Critical Reflection

The career & professional development module has allowed me to develop my writing and communication skills. On top of that, the weekly sharing and project pitch aid in strengthening our presentation skills. These are especially essential in the context of the hospitality industry which is people-oriented in nature.

The instruction units lay the foundation to the various communication tools taught from the Johari window to 7Cs to activate listening, and etc. The activities and assignments enforce on a certain concept as we work through each skill-building unit with a random partner assigned weekly.

While writing the blog posts, we are actually reflecting in writing on various interpersonal communication topics. It has also allowed us to know more about our peers while reading their posts. The comments from our peers and Brad from grammatical to paraphrasing to the situation, further evoke our thought process to reflect more.

The key takeaway from this module is the opportunity to work on the interpersonal communication project on managing employees with intellectual disability with Shi Hui and Adora. We applied the course concepts within real context making it practical and realistic. On a personal level, it has also allowed me to know my group mates better through project meetings in class and on Skype.

The various techniques of report writing, analysis and reflection are key tools that one can apply in their daily life and even at work in the future. Ultimately, we need to constantly practise to apply the skills we have learnt in class. It has indeed been a great learning journey with my peers and Brad!

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Synopsis (FINAL)

Introduction

The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP)  in Singapore promotes the adoption of fair, responsible and progressive employment practices among employers, employees and the general public. People with disabilities (PWDs) are often perceived to be less productive in the workplace and require more nurturing and training time as compared to employees without disabilities (Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, 2011).

PWDs face discrimination and barriers in integrating into the society on an equal basis with others every day. The PWDs too can achieve self-reliance if given equal opportunities for employment and are well-trained in relevant service skills. Intellectual disability is specifically characterised by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem-solving) and in adaptive behaviour, covering a range of everyday social and practical skills (American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, n.d.).

Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre (HISOCC) is one of the hotels in Singapore who actively employed PWDs, comprising more than 15 percent of their workforce. Another example is Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, with a total headcount of 1.6 percent of permanent PWDs. With more hotels hiring PWDs, there is a need to create a higher level of awareness by integrating colleagues with intellectual disabilities and other team members within the organisation. People with intellectual disabilities within the hotels will be specifically discussed in the context of this report.

 

Problem Identification

PWDs face several interpersonal communication challenges which affect their daily interactions with others. They may have delayed or incomprehensible responses during the process in both verbal and nonverbal communications (Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, n.d.) and can often cause further misunderstanding and miscommunication. The extent of communication barrier depends on the severity of the individual’s intellectual disability, leading to improper social etiquette. In severe cases, PWD may be incapable of understanding and using symbolic forms of communications such as speech, signs and pictorial representations, hence are dependent on others to anticipate their needs and interpret their vocal, facial and body expressions (Boardman, Bernal, & Hollins, 2014).

People with intellectual disabilities at HISOCC are often placed in the stewarding and housekeeping department as the employees, in general, has the least interaction with guests. Several interpersonal communication scenarios which are common in the workplace are harassment, constant staring, and sudden mood swings. The organisation has thus introduced a buddy system was introduced to help the PWDs to adapt the work environment and respective roles, as well as increasing interaction with other employees. In addition, it is essential for the organisation to share with the other team members on foresee scenarios when working with PWDs and the possible measures to be taken.

 

Objective of Study

The main objective of our study is to educate and prepare future potential hotel managers on the hiring of PWDs. It is important for hotel managers to be aware of the various interpersonal communication issue that may arise from the PWDs. Hence, possible solutions can be proposed to overcome the interpersonal challenges identified. Aside from that, raising awareness with regards to having an all-inclusive environment will help change the perception on team members’ view of PWDs in a more positive manner. The lack of understanding of the term “intellectual disability” led to stereotyped thinking and misconceptions. People with intellectual disabilities are often labelled with terms such as “mental retardation” and “stupidity”. This group of people are viewed as people who are incapable of having personal opinions, actions, living their lives as others do and therefore is dependent on the people looking after them (Owen & Downer, 2016). Such stereotyped thinking and misconceptions denied them of being treated as equals in the society and face discrimination as well as alienation. Many may not be aware that each individual with intellectual disability has different needs and despite having difficulty in expressing themselves clearly, they have feelings just like those without disabilities.

 

Potential Solutions

All employees should always remain calm and compose when faced with these situations. The importance of showing empathy and giving undivided attention to colleagues with intellectual disabilities is needful. Acknowledging their presence, lending them a listening ear and having patience while hearing them out are some of the ways to handle these colleagues (Mulroy, n.d.). By treating colleagues with intellectual disabilities with the necessary care, concern and love through effective communication and responding to them on the discussed common topics would avoid potential tension from arising. Most of the times, colleagues with intellectual disabilities words and actions mean no harm or danger. However, employees faced with continuous harassment or threatening from colleagues with intellectual disabilities should approach the HR immediately, safeguarding employees who may face potential severe issues.

The human resources (HR) department in the hotel industry plays an essential role in integrating colleagues with intellectual disabilities with all other employees as the hotel industry requires a high level of teamwork to deliver service excellence to existing and potential guests. HR personnel may also wish to educate onboarding employees and potential managers on practical ways in managing people with disabilities before embarking the hotel so as to better prepare and be more aware of such situations. Through success support system implementation, hotel employees will respect and work hand in hand with one another, enabling to run the hotel daily operations together as a family.

 

Research Method

The study comprises of both primary and secondary research. Secondary research was done through academic journals, official websites as well as papers on PWDs to better understand the current issues that people with intellectual disabilities faced while working in the hotel industry. The data collected serves as the foundation of primary research. The primary research consists of data collected from both observations and interactions by two of our team members through the internship experiences at HISOCC between May and August 2016.

 

Conclusion

Communication is the base of any relationship and it takes a lot of dedication and effort to achieve effective interpersonal communication (HelpGuide, n.d). Singaporeans today as well as the hotel industry has been more accepting towards PWDs as part of the community, workplace and everyday life (Pandey, 2015).

To achieve a successful integration between people with intellectual disabilities and employees working in the hotel industry, the respective department managers should also work closely with the HR team to provide excellent care and support to all employees. Managers should not forsake the importance of conducting meetings and briefings as this creates an opportunity for the team to recognise, communicate and engage with one another before moving into the daily operations.

The hotel industry indeed requires high levels of communication, commitment and involvement. A deeper understanding of colleagues with intellectual disabilities would enhance the overall work experience among one another. Thus, fostering an all-inclusive environment as well as creating a sustainable relationship between both employees and colleagues with intellectual disabilities in the hotel industry to work towards achieving long-term goals of the organisation.

 

References

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions on Intellectual Disability. Retrieved from https://aaidd.org

Association for Person with Special Needs (nd). Retrieved from http://www.apsn.org.sg

Boardman, L., Bernal, J., & Hollins, S. (2014, January 14). Communicating with people with intellectual disabilities: a guide for general psychiatrists. Retrieved from BJPsych Advances: http://apt.rcpsych.org

Don’t be fearful of hiring PWDs. (2017). Retrieved from https://theofficesnitch.wordpress.com

HelpGuide. (n.d.). Effective Communication. Retrieved from from https://www.helpguide.org

Human Resource Management – Ability beyond disability (creating inclusive workplaces). (2017). Retrieved from https://issuu.com

Inclusive. (2013). UN Conference on World Down Syndrome Day 2013 in New York. Retrieved from http://www.inclusive.org.br

Kok, X. H. (2014, April 25). S$30m more to help disabled with employment. Retrieved from http://www.todayonline.com

Langen, P. D. (2012, March 15). Ability beyond disability. Retrieved from http://www.hrmasia.com

Mulroy, J. (n.d.). Judo Assist. Retrieved from http://www.specialneedsjudo.com

Muqbil, I. (2013, December 5) Singapore hotel wins first Asia-Pacific award for dedication to Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved from https://www.travel-impact-newswire.com

Owen, K., & Downer, J. (2016, 02 11). Self Advocacy. Retrieved from Intellectual Disability and Health: http://www.intellectualdisability.info

Pandey. (2015, March 24). Hiring and working PWDs. Retrieved from http://www.hrmasia.com

Singapore Tourism Board. (2014). Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre. Retrieved from https://www.stb.gov.sg

Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices. (2011). Towards Inclusiveness in the Workplace: Employing Persons with Disabilities. Retrieved from https://www.tafep.sg

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. (n.d.). Communicating Effectively. Retrieved from Toolkit: https://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu

World Down Syndrome Day. (n.d.). Member, Enabling Employers Network. Retrieved from https://worlddownsyndromeday.org

Yeo, K. T. (2016, January 2). More disabled people finding jobs within past two years: SPD. Channel News Asia. Retrieved from http://www.channelnewsasia.com

 

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Project Synopsis Proposal Draft 2

Frame the title (specific workplace context):

People with disabilities (PWDs) face discrimination and barriers in integrating into the society on an equal basis with others every day. For the context of this report, we will be examining PWDs with intelligence disability. It is measured by the respective intelligence quotient and limitations in the various adaptive functions such as academic, social and practical functioning.

The PWDs too can achieve self-reliance if given equal opportunities for employment and are well-trained in relevant service skills. Hence, this report will further discuss the different measures to be taken for onboarding employees to manage and handle people with intellectual disabilities at the workplace setting.

The Introduction:

The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP)  in Singapore promotes the adoption of fair, responsible and progressive employment practices among employers, employees and the general public. PWDs are often perceived to be less productive in the workplace and require more nurturing and training time as compared to employees without disabilities.

The Human Resources department (HR) plays a role in integrating the PWDs with other staff in the workplace. It is essential to have a good support system from the management. The HR can promote the organisation’s commitment to both internal and external stakeholders through a two-pronged approach.

Firstly, HR can conduct proper training and test assessments for the PWDs for job suitability matching purposes. to add on, HR can educate the employees on the necessary skills and knowledge on how to handle PWDs on a case to case basis as it is essential for the respective departments to work closely for daily operations. Employees in the hotel should provide equal treatment to PWDs.

Secondly, the HR team can also regularly organise events with other organisations such as Delta Senior School. This will allow employees to volunteer and help out. These initiatives will increase awareness of employees’ needs within the hotel and at the same time, help employees to understand and interact more effectively with the PWDs. The ultimate goal is to create a culture of inclusion.

Problem Identification:

Communication is the base of any relationship. To achieve effective interpersonal communication, it takes a lot of dedication and effort. However, due to their intellectual disabilities, the PWDs face several interpersonal communication challenges. Interaction with others might cause further misunderstanding and miscommunication through non-verbal cues. The other parties may not be able to encode or decode the messages accurately, thus fear and doubts arise within each individual. To tackle the problem, a training video will be used to illustrate some practical ways to handle people with intellectual disabilities when faced with such situations that may arise at work.

The objective of Study:

The main objective of our study is to encourage the hospitality industry to embrace, accept and provide PWDs with equal employment opportunities. Aside from that, raising awareness with regards to having an all-inclusive environment will help change the perception on how employees would view PWDs in a more positive manner. Hotels in Singapore can adopt the similar strategies of hiring PWDs. Some potential scenarios between people with intellectual disabilities and employees that might occur in the hospitality industry are constant harassment and throwing of tantrum.

Potential Solutions / Implementation for Problem Resolution:

If these situations occur, employees should always remain calm and composed. Employees can show care and concern to colleagues with intellectual disabilities by providing them with a listening ear and empathising with them. They should also acknowledge the presence of the PWDs when needed and have patience while hearing them out. However, there may be continuous harassment or threatening which might compromise the safety of the individual employees. When this happens, employees should safeguard and immediately approach the HR personnel for further assistance.

Proposed data collection / Research Method:

The study comprises of both primary and secondary research. Our secondary research consists of academic journals, government websites, as well as papers on PWDs working in the hospitality industry. The data collected serve as the foundation of our primary research. Our primary research includes data collected from observations and interactions through the internship experiences at Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre (HISOCC) in mid-2016 specifically.

At HISOCC, the hotel is active in hiring PWDs. Changes are made to help the PWDs integrate with the workplace. In the midst of this initiative, it also allows the hotel to enhance productivity and strengthen service quality. The organisation combines the stewarding and room service teams which thus optimise existing manpower amidst manpower challenges, often faced in the hospitality industry. With the room service being particularly busy during meal times and the stewarding workload increasing after meal-serving is complete, the peak hours for both departments offset each other. Furthermore, HR has also introduced a buddy system to help the PWDs to adapt to their workplace environment and their roles, as well as help increase interaction with other employees.

Benefits to your workplace:

The incorporation of PWDs has allowed the hotel industry to enhance its productivity and strengthen service quality amidst labour crunch. According to Kok (2014), strong government support has been given to help PWDs find employment and S$30 million were also used for pre-employment training and vocational training of PWDs as well as improving interaction between employees with their counterparts with special needs. This initiative has gained valuable recognition and several awards in the respective hotels, establishing brand reputation across the hospitality industry in Singapore.

Concluding thoughts:

It has been noted that Singaporeans today as well as the hospitality industry has been more accepting of PWDs as part of the community, workplace and everyday life.However, there are still many challenges ahead when it comes to hiring PWDs.
To achieve a successful integration of PWDs in the hotel workplace, it goes beyond matching them to the job or knowing about their work capabilities. It includes the attitudes adopted towards PWDs. The workplace culture and practices needed to support their employment. Through increased understanding of how to work and handle employees with intellectual disabilities, building relationship among team members across the various departments would foster an inclusive workplace for all. At the same time also improve the overall perception of the organisation.

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Project Synopsis Proposal Draft 1

Frame the title (specific workplace context):

People with Disabilities (PWDs) face discrimination and barriers from participating in society on an equal basis with others every day. For the context of this report, we will be examining PWDs with intelligence disability. It is measured by the respective intelligence quotient and limitations in the various adaptive functioning such as academic, social and practical functioning.

The PWDs too can achieve self-reliance if given equal opportunities for employment and are well-trained in industry relevant skills. Hence, this report will further discussed on the different measures to be taken for onboarding employees to manage and handle people with intellectual disabilities at the workplace setting.

The Introduction:

The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP)  in Singapore promotes the adoption of fair, responsible and progressive employment practices among employers, employees and the general public. PWDs are often perceived as less productive in the workplace and require more nurturing and training time.

The Human Resources (HR) plays the role in integrating the PWDs employees with others in the workplace. It is essential to have a good support system from the management. The HR can promote the organisation’s commitment to both internal and external stakeholders through a two-prong approach.

Firstly, HR can conduct proper training and test assessments for the PWDs for job suitability matching purposes. Aside, HR can educate the employees on the necessary skills and knowledge on how to handle PWDs on a case to case basis as it is essential for the respective departments to work closely for daily operations. Employees in the hotel should give these PWDs the same treatment just as how they treat their peers and colleagues. 

Secondly, the HR team can also regularly organise events with organisations such as Delta Senior School. This will allow employees to volunteer and help out. These initiatives will increase disability awareness within the hotel and at the same time, help employees to understand and interact more effectively with the PWDs. The ultimate goal is to create a culture of inclusion.

Problem Identification: 

Communication is the base of any relationship. To achieve effective interpersonal communication, it takes a lot of dedication and effort. However, due to their intellectual disabilities, the PWDs face several interpersonal communication challenges. Interaction with others might cause further misunderstanding and miscommunication through non-verbal cues. The other parties may not be able to encode or decode the messages accurately, thus fear and doubts arise within each individual. To tackle the problem, a training video will be used to illustrate some practical ways to handle people with intellectual disabilities when faced with such situations that may arise at work.

The objective of Study:

The main objective of our study is to encourage hospitality industry to embrace, accept and provide PWDs with equal employment opportunities. Aside from that, raising awareness with regards to having an all-inclusive environment will help change the perception on how employees would view PWDs in a more positive manner. Hotels in Singapore can adopt the similar strategies of hiring PWDs. Some potential scenarios between people with intellectual disabilities and employees that might occur in the hospitality industry are constant harassment and throwing tantrum. 

Potential Solutions / Implementation for Problem Resolution:

If these situations occur, employees should always remain calm and compose. Employees can show care and concern to colleagues with intellectual disabilities by providing them with a listening ear and empathising with them. Acknowledge their presence when needed and have patience while hearing them out. However, there may be continuous harassment or threatening which might compromise the safety of the individual employees. When this happens, employees should safeguard and immediately approach the HR personnel for further assistance. 

Proposed data collection / Research Method:

The study comprises of both primary and secondary research. Our secondary research consists of academic journals, government websites, as well as papers on PWDs working in the hospitality industry. The data collected serve as the foundation of our primary research. Our primary research includes data collected from observations and interactions through the internship experiences at Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre (HISOCC) in mid-2016 specifically. 

At HISOCC, the hotel is active in hiring PWDs. Changes are made to help the PWDs integrate with the workplace. In the midst of this initiative, it also allows the hotel to enhance productivity and strengthen service quality. The organisation combines the stewarding and room service teams which thus optimise existing manpower amidst manpower challenges, often faced in the hospitality industry. With the room service being particularly busy during meal times and the stewarding workload increasing after meal-serving is complete, the peak hours for both departments offset each other. Furthermore, HR has also introduced a buddy system to help the PWDs to adapt to their workplace environment and their roles, as well as help increase interaction with other employees.

Benefits to your workplace:

The incorporation of PWDs has allowed the hotel industry to enhance its productivity and strengthen service quality amidst labour crunch. According to Kok, strong government support has been given to help PWDs find employment and S$30 million were also used for pre-employment training and vocational training of PWDs as well as improving interaction between employees with their counterparts with special needs. This initiative has gained valuable recognition and several awards in the respective hotels, establishing a brand reputation across the hospitality industry in Singapore.

Concluding thoughts:

It has been noted that Singaporeans today as well as the hospitality industry has been more accepting of PWDs as part of the community, workplace and everyday life.However, there are still many challenges ahead when it comes to hiring PWDs.

To achieve a successful integration of PWDs in the hotel workplace, it goes beyond matching them to the job or knowing about their work capabilities. It includes the attitudes adopted towards PWDs. The workplace culture and practices need to support their employment. Through increased understanding of how to work and handle employees with intellectual disabilities, building relationship among team members across the various departments would foster an inclusive workplace for all. At the same time also improve the overall perception of the organisation.

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Letter of Service Recovery

Dear Mr Bennert,

Thank you for taking your time out to write this letter and for your sincere feedback to improve on your stay at Pineapple hotel.

We will like to apologise for the unpleasant experience you had at Pineapple hotel recently on the 6th of January. After checking your booking #99887766341, we have noticed that your booking does not include morning breakfast at our hotel. We apologise for the miscommunication from Agoda, and it possibly could have been truncated in the process. We deeply regret that the experience was not ideal and we are truly sorry for the lapse in service.

With regards to the poor reception provided by our staff when you approached them about the breakfast, We have relayed your feedback to the front desk staff and will seek improvement towards our service standards provided.

We truly appreciate your review. We hope that you give us the chance to change your perception of our hotel and in order to do this, we will like to extend a free breakfast to accompany your next visit with us. Attached to this email is a voucher that may be redeemed as you approach the front desk counter on your next visit.

Sincerely,

Lee Simin

Guest Relations Officer

(194 words)

Commented: Adora & Darren

[Revised]

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Reflection: Interpersonal Communication Issue

During my stint at Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre as a finance intern, I was tasked to formalise a manual. With that,  I had to conduct training for the front office staff on cashiering standards, procedures and documentation submission requirement.

It was my first time conducting training, which I had little experience on. The lack of confidence had lead to the insufficient eye contact and the failure to articulate coherently while conducting the training. I was over focused on the notes even though the materials was prepared by me. When I get nervous, I also tend to speak faster. All in all, it affects my body language and portraits a negative vibe.

Most of the full-timers are really understanding in my lack of exposure in training. However, during the training, I could sense the frustration of a newly joined guest service officer from her non-verbal cues. Her arms were folded and she will just interrupt during the midst of the training – “I think this will not work ….”. I was totally unprepared on these sudden questions. Instead, my mentor had to step in time to time to help me.

Upon reflecting the experience, I felt disappointed and upset in my performance. However, on the other end of the spectrum, these mistakes help us to grow and evolve. I realised that nervousness when speaking in front of a crowd is natural. I believed that the “doubt” in myself; an intern conducting training for the full-timers has resulted rooms for improvement in the training. Through the encouragement of my mentor, I felt more positive.

This experience has made me realised that I need to gain more confidence with presenting in front of a crowd and coming out of my comfort zone. This is especially essential for the hospitality industry as we face the uncertainty factor.

Last but not least, how should I remedy the above scenario?

[Revised]

Commented: Shi Hui & Adora

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Personal Branding

The social media is a communication tool which has impacted our daily life. With the advancement in technology, this makes the internet and social media more accessible. Many people, especially the millennials, have at least a social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube). It allows us to connect with people who are hard to reach, share our lives and opinions.

Social media has been a part of my life. I use it while commuting or when I just like to take a breather from all the overwhelming assignments. The social media feels like a place where one can just be himself/herself. However, that is not the case.

I have witnessed a lack of social media etiquette which many are unaware of. People often say things they would not typically say in public. For instance, badmouthing others or cursing unconsciously. This will, in turn, reflect negatively and tarnish one’s personal branding.

Every picture shared, every status updated and comment made contributes to our personal branding. Employers today not only do a reference check but also visit prospective employees’ social media page to get a sensing of their personal life and connections. Hence, I make a consistent effort on social media etiquette. I would ensure that the content posted will not offend anyone and the appropriateness of the platform for sharing. People will form a certain perception through the words and tone of our post. We should be mindful of how we would like to present ourselves. These are critically important at work because of the perception people will form upon us through both online and offline interaction.

For a business social site like LinkedIn, we need to be more mindful of the context. Our profile picture and language need to be professional. At the end of the day, everything that we share on the social media is public. This will ultimately reflect ourselves and how we hope others to see us.

Commented: Amirul

[Revised]

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