Companies do assessments and employee satisfaction surveys, but do mgmt really listen and act or is it just a tick in the box?

Answer

Belldon Colme (Owner, Human Nature Management)
Nobody likes wasting their time, David. Especially is that true when they are asked to emotionally and mentally invest in a project, like 360 reviews, strategic planning or satisfaction surveys. As Mel said already, it is better to skip the survey than to ignore it.

To directly answer your question, employee input initiatives are all too often a tick in the box. Some companies do listen, though, and if you can get in with those companies you are in a privileged place.

Together, let's put the fun back into work!
Belldon Colme
belldon@belldoncolme.org
3 Additional Answers
Mel Kleiman (President, Humetrics)
David: Only the smart ones listen and do something about the boxes that are checked. If you are not going to do something about the information you gather don't do a survey. Even if you decide not to do something you need to tell your people why you did not take action on their input.
Bob Gately (Owner, Gately Consulting)
David, it is hard to take actions based on anonymous survey data. The best employees may respond with a Yes while the worst employees respond with a No. Unless we know who said what we may be forced to ignore the results as meaningless.
Bob Gately (Owner, Gately Consulting)
David, now that I have more time to respond I'd like to share with you the experience we had when we were going out of business; our line of credit was fast approaching our limit, i.e., accounts receivables, and once we hit that limit the bank was going to stop lending us money--no more check writing and the doors will close. As the result of our poor corporate management the bank had to tell our BOD to bring in an outside expert to help us cut our monthly payroll by $50,000.

The outside management expert (OME) wanted to learn about our culture (who to terminate) so his team interviewed all directors and associates (14 and 15 respectively) plus all department heads and one-third of the remaining staff (to put ticks in all the boxes). The OME did not know what to do with the results because he found that the responses were all over the place--a consensus on any surveyed item was rare. The OME spent 90 minutes reading contradictory employee comments to the board and the associates. They did manage to cut payroll enough to weather the storm. I left as part of the last downsize.

Three months later my brother the CPA called me to request that I meet with him in his office to discuss a business issue. Our bank's account manager went to my brother, unbeknownst to her, who is a CPA and a business advisor, to seek his advice on how to work with a dysfunctional board of directors. Lucky for my bother he had heard the same symptoms from me for 20 years so he was well-prepared to offer her advice. She was shocked that he recognized the company just by her description of the directors' behaviors.

Most employers have employees that know the problems and/or the solutions yet very few managers ever take the time to find out which employees have what information which keeps consultants engaged.
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