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Developing Relationships in the Workplace

The Needs and/or Expectations of Others

Identification

Stakeholders are individuals and groups that the organization impacts directly or indirectly. Therefore, businesses must identify and prioritize the needs and expectations through surveys, interviews, and feedback. My organization provides business IT solutions to individual and corporate clients locally and internationally. Customers expect fair prices, high-quality products, and timely support for the services – email alerts and phone calls (Bourne 2016). Their concerns are addressed promptly, and they can easily contact the firm, which makes them feel valued as customers. Colleagues include peers, supervisors, and senior management in the workplace. The staff needs open and clear communication between teams to finish scheduled assignments and avoid delays. They require the freedom to work and a motivating workplace and expect senior managers to include their input in key decisions.

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The management needs regular updates on project progress and expenses and expects energy and zeal from the staff. Key stakeholders in my workplace include the quality team, human resources (HR), and the finance department. The quality unit ensures best practices, and thus, expects my team to adhere to service standards. HR is concerned with workforce development and policies (Bourne 2016). It needs employees to complete training as required by law and expects technical staff to obtain certifications. The finance team requires me to communicate the project budget and financial plan. The relevant others in this workplace are the end-users of the IT solutions. They need easy-to-use applications and expect responsive and friendly customer care services.

Among the positive aspects of the identified needs and expectations identified are improved workplace performance and productivity, customer loyalty, and increased sales. Additionally, open communication ensures project targets are met and makes customers feel valued and supported. Quality services would ensure clients get value for money spent on acquiring IT solutions and infrastructure. Workforce development creates unique capabilities and advantages for the firm. A negative feature of stakeholder needs is the cost and time implications for the firm. Additionally, the failure to meet these expectations can hurt the brand’s reputation.

Importance

Knowing what customers require from the organization is important, as each client is different. Understanding their needs will ensure we provide quality service and value. Additionally, the deadlines and expected standards can be easily met, boosting customer satisfaction. Knowing what colleagues require will inform motivation strategies to engage them optimally in order to meet targets. Understanding senior management requirements are also important to ensure buy-in and financial support for the project. Knowing the quality team’s needs will enhance adherence to regulatory standards and avoid penalties or reputational costs. Understanding the HR and finance team’s requirements will help develop key team competencies and ensure proper financial planning, respectively. Lastly, knowing the end users’ needs will lead to better products and user-friendly solutions.

Meeting the Needs and/or Expectations of Others

Ways of Meeting

Effective communication is critical in the workplace and in interacting with external clients. It helps understand and address the needs and expectations of colleagues, senior managers, and the finance, HR, and quality teams. One method used in the organization for effective two-way communication with colleagues is active and effective listening. The goal is to encourage others to share their views, strengthen trust relationships, and ensure the receiver has relevant facts before proceeding (Bourne 2016). Additionally, clear, accurate, and relevant communication followed by questioning is employed to elicit concerns or problems specific to a team. Giving feedback upfront also helps colleagues improve their performance and skills. For senior managers, progress reporting is employed to meet their need to know milestones achieved so far. Additionally, relevant budget details are communicated to the management during meetings. The finance, HR, and quality teams receive regular briefs to understand the environment/situation of the project staffing and financial position. Timely delivery of the correct and reliable requirements (IT support) helps meet customer needs and expectations.

Ways of Checking

Ascertaining if the stakeholders’ needs and expectations have been met requires monitoring or assessment tools. An example is obtaining feedback – proactively collecting comments and opinions from staff and customers can help assess the degree to which their concerns have been addressed. Structured channels, including surveys, focus groups, and interviews involving target clients or team members, can generate reliable action data. These approaches will focus on the quality and relevance of current products (for customers) or practices (for internal stakeholders). They will be asked if the service or policy meets their expectations and priority needs.

Reactive feedback channels, such as suggestion boxes and hotlines, will allow stakeholders to communicate their concerns about the products, workplace policies, and other issues as they arise. This mechanism will ensure all complaints and compliments are recorded and addressed. Stakeholder meetings will be used to share and discuss the feedback to inform responses. In this way, priority needs and preferred product or service type to address them will be identified. Mystery shopping and internal records will help measure product quality, adherence to regulations, and task performance.

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Managing Relationships

Unmet needs and expectations can hamper trust and raise costly conflicts. In this situation, managing relationships well can help address workplace issues that cause negativity, low morale, and dissatisfaction (Bourne 2016). Good communication can help promote dialogue on unmet needs and ensure consistent messages on measures taken to meet the needs of staff, customers, and other stakeholders. Well-established lines of communication would ensure consistent messaging and highlight the commitment to resolve the concerns. Providing possible alternative IT solutions that involve a win-win situation can reduce tensions and address client interests. Communicating possible future options incorporating stakeholder input (preferred product features or workplace policies) would show sensitivity to this group and portray fairness. The senior management would also be informed of the concerns for action. The goal is to ensure recognition and compensation of efforts (incentive systems); a motivated staff would provide quality, customer-centered services.

A clear explanation for the failure to meet the stakeholders’ needs and expectations can produce a positive understanding and establish effective relationships with these groups. Open communication with customers would help build trust and confidence in the company’s strategies for addressing their needs. It would lead to strong advantages for the firm in the marketplace. Being honest and transparent would enable the project team to realign individual goals and demands with strategic priorities and plans. Willingness to listen to stakeholders’ suggestions or solutions is also critical. Active listening creates the impression that one’s comment or idea is valued (Bourne 2016). The management would also explore other options and provide a clear rationale for failing to meet specific needs and expectations. Being polite, courteous, and customer-focused would be useful in nurturing effective stakeholder relationships based on trust.

Reference List

Bourne, L 2016, Stakeholder relationship management: a maturity model for organizational implementation, Routledge-Taylor & Francis Group, New York.

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