The communications climate at Inverlat is cold due to a variety of problems, the first being a lack of communication. At the beginning of all the transitions within Inverlat, there wasn’t one clear source of communication between all the branches. As a result, each of the banks acted on their own accord and did not see themselves as a part of a larger company. There was no central stream of clear, consistent communication, so everyone was left to make their own assumptions as to how Inverlat’s strategy would change and affect their position within the bank. This often resulted in people believing rumors from sources that were not credible, rather than hearing the truth from those in charge.
The second communications problem that was common at Inverlat was general miscommunication due to cultural differences. Cultural barriers are difficult to overcome in any situation, but become especially difficult in Inverlat’s case where new management and strategy is brought into the bank. Evidence of the cultural communication barrier is shown in miscommunications resulting from meeting styles, the ways employee’s goals and job descriptions were set, and the ways policies were set and communicated to employees.
Stakeholders Needs & Priorities
The first and most obvious stakeholder is those who work for Inverlat. This includes anyone from the general manager all the way up to the management positions. Their priorities include knowledge of Inverlat’s strategy, structure, and goals. Employees also need to understand how they fit into the company given the strategy, structure, and goals. This starts with all employees being educated about Inverlat’s strategy and goals. Many of these needs and priorities can be met by each employee having a clear job description with goals, as well as appropriate feedback and education.
Shareholders also carry significant interest in the status of Inverlat’s business, with the major shareholder named in the case being the Mexican Government. Their priority is Inverlat’s success, and therefore, they need regular updates and reports about the status of the bank. Most of all, shareholders need to know the bottom line; they need to know that their investment is, or soon will, yield dividends. This requires shareholder’s trust in the bank and data that shows success. These reports should be shared with shareholders on a regular basis.
The next key stakeholder is Inverlat’s clients. While this case focuses on the employees of Inverlat, the clients are not to be forgotten. With all the turmoil and change happening within the structure of the bank, it’s safe to question whether the clients of the bank were receiving clear and pertinent information about the bank’s products and offerings. The clients need a good understanding of the products and services they are purchasing, which can be communicated directly to customers through bank employees having a firm grasp on their products and services. Furthermore, the clients need to know that they are spending and investing their money wisely. If Inverlat is offering any type of investments or accounts, they should be providing their customers with regular updates, whether it is monthly, quarterly, or annually.
The first short-term communication priority needs to be to communicate which employees have a job within the bank, and which will be let go. The next thing, is to clearly communicate the changes that will take place. With all the change going on within Inverlat, these things do not need to be unknown to employees.
Clear, consistent communication needs to be a priority in both the short- and long-run. Without this as a priority, the bank will not have unified strategy and goals, nor will they be successful in them. This will also help employee retention. Employees need to have an understanding as to how they fit into their company, and clear communication is one way to communicate that message.
Another short- and long-term communication strategy is providing regular feedback and encouragement. The management hit a few rough spots with this when trying to encourage constructive criticism in meetings. The management needs to make a plan as to how criticism will be delivered – maybe in quarterly reviews or privately – and then they need to follow it.
The biggest long-term communication goal should be to break down the cultural barrier. If the Canadians will be involved in Inverlat long-term, miscommunication due to cultural differences will happen. The idea here will be to do as much cultural and language education as possible, followed by open discussions about the miscommunications.
Actions to Demonstrate Trustworthiness
Trustworthiness comes with comes with transparency. Inverlat executives need to be clear about the goals they have for the bank, as well as strategy. Employees do not like feeling like they have been played by their employer or like they do not play a part in where the bank is headed. Giving employees an opportunity to hear where Inverlat is going and ask questions or give feedback, will help employees feel valued, leading to trust.
The executives also need to build healthy, working relationships. These types of relationships are a result of executives taking an interest in their employees and understanding their culture and communication styles. This is followed by the executive acting on their employee’s culture and communication styles when giving feedback, criticism, and encouragement. Employees should feel like they are playing on the same team and working toward the same goals as their employer, which will foster a sense of trustworthiness.