<i>Dear Workforce</i> What Is the Best Way to Diplomatically Tell Management Our Work-Life Programs Need Work
July 8, 2005
Dear Tea Leaves: While quantifiable results per se may not tell the whole story, they shouldn't be discounted out of hand as a result of a few troublesome written comments. Overwhelmingly positive survey responses, especially if they show significant sustained increases over time, reflect well on your management. That said, the question worth asking is: Are these comments coming from a few unhappy folks, or do they reflect a broader trend? Although quantitative research tells you where employee attitudes are now, qualitative research—such as focus groups and open-ended questions tied to surveys--lets you know how those attitudes may be changing. The responses you get to open-ended questions may indicate issues that could become significant if left unaddressed. They are a great way to spot new trends or ones that lie below the surface. If the written comments you're getting back are clustered around a small number of specific issues, it may be worth your while to probe deeper—and get your management team to take notice. Remind senior managers that favorableemployee-survey numbers often take years to build. It would be counterproductive to see them evaporate because you failed to take the warning signs seriously. SOURCE: Erik J. Kridle, manager, human resource services,PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Philadelphia, September 2, 2004. LEARN MORE:The Effectiveness of Work-Life Programs. The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.