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The Process of Colleagues within an office may talk

informally but business contacts in different


Communication countries may communicate by e-mail
• Receiver – The person who receives the
message who interprets it both in content
Communication is the sending and and the way it has been sent e.g. an urgent
receiving of information between request sent by 2nd class post won’t be
individuals who need to share information treated as urgent
to carry out their jobs successfully.
• Feedback – This is essential to the sender
Effective communications is essential to the
to reassure them that the receiver has got the
success of any business organisation.
message and has correctly understood its
Without clear and effective
meaning. Feedback can be informal e.g. ok
communications in business
or formal e.g. a written letter
• Products will not be produced on time and to
the customers’ specification
• Supplies of materials will not arrive at the Formal channels of communication are those
right place or on time which employers and employees both recognise
• Workers will not know which job they are as successful to the operation of the business
required to complete first and serious enough to be given careful thought
• Managers will not know what progress is e.g. a written warning instead of a telling off
being made and whether machinery needs
maintenance or repair Informal channels of communication are those
• Customers will not know when to expect the that often operate through rumour and hearsay,
delivery of their order often known as the ‘grapevine’. These should
be treated carefully because they do not have
Although the process of communication can official authority or support. Managers
take many forms there are six common elements sometimes start rumours on purpose to judge
• Sender – All messages have an originator employees’ reactions and take their feelings into
who decides on the nature of the message, account when considering different options
the channel to be used and the way it is to be
sent Both sender and receiver must have the
• Message – To be effective the message skills to transmit and receive the message,
must be clear and unambiguous. It needs to creating and interpreting it so that it is clear
be correctly understood and may be but not too long and so that there are no
providing information, to give or ask for misunderstandings. The message must be
instructions, or to persuade or influence sent in time for it to be received and acted
people e.g. adverts upon by the person for whom it was
intended. Late messages or messages
• Communication Channel – Within the
intercepted by the wrong people may lead to
various levels of an organisation, messages
anger or loss of confidence.
can be sent vertically up or down the levels
of seniority or horizontally within work
teams. Other channels, formal or informal,
may be used depending on the nature of the
message.
• Medium – The method by which the
message will be sent will depend on its
importance, the speed of delivery required,
the relationship between sender and receiver
and the physical distance between them.
The importance of effective
communication
Communication means passing on information Within some businesses the use of ‘jargon’
or receiving it from somebody else. Imagine the – specialised technical language, can
problems that could occur if this is not done ensure that the message is precisely
carefully interpreted. However it can equally cause
• Delivering the wrong items to a problems when either the sender or
customer receiver uses the jargon incorrectly.
• Delivering the wrong letter on the wrong
date or to the wrong address
• Making bad decisions based on wrong Good managers are said to use the following
information motivational techniques
 Communicate the big plan to give
• Employees misunderstanding each other
employees a sense of pride and loyalty
 Delegate work and responsibility using
Some methods of passing on information
involve writing it down, others by speaking employees’ strengths and developing
(oral), other methods are visual, electronic, or good work habits and leadership skills
 Help employees set personal targets o
by numbers. One way to remember these is to
take the first letter of each method and make the keep the focussed, busy and motivated
 Recognise problems by staying close to
word ‘woven’.
The method you choose depends on your employees and intervene before
they become serious
• Whether you need a written record of the
 Reward employees either financially or
message e.g. print out or receipt
through praise and make sure employees
• Whether speed is importance know that you value their efforts and
• What opinion the receiver will have of contributions
your method of communicating  Be a mentor sharing your knowledge and
• Whether the message is for somebody experience
inside the organisation or outside of it  Give reviews of performance including
formal appraisals
Internal messages are sent between people  Be understanding with unplanned
working within the same organisation. External emergencies but don’t be a doormat.
messages are sent between people in different Employees appreciate firmness and
organisations fairness
 Don’t forget to manage because
Media for sending information include employees depend on a manager’s
strength and guidance
 Pictures and diagrams Graphs
 Conversations Telephone
 E-mail Text message
 Fax Memo
 Report Letter
 Poster Dress or facial
expressions
Written important. A well presented letter containing no
errors can promote a positive image and inspire
Communication confidence in a company.

Written communication is used Very often in the workplace, a junior


extensively in business for both internal employee may be asked to write letters on
and external messages. behalf of senior colleagues. What is in the
letter and how it is presented is extremely
Advantages of Written Communications important because a business is often judged
by the quality of its correspondence.
1. Message is written down Neatness, accuracy and correct spelling are
preventing misunderstanding essential and the writer must be sure of the
between sender and receiver purpose of the letter before they start.
2. Confidential or personal messages
can be sent in sealed envelopes so • Obtain all the information you need
that they will only be read by the before you start
intended recipient • Work in a logical sequence keeping
3. Pre-prepared forms e.g. memos sentences short and to the point with
can speed up the process of no confusion
routine messages • Make sure you have provided all the
4. Written messages allow the information required and answered all
recipient time to study them before of any questions asked
replying. This is particularly • Break up the letter by using paragraphs
important where there is more than with a new paragraph for each topic
one option to consider and a polite sentence to finish your
letter off
Disadvantages of Written Communications • Check through the letter for mistakes
before it is signed and sent off
1. Written messages can be expensive
to produce i.e. employees, paper and In certain circumstances it is possible for the
office space body of a letter to contain just one paragraph
2. The need to write or type the if the heading and references have clearly
message may mean it is out of date indicated the subject and the message is a
when it is finally sent short one. Most of the time there will be at
3. Feedback may also take time if a least three paragraphs, the first acknowledging
written reply is needed receipt of an earlier letter and explaining why
4. Copies of documents may get lost the reply is being written, the second giving
through poor filing further information and the third setting out
5. They rely on the intended receiver the conclusions or finishing the letter off
reading the message politely.

Business letters are the most widely used form


of external written communications. They can Notices can be both internal and external
be sent to customers, suppliers and individuals e.g. posters in corridors, newsletters or rest
associated with the business. They provide a rooms or advertising posters in journals,
permanent hard copy record of the message for magazines or on billboards.
both the sender and receiver, which allow
simple retrieval when required. The way in
which business letters are set out is also
A number of meetings will take place
Memorandum
within a company and each person
To: attending these will be given a written
From: agenda in advance, which informs them of
what is to be discussed.
Reference:
Date:
A record of what has been decided at the
Subject:
meeting, in the form of minutes, will also
be produced and circulated.

The memorandum is the most commonly


form of written internal communication.
Reports will be frequently presented and
discussed at meetings. They are formal
A memorandum (memo) is less formal than
written documents prepared by individuals
a letter and is not usually signed, but it
or committees and can cover any aspect of
provides a written record of the message
the business. Reports provide useful ways
sent. Today most memos are sent by e-
of informing interested persons of progress
mail, especially the internal ones, thereby
and each year limited companies must
combining new and traditional
send all their shareholders a copy of the
communication methods.
Annual Report and accounts, prepared by
the company’s directors.
Memos contain headings to indicate the
receiver, the sender, the date, a reference and
a title, but are not signed Jenny’s Computers
1 Green Road, Oldham, Lancashire M29 1ZU
Telephone 0161 2002000

Jenny Jones
Managing Director
In the course of carrying out its business, a
firm will issue trading documents e.g.
Business cards are used by visitors as a
orders, delivery notes, invoices, statements
form of introduction and a signal of their
and receipts. Most firms use standard
intention to do business. The card is small
forms for these messages to their
(10cm x 4cm) and gives the company
customers and suppliers, and create them
name, address and telephone number plus
using computerised accounting systems.
the name and title of the person presenting
the card.

Agenda
Employee meeting on
the 12th February starting
at 5pm in Committee
Room

1. Apologies for absence


2. Approval of minutes
from last meeting
3. Matters arising from
last meeting
4.
5.
6. Any other business
Blocked and Indented
Letter Layout Visual Communications

Blocked Faxes are like a photocopy of a message that is


When a vacancy occurs in business it is sent down the phone line by the sender to the
important that the firm selects a suitable receiver. Faxes are
person. One way to select someone is to • Cheap to send and don’t require extra cables
make him or her apply in writing for the job. other than a phone
Applicants will be asked to state why they • Able to send graphs, pictures and text
want the job, what qualities they have which together
makes the most suitable person and their • Simple to use and quick to teach employees
ideas about what the job would be like. • Able to send hand written messages to avoid
keying in the message
An example of a job application letter is on • Able to receive messages whenever the fax
the next page, displayed in a blocked machine is switched on
style i.e. a straight left hand margin
BUT FAXES HAVE PROBLEMS
Indented
An alternative but more complicated and • Cannot provide the sender with an image of
time-consuming letter layout is the the receiver’s reaction
• Tie up a telephone line that phone users
indented method. Here some parts of
might need
the letter, the heading, the close, the
• Don’t get immediate reply that you get with
signatory and the title are centred plus the
phone or face to face contact
first line of each paragraph is moved in by
• The quality of the receivers printout can be
1cm. The date may also be on the right of
poor which is a problem for complex or
the page. technical documents

E-mail or SMS (texting) is encoded data sent by


computer or mobile phone to the receiver’s ‘mail
box’ ready for them to download and collect. E-
mail can be
• Cheap and easy to use
• Password protected
• Prepared in advance to minimise the sending
time
• Completed 24 – 7
• Sent to more than one mail box which
makes making the message more efficient
and ensures all recipients get the same
message

BUT E-MAIL/SMS HAVE PROBLEMS

• Both sender and user must have a on line


modem or mobile phone
• Messages will only be received when
receivers empty their mail boxes
• Paper copies of the message are not always
made or kept
Verbal Communication
Face to face communication offers the
Verbal communication occurs when there following advantages
is direct live contact between two or more  Immediate feedback and an exchange
individuals. A salesman who can inform of opinions
and persuade a potential customer to place  Promotes the development of ideas
an order will help their employer gain  Information can be quickly spread
more business, whilst a telephone amongst a group
salesperson must get their information  Encourages greater involvement and
across in a polite and non-threatening co-operation particularly amongst
manner before the phone user hangs up! groups comfortable with each member

A good verbal communicator needs


Disadvantages include
 a clear speaking voice and an
 Those lacking confidence and
understanding of brevity (keeping
communication skills feel isolated
messages short)
 Non-verbal communication e.g. body
 The ability to speak at a pace and
language creates a barrier to communication
variety which is neither too fast nor
 Differences in interpretation
boringly slow
 No written record of the communication
 Confident with a range of audiences
 Telephone users cannot see the non-
and understanding of non-verbal
verbal reaction of the recipient
gestures
 Good listening skills and the ability to
The development of the mobile telephone
moderate their message to hold their
has given verbal communication a new lease
audience
of life as they can facilitate work away from
the workplace and the facility to contact
Face to face contact can occur in a formal
individuals 24/7. Mobile phones can also
e.g. at a meeting or informal e.g. passing
access the Internet and be used as a modem
comment manner. It is often said that
linked to other hardware options e.g. laptop
more business is done over lunch or on the
golf course than in the office and this
underlines the importance of informal Mobile phones do have
communication, yet it is the formal disadvantages
communication that is most often recorded  More expensive than landline phones
e.g. minutes of meetings  Blind spots where there is no mobile signal
 Need to frequently recharge the phone
battery
 Dangerous, illegal or annoying to use in
certain circumstances
Human Resources and Recruitment

The Human Resources or Personnel The objective in recruiting staff is to obtain


Department is vital to businesses success the best candidate for each vacancy. If the
because if it selects and trains employees wrong person is employed the company may
unable to carry out their duties, it is unlikely loose money or customers plus the costs of
that the business will continue. recruiting the employee will have been
wasted. It can cost up to £5000 to recruit
Every business is made up of individuals even and train each new employee.
though many employees work in teams to
combine their skills. Individuals’ differences When a vacancy occurs it can be filled
may be physical height and build, intellectual internally be someone who already
knowledge and logic, personality and team works for the firm or externally by
playing, previous experience and technical recruiting a new employee. Many
skills. Businesses need to carefully evaluate companies prefer internal recruitment via
the different characteristics of employees and company newsletters or notice board
applicants to ensure they place each other in announcements.
posts where they can be the most useful. An
employee without the ability or training to The advantages of internal
cope will not work effectively and may loose recruitment are
the firm orders but an employee who finds the  Strengthens employees commitment
work too easy may become bored or frustrated because they know they have a chance of
and leave. promotion
 Provides structured development path
Businesses use job analysis to identify  Existing staff use company procedures
the skills that ideal employee for each job will and so require less induction
have, establish pay rates, training plans and  Personnel know about the real strengths,
identify individuals for promotion and weaknesses and suitability of internal
appraisal. Job analysis studies what the job candidates
entails and includes the listing of the skills,  Quicker and less expensive
training and tasks required to carry it out. It
also includes talking to employees and The disadvantages of internal
supervisors to ensure personnel staff have recruitment are
identified true worth without bias towards or  Applicants are limited to those within
against individuals. the company when better and more
suitable applicants may work elsewhere
Once a job has been analysed the job  Internal applicants may has bad past
specification can be written which puts the experiences or grudges to settle
analysis findings into words. There are four  It can be hard to manage employees who
sections, the job title, summary and place in previously were the same grade as you
the company structure, the list of duties; its  Resentment may exist if unsuccessful
purpose and methods and any responsibilities; applicants continue to work there
the working conditions, starting and finishing
times, holiday entitlements and notice periods
etc; and the performance criteria by which the
job and individual employees will be
measured during interview and appraisal.
External recruitment methods differ
depending on the vacancy and the type  Head hunting is where a successful
of employee needed individual is approached by another
 Vacancy boards outside the firm company and encouraged to change jobs.
are cheap but will only be seen by Companies know that an individual can
passing individuals do the job but there are costs and ethical
 Advertisements in the local problems of enticing people to move
newspaper will be seen by local employers.
people but rarely attract professionals
 Increasingly firms are advertising on the The advantages of External
Internet to reach a wider audience on recruitment are
the world wide web but people still have • New employees will bring beneficial
to visit your site to see your new ideas, techniques and skills
advertisement • New employees are keen to make a
 Commercial employment good start
agencies specialise in providing • The introduction of new employees
temporary workers as well as advertising may make existing employees work
permanent posts, sifting through harder to keep up
applicants to provide employers with a
shortlist to interview. This free up key The disadvantages of External
employees to concentrate on running recruitment are
their business but agencies often lack • Many of the qualities of the new
technical knowledge on business needs
employees are not know for certain until
and are very expensive
they start
 Advertisements in the
• More experienced staff who are not
national press reach a much wider
promoted can be resentful of new
audience but can be up to 10x the price
employees
of a local advertisement
 Government funded Job Centres • New employees take longer to settle in,
advertise vacancies for local companies. learn the requirements of he job and
These are free but usually only seen by become an effective worker
those looking for work • Takes longer and is more expensive than
 The Careers Service not only internal recruitment
provides guidance and advice for young
people but it collects details of In a small firm the responsibility for
employment opportunities and advertises recruitment may be with a single individual,
them in schools and colleges. Their whilst larger firms may have whole
advantage is that they receive many departments with staff specialising in
enquiries from young people actively individual recruitment skills e.g. interviews.
seeking work and able to start quickly The Personnel Department do not just
 The Youth Training Schemes recruit new employees, they look after all
provide training for young people out of aspects of their welfare including induction
work and not in school or college. and further training, promotion and career
Training can lead to permanent posts and development, appraisal and disciplining,
companies can watch a trainee work pay, wage bargaining and other fringe
before making a decision. Costs are also benefits, working conditions and contracts
reduced as wages paid by a government of employment.
allowance.
Application Forms Curriculum Vitae
When recruiting staff many firms like Curriculum Vitae are a list of a person’s
applicants to fill in an application form. These personal information and work history.
provide the Personnel Department with Applicants complete CV’s and some
information about each applicant in a companies will ask for them instead of or in
format common to all. This makes addition to an application form. In essence a
selecting a shortlist of candidates to interview CV is a personal advertisement and the layout
easier because their details are easy to find and will vary from person to person. However it is
the questions asked the same for everyone. common for CV’s to have sections including
The information on the application form can name, address, and date of birth, marital
also prompt further questions in the interview. status, qualifications, employment history,
work experience, hobbies, personal qualities
Those responsible for short-listing for and the reason why you want the job.
interview often match candidates’ details
against job or person specifications. For those Advantages of using a CV
who are successful in their interview, the • Candidates can include information not
information on their application form will asked for on the application form
form the basis of their Personnel record. • CV’s can be prepared in advance and
sent quickly
The main headings on an application form • Applicants can make their CV’s suit a
• Personal details e.g. name, address, particular job and leave off things they
gender and nationality don’t want the employer to know
• Details of any educational and • They save the firm the cost of printing
vocational qualifications forms
• Details of any full time or part time
• The reason why you want the job that Disadvantages of using a CV not
you are applying for application forms
• How you spend your spare time with • Each applicant may set information out
hobbies and interests in a different way making it more
• Two referees who can give an opinion difficult for employers to find and
on you as a person – two in case one compare
says bad things because they don’t like • The information on the CV may not
you include all the information the
employer needs
Filling in an application form is usually an • Applicants may have left out
applicant’s only chance to make a good information on purpose
impression. There must not be any mistakes
and the information given must be clear,
concise and accurate. Forms will be returned
to the employer in good condition, completed
in black ink so that it can be photocopied, with
neat handwriting, no crossings out or
corrections, no blank spaces and the
information fitting into the spaces provided on
the form. Finally the form will be signed and
dated.
Equal opportunities Legislation
Today men and women generally receive The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 made
equal and fair treatment if they apply for them discrimination illegal on the basis of gender of
same job. Decisions about who to employ are marital status, and was updated in 1986 to
no longer based on the gender, religious or remove restrictions on the number of hours
ethnic group. It is illegal for employers to women could work; allowing them to do shift
discriminate on the grounds of sex, race or work or flexi-time. These acts ensure
religion but despite this discrimination still • Advertisements must make use of job titles
occurs occasionally within training, promotion that emphasise a particular gender
and pay. • Job descriptions have to be suitable for
both genders
Most discrimination that still exists despite • Interviews must not be conducted in such
being illegal is based on misconceptions e.g. a way as to give preference to a particular
• Physically handicapped people are less candidate or involve interviewer prejudice.
intelligent
• Women with children will want more time The Race Relations Act 1976 made
off to look after them selection on the grounds of ethnic group or
• Older people find learning new ideas more race illegal. Job advertisement must not
difficult and work more slowly indicate a racial, religious or ethnic
preference.
Information sent to applicants should state
clearly that the firm is an equal opportunities The Disabled Persons
employer and applicants with overseas Employment Acts 1944 and 1958
qualifications have these recognised. introduced a scheme to encourage the
Advertisements should not be restricted in any employment of disabled people. Firms must
way that limits applications from any ethnic employ at least 3% of their employees from
group. Applicants and employees who feel those with a disability. It is argued that
they have been discriminated against unfairly without this form of positive discrimination,
on the grounds of race can ask the Race disabled people would remain out of work.
Relations Board to investigate.
The Disability Discrimination Act
Advantages of equal 1995 provided the framework to prevent
opportunities discrimination against the disabled, not only in
 Workers are more motivated if they think recruitment or selection, but also in building
they will be treated fairly design and maintenance. The Act also
 Training opportunities are available to all widened responsibility to include taxi, bus, rail
which improves standards throughout and education services.
 The most suitable person will be employed
leading to better production and supervision The Equal Pay Act 1970 stated that
employees doing broadly the same job should
Disadvantages of equal be paid the same rate of pay irrespective of
opportunities their gender. Other conditions of employment
 The total wage bill is higher e.g. overtime rates, holiday entitlements. In
 Additional facilities may be required e.g. 1983 the Act was extended to allow women to
ramps, crèches, separate toilets claim equal pay for work regarded as being of
 Working practices have to be amended and equal value.
more flexible working hours allowed
Interviews The average interview will last ½ hour and is
split into three parts.
To be successful and to give candidates the best
1. The introduction lasts about five minutes
opportunity to show what they can do, firms
and is designed to relax the candidate and
carefully plan interviews. Candidates are
ease their nerves. The interviewers will be
greeted courteously and guided to a suitable
introduced and the reason for the vacancy
quiet area to relax and ensure they look and feel
explained. The job description and ideal
their best. Sometimes candidates are all call to
person specification may be identified but
interview together, are briefed on the
this is rare.
arrangements and given a tour of the premises,
2. The main part of the interview may last 20
before being interviewed in agreed order.
minutes where members of the panel will
ask the candidates questions in turn. This
Depending on the nature of the vacancy,
part of the interview is flexible to allow the
interviews may be conducted by an individual
discussion to develop
or by a panel of several people. Senior post
3. The candidate should be given the
applicants are generally always interviewed by a
opportunity to ask questions and should be
panel that then make a decision together to
told by when the panel will have made a
minimise risk and share responsibility.
decision and how the candidates will be
Applicants for junior posts may see a
notified.
departmental manager alone.
Any tests that the employer wishes the candidate
Whenever possible the interview should be
to complete are normally conducted before the
conducted in private, free from noises or
interview so that the outcomes can be discussed
disruptions so that the interviewers and the
in the 2nd section of the interview. After the
candidates can concentrate. A good interviewer
interview the interviewers will spend time
will:
writing up their notes about the candidate and
 Adopt a suitable friendly manner showing
discussing the candidate’s strengths and
respect to all candidates
weaknesses. The candidates will base the
 Ensure that all questions meet the legal
decision on the successful candidate on the
requirements giving every applicant a fair
interviewer’s appreciation of the information
and equal opportunity to succeed
provided and their personal impression.
 Not hurry and ensure there are no
interruptions
The key factor will be how the candidate meets
 Encourage candidates to fully answer
the job/person specification and how they will
questions and give them time to do so
fit in with other employees. Inevitably there is
 Explore areas of concern raise by the
some subjective judgement involved on the part
applicants answers on their application
of the interviewer but these get more accurate
forms or CV
with experience.
 Discuss important areas not fully covered by
CV’s or application forms
Most employers appoint for a probationary
period during which new employees are
To meet the requirements of equal opportunities
monitored and assessed on ability, attitude,
legislation all candidates should be asked the
and how they get on with other colleagues.
same questions giving each the opportunity to
Candidates are only appointed permanently if
demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and
they successfully complete probation period.
skills. The responses are used to assess ability
and suitability to a common standard.
Contracts of
Employment Training Schemes
Under the Employment Protection If the workforce is to be kept up to date with
Act 1978, once a person has been offered a technological developments they require
job they are entitled to receive a contract training to learn new skills and update those
of employment. There are normally they already have. Benefits of training
four sections to the contract include
 More production more thus increasing
1. Details of the company, the employee, the profitability for the employer
job title, and the date employment started.  Improved efficiency, confidence and less
industrial accidents and days lost ill
2. Details of the normal hours of work, rates  Multi-skilled workers increasing flexibility
and frequency of pay, length and duration within the workplace, job satisfaction, and
of breaks and holidays, length of notice allowing short terms absences to be
required to terminate the contract covered.
 Motivation of employees and promotion
3. Conditions related to sickness and injury, preparation, plus employee retention
pension provision and trade union which reduces recruitment costs
membership
Induction is training which introduces new
4. Information on disciplinary or complaints employees to a business. The faster new
procedures for both employees and the employees are working at their full potential,
employer, plus the arrangements for the better for the employer. Induction training
dealing with them programmes usually include details of the
• History and management structure of the
The contract of employment will be signed by firm
both employee and employer to show their • Review of the terms within the contract of
acceptance of the conditions, and a copy is employment
issued to the employee to keep. • Facilities, benefits and services available
• Rules and safety procedures
The most frequent way in which employment
• Introduction to other employees and
is terminated is by mutual agreement between
employer and employee e.g. retirement or supervisory staff
resignation. Normally the employee would • Site tour, parking, hygiene facilities etc
work a period of notice as set out in the
contract whilst the employer looks for a The government runs Youth Training
replacement. If the employer is dissatisfied schemes and modern apprenticeships ensuring
with the employee they may dismiss them they receive proper training in their chosen
provided the disciplinary procedure is trade or profession. There are also
followed. employment-training schemes for adults
offering off the job training for the
If the business is short of work or orders, the long term unemployed who want to learn or
employee may be made redundant. This develop new skills.
also terminates the employee although the
employee may be entitled to compensation
based on their number of years’ employment
with the employer.
On and off the job
training
On the job training involves workers Off the job training occurs away from
being trained as they continue to do their job the employees’ normal place of work ranging
e.g. from training courses organised by employers
or college course with nationally recognised
 At the elbow is the most common qualifications (NVQ’s). Businesses often pay
form of on the job training, and is where to send employees on course that will provide
the new employee works with an additional skills and knowledge. Other
experienced employee and learns the job employees will attend evening classes at their
by watching. This training method is own cost to make themselves more valuable or
relatively inexpensive and less disruptive employable.
than other methods but new employees can
learn bad habits from existing employees
who aren’t willing to show new employees
the correct methods. This training is also Appraisal
unlikely to be formally accredited by
certificates etc Appraisal occurs when an employee’s
performance and value to the company is
 Mentoring enables a new employee to assessed. The process is supposed to be non-
work on their own with guidance from an threatening and supportive measuring of
experienced employee trained to help attainment against the person’s job description.
newcomers. New workers get to use their The results of appraisal can help managers
initiative but still have the safety of determine future training needs and plan their
someone to turn to. Coaching is a less future workforce.
satisfactory form of coaching where new
employees work under continuous Employee motivation for appraisal comes from
supervision. New employees are often the possibility of increased pay through
nervous and the method can lead to productivity bonus’ or promotion. Appraisal is
resentment and poor working relationships usually carried out by a supervisor or manager,
which makes it difficult for them to be impartial.
 Some firms use a system of job rotation The following people may appraise
where new employees work for short  Line managers who know an employee’s
periods of time in each department to learn working practices and habits and so can
how each interact and depend on each make an informed assessment but they may
other. This training can be fragmented by be seen as a treat by the employee
the successive moves but improves  Work colleagues who understand the full
multiple-skills, which are beneficial in the demands of the job and the real worth of the
long run. employee, but colleagues are reluctant to be
critical of or inform on each other
 Employees themselves through self-
appraisal. This is often the most accurate
method subject to line manager validation,
as employees generally undervalue their
contribution
Wages and Salaries
Overtime is the extra money given to
Wages is the name given to weekly pay whilst
workers who work extra hours. It is normally
salaries are paid monthly.
worked out as a fraction e.g. 50% of an
employee’s normal hourly rate.
Piecework rates are those where earnings
The advantages are
are linked to output, the more you do the more
 Employees are rewarded for extra work
you earn. The advantages are
 It can be a way of increasing output
• An employee’s hard work is rewarded and
 Regular overtime can improve an
as such they are motivated to work harder employee’s standard of living
• Employees can pace themselves to earn  Helps recruit employees for work in
what they want unsociable hours e.g. night shift
The disadvantages are
• Rushing to complete more work can lead to The disadvantages are
poor quality work  Some employees work slowly during the
• Rates per item produced are set too low so day so that overtime is needed to catch up
employees don’t bother rushing  Increases the total wage bill
• Higher piecework rates are not normally
paid for overtime
• Pay is not the only motivating factor Employees normally receive a statement of their
earnings and the deductions that have been
Timework is where earnings are linked to made. This is called a wage slip. At the
hours worked irrespective of the work done. end of every month the total tax and national
The advantages are insurance contributions collected from
• You are paid even though you may not be employees is sent to the Inland Revenue. At the
end of the tax year (April 5th) a P60 is prepared
working at full speed
listing the employee’s gross pay for the year, the
• Employees doing the same job get the same
sick pay they have received, the income tax they
rate of pay have paid in the year, the total national
• Overtime rates compensate for loss of insurance that has been deducted and the net
leisure time amount, the amount they have actually received
The disadvantages are to spend
 Employers have to pay regardless of the
amount of work done In addition to preparing wage slips and P60’s,
 Harder worker may be less motivated the wages clerk will normally make up cash
 There is little financial incentive to work payments or arrange for wages to be paid
hard directly into an employee’s bank account using
 Relationships between workers and BACS (Bankers Automated Clearing System).
supervisors are more strained if they want
employees to work harder Some employees prefer to be paid in cash
because they receive their pay immediately and
Whether employees are paid on time or piece can spend it without having to get t from the
rates, their earnings must still be above the bank. Also they can see how much is left as
national minimum wage. This is the lowest they spend it. On the other hand mistakes can
hourly rate employees can receive and goes up be made counting it out, cash can be lost or
from 16 to 18 years old, whilst over 18’s have stolen and moving large sums of money creates
the same minimum rate. security concerns for large business
Deductions Fringe Benefits
Unfortunately employees cannot take home all Fringe benefits are the additional rewards to an
the money they earn. Everyone has certain employees net pay, which gives them additional
allowances based on their personal income without it being a permanent increase.
circumstances e.g. married; parent etc, after Fringe benefits can be in cash or in kind and
which they have to pay Income Tax and these can include
National Insurance on what is left after  Company car
deducting the allowances. The full amount  Staff discount
earned is called gross pay whilst the amount  Reduced price meals and drinks in a staff
after allowances, tax etc that an employee canteen
actually receives is called net pay.  Private health insurance
 Accommodation
Statutory deductions are those which employees  Profit share
are required by law to pay. The employer on
behalf of the government takes Income Tax Cash fringe benefits include
from employees whilst National Insurance helps  Bonus payments
to pay for the Health Service. Both these  Commission on sales
deductions are made on a sliding scale, which  Staff discount
means if you are a high earner you have a higher
portion of your pay deducted than lower earners.
Advantages of fringe benefits
Voluntary deductions are those that you have  They reward the employee for hard work
agreed can be taken from your wages. These  They employee shares in the success of the
may include contributions by you to the pension business and this encourages them to make
you will receive when you retire, union it more successful
subscriptions, charitable donations, loan  Increased social status e.g. new car
repayments etc  Avoid higher rates of Income Tax
 Firms can off-set benefits against their profit
tax

Disadvantages of fringe benefits


 Employee has no choice in how they are
paid
 They disguise actual earnings
 Benefits lost when employee moves job
 Changing earnings make planning for future
spending more difficult
 Less successful employees jealous of high
commission earners and how work is
allocated. This can lead to poor working
relationships
 Product discounts reduce profit on that
item
Representing groups at Management structures

work The function of management is to lead and


guide others within the organisation. Good
There are a number of organisations that represent managers can do this and have strategies to
the interests of groups of workers. cope with planned and unexpected situations
(crisis management).
Trade Unions speak as a group for sections of
employees in a business with common roles or Leadership decisions are usually taken by
skills. Since they speak for groups they have more
senior managers and establish the long-term
bargaining power than individuals and employers
will listen to their views. Over the years aims and plans of the company. Leaders need
individual unions have joined together to possess credibility by understanding the
(amalgamated) to increase their importance and business and persuading others that the
some have signed no strike agreements in return decisions taken are correct.
for special benefits for their members. The overall
organisation that speaks for all trade unions is Managers’ liase with stakeholders, within and
called the Trade Union Congress external to the business to monitor and assess
developments. A stakeholder is anyone who
Trade unions are independent of any employers has an interest in the businesses performance.
and they This knowledge of the business and the
environment in which it operates ensures the
• Negotiate with employers to get satisfactory
manager will make more informed decisions.
rates of pay for their members
• Ensure adequate breaks, days off and holidays
The manager provides the official
• Ensure working conditions meet the Health
communication and being in a position of
and Safety laws
authority, other employees may be willing to
• Negotiate with employers on behalf of
accept the manager’s decisions, especially
individual members with concerns or
problems during tense negotiations.
• Promote the equality needs of special interest
groups within the workforce e.g. women, To help with the process of management,
disabled businesses can organised themselves
• Arrange special deals for their members with depending on its communication channels
insurance companies, pension providers, (hierarchy), how information is communicated
retailers, lawyers and estate agents etc (chain of command), and who makes the
decisions (span of control).
The best know employers association is the
Confederation of British Industry. It represents the A company with lots of levels in its hierarchy
interests of employers in discussions with the will have less effective communication as
government, helping to influence government more people will be involve in passing
policies in employers’ favour. It also provides information along the chain of command.
legal, financial and economic advice to businesses,
The more people, the greater the chance of
negotiates with the TUC and arbitrates in disputes,
plus promoting the interests of British industry misinterpreting the message and the longer it
abroad takes to get from the sender to the intended
receiver. Flat organisations only have two
levels.

A wide span of control means the manager has a


lot of extra staff to supervise and guide and as a
result, less time for good decision making.
Motivating your
workforce
Keeping staff motivated is good for business There are a number of payment systems
because
• Motivated workers are more productive and • Time rate – payment by hours worked
higher productivity usually means higher • Piecework - payment according to items of
profits
work produced
• Workers who are well motivated will provide a
higher standard of customer service, keeping • Overtime - extra pay, usually at a higher
customers happy rate, for extra hours above that normally
• Well motivated workers are likely to stay with done
the company, growing in experience and value • Shift bonus – extra for working at night
to the company • Bonus – single payment for meeting a
• If a business successfully keeps the workers it target
has, it avoids the costs of recruiting and • Profit share – a percentage of the
training replacements.
company’s profit shared amongst the
Most people work to satisfy some sort of need and
workforce
Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs
that included motivators you can’t buy (non- A loyalty bonus can be used to persuade long
financial motivators). Maslow suggested there serving workers to stay and unsocial hours
were five levels of need, with workers needing to bonuses are often paid to employees who have
be satisfied one level after the next. to turn up to work at odd hours or short notice.

1. Food, drink warmth, clothing and shelter TYPICAL EXAM QUESTION


2. Protection against danger, threat, depravation
3. Friends, acceptance, feeling like your ok “You are the Human Resources Manager of a large
4. Reputation, status company when employees are unhappy and production
5. Realise own potential is falling. There is no chance of extra pay for the next
year and employees are threatening to leave. How
would you improve motivation and why would this help
Businesses meet these needs by providing a fair productivity?”
wage, job security and safe working conditions,
social clubs, teams or outings, qualifications, job A good answer would suggest introducing
titles, fringe benefits etc plus promotion
opportunities and the ability to use initiative. • A pleasant room for staff break times
• Subsidised meals or kitchen equipment
A fringe benefit is a payment by giving a non- • Written down contracts of employment
financial gift. Fringe benefits include cars, health • A company pension scheme
care, uniforms, discounted products, travel • Team working or a workers committee
vouchers etc. It is often cheaper for an employer • Advertising promotions internally
to provide fringe benefit good rather than money, • Company newsletters or trips out
particularly if competitors or other local employers • Staff discounts on products or a staff shop
cannot do so. A good fringe benefit will make an
employee reluctant to leave their job. Improving motivation encourages harder work and
reduces the number of employees leaving. This
increases efficiency, reduces costs and increases
Money and the way it is paid can affect potential profits.
motivation to work.
Health and Safety at Work Health and Safety Risks from working with
computers
Safety in the workplace is important because
Illnesses attributed to computer use are on
accidents lead to time off work and lost
the increase, particularly eye strain from
production, reduce efficiency, and perhaps a
prolonged staring at monitors and screens,
civil court claim by the employee against the
repetitive strain injuries to fingers and wrists
employer.
from keyboards and backache from incorrect
posture.
In recent years Act of Parliament has
strengthened the protection employees’
You should always sit at an adjustable chair
already had under common law. Employers
which good support to the back and allows
now look very carefully at building design and
you to put your feet on the floor. Sufficient
the layout of work areas including installing
room should be under the desk to allow free
safety features e.g. sprinklers, smoke
leg movement. The height of the desk should
detectors, fire exits, notices, fireproof furniture
see your forearms parallel to the floor or
etc. Workers also have to take some
slightly raised during data entry and the mouse
responsibility and are expected to be
should be in easy reach. Bright lights should
reasonably careful at all times and co-operate
not reflect onto the monitor and you should
with employer health and safety rules. Often
not be facing windows or other sources of
employees have to attend training courses to
strong light. The top of the monitor screen
learn about how to use their equipment or their
should be at eye level and between 40 and 80
workspace more safely.
centimetres away from the user.
The advantages of a safe working
Health and Safety (Display Screen
environment are:
Equipment) Regulations 1992
• Fewer accidents at work
• Les time lost through sickness or injury This set out examples of good practice in the
• Adequate facilities e.g. toilets, rest rooms provision of safe working conditions for
are provided computer users. The employer has the
• Workers can appoint health and safety responsibility to assess each workstation, the
representatives to negotiate with managers equipment and its environment and to put any
for them faults right. All screens must be adjustable
• Workers are happier and tend to work with brightness and contrast controls plus
harder and more efficiently height adjustment. Work should be planned so
• Easier to recruit employees than if the that the user can take frequent short breaks
workplace was dirty or dangerous from the screen, as they feel the need. All
employees must be trained in the correct use
Ensuring a safe working environment is of all workstation equipment and the use of
expensive for employers. Where possible they non-reflective screens and adjustable
will pass these costs on as higher prices to chairs/good posture. Employers are required
customers. Where this is impossible, they to pay for eyesight tests for employees who
hope that employees working harder will use computer screens regularly in their duties,
eventually reduce the amount of sickness they and to make a contribution towards spectacle
will have to pay. costs. Lighting must meet European Union
standards for computer areas.
Legislation
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 The Fire Precautions Act 1971

Under this Act responsibility for employee This made it a law that all workplaces had a
health, safety and welfare is placed firmly fire safety certificate, issued by the local fire
with employers as far a reasonably practical. brigade officer after a full safety inspection.
Employers are required to provide premises, Particularly employees must have adequate
equipment and training that contribute to a time and escape routes to leave a building in
safe working environment. Workplaces must the event of a fire.
be clean and hygienic, without risks to health.
Safe equipment must be provided and
maintained, whilst hazardous substance must
be handled and stored safely.

Commonly employers have a checklist of


good practice when designing workspaces.
These include:
1. No trailing wires that employees can trip
over
2. A secure counter or cup holder to prevent
drinks spilling
3. Fire door not blocked shut
4. A method of moving large or bulky objects
so that the eye line is kept free and the
back is not strained
5. Sufficient rest rooms or kitchens so that
employees don’t have to eat at their desk
6. Toilets with hand washing facilities
7. Electrical sockets must not be overloaded
8. Suitable heating, lighting, and ventilation

The Factories Act 1961

This sets out the minimum basic standards


employees can expect, the minimum
workspace per employee, the minimum and
maximum room temperatures, the ventilation
and lighting required, specialist clothing
needed. This law applies to any workplace
where two or more people are employed doing
manual work. In 1963 the Offices, Shops and
Railway Premises Act extended the
provisions of the Factories Act to these
workplaces too.
“The Health and Safety at Work Act
1974 forces employers to provide a safe
working environment in three ways
(PET)

 Employers must provide and Employees must observe the following


maintain premises that are safe to Health and Safety Guidelines
work in and that meet standards of
hygiene and cleanliness without risk  Gangways and fire exit routes must
to health (P) not be blocked with boxes, bins or
 Employers must provide and files etc
maintain equipment that is safe to  Fire door must be closed but not
use including the handling and locked and smoking banned where
storage of any hazardous substances necessary
(E)  Electrical appliances should be
 Employers must provide all checked regularly by a trained expert
information, training and supervision  Tall cupboards should not be stacked
necessary to ensure the health and with boxes and cupboard doors
safety of workers (T)” locked
 Floors must be kept clean and torn or
“For employees using computers damaged floor coverings should be
 Do not eat or drink when using a replaced
computer and protect the computer  First aid boxes must be clearly
from water and moisture displayed and fire drill procedures
 Do not spend long periods working regularly practiced
on a computer without breaks  Fans, fires and guillotines and
 Keep all cable tidy and do not unplug dangerous machinery should have
cables whilst the computer is guards in place
switched on  Noise, smell and other protective
 Make sure the computer is on a clothing/footwear must be worn
steady flat surface away glare on the when provided
screen
 Have a comfortable chair with a back
to it, at a height so your eyes are at
screen top level”
Databases

Once you are clear about the purpose


A database is any organised
of your database, you have to decide
collection of data or information, but
on the following
the more information you store the
 The fields (columns) you need
more space you need and the harder
and what name you will give to
it is to find the information you want.
each field
A computer-based database can store
 The purpose of each field
vast amounts of information in a
 The advantages or possible uses
small space and records can be
of each field
searched for or sorted quickly and in
 The data type (alpha, numeric,
a number of ways. Calculations can
alpha-numeric) for each field
be made on the results of searches
 The length of each field
and alterations made quickly and
easily. Backups prevent information
being lost and inputs validated or
Many database records have key fields e.g.
verified more easily than with
primary field, which is a unique field that
traditional record keeping methods.
ensures the record can be, identified from all
the other records e.g. passport number or
A database consists of a file, which
building society account number or pupil
contains many records (pages). Each
exam entry number. Records are
record contains a number of fields
automatically sorted in primary key order.
(categories/columns) and each field
Primary keys that are used in more than one
has individual data items. Databases
table are known as foreign keys.
are designed either as flat file
databases where all the information
for one record is in one large list.
The other form is a relational
databases, where records are far
smaller with links (like an index) to
information common to more than
one record e.g. in a flat file student
database, the details about each
student’s form group would be in
each student’s record whereas in a
relational database, there would be a
link from each student’s record to a
single record containing all their
form information. The main
advantages of relational databases
compared with flat file databases are
that they take up less storage space,
are more flexible and are quicker to
search, but on the other hand they are
more complicated to set up.
Databases
The details of each person or product held on Advantages of databases
a computer are records made up of a series of 1. It only takes a small space to store a vast
fields. Each field is one piece of the amount of data
information that together makes up the whole 2. The data can be processed quickly and
picture, the record. All records that are of easily retrieved
similar information e.g. student details are 3. Sorting in a particular field can change the
grouped together to make a file record display order
4. Particular records can be selected by
Field 1 filtering the database
5. Once it is created it is easy to maintain and
Record 1 Field 2
keep up to date
Field 3
File Disadvantages of databases
Record 2 1. The necessary computer equipment
can be expensive
2. Expensive to collect and set up the
Record 3 database in the beginning
3. If the computer fails, the information is
unavailable
Each field is given a title called a field name 4. Staff training is required to make the
and each record has the same number of fields most of what the computer database
as each other. To help with the control can do
accuracy of data input, fields can be set to
only accept a certain type of data e.g. letters Its ok to have a database but the information
(alpha) numbers (numeric) or a mixture of to put into it has to be collected. Normally
both (alpha-numeric). The computer will this is via a data capture form or a
reject data that does match the programmed questionnaire where the answers are in the
format in such a field. same place on every form. The questions
should be simple and easy to understand, often
To save time when entering information into a offering a menu of possible answers to choose
database many organisations use codes which from or boxes to tick. There are data capture
gives shortened versions of the data e.g. F for forms for all sorts of things e.g. membership
female and M for male. forms, new bank accounts, mail order
shopping.
Advantages of coding
1. Less data to type in so quicker Databases can provide firms with an
2. Less chance of typing wrong letter increasing amount of useful information about
3. Less data so less storage space needed products and customers. Every time you use a
store card, its computer records you, where
Disadvantages of coding you shopped, what time you visited and what
1. Users may not know code you bought. Shops can use this information to
2. Code may be wrongly de-coded decide on opening hours, number of
checkouts, products to stock or re-order; and
to target shoppers with mail direct to their
home.
Validation and  Verification can be done by one person
typing in the information and someone
Verification else checking it is accurate or by two
different people typing it in and the
The word valid means suitable and when computer checking they match. This is
applied to a computer system refers to the an excellent method of ensuring
computer checking for itself that the way accuracy but it is very time consuming
the computer files have been prepared to and expensive because everything has
receive information is suitable. These to be done twice.
checks have been put into the computer
when the computer programme was
written. Spell checking or grammar checking are two
other examples of validation
 A type check looks for matching data
types e.g. the computer won’t accept a
number (numeric answer) if it has been
programmed to receive a letter (alpha
answer).

 A range check looks to make sure that


the piece of data typed in is sensible
e.g. it may not allow a user to type in
that they are more than 120 years old

 A length check looks to make sure that


the length of a piece of data typed in, is
the same as the length the computer is
expecting e.g. it may only allow a
maximum of ten letters for a user’s
password

 Checking a user’s password matches to


the one they type in is another example
of validation because the computer
does the check.

The word verify means to check for


accuracy and when applied to a computer
system refers to the users of the computer
checking for themselves that the data they
have typed, or are going to type in, is
accurate and matches the original
document that they are copying in from
e.g. if they are copying in a person’s bank
account details, they must make sure the
numbers match the numbers on the cheque
book.
Data Protection These controls on companies holding
data about individuals on computer include:
Most modern businesses whatever their size use a They must
computer database to store information about their • Obtain and process the information fairly,
employees, customers and suppliers. Less storage lawfully and for specific purposes
space is required than paper based records, • Hold only the information that is adequate,
information can be found more easily and quickly relevant and not excessive for the purpose.
and fewer employees are needed to maintain the • Hold only accurate information and keep the
records. As a result we expect increasingly prompt information up to date
service.
Not keep the information any longer than
Information stored on a computer should be necessary
accurate but errors can creep in • Do not disclose the information contrary to the
1. People with the same or similar name have purpose it is kept for
their information mixed up (transposed). • Give individuals access to information about
2. The information may out of date causing a themselves and correct any mistakes
wrong decision to be made. • Take appropriate measures to ensure the data
3. The information was wrongly entered onto the
is secure to prevent loss, damage or
computer in the first place.
unauthorised processing.
• Not to transfer data outside of the European
The Data Protection Act 1998
Union.
An updated version of the 1984 Act of Parliament
incorporating the European Directive that “any The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1989
person, organisation, or business wishing to hold
personal information about people, must register This Act makes the copying or pirating of
with the Office of the Data Protection computer software a criminal offence. This
Commissioner. includes making copies of software and running
software without the appropriate licences. It is
Under the Act individuals have the right to see a estimated that ½ of the software currently in use
copy of any of the information an organisation is has been illegally copied. Maximum penalties
holding about them on computer. A list of which include 2 years in jail and unlimited fines.
companies have registered under the Act is
available at all major public libraries. The register The Computer Misuse Act 1990
shows the type of information a company has, the
purposes they use it for, where the information This Act was introduced to protect against
was obtained, and to whom it may be disclosed. If computer hacking, computer fraud and computer
you write to a company they must tell you if they viruses. Hacking is the process of unauthorised
are holding any data about you and provide you breaking into a computer system and caries a
with a copy. £2000 fine or six months in jail.

There are some exceptions to your rights to see Viruses are computer programs that cause the
data and these include data that is unauthorised modification of a computer’s
operating system with the intention of impairing or
• Preventing or detecting crime or catching and
disabling it. Fines for introducing viruses are
prosecuting criminals
unlimited and jail sentences up to five years.
• Assessing or collecting taxes
• Health, education or social work Firms who are caught out by computer fraud,
• Household, personal and family affairs viruses and hacking often do not want the bad
publicity associated with having unsecured
The Data Protection Commissioner will systems and fail to prosecute offenders for this
investigate any company who breaks the principals reason, thus allowing them to get away with it.
set out in the Act.
Office Layout Many organisations use an open plan office
layout where large work areas are broken
A cellular office is usually for one person and down into smaller areas with the use of
is small to medium in size with a door, screens and sliding partions. Each area is
windows and outside walls. Managers, shared by a group of employees of various
accountants and personnel managers often use levels of seniority, with shared heating,
them lighting, filing and storage.

Advantages of cellular offices Advantages of open plan offices


They provide privacy for those who may need
to discuss confidential items Staff supervision is easier and subtler whilst a
They can be locked providing security for number of employees can be viewed at once.
money and documents when unoccupied. Communication is easier and the decision
Quiet working environment with few chain shorter. Employees can share ideas in a
distractions from other workers relaxed forum
Confer status on the user as important The layout o the office can be altered quite
employees usually have their own office easily by moving some of the partions, filing
cabinets etc to reduce or increase the size of
Disadvantages of cellular offices the work areas as required
More difficult to supervise employees you Easier to organised shared services e.g. photo-
can’t see copying, accounts and wages
Take up more space and more building cost to
separate each work area with walls and doors Disadvantages of open plan offices
Junior staff are ‘scared’ by the impression
cellular offices suggest for their occupant Noisier to work in with more distractions
Increased running costs with each room Less security and privacy
individually heated and lit. Lighting, ventilation and heating cannot be
More difficult to talk to colleagues in regulated to suit individual tastes and needs
adjacent offices which can slow down Managers may resent the loss of their status
communication and reduce efficiency symbol

More often than not open plan offices are used Purposes built premises are ideal if you can
for sales departments and centralised services. get them as everything is in the right places;
Staff with specialist skills can be grouped all the facilities needed are there and
together to increase efficiency and improve individual needs will have been
the service they offer other departments. accommodated e.g. the needs of the disabled
Bulky and noisy equipment can be located in to comply with the Disabilities Act. On the
one area and soundproofed to avoid disturbing other hand relocating may cost you your best
everyone. Shared equipment e.g. photocopier employees if there are no transport links to the
is cheaper than buying one for each office but new site, or the journey time is significantly
personal services can be lost, time wasted longer. Also your customers etc will need to
walking back and forth and an increase in be told of your new address, which costs and
bureaucracy e.g. photocopy permission slips the rent on the new premises may be higher
than on the old place.
Some staff do not even have there own desk
but share with colleagues on a rota basis. This
is known as hot-desking.
INPUT DEVICES  Web cams
Can be left permanently attached to the computer
An input device is a piece of hardware that enables data collecting images, which, together with voice data, will
to be passed into a computer system. Some of these enable video conferencing to take place.
devices are controlled manually.
 Microphone
 Keyboards Used where the input is any sort of sound, particularly a
This is still one of the most common ways to enter data voice. Voice recognition software can collect the data
into a computer system, e.g. in word processing. input and convert it to written words entered into a
Similar to a typewriter, but with extra keys that perform word processing package. At the present time this
functions dependent on the software in use. A variation software is still in its infancy. It has to be trained to the
is an overlay keyboard that is flat and waterproof and user's voice and input has to take place under quiet
can be fitted to a till, e.g. in a bar. In such an conditions to avoid background noise.
environment it would be easy to clean and remain
undamaged by spilled drinks. Some of the keys can be Some input systems can be automated. This reduces
programmed to represent special codes, e.g. staff code the amount of time it takes to enter the data and also
the number of people required to enter it.
 Touch Screen
A device used in many fast food shops it displays a  Optical Mark Recognition (OMR)
number of items on a screen and the user simply Probably the most widely recognized use for this
'touches' an item to make a choice. The point of contact method of data entry is the National Lottery. Here
is detected and the choice registered by the computer. numbers are selected on a pre-printed form. Each
Touch screens are ideal if there are a limited number of possible number has a space on the form and is
options available. Again this device, like the overlay selected by crossing it out with dark coloured ink.
keyboard, can be easily cleaned and potential damage The form itself is printed using a pale coloured ink
from spilled food or drink is avoided. It can also be (called fade-out ink). The form is then passed
re-programmed if choices are changed. through a machine to 'read' the selected numbers,
and everything else is ignored. Other applications of
 Scanner this method include multiple-choice examinations
Most commonly, scanners scan a picture from paper where there are only a limited number of answers
and display it on screen. In other words it creates a and the student selects the number of the answer
digital image of a picture. This digital image can then that he/she thinks is right. The system then goes on
be edited or re-sized in any way we want. A digital to calculate a total score.
image of text can also be taken. This can then be
converted into a text file and edited in the normal way.  Bar Code Readers
Bar codes can be used in many situations. They have
 Mouse been used not only for product information in shops but
This is basically a pointing/selection device. By moving also on railways to keep track of where the vehicles
the mouse a small ball is rotated on the underside. This were. In shops the bar code is scanned and the reflected
is interpreted by the computer as directional data for the light is detected. The computer converts this to a string
pointer on the monitor. By using the buttons on top of of numbers. The last number is a check digit calculated
the mouse a user can start an action, e.g. begin a word from all the others and the computer repeats
processing package, or make choices, e.g. from a drop the calculation to make sure the code has been read
down menu. In a drawing package movement can be properly. If it has then the reader makes a beep sound.
interpreted to create images.
 Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR)
 Graphics Tablet This method uses a special set of characters and is
This device consists of a flat surface and a special pen. used by banks to help process cheques quickly and
Using the pen to 'draw' on the tablet an artist can watch accurately. Data is printed on the bottom edge of the
his picture actually being created on the screen. cheque before it is sent to the customer and when the
Handling the pen is more natural for some people than cheque has been filled in, the amount is also added.
trying to draw with a mouse. These characters can be magnetized and the pattern
recognised. This gives accuracy and speed when
 Digital Camera sorting the cheques but also security as the characters
Store pictures on a memory card, not on film. The cannot be altered using normal ink.
images can then be transferred directly to a computer
where they can be edited using graphics software.
 Optical Character Recognition (OCR) OUTPUT DEVICES
This works by using a reader/scanner to detect the
pattern of light reflected from a document written on  Monitors
paper. The computer identifies the pattern of each Can be flat square tubes, trinitron or liquid crystal
individual character in the text and converts the 'picture' (LCD) and this can make all the difference to the user.
of the page into a document that can be edited in the The curved planes of the FST encourage screen
normal way. reflection, whereas the mesh of wire make up of the
trinitron screen allows light through without reflection.
 Magetic Strips LCD screens have allowed screens to become thinner
These devices can be used to store, by means of and refresh quicker. Software now allows for the
magnetic patterns, a limited amount of information onto monitors to manage the colour display, so that the
a plastic card. This might simply be an account number colours viewed will match the colours scanned or
and an expiry date. When the card is 'swiped' the printed. Screen dimensions are normally 34cm to 53cm
patterns are read and the account holders information across the diagonal, but extra large screens up to 107cm
can be accessed. As with bar codes check digits can be are available for displays or presentations. Monitor
used to ensure that data is read correctly. Exposure to a resolutions are usually 1600x1200.
strong magnet can corrupt the data held on the strip and
the card then becomes unusable, data has to be typed in  Speakers
by hand Either built into the computer or external, plugged
into the Input/Output port.
 Smart Cards
A smart card looks like a magnetic strip card but is  Modems
different in that it contains a small memory circuit. This Internal or external communication devices used to
means that data can be written to the card, as well as send and receive data, and really input, processing and
read from it, when it is swiped. Some companies for output devices. The name means
their reward schemes are using cards like this, to store modulator/demodulator, which refers to the way signals
data about the number of points a customer are received via a telephone line or satellite. Broadband
accumulates. When these points are exchanged for modems make more room for signals and this speeds up
products the data on the card is changed to show the data transfer and allows both telephone and computer
new total. use on one line

Printer
STORAGE DEVICES

The most common are ink jet and laser. Some dot
matrix printers are used for long print runs. Ink jet
 Expansion cards equipped with a range of printers are cheap to buy and are capable of printing
electronic components including chips and used to high-resolution images, but are slow and never give as
add extra functions to a computer eg sound cards sharp an image as laser printers, because the ink is still
liquid when it hits the paper; indeed specialist paper is
 CD/DVD Combo drive - allows the computer to required.
take information from a CD or DVD, or write
information to them Laser printers are cheap for standard mono prints, but
are expensive for colour work. If a single user is using
 Random access memory, the volatile temporary the printer, a print rate of 4 pages per minute is
storage medium for data. Data on RAM can be adequate, but if a whole office is using one printer,
read, changed and added to and is used when the something faster will be required. Print speed is
programs are running on the computer. Data stored measured in pages per minute (ppm)
on the RAM is normally lost when the system is
switches off. Read only memory, the chips built Most standard printers now fall into a resolution range
into a machine that store data permanently. Data of 300-1200 dpi. If the colour work is large in size, a
can be read from ROM chips but cannot be bubble jet printer is the most practical solution, whilst
changed or added to. Programs built into a many CAD systems require a pen plotter.
machine on ROM chips are called firmware as
opposed to disk-based software.

Note: Floppy discs are considered too old fashioned


Networks Sometimes they are linked over many
thousands of miles. These are Wide Area
Networks (WAN).
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) describes
the use of computers to exchange information.
For this, computers need to be linked in the
form of a network. This has advantages for
business, e.g. some documents can be Advantages of Local Area Networks are that:
transmitted from one business computer to  a user can access his / her own work from
another via a data link instead of on paper. any workstation;
The technology company Oracle prides itself  individual workstations have lower
on being almost completely paperless. specifications than standalone computers,
Communication, wherever possible is by EDI. so are cheaper;
 it is easier to backup all the data on the
Types of network: network at once rather than one computer
 client / server – a powerful file server at a time;
with a large hard disk holds software  all users can access not only all data on the
and user files. Workstations access server but also external sources such as the
the data on the server in order to internet;
operate.  information can be communicated between
 peer to peer – computers are linked
together in small networks and each
has its own hard disk. Files on one
computer can be accessed from other
computers on the network.

Client / server networks


There are three types of network: star, bus and
ring. users.

Disadvantages are that:


 building a network can be expensive due
to the cost of servers and the data links;
Computers can be linked in small areas. These  if the server crashes all computers are out
are called Local Area Networks (LAN). of action.
Electronic Advantages
 Cheap to use and don’t need additional cables
communications other than the phone line
 Information can be transmitted as it is
Simple to use without specialist training
Facsimile (fax)

 Accept hand written data and images
This takes an exact copy of the message, and/or  Messages can be received whenever the
graphical image and transmits it via the telephone machine is switched on
network.
Disadvantages Voice-mail
 Does not provide any verbal or visual These allow messages to be left when the intended
communication recipient is away. The receiver can use it to filter
 Can occupy the telephone line preventing calls incoming calls to only those people they wish to
from being made or received speak to but other people can listen to the answer
 No instant feedback phone message without the recipient or the sender
 Anyone passing the fax can see the message as knowing. Many senders are reluctant to leave a
it gradually appears message and others often call again if the recipient
 The quality of the received document can be doesn’t ring back.
poor which makes it unsuitable for complex or
technical information/drawings
Video-conferencing
By using computers and web-cams people can see
E-mail each other whilst they are communicating or
Available to anyone with a telephone and a watch presentations/attend meetings without
computer modem, it allows data of any sort to be leaving their office. This can be particularly
transmitted between individual computer valuable when sender and receiver are in different
mailboxes either as documents or attachments. countries or the message is meant to be received
Advantages by different receivers in different countries at the
 Cheap and easy to use same time.
 Personal mailboxes which can be password
protected The cost and inconvenience of travelling is
 Messages can be prepared in advance to removed and the visual element allows non-verbal
minimise transmission time and sending cost communications to be assessed. The major
 Communication can be made immediately to disadvantage is that a phone line will be occupied
any open mail box or stored until the intended for an extended period. Some businesses will be
receiver’s mailbox is opened worried about the lack of security from hackers
 One message can be sent to any number of and will accept the additional cost of dedicated
different mailboxes improving efficiency and encrypted phone lines.
reducing the chances of mistakes
Disadvantages Pagers
 Both the receiver need a modem and on-line
Small message receivers, which display a text
computer connection
message on a liquid crystal display. Generally
 Messages can only be received when the
replaced by mobile phones.
receiver opens their mailbox
 Print outs are not often made or kept

Mobile phone & Text


messaging
This is increasingly popular and efficient as only the
most important information is typed into the mobile
phone and sent in the same way as e-mail but without
the need for a computer. Picture phones allow visual
images to be transmitted but the quality is often poor.
Mobile phones also have built in modems, which
means they can be attached to computers and send e-
mails and/or attachments.
The Impact of ICT on shop’s bank account more quickly than cash
or cheque. New CHIP and PIN systems are
how we work designed to lessen credit card fraud.

The biggest chance in technology has been


personal computers. Computer screen are no CAD/CAM/JIT
longer just confined to shops and offices. The
ICT revolution has allowed businesses to Computers use CAD and CAM to carry out
process much larger amounts of information design tasks much more quickly and
in far shorter periods of time and with fewer efficiently, particularly those which are
staff. The results can then be stored, complex and repetitive. This allows firms to
represented in written form or graphs, and save on labour costs and increase productivity
transmitted at speed around the world by (output per £), improve product quality and
electronic communications. consistency, and make fewer mistakes.
Computers also operate without meal or rest
Changes in customer tastes and fashion breaks.
happen far more regularly and businesses need
to be producing and selling what customers Computers have allowed many firms to take
want to buy. New technology is also making advantage of new practices that require close
electronic products cheaper, smaller and more monitoring of methods and information. The
advanced, plus society is more aware of concept of Just-In-Time production is
natural disasters and the need to practice dependant on being able to obtain new stocks
dangerous activities or predict natural of materials precisely when they are required.
disasters e.g. earthquakes. In a fraction of the Computerised stock control allows the firm to
time taken before computers, and subject to manage its stock levels more effectively
the rules in the Data Protection Act, large saving money on unnecessary items, waste
databases of data can be stored and and storage space; whilst computer aided
spreadsheets used to analyse it, model it and warehousing uses conveyor belts to minimise
make predictions from it as to what might labour handling costs.
happen in the future.
One of the more recent developments has
3D designs can be created using specialist been the big retailer’s customer loyalty card.
Computer Aided Design software and By scanning a customer’s card the retailer
products built more efficiently using (shop) is able to collect information on each
Computer Aided Manufacture. Other customer and what they normally buy. The
specialist software is used to view and book customer is offered small discounts on these
holidays, buy products direct over the Internet, products to encourage them to keep shopping
scanning bar codes in supermarket to aid at the store whilst the retailer can target them
stocktaking and checkouting using EPOS with carefully selected advertising.
(Electronic Point of Sale) in shops.
Despite the benefits IT has brought many
EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at the people are scared of change and reluctant to
Point of Sales) is used to automatically use all the facilities on offer. The is often
transfer funds from a customer’s debit or because
credit card into the shop’s bank account, when • Workers think they won’t cope with the
goods are purchased. This saves the shop equipment and that the old ways are fine
counting and banking cash at the end of each
• Feelings of insecurity
day, from accepting cheques that are not
honoured, and it gets the money into the
• Altering employment patterns and
working conditions
• Loss of status and power for middle
managers who used to make the decisions
the computers make now
Ignorance of the scope or role of IT