Time management and communication skills

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Employability allows individuals to make informed choices, get employment and to remain employed. Employment skills are necessary to have by everyone so as to apply for any type of job. The particular skills enhance the productivity of technical knowledge and assistance too. A person’s employability is being evaluated by employers through assessment of their skills at the period of selection, which is significant for the success in professional context. The following report is prepared to review my personal and professional abilities that are necessary to get a job in Amex IT Company. The requirement is to perform the role of a Junior Database Administrator in the IT department of the organization. Recently, the corporation has announced 40 vacancies in its information and technology department and to apply for the given position, I am assessing suitability of own skills plus competencies. The subsequent content includes my personal skills description as a competent IT prospective employee. 

Personal skills and competencies

The mentioned criteria (questions) will help me in evaluating my personal competencies and skills against person specification provided by company, these are:

  • What kind of traits, certifications and skills would support me to get more experience in database administrator?
  • Do I have strong organizational and analytical skills?
  • Do I understand the structured query language?
  • Which web applications and database software experience is required for the job?
  • Do I have ability to work in constantly changing environment of technology?
  • Do I possess good time management skills?
  • How to deliver services within framework of ITIL?
  • Am I experienced enough to access Microsoft programs?

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By comparing the above questions with junior database administrator’s job and person specification, I found that certification in Oracle database management system, understanding of Linux/Unix or Windows 7 along with database administration is required in myself to apply for the proposed job. However, I possess flexible working behaviour and exceptional attitude together with effective time management, analytical and organizational skills to perform on the particular role. I have proficiency in SQL and hence can act as an ambassador for Application Services.

For answering to above questions that are related to IT specialist the SFIA (Skills framework for the information age) has been used by me that combines standards of IT which is fixed by BCS (British Computer Society). Through such analysis I identified following strengths and weaknesses in myself to become a good database administrator:

Strengths - My knowledge is perfectly fulfilling all standards in relation to IT profession that is provided by BCS. Moreover, to successfully working in a dynamic organizational culture, I possess several other attributes, like communication styles, interpersonal abilities, etc. In addition to this, professionals are required to have analytical capability to perform their different activities by adopting applicable methods. Analytical talent supports an entity to envision, resolve as well as to articulate both complex and simple problems by making decisions on the basis of prevailing situations. Such skills comprise of utilization of coherent ideas for collecting, assessing and evaluating data along with identifying solutions plus setting effective plans or strategies.

Besides, it also includes using methodological and logical approach for tackling business events, developing influential plans, employing creative or innovative philosophies for getting the best solutions of the prevailing issues and taking more opportunities as well. Furthermore, it includes abilities to form a rational vision for coming period to estimate long term growth opportunities. While doing self-analysis, I came to know that have good critical thinking abilities such as intuitive, creative and analytical are used at different time period. Also, with my sufficient updated technical skills, I would be able to perform my job as per the required standards. It will help me in building valuable image in front of senior administrators. Moreover, I always consider the real facts rather than relying on decided conventions. I attempt to use my proficiencies in various areas to benefit by searching conservative methods, systems and processes.

Weaknesses – I believe that my ability to work in a team is need to be improved as I will have to work with co-workers and under the supervision of seniors where different tasks are performed according to decided deadlines. Moreover, I would not able to perform many tasks in single time period because of having no prior working experience in particular field. I will also require comprehending with advance software’s and tools of database administrator for improving flexibility to work in technologically up grading environment.

Own development needs

There are some development needs in several fields that have been exposed by above analysis that if addressed properly then it can lead to improvement of my productivity plus performance to make personal success and growth in Amex:

Team work – This includes working as a member of team and combining own efforts with other members for accomplishing the given projects. I feel uncomfortable to work along with others particularly in a team. Rather, my performance is better when I work individually.

Too much determined – I observed that more competency is needed in myself for undertaking several activities in definite or single time period as well as I can dedicate my knowledge to single direction only. This incapacity to work on many activities in same period lessens my efficiency and negatively impacts on my performance.

Less flexible – The particular job requires willingness to adopt with changing environment but I have no prior experience of practical job and I would not be able to work according to different situations as well.

Time management – As defined in given template of person specification, an individual who is applying for database administrator needed to have exceptional attitude with good time management skills. Accordingly, I have no such prior idea of working in a real business environment and thus, I am not sure or confident that whether I would be able to complete projects in a given time period or not.

Hence, to get enough competencies at the role of Junior Database Administrator, I will require acquiring some basic knowledge to work with co-workers in a team and combining efforts to complete particular project. I will try to learn about collecting apt data and administrating them in logical manner from my seniors to attain efficiency in my personal and professional success.

Plan of personal and professional development

Personal development plan offers a framework to individuals for determining their strengths and weaknesses areas, with which they come up with a guide to capitalize or optimize on their current capabilities plus skills (Personal development planning, 2009). Therefore, a plan of personal development will support me to progress in my career and personality. Moreover, it will improve my self-esteem and add to the qualifications for getting higher posts. Personal development initiates with self-awareness. With this I will be able to identify my beliefs, values and purpose that is I wish to pursue in my life. This self-awareness will clear out what things I want to attain in my life. Prioritization will become easier through this plan, as my objectives will clear so I can quickly determine tasks that will provide me best outcomes with available resources.

Moreover, I guess in present competitive or modern environment of business there is a high demand of IT specialists who can able to manage vast information in a software as well as work for long hours for the convenience of organizations. IT employee should able to adopt with regular changes of marketplace and must have complete control or administration over company’s data through password protected software for long time. Hence, by improving my own skills in effective manner, I can get several advantages. Due to the current era of technological advancement, I have opportunities to groom my talents for reaching at desired aim of my career. For that reason, I feel that timely and proper improvements in areas that are mentioned in development plan will allow me to comprehend creative aspects of information and technology and get good hike in my professional career of data administrator. My personal development plan is being included in Appendix 1.

Own development against original aim and objectives

The objectives that are defined above has helped me in improving my current level of skills and knowledge as well as added to the improvement of my professional capabilities in the future. On the basis of above mentioned needs, the plan of development has been illustrated. All given skills has supported me to make new planning for development plus learning and assist me to get distinct talents for handling dissimilar or complex situations in the organization.

With an aim to accomplish my desired objectives, I adequately concentrated on some particular fields for attaining all capabilities to grow my professional career in Amex organization. For that reason, various training sessions along with workshops are organized on learning IT software’s that I attained to meet BCS standards. I also attempt to work on live projects related to database management in perfect supervision of my trainer that has improved my practical capabilities and helped me to overcome from weaknesses. Furthermore, by working on different firms IT issues, I got vast experience of Unix/Linux or Windows 7 along with complete understanding of “Security, Integrity, Logging, Replication, Archiving”. My confidence level has been enhanced by such advanced IT knowledge along with familiarity to work with which I can complete my given projects on decided time, which means my time management skills has been improved too. Thus, all these capabilities has facilitated me to aware about insights of database administration job with which now I am capable enough to apply for the vacant post in Amex.

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Appropriate communication method for Amex

Communication is defined as one of the most significant and dominant activities of corporations. Basically, relationships raise beyond communication and companies’ survival as well as functioning is based upon proper relationships within groups and individuals. Besides this, capabilities of firms are enacted plus developed through “intensely communicative and social procedures”. Communication facilitates groups and individuals to coordinate with different activities for reaching at objectives as well as it is essential in decision making, socialization, change management and problem solving processes. It also supports to build trust, motivate, spur engagement and to create shared identity. An effective communication offers a way for an individual to share hopes, ambitions and to express emotions along with remember achievements (Adsit, 2012).

Therefore, a junior database administrator should adequately know the ways of collecting information from every departments and levels of company to arrange a complete database of essential information. The capability of accumulating relevant data from co-workers, senior administrator and clients is considered as the main talent of IT specialist which is examined regularly. In order to make effective communication at workplace in between different teams or members within teams, Amex can make use of S-M-C-R model where a source of information (S) is encoded with relevant message (M) and through selected channel, delivers it (C) to a chosen receiver (R), by whom it is decoded. The model stands on the fact that each meaning is enclosed within the particular message as well as if message is received in correct manner then it would be understood (Berger, 2011). The following diagram is clearly showing the manner in which SMCR modelt writing works in an organization:

Besides above, the company should implement Group-level communications, as it takes place in units, teams and interest groups and employee resource (ERGs), which would be the best applicable in working conditions of Amex where overall work is divided in projects to be completed by different teams. This communication level concentrates upon the issue discussion, information sharing, problem solving, task coordination and building of consensus. Moreover, by using range of tools for communication including verbal, body language and written methods, I would be able to create a good rapport among essential audience (Craft, 2002). By having open and clear interaction with my team members, I would contribute my efforts with them to accomplish given project in a decided time period. Seniors and project leaders at Amex should try to maintain horizontal communication that includes no hierarchical relationship and where supervisor of different teams can interact or take each other’s support for completion of varied tasks.

In addition to this, database administrator will make interactions with seniors via e-mails as they do not have enough time to get personally involved in every matter. Thus, a mail will be act as record by which they can make possible or suitable actions to solve particular issues. Also, they will make verbal interactions with co-workers for avoiding misinterpretation which will further help in reducing conflicts at work (Gallagher, 2013).

Effectiveness of time management strategy and clear desk policy

The skills of time management are not only important in completing job roles or duties on time but in several other aspects of a person’s life too. At times, it might seem that there isn’t suitable time available to undertake all things by an individual what he/she wants to do and thus, it results in stress. Therefore, members working in a team should try to find out manner of improving their time management. For that reason, our team will begin to adjust routine tasks and behaviour patterns to lessen any stress which is related to mismanagement of time (Gratton and Erickson, 2007). All team membt writingers will attempt to get some effective skills of managing time such as deciding clear objectives, breaking goals into subtle phases and reviewing own progress towards objectives set in action planning. In addition to this, there are some more skills that can be learnt by the members for managing work on time, like prioritizing means concentrating on important or urgent tasks rather than less important activities that are not connected with final objectives; arranging individual schedule of work; making of list to remind what is needed to carry out in which period and avoiding delays (Guo and Sanchez, 2005).

The management of time begins with adequate commitment to change. The process is simple as long as team members commit to some particular actions. Planning is the main aspect behind successful time management and then planned time is required to be protected. This often includes re-conditioning others expectations as well as personal environment. Time management will enable all members of team to become more productive, hence, logically the impact through whole organization of poor or good time management are huge. Moreover, by collective executions of wasted time, it can also result in enhancing the productivity of every member (Guskey, 2000).

By applying mentioned strategies, team members will be able to perform important tasks on time and can understand what further efforts are needed in them to schedule overall activities in a precise work. Besides this, they can try to prioritize distinct technical tasks for taking out enough time to complete roles and responsibilities in standard way. It will also assist the individuals t writingto comply with clear desk policy. The particular policy guides staffs to clear their desks at the end of the day. This does not only comprises of notes and documents, but it also applies to removable media and business cards. By following this policy, employee can help corporation to reduce risk of losing information or safety break that is caused by sensitive data which is being left visible. Both clear screen policy and clear desk policy work together in safeguarding company’s information (Marc, 2012).

The above policy will ultimately lead to saving of Amex valuable time. It is because according to a report of IDC, staff members in organization generally waste 2.5 hours in a day for searching varied information. Moreover, the clear desk policy inspire individuals to make use of documents digital versions, significantly lessening costs of ink toner, paper as well as printer maintenance cost to company (Megginson and Whitaker, 2003).

Selection and maintenance of team

Teamwork initiates with and creates relationships in between a group of individuals who share a mutual purpose or interest. The focus of team is on reaching common goals and finding appropriate solutions to shared issues. It makes use of formal procedures, such as facilitation, record keeping and scheduled meetings to attain decided objectives. A team work can become fantastic, when members in team effectively work together. However, if individuals put their efforts in distinct directions then it can result in awful experience (Zepeda, 2011). What is actually worse in team working is that without having adequate direction, members will focus on wrong objectives, fail to make use of important or limited resources, can be wavering apart with avoidable back biting and can sometimes bring terrible consequences for the company. Thus, project leader at Amex should make adequate attempts for building successful groups and work teams that can suit with the requirements of organizational activities (Agha, 2001). The following steps can be successfully accomplished by the project manager for developing effective teams:

Be clear about purposes – It means the actual that is desired from the team to reach or achieve? A project manager should take into consideration the possible opportunities along with roadblocks and become realistic about in what way a team will undertake activities to find proper solutions. The manager should also ensure that every team member are aware about goals and the direction of reaching them (Doolittle and et. al., 2008).

Decide who requires to be on team – Once objectives of developing particular team is decided then a leader is needed to focus on individuals that can fit to different positions in team. People having proper understanding of raising issues can be included in working teams. However, a manager should also try to give chance to new entities for getting involved in team, so that they can learn new perspectives as well as may attain ideas of performing their jobs (Lorraine, Pamela and Peter, 2014). For example, in case of Amex team will be created by leader to carry out activities related to database management of company. Thus, the following roles will be included in such teams:

  • Database design assistant;
  • Executive for updating and amending present database;
  • Individual for evaluating eft writingficiency of database;
  • Administrator to set and test new systems for data handling;
  • Individual to sustain the integrity and security of data.

Moreover, the leader will ensure that team members possess below given skills:

  • Strong organization and analytical knowledge;
  • SQL understanding;
  • Knowledge of OODBMS (object oriented database management systems) and RDBMS (relational database management systems);
  • Web applications and database software experience;
  • Awareness of latest technology and data protection act;
  • Ability to work, under deadlines and pressure.

Set time frame for team’s work completion – A project leader should decide duration of completing given project by team members in which exact time of completing small tasks must be set to achieve overall goals effectively. It is because working in groups often take long period to accomplish than individual work.

Empower team to successfully work together – A project leader should ensure that members in a team have enough resources and skills which they require to properly work together, for instance, facilitation talents, access to technology along with skills to utilize it.

Determine the communication system for team – A procedure for team is needed to establish to report on its results and efforts. All members in a team should mutually decide the way to make communications with each other’s, for example, e-mail, list-serves, website and minute of meetings (Nilsson and Ellström, 2012).

In addition to above, a competent project leader must attempt to understand the group dynamics. The groups have three basic interpersonal needs such as control, openness and inclusion. Such needs define the manner of treating other entities in team. Identifying and comprehending behaviour of every member helps in discussing upon issues to gain influence which can result in productivity and effectiveness of group.

Alternative ways for achieving team goals

There are some more ways other than following above steps to build effective teams and to move it in the exact direction of completing goals. A project leader can employ Tuckman’s model for developing teams which includes four stages such as forming, storming, norming and adjourning to make team to grow, face challenges, handle issues, determine appropriate solutions, plan overall activities and deliver required outcomes. In addition to this, a leader can extract prints of decided objectives and paste them on visible areas at workplace, so can be reminded by all. With this regard, a visualization board can be created as well as filled with pictures of activities needed to do for impelling each member’s attention plus motivation (Pals, 2001).

Besides this, a small team of masterminds can be built to support in taking productive actions. Also, such masterminds take all necessary measures to ensure team member's stability and put their efforts directly in the way of reaching desired goals. Moreover, an action plan along with suitable deadlines for completing each activities can be developed by leader to manage team effectively.

Tools and methods for developing solutions to problems

There are many generic problem solving techniques which are used to resolve issues. Therefore, it becomes important that the appropriate tool is used for the specific problem that require attention. Also, it is essential to prioritize all problems that are needed to deal with first among various issues that may exist. Amex may choose to pick any of the following problem solving strategies depending upon the complexity of the problem. They are as follows:

  • 5 step approach – Identify problem, plan, selecting a solution, work, measure
  • Eight discipline problem solving
  • TQM tools
  • 5 whys and 2 How’s
  • FMEA – failure mode effects analysis
  • Fishbone diagram also known as Cause and Effect
  • Kepner Tregoe problem solving
  • Consensus decision making
  • Six sigma tools
  • Lean manufacturing principals
  • Pareto and trend charts
  • Process maps
  • Statistical process control

These approaches may be used in any sector, company or industry. If improvement is the goal, one may go ahead with TQM or Six sigma and such reengineering tools but in this case of Amex, “solution engineering” is required, where a new process is needed to be created to handle current obstacles. The main fundamental to eliminate the problem is all about:

  • To identify the problem
  • To identify the root cause
  • To come up with resolutions
  • To select the most appropriate solution
  • To implement and measure effects of the solution

Strategies for Amex to assist its IT helpdesk for responding queries on time

At Amex IT helpdesk, call volumes spikes are not uncommon. The standard approach should be to attend all customer enquiries on time and to provide all services efficiently. But, this high volume of queries often ends in system jam and customer dissatisfaction. This deviation from the standard process is a major problem of Amex IT helpdesk. To be competitive in the business, it is essential to quickly find the problem by using an appropriate problem solving strategy. The 5 step problem solving approach seems identical to identify and eliminate the root cause to this issue (Pool and Sewell, 2007).

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Identify the problem – With the rapidly growing business of IT system support, customers are demanding response to their queries quicker and more efficiently. At Amex, they have a dedicated team of 3 or 4 for each client, even then they are not able to resolve large number of queries on time (Romaniuk and Snart, 2000).

Identify the root cause – IT helpdesk credibility is dependent on effective utilization of appropriate resources. Amex is not able to utilize its resources well that resulted in delay to respond the growing number of IT queries. Graphical representation of call volumes suggests that high volume of customer service enquiries to helpdesk is to request general information and to ask the status of open calls etc.

Selection of appropriate solution - By using self-service to its full capacity, helpdesk system can make better use of its resources. Amex can use call handling software which would help in call management and redirection of calls. The Amex website should also have a FAQs section where frequent queries and their resolution may be posted, which will ultimately reduce the workload on call handling. If customers have access to self-help tools, large volume but low priority service requests can be handled more quickly and Amex resources can be diverted to higher priority situations (Rothwell and Arnold, 2007).

Work the strategy – A service catalogue via web portal may be provided to clients to offer the right services in the right quantities to meet the demand. Online self-service can also help to improve the overall customer service quality and it will reduce the requirement of a customer query at first place. It is essential to push customers to the portal with broadcasting the manuals and information.

Measure the effect – To truly measure the benefits of self-service portal, it is essential to assess if it has become customer’s first point of contact for any information (Woodley and Sims, 2011).

Potential impact of chosen strategy

In the long run, the powerful self-service web portal will facilitate the automation and streamline IT helpdesk services of Amex. It also improves the overall efficiency of organization. Also, it will help in reducing the unproductive time by eliminating conflict situations. By better staff management and engagement in high priority incidents, the company will have increased Return on Investment. Finally, the customer satisfaction level will be improved as the online self-service may meet or exceed the expectation of customers (Simmonds, 2003).

Conclusion

Hence, from the above paper, it can be concluded that an important quality for individuals to work in business environment is dynamism. A person should have enough flexibility to adopt with existing conditions of business and must be able to complete his tasks on time. Time management and communication skills are particularly important when an entity is working in team. Furthermore, he/she ought to develop best coordination with other team members to combine their efforts and to reach at common objectives as well.

References

  • Craft, A., 2002. Continuing Professional Development: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Schools. 2nd ed. Psychology Press.  
  • Gallagher, K., 2013. Skills Development for Business and Management Students: Study and Employability. Oxford University Press.  
  • Gratton, L. and Erickson, J. T., 2007. Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams. [Online]. Available through: <https://hbr.org/2007/11/eight-ways-to-build-collaborative-teams/>. [Accessed on 8th March 2015].  
  • Guo, L. K. and Sanchez, Y., 2005. Workplace Communication. [Online]. Available through: <http://healthadmin.jbpub.com/Borkowski/chapter4.pdf>. [Accessed on 7th March 2015].  
  • Guskey, R. T., 2000. Evaluating Professional Development. Corwin Press.  
  • Marc., 2012. How to achieve your goals. [Online] Available through: <http://www.marcandangel.com/2010/05/10/how-to-achieve-your-goals/>. [Accessed on 7th March 2015].
  • Megginson, D. and Whitaker, V., 2003. Continuing Professional Development. CIPD Publishing.   
  • Zepeda, J. S., 2011. Professional Development: What Works. Eye On Education.
 
 
 
 
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