This is a case study report on orientation problems in post offices. The case study report is developed in such away that there will be an executive summary followed by introduction, analysis of the case, recommendations and the conclusion. The case study is about the problems faced by a new postal delivery officer in the post office.
The report analyses the situation faced by a new postal delivery officer namely Wendy Katz in the post office. Katz explained her experience to Tran, an expert in the new employee orientation program. Tran asked the writer to study the problem and draft a report on that. Accordingly the report is developed. Like Katz some other postal delivery officers also faced such problems. The problems include, no proper introduction of new employee, frequent change in the route, rude and discriminative attitude of the supervisors. The analysis pointed out a need for some change in the orientation program of the organisation. Some recommendations for solving these problems are given in the last part of the report. The recommendations include providing proper information packet to new employees, effective supervisory training for the purpose of proper orientation of new employees, reduction in the work load…etc.
Human resources or more clearly the employees are considered as the greatest assets of any organisation. Retaining them is of a significant importance. Every organisation will try to retain the selected employees as high labour turnover affects the smooth functioning of any organisation. It is a commonly known fact that the first impression is the best impression. The newly joined employees assess the organisation on the basis of the orientation program they receive from the organisation. Induction or orientation is the process of introducing an employee into the social set up of the new job, work environment and organisation.
“The successful orientation of new employees is vital for any business.” (Davis & Kleiner 2001). Induction helps in familiarizing the new employee with the surroundings, rules and regulations of the organisation. It is meaningless to expect from the new employees what an organisation expects from experienced employees. The new employees can learn things slowly just like a child learns language and other things. It also helps in integrating the personal objectives of the employees with the organizational objectives.
Proper orientation plays a significant role in making the new employees fast learners, thereby reducing the cost to the organisation. It can help in reducing the intensity of the nervousness caused due to his or her entry into a new situation and work environment. If the induction or orientation program of an organisation is effective, it can reduce the labour turnover. It is seen that the colleagues and supervisors are able to save the time and efforts, in organizations where the new employees are oriented well and in a planned manner. (A quick guide to employee orientation – help for managers & HR 2009).
If the newly joined employees did not get proper orientation, it will affect the morale and confidence of the new employees. The problem that is going to be discussed here is the orientation problems in different post offices in a big city located in the east cost. It is given in the case study that Angela Tran is a postal delivery officer. And also she is working as Part-time trainer for postal delivery officers. She is entrusted with the duty of training new postal officers in a particular area. It is a big area covered by Tran and she gives training and orientation to the new employees who belong to the post offices of that particular region or area. Tran is entrusted with only the initial phase of the orientation and the rest has to be done by the supervisors of the employees. And also she may not be getting enough time to give induction to all the new postal deliver officers. Therefore supervisors can effectively give induction or orientation to the new postal delivery officers. The supervisors are supposed to be friendly with the new employees. Therefore every organisation is supposed to make their induction or orientation program a grand success. The orientation program of the post offices stated in the in the case study is not effective.
Analysis of the case
But here that was not the case. One day Tran received a call from Wendy Katz complaining about the grievances faced by her in the post office. Wendy Katz was a newly joined postal delivery officer who attended the training under Tran 10 weeks ago. Her complaint was that she was finding it difficult to remain in the office due to different problems faced by her from the supervisor as well as from the colleagues. She was really on the verge of the leaving the organisation. Before joining the post of postal delivery officer in the post office for better earning opportunity, Katz was working as a secretary. She explained her experience to Tran. Tran was really shocked by hearing the experience of Katz. The problems faced by Katz are explained below.
Lack of information packet
As per practice the newly joined postal delivery officers are supposed to receive information brochure or packet. This information packet contains the description of the policies and frame works of the organisation, employee benefits, legal and governmental formalities, Tax compliance etc. But Katz did not receive any such information packet. If an employee does not receive such information packet he or she will not know different policies of the organisation regarding employee compensation, leave, holiday, legal framework etc.
Presence of discrimination
The supervisor showed discrimination towards Katz. She was ill-treated by her supervisor. The discrimination towards female is common in the work place. Though the world has developed technologically and culturally, the discrimination still continues. Her supervisor also complained that she is taking more time to sort the letters and he used to scold her for this. Her supervisor did not support her and showed discrimination towards her. As she was subjected to the frequent change in the route she needed to work even in holidays for studying the maps and routes.
Lack of introduction
The main part of any orientation program is the introduction of new employees to other employees of the organisation. This helps the new employees to familiarize with the existing employees, and also the existing employees will be familiarizing with the new employees, so that the new employees can contact the existing employees as and when required. For example, Mr. ‘A’ has joined the company XYZ and he received a good induction program in which he familiarized with the existing employees including their postal department. After four days the supervisor told Mr. ‘A’ to contact Mr. ‘Z’ of department ‘C’ for some official purpose. As Mr. ‘A’ already knows Mr. ‘Z’ because of the orientation program, he easily contacted Mr. ‘Z’ and discussed the matter. But, here, in the case of post office, Wendy Katz was introduced by her supervisor to only one employee. Actually the supervisors are supposed to give the induction or orientation to the new staff as there will be close relation between the supervisors and the subordinates. She did not get introduced to any other employees. This was serious problems, because during the work if she wanted to contact any other employees as part of the work, she would not be able to contact as she would not know who is that particular person to be contacted.
Frequent change in the route
Another problem faced by Katz was that her supervisor continuously changed the route that she has to be sorted, which created difficulties to her. Once she became familiar with one route the supervisor immediately changed the route causing problems to her. The frequent change in the tenure or duty of an employee will make the employees to feel disturbed and discouraged. This will reduce the confidence level of the employees and may cause a high labour turnover. Even Katz also was planning to quit the organisation.
Lack of support from co-workers
The ignorance of the colleagues was another problem faced by Katz. Though initially they gave some assistance, later on they did not offer any help and even they did not mind Katz. For this one cannot blame the colleagues, because they were working in a pressure work environment. This also made Katz to think of leaving the job.
“Interactions between employees also affect the goals of the organization. Employees’ productivity, turnover, absenteeism, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment are just a few of the factors that may be affected by relationships within an organization.” (Supervisor-subordinate relationships 2009).
She got frustrated by her experience in the organisation. If an employee is put into pressure immediately after joining the organisation it will obviously make him or her feel frustrated. Because any employee will be interested in working in organizations where co-workers behave friendly and assist in the performance of the tasks.
Increased work load may create stress in the employees there by affecting their morale. (Robbins 1999). Though pressure is part of the corporate work environment it should not affect the morale and loyalty of the employees.
Attitude of the supervisor and colleagues
It is a commonly known fact that the employees do not like to work in organizations where their supervisors or superiors behave rudely. Various surveys have proved that most of the employees like to stay longer in organizations where their supervisors and colleagues behave in a friendly manner even though the compensation is less. This is because the employees look forward to peaceful and friendly work environment and also they are inclined to give more importance to human values than money.
According to Tran, Wendy Katz faced many problems from the post office in which she worked as a postal delivery officer. These tortured her both mentally and physically. But the difficult situation faced by her in this office was not unsolvable. If her supervisor and co-workers had taken some necessary steps, this type of problems would not have happened in any company. How to avoid such situation s and if at all they arise how to overcome them are discussed below. Here the major problems faced by Wendy Katz are illustrated and some recommendations made for avoiding such problems in an organization with the help of effective supervisory training.
Wendy Katz did not get any description about her job in the new work environment. So she did not have much idea about her duties and responsibilities. Also in the absence of the proper description she could not get a clear idea about the company. It is a fault which occurred from the supervisor side, because her supervisor did not take care whether she got the information packet.
To avoid this kind of problems in a post office, supervisor has to make sure the following:
- In his department there are enough information packets.
- These information packets are well structured and it shows all duties, responsibilities and other information related to the office and the concerned post.
- All the newly appointed employees get the gets the information packets.
- Ensure that they read and understand the contents of the packet. Supervisor should have a good interaction with his subordinates. If at any time the department has no information packets, inform that to the management and prepare an information packet quickly.
Wendy’s supervisor showed discrimination. In this modern era also several types of discrimination like social, economic, gender racial etc exist. Here was one. Generally gender discrimination in UK is very high. “It is decomposed into a gap attributable to gender differences in human capital characteristics (such as education, work experience, and time spent out of employment by women), and a gap attributable to gender discrimination.” (John F & Robert E 2009).
It hurt her and reduced her interest in the duty. To avoid such type of discriminations in the work site, supervisor and the authority must take necessary actions. Some points to be noted are given below.
- Supervisors and leaders in the organization should behave as a roll model to their followers. They should not show any kind of discrimination amongst the employees.
- Supervisor must make sure that there exists no kind of discrimination within his span of control.
- While selecting supervisors, it should be ensured that they have the ability to treat all the employees equally.
- If any type of discrimination is noticed then actions should be taken to remove it.
- Wendy Katz did not get a good introduction from the post office. Her supervisor did not give attention in this factor. This prevented her from mingling with others and doing her duty smoothly. By using the following methods a supervisor can overcome the problems faced by a newly appointed employee in an organization
- A supervisor should give an effective orientation program to the new employees. It will help them to overcome or reduce their concerns and anxieties.
- In a post office supervisor can give presentation classes to demonstrate the particular route, a new recruit has to cover.
- When a new employee joins a department the supervisor should inform others in the office or at least in the department from where the new comer might need more contacts. This can be done by e-mail.
- If the supervisor conducts regular check-up in his/her department he/she can easily find where he/she needs to give more attention. If necessary, extend the time of orientation programs. (Warborg 2009).
- Supervisor frequently changed Wendy’s route. She should have been allotted two or three routes only. These many frequent changes created a lot of frustrations and inconvenience to her. If the supervisor had shown a little bit of care these problems would not have happened and repetition could have been avoided. To avoid this kind of problems in an organization the following method can be adopted.
- Clearly allot specific tasks to each of the employees.
- At the time of allotting works to the employees take into account their convenience also.
- A supervisor should have a clear awareness about the abilities and disabilities of his subordinates.
- Supervisor should allow enough time to the employees to adjust with the new environment.
- Misbehaviour of the supervisor was another problem faced by Wendy Katz. Her supervisor regularly complained against her like she was taking more time for sorting letters. It hurts her and it kills her interest in the job. A good supervisor does not always complain against his subordinates. It is a bad quality of the supervisor. In a recent study Harris et al told that “subordinates repaid an abusive supervisor by decreasing their job performance.” (Biron, p.7).
- To handle the subordinates better, the supervisor should take care of the following things.
- A supervisor should encourage the subordinates in their duty.
- A supervisor should have the ability to do work with the employees in an interesting manner.
- A supervisor must have a good personality.
- Work overload is another problem which forced her to resign the job. Due to the frequent change in the scheduled route she was forced to spend even her holiday time for studying the route. If her supervisor was efficient he could have solved this problem easily. To solve this kind of problems in an office as a supervisor one can do the following things.
- Give enough time to the employees to take rest.
- Do not force them to work in holidays.
- To reduce the work overload conduct some entertainment activities in the office.
- Try to develop a calm and peaceful atmosphere. It will help to increase productivity in the organization.
- Allow them to work in their working time and rest them in their leisure time.
In the post office Wendy’s co-workers did not give proper support to her. She felt like avoiding them. It is also due to the lack of a good induction. Many of them did not know about the new employee Wendy Katz. If she had got a good introduction from the office it would have given her a chance to mingle with the co-workers. When a new employee comes into an office the supervisor should take care in the following things.
- The supervisor must provide a chance to the new comer to introduce himself or herself to the others.
- A supervisor should make sure that every one in the office cooperates with the new comer.
- The supervisor must try to develop a friendly atmosphere in the office.
To provide a good atmosphere in the office and increase the productivity of the employees a supervisor must pay attention to all necessary points. He must have a leadership quality. Give an orientation program and introduce the new comer to others. A supervisor should make sure that any type of frustration does not exist under his followers. Try to develop a good working condition to the employees and should show a helping mentality towards them as and when required.
Employee orientation or induction is an essential part of human resource management in an organisation. It is the orientation which makes an employee fit and adjustable very fast with the new work and work environment. From the above discussion it is clear that orientation plays a very crucial role in the success of any organisation as it has a direct influence in the labour turnover and productivity of an organisation. There is high chance of quitting the organisation by those employees who did not receive an effective orientation. Orientation influences the productivity of an organisation because if an employee does not receive proper skill training as part of the orientation, it affects his job performance and thereby affecting the productivity of the organisation.
From the analysis of different problems faced by Katz, which were disclosed and faced by others which were not disclosed, it is clear that human resource department of the organisation should have to give due consideration for the orientation program of new employees. Different recommendations suggested in this report can make the orientation program more effective, thereby leading to overall improvement in the organizational efficiency.
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John F, Ermisch & Robert E, Wright 2009. Gender discrimination in the British labour market: a reassessment: abstract. Ideas, Web.
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Warborg, Joshua. 2009. HR guidelines: new hires benefit from good orientation programs. Puget Sound Business Journal, Web.