Royal Mail Company’s Team Learning

Introduction

Team learning is the art of providing answers to businesses problems through open questioning and seeking solutions to these questions that need to be addressed. Team members may, while working, find the necessity to solve issues and venture into the process of seeking solutions. Thus, it is important to establish the culture of team working in all departments and sections of an organization to let the employees learn and develop as a team. Reg Revans, who proposed team-learning as an adaptation of learning by action notes that the mark of a leader is in the question he raises and not those that he answers.

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Research Questions

Has team learned increased productivity of the staff of Royal Mail?

The answers to this question will provide an understanding to the topic of team learning in an organization. The paper will also establish impacts of team learning on individual employees in an organization, how and whether it has achieved increased productivity, how it could be best achieved and the necessary measures needed.

Aims of the research

  1. To review and critically appraise the literature relating to team learning
  2. How team learning increase productivity?
  3. Compare group and individual productivity in royal mail
  4. What issues are faced by staff on adaptation of team learning
  5. Implication of team learning in different department of royal mail

Methodology

Team learning, if put in place well can improve productivity and service delivery for an institution. However, some challenges and difficulties must be fixed in trying to implement team learning in a structured or non-structured organization. Mere declaration of its existence is not adequate, but it must be there in practice to realize its benefits. The research shall seek to answer the above indicated questions in an attempt to cover the issues concerned with team learning and Royal Mail. This research deals with the investigation of the team learning, its effects and will mention on how it may have contributed to improve work in Royal Mail.

Data that have been used in this discussion has been derived from the company sources-including internet resources-books, journals, periodicals, company data and other relevant materials on the subject of team learning in an organization or largely all fields. The research will include 20 questionnaires which will be passed to the people affected in the operations of Royal Mail including 10 employees to determine the effects and impacts of team learning and how it is affected. Results will then be analyzed and inferences drawn from the collected data. The questionnaires will address issues of how the team learning is put in place, processes involved in participation and giving opinions, raising question, its advantages and disadvantages, member participation and diversity and analysis.

The interviewees will be chosen randomly and they will answer to the questions they feel to. Statistical analysis shall be used to work on data collected and appropriate methods of presentation like graphs shall be used. The researcher shall also be concerned with how the operations have improved including service and productivity on contributing by the employees, how they can evaluate the system and the related issues of diversity.

The above methods have been chosen by the researcher and they will assist in providing necessary information not only on the subject of team learning, how to implement it, its effects but also how it has affected or changed productivity and service delivery in Royal Mail. The method of statistical analysis will help to provide evidence if the fact that team learning positively positively affects productivity. The researcher shall also come across and will outline and/or discuss the challenges and problems pertaining the effecting, and carrying out team learning.

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Realism

Team learning does not appear in reality to effect productivity on a one to one relationship. Many companies seem to be concentrating on direct methods of increasing productivity such as cutting on the cost of production, reducing wastes, increasing efficiency and decreasing the labor costs among other techniques rather than applying the theoretically proved methods of increasing productivity such as team learning in rendering producing services and goods. The literature on team learning and its implementation is in most cases an ideal representation to many people. Even where team learning has been implemented, it may be an adopted mode pitting the company systems. Team learning in itself involves spending of more time and involved extra cost, while many companies may be looking forward to saving on the same. Hence, implementing team learning may not be favored by many companies’ structures and systems. The idea of increasing productivity through a well organized team learning structure is only accepted and implemented by a few people.

Literature Review

Reg Regans proposed the idea of team learning as an adaptation to action learning. It involves the ability to offer solutions to the challenges and problems facing an organization. Employees are allowed to approach tasks as a team and then may raise questions and seek the solutions. Team learning concepts can be divided into the following; Communicating, learning review, valuing diversity and questioning. Information search and reporting, innovation and exploration, promoting new and available opportunities, test and assessment of the new ideas, organizing, production of the required outputs, inspection of the working system, process maintenance and introduction of linkages among all, may be regarded as key factors of team working (McCann, 2006).

Once a team is faced with a challenge or a problem, they should discuss on the necessity of finding a solution based on the information, where, when, who to get it, and what information may be the key concerns. The team should innovate by discussing the divergent issues surrounding the challenge or problem.

Promotion involves the engagement of the team players by presentation of their ideas and solutions in a way to influence others including the outside stakeholders. The team should formulate what ideas are appropriate and workable during the developing process. The team then takes an action of organizing the issues surrounding implementation of the agreed ideas by organizing responsibilities and accountabilities. For evaluation purposes, the team should focus and produce results according to standards and requirements. Inspections make sure that any possible errors are eliminated and correction is done in time to avoid damages and failure. Maintenance on the agreements of the team and standardized process helps the team learn together and prevents occurrence and re-occurrence of mistakes.

Accommodating diversity in ideas and plans is necessary to achieving best solutions and wider learning. However, delays and conflicts may occur as a result of divergent views and interests. Team Management mode focuses on ideas to help a team to approaching work situations to solve possible or already-occurring problems of diversity. It focuses on (McCann):

  • Those who would gather enough information before acting, and put it in an understandable way (Reporter-Advisers).
  • Those who would think of new ways and pursuing it and those who would want to pursue them regardless of methods and systems already established (Creator-Innovator).
  • Those who are interested in exploring ideas and promoting them, within and without the organization. They like to advocate change and may want to have several projects at a go (Explorer-Promoters).
  • Those with strong principles and values as a guide to the making of their decisions (Upholder-Maintainers), those who like detailed work with facts and figures and would spend more time to work (Controller-Inspectors), those who can set plans and standards to achieve the outputs and are trustworthy in production-setting (Thruster-Organizers), and those sociable and analytical at different responsibilities (Assessor-Developers).
  • Establishment of linkages amongst work and people with other duties.

Communication is essential for a team work to succeed. Identifying of problems and arising difficulties should be done together. It will be necessary to determine that people have the same understanding, proposing of solutions to problems, inquiry into people’s views and ideas, proper pacing and reviewing of ideas are necessary tools to effective communication.

Learning review entails reviewing interactions that took place as an observer would and sometimes encouraging individuals to review it themselves.

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Creativity needs to be supported by material and necessary procedure to allow members to present and propose their ideas. Royal Mail Group has an innovation lab where individuals can brainstorm, plan and present issues on business ideas as a team. His has encouraged flexibility in the Royal Mail Group. The group also ha s a Champions Group with a Diversity Champion as a role model for diversity and actively supports the managers and communicates to the group. Individuals who come in the lab are assisted by the group’s team of experts in work (Royal Mail Group Limited, 2008).

While team work is essential to ensuring proper performance and increase productivity, it is necessary to source experience and trained workers, who will be able to identify problems, stimulate ideas, innovate and implement ideas together-something that needs the necessary tools, procedure and the equipment. While a company may be planning to cut the cost of employing experts and the experienced, it may be loosing on the side of expertise and innovation of new trends and ways to venture into new strategies, services and goods. Team-work is important to good performance and big results. This is because teamwork reduces duplication of services leading to quicker services, encouraging creativity, elimination of challenges sited and the need to learn from one another, among other benefits. Group productivity can be seen as a result of individuals’ hard-work in an organization. An individual will meet the objectives of the firm to result in his own, and the company’s success. Expertise in Royal Mail Group may be attributed to good performance and quality of service in the group, for example the recent report (covering July 2008) showing the beating of target (of 93%) of the First Class stamped mail. Earlier on 91.9% of the First Class Stamped mail arrived the day after posting against a target 93%, while 98.7% against 98.5% was for the Second Class. According to Wilson Ninian who is the Operations Director, target results for First Class stamped mails were greatly attributable to the hard-work of postmen and women (‘Royal Mail quality of service report shows large majority of mail hitting or beating target 29/08/2008’, 2008). In the year 2005, it had 2,500 casuals from a 20,000 figure from a plan to cover cut on jobs. The cut was necessary to enhance good quality, in addition to a plan to pool experienced staff by closely working with unions (Thomas, 2005). Innovation in this group would be essential because of introducing new strategies of operating and posting of mails. Challenges facing the company involve the failure of delivery of mails as required and therefore new ways of operation will be necessary to meet better target. Team work would help recognize the real reasons for failure of delivery as required and propose better ways.

While team working is necessary, it can however lead to waste of a lot of time which is needed to ensure that majority or people are involved in the ideas. Reaching a consensus may present a difficulty leading to holding of many meetings and conflict. This may discourage some who are selfish and would like their work to be recognized. Team working is not a perfect idea for quick implementation of ideas. The staff may find it hard to work together as a result of differences arising from conflicts.

References

McCann Dick. (2000-2006). Team Management Systems. 2008. Web.

Royal Mail Group Limited. (2008). Web.

Royal Mail quality of service report shows large majority of mail hitting or beating target. 2008. Web.

Thomas Daniel. (2005). Royal Mail is well Placed to Deliver Changes. 2008. Web.

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