Definition

Clear-cut examples of workplace bullying would include physical abuse, such as being slapped and pinched, and verbal abuse, in the form of hurling vulgarities or insults. Subtle manners of workplace abuse are harder to identify and would include things such as making degrading remarks and being ostracized at work by colleagues.

Though it may be easy to cast a blind eye to such incidents at work, it is an issue that should not be ignored, as the repercussions can be severe for the targets of bullying. A study has shown, as cited in Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper (2011), some targets may consider suicide as a solution to their problems. Mental well-being can also be affected, where targets may suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The same study quoted above on 199 participants, who experienced bullying, has shown that 84 percent of them have PTSD symptoms attributed to workplace bullying by their superiors. Workplace bullying can affect one’s self-esteem, leading to a sense of hopelessness and lower self-worth and even depression (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011).

This problem may also affect work productivity of the company (Rajalakshmi & Gomathi, 2016). Additionally, there is a co-relation between bullying and absenteeism due to sickness (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011). As such, this means that victims of bullying are more likely to be absent from work, affecting the overall productivity of the company.

Objective of the Study

The aim of the study is to explore the concept of workplace bullying – specifically in the areas of verbal abuse and being ostracized at work – as these are the most likely scenarios to occur in the events industry.

Through this study, the team hopes to achieve several key objectives. Firstly, the team aims to raise awareness of workplace bullying in Singapore, and inform the relevant stakeholders in the event industry that such situations do exist. According to an interview with an employee at Concepts Events Marketing,  most of the workplace bullying that takes place in the events industry includes verbal bullying and ostracising of subordinates. Due to the nature of the work, teamwork is part and parcel of the job. There will always be a few members who cannot work well in a team, and get ostracised. Therefore, it is crucial to make known to relevant stakeholders – human resource managers, managers of different tiers, and employees about the pressing issue.

Secondly, the study will highlight the various signs and symptoms of workplace bullying, which will help stakeholders identify such incidents in the workplace. Lastly, it aims to educate victims on the various platforms to seek help from. This will allow both the victims and witnesses of workplace bullying to understand the seriousness of the issue, and help them know how and where to seek help from.

Proposed Solutions

According to the Ministry of Manpower guidelines, every employee can be reminded to take charge of their own personal safety and wellbeing at work. To deal with workplace bullying, the victim should firstly, be familiar with the workplace harassment procedures in the organisation and report it to the appropriate parties. Companies are also advised to implement proper reporting procedures, or establish a harassment reporting line with an environment where whistle-blowers will be protected.

Additionally, employees are encouraged to seek help from their colleagues, and a buddy system can be adopted to solve such issues. Alternatively, external help can be sought to resolve workplace bullying. The affected person can consider approaching associations, unions, or professional organisations to seek help from. Some of these avenues include, the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), The Legal Aid Bureau (LAB) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM.)

For employers seeking to create training programs relating to peer support, they can approach the Trauma Recovery and Corporate Solutions (TraCS) for advice, and acquire the required resources. Alternatively, the victim can consider making a police report if the situation escalates. If the victim need legal advice, they can approach the Community Justice Centre (CJC), who are able to provide legal advice to individuals needing help.

The team firmly believes that the education video produced will be able to aid in raising awareness about the real extent of workplace abuse in a typical workplace within the industry. Also, it serves as an educational tool for both the employers and the employees, in learning about how to identify workplace bullying, and knowing how to handle such situations within the workplace environment.

Research Methodology

In order to better understand the extent and impact of workplace bullying within the various workplaces in local events firms, a series of in-depth interviews were conducted with several employees who have witnessed such incidents first-hand within their companies. However, pseudonyms will be used to protect these individuals, as they have agreed to the interview on the condition that their identities will be kept confidential. In addition, academic papers will be referenced from multiple sources to further strengthen the findings, and provide alternative viewpoints on the topic of workplace bullying as a whole.

Concluding Thoughts

Workplace bullying is a pressing issue that is not commonly highlighted, but yet on ongoing phenomenon that has to be addressed due to the consequences. The team is keen to provide solutions to address this issue and is fully confident that the proposed solution will be effective in resolving the problem of workplace bullying.

Bibliography

Einarsen, S., Hoel, H., Zapf, D., & Cooper, C. (2011). The concept of bullying at work: The European tradition. International perspectives in research and practice, 3 – 30.

Goh, N. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/facing-up-to-bullies-at-the-workplace

Rajalakshmi,M., & S., G. (2016). Relationship between workplace bullying and organisational culture. Global Management Review 10(2), 71-82.

Tripartite Advisory on Managing Workplace Harassment. (2017). Mom.gov.sg. Retrieved 21 March 2017, from http://www.mom.gov.sg/~/media/mom/documents/employment-practices/guidelines/tripartite-advisory-on-managing-workplace-harassment.pdf?la=en

Written by Koo Han Tong, Leon Ng and Joey Lee

 

 

Project Synopsis Draft

Introduction

As Singapore embarks on a journey to establish itself as a regional hub for the events sector in the years to come, it has meant that many of the locally-based event organizers and firms are working doubly hard to take on more projects to play their part in growing the industry.

However, this surge in productivity and performance has come at a price – stretching limited resources and overworking employees to meet the various deadlines imposed. The event industry is like an exponential curve; it starts slowly and gradually as the events near, the workload builds leading to the event itself. Burnouts happen frequently if it is not managed properly. As a result, there is a loss of human touch and staff welfare across the industry, with supervisors and managers in some companies pushing their team to the limits in exchange for results and performance.

Problem Statement

While it is heartening to know that the phenomenon does not occur in every workplace, there is a need to recognize that a more pressing issue exists on hand – workplace bullying. Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper (2011) defined this as “harassing, offending, socially excluding someone or negatively affecting someone’s work tasks repeatedly and regularly, over a period of time”.

It has been reported by The Straits Times, a local newspaper, that many employees have seen themselves fall victim to workplace bullying – with 24 percent of local employees indicating so in an online survey conducted by JobsCentral in 2012 (Goh, 2014). Employees reportedly experienced bullying in various manners, and these can be classified as being either clear-cut or subtle.

Problem Definition

Workplace bullying that is considered clear-cut would include physical abuse – such as being slapped and pinched, and verbal abuse – in the form of hurling vulgarities, or insults. Subtle manners of workplace abuse are harder to identity, and would include things such as sexual harassment – making degrading remarks, molest, and being ostracized at work by colleagues.

Though it may be easy to cast a blind eye to such incidents at work, it is an issue that should not be ignored, as the repercussions can be severe for the targets of bullying. A few studies have shown that some targets may consider suicide as a solution to their problems. Mental well-being can also be affected, where targets may suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A study on 199 participants (who experienced bullying) has shown that 84 percent of them have PTSD symptoms attributed to workplace bullying by their superiors. Moreover, workplace bullying can affect an individual self-esteem, leading to a sense of hopelessness and lower self-worth and even depression (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011).

This problem may also affect work productivity of the company. Research has also shown that victims of workplace bullying are more likely to have sleep difficulties. As sleep is one of the important factor for maintaining health and well-being, the lack of sleep may lead to poorer health which can result in a lower level of productivity from the employee. Additionally, there is a co-relation between bullying and sickness absenteeism (Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011). As such, this means that victims of bullying are more likely to be absent from work, affecting the overall productivity of the company.

Objective of the Study

Hence, the aim of the study is to explore the concept of workplace bullying – specifically in the areas of verbal abuse and being ostracized at work – as these are the most likely scenarios to occur in the events industry.

Through this study, the team hopes to achieve several key objectives. Firstly, the team aims to raise awareness of workplace bullying in Singapore, and inform the public that such situations do exist within the country. Secondly, the study will list the various signs and symptoms of workplace bullying, which will help employees to identify such incidents in the workplace. Lastly, it aims to educate readers on the various platforms to seek help from.

Research Methodology

In order to better understand the extent and impact of workplace bullying within the various workplaces in local events firms, a series of in-depth interviews will be conducted with several employees who have witnessed such incidents first-hand within their companies. However, pseudonyms will be used to protect these individuals, as they have agreed to the interview on the condition that their identities will be kept confidential. In addition, academic papers will be referenced from multiple sources to further strengthen the findings, and provide alternative viewpoints on the topic of workplace bullying as a whole.

Proposed Solutions

To address the problem of workplace bullying, the team will look to produce a short five-minute educational video on the above mentioned topic. In this video, the team will first address the signs and symptoms of workplace bullying by playing out a scenario. After which, the effects on the victims will be shown – to illustrate the sufferings and impacts that bullying causes. Lastly, methods to resolve the situation or avenues to seek help from, will be highlighted and mentioned at the end to close off the video.

The team firmly believes that the education video produced will be able to aid in raising awareness about the real extent of workplace abuse in a typical workplace within the industry. Also, it serves as an educational tool for both the employers and the employees, in learning about how to identify workplace bullying, and knowing how to handle such situations within the workplace environment.

Concluding Thoughts

Workplace bullying is a pressing issue that is not commonly highlighted, but yet is an ongoing phenomenon that has to be addressed due to the consequences that is attached to it. The team is keen to provide our solutions to address this issue and is fully confident that the proposed solution will be effective in resolving the problem of workplace bullying.

Letter for Service Recovery

Dear Mr Bennert,

I am Henry, the Guest Relations manager for MBS. Firstly, thank you for choosing your stay with us. We regret for the experience you had with us and sincerely apologise for the incident that caused you great inconvenience. The issue had been investigated and we had contacted Agoda on your behalf. Please be assured that we will process your refund and compensate you in the best possible way.

Additionally, we would like to extend an invitation to you and your family to stay with us next time when you visit Singapore again. Please contact me directly and I will extend a complimentary breakfast for you and your family on top of a complimentary room upgrade.

Once again, we sincerely apologise for what had happened. Please do not hesitate to contact me personally at henry.k@gmail.com@mbs.sg if you need any further assistance. Looking forward to hear from you and hope to see you with us again! Thank you.

Sincerely,

Henry K

Guest Relations Manager

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection

An interpersonal communication problem I have experienced happened recently during my internship in Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore. As mentioned earlier in my previous blog post, I was an intern in the housekeeping department and my role was to supervise the room attendants. One day, a room attendant came to me and highlighted that one of the hotel room she was assigned to clean was occupied by a guest (though the computer system clearly stated it was a vacant room). Hence, I decided to make a call down to the housekeeping office for clarification and to my surprise, the coordinator on the phone was unhappy and reprimanded me for calling her. If I remember correctly, she felt I could have check the status of the room on my own using a smartphone device I was issued with.

Definitely, I was upset with the way she reprimanded me as I felt that I was only trying to do my job properly. The incident was however quickly forgotten as I had other matters to attend to.

Looking back, what do you think I should have done or said when I made the call for the request?

Revised on 28th February 2017

Personal Branding

For the ultimate review: How do each of these areas connect to your personal branding?

Self-awareness

Being conscious of our strength and capabilities is important to personal branding as through self-awareness, we are able to build a personal brand focusing on our strengths. Hence, knowing  my own strengths and weaknesses will help me in my personal branding as I am better able to market myself towards my prospective employers.

Self esteem

With a stronger self-esteem, one may become more confident about his or her own abilities. This connects to personal branding as confidence itself as a attribute can be a strong personal brand for myself.

Verbal and non-verbal communication

Our verbal and non-verbal communication affects what others perceive us to be. For instance, my body gesture and eye contact while communicating may create a perception of me being professional, creating a personal branding of ‘professionalism’ during work.

Formal Email: Self Introduction

Dear Mr Brad Blackstone,

My name is Koo Han Tong, currently a Hospitality Business undergraduate from Singapore Institute of Technology. Previously, I was enrolled in the diploma of Product and Industrial Design at Temasek Polytechnic, an unrelated field as compared to what I am currently studying now. The reason for the switch was due to my desire to acquire new knowledge and skills from another industry which I believe will be beneficial for my future prospects.

Not long ago, I had a four months’ internship in the Housekeeping Department at Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore. The opportunity to work with different people from different backgrounds made me realise that communication is highly important not only when it comes to ensuring operational efficiency, but also in enhancing cohesiveness between colleagues.

My biggest strength, I believe, when it comes to communication is my willingness to speak up in front of a crowd and also to interact with strangers. As a matter of fact, I enjoy meeting and interacting with new people and I believe this could be another strength of mine.

On the other hand, though I am willing to speak up in front of a crowd, nervousness still creeps into me, affecting the clarity of my speech. Another weakness of mine would be my poor pronunciation and articulation of words, and this I believe can be overcome through continuous practice.

Through this module, I hope I will be able to learn how to communicate effectively and I am confident that at the end of the module I will learn to become a better communicator.

Thank you.

Warmest Regards

Koo Han Tong

*Edited on 1 February 2017