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A few weeks ago we sent out an employee survey about all the changes that are happening at our firm and how well people understand the changes, what the new strategy is etc. After a couple of days, I took a look at some of the comments that had come in. One of them said something like “you asked us these same things several months ago and we never saw the results and nothing has changed.”

I could have made that exact comment, in fact I had already had. When my boss asked me to help set up and send out the survey I replied with an email highlighting this very issue. In my efforts to be constructive, I offered several things I thought we should do after this survey including:

  • Write an email discussing the results, both good and bad
  • Create a plan to address the issues and make it specific to different levels within the company (executives, managers and employees)
  • Communicate this plan

I also pointed out that I wasn’t entirely sure if we actually had had follow ups from previous surveys to the executive level because my manager doesn’t do that great of a job keeping me informed of that stuff therefore I don’t have the opportunity to suggest ways to ensure the information is distributed more widely. It’s frustrating to say the least.

Earlier today I read a post about communicating (If you just can’t quite manage to communicate, you just can’t quite manage. Sorry). It addressed a lot of the things that frustrate me about working in an environment that does lip service to communicating.

One of the statements that stood out: Armed with information they can choose to follow, and it is those who choose to follow that are most engaged and are most productive.

It  seems to me is that often management doesn’t care if employees choose to follow, as long as they follow. Employees should follow because “it is good for the company” and because “it’s your job.” Fortunately, most people don’t blindly follow and actually question. This is what makes a good, engaged, employee. Blindly following and simply collecting a paycheck leads to employees who look the other way and that attitude leads to situations like Enron.

I doubt we are at that level of disengagement at my firm. But I also know we can’t continue on our current trajectory and expect employees to care in any way about the firm. I hold out hope my comments and suggestions don’t fall on deaf ears, and that I’ll have a chance to make our communication better.

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