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Monday
Apr262010

Plug and Run

I want software to plug and run. Plug and play wastes my time. Too many times I find myself having to play to get things to work.

I recently upgraded the Counterpath softphone software on my Windows 7 PC. The old version (2.5) didn’t uninstall, the settings didn’t come over (even though I accepted the option to do so) and the software couldn’t connect to the PBX server. After emailing the vendor for support for this (paid) product, I have time to shoot off a Curriculotta on the topic since I can’t make or receive phone calls.

This is after spending 40 minutes today getting a “Plug and Play” router to work (a Verizon Novatel “MiFi” device.) In the end, the software had to be installed twice, the promised process to set up an account never appeared, and I had to hunt around to get it to work. Once set up it has worked fine. Technical skills needed to get this to work were 1.5 on a 1 to 5 scale. Why didn’t it work immediately?

And how about McAfee with their most recent virus software update prompting infinite reboots?

After all these years of writing software, why can’t we make it work seamlessly?

I contend we can. Those Apple people have it good. Apple understands most humans don’t want to look under the covers at the bits and bytes. Humans want software to install easily, configure instantly, and work. Apple shows we know how to do this.

Companies need to understand most humans don’t want to do configurations. We want the software to work. We want it to install silently. We don’t want to reboot. If a product needs to be brought down, and back up, then just do it. Don’t involve us in your software upgrade process.

Windows 7 took me 7 hours on the phone with Dell support. My HP 8500 multifunction printer works perfectly on XP, and chokes on Windows 7 (even the Mark Hurd executive escalation group failed at getting it to work.)

iTunes updated on my PC today. It politely asked if I wanted to upgrade, then worked quietly in the background. My iPhone upgrades similarly, although I can’t take out of the cradle during an upgrade. (One could argue Apple takes advantage of their generally silent upgrade process by sending a large number of large updates.)

My Verizon FiOS cable box upgrades silently (I’m normally asleep during the upgrade.)

As professionals and consumers, it’s time we raise the bar on what we produce and accept. Shoddy install and upgrade processes need to be escalated as issues…companies do respond to squeaky wheels, and as a community we can be vocal.

That said, it starts with us. When was the last time you wrote software silently installing or upgrading?


Editors note: 24 hours later and the SoftPhone still is not working. An article on vendor support models (including email support) will appear later!


Tuesday
Apr202010

Help Desk Value

“You know all the problems; you’re going to run operations.”

Those lofty words from the company VP of Systems 25+ years ago launched a career into Operations

and sealed my commitment to the help desk as an integral part of any IT Operation.

Not having a clue of what a help desk was didn’t deter me from accepting the assignment, and along with the role came Cindy, a particularly no-nonsense person with great tenacity, and my first managerial report.

ITIL was just being borne in the UK, and hadn’t made its way across the pond. Fortunately, IBM had a process model we were able to use, and some software we could use to track “calls.”

We printed labels for every telephone in the company and with their application the Help Desk was open. By following some very simple processes, such as tracking every ticket until closed, making sure the Help Desk phone was always answered 24x7, producing reports of every problem type and every resolution type we were able to begin to form analysis of how we could best work to prevent calls in the first place.

This led to the publication of a Help Desk guide…a sort of User Manual for folks to consult for self service prior to calling in to the help desk.

And once we knew what all the problems were, and were able to address them, we were off and running expanding the Help Desk to take calls for telephone communications and some building maintenance items.

Over the years the Help Desk has become a more formal part of each IT organization, and with a variety of process models to choose from (ITIL, ISO 20000, HDI), organizations can select and implement processes comfortable and effective for their organization.

Help Desks also frequently do first level support, accessing PCs remotely and performing trouble ticket resolution. Whenever support can be provided at the first tier, client satisfaction is raised and the service is provided at a lower cost.

Telecommunications technologies make it easy to queue calls, and implement work from home and/or follow the sun models.

Analysis of root cause is still an important factor in help desks. By understanding root cause, the real underlying issues can be addressed.

There’s an adage that the more things change the more they stay the same. The sophistication of Help Desks and Help Desk tools has increased substantially. The basic tenants of customer service remain – be helpful, take all calls, follow through, keep the customer informed.

Cindy is a Principal IS Technical Analyst for a major retailer.

Tuesday
Apr132010

Big Bang Doesn’t Work

“We have no choice. We have to do a hot cut Friday night. It’ll be tough, but we’ll have the weekend to clean up. We’ll be fine on Monday.”

Ever hear words to this effect? I have. Multiple times. And I’ve always regretted not pushing back when I hear them! Whenever I’ve been lulled into the wisdom of the “big bang”, minor issues are amplified due to the scope.

Whether bravado, fact or simply be worn down, the charge to victory was compelling. While nobody likes hearing “Big Bang,” words like “simpler, cleaner, quicker, less risky, technically required” get tossed around like a football on a fall weekend.

My contention is people lull themselves into a sense of “Big Bang” being the only way to do a deployment. The ugly truth is with the exception perhaps of the Year 2000 a decade ago, most times a “big bang” isn’t needed. In fact, NOT doing “big bang” often requires more planning and creativity and yields a more satisfactory cutover.

For example, when deploying a new phone system, why not do a group or floor at a time? And can’t the old phones be kept in place for a week or so (if only for outgoing calls?)

When deploying a trading system, perhaps start with one commodity type.

Moving a data center? Bring up the network to the other center, and move servers/applications/data a little at a time.

Yes, you may have to run systems in parallel. You may have to have contingencies for “failing back.” Your users will have to understand how you are doing the transition, and will have to help make sure systemic controls are in place.

These are good things.

You will have to make sure you keep the books and records of the firm intact. There’s no excuse for values getting corrupt due to the transition.

If they worse thing happening during a transition is your users declare the target environment solid and want to accelerate the transitions…that’s a good thing. And this isn’t an invitation for “big bang” after a short trail….stick to your guns for an orderly transition as planned. Acceleration is good, having an excuse to do “big bang” isn’t!

Monday
Apr052010

The Next Generation

This is a post about the generational differences in IT staff work habits. First, there needs to be a disclaimer. This is not about age…this is about work ethics and habits, and generational differences in the IT environment.

As a father of two twenty somethings, there are differences in how we think, how we act, and what we do in the office environment. So, to distinguish between the two groups, I’ll draw parallels to fathers/mothers and children.

As a father, my first set of IT jobs required a suit and tie. Even my summer job as a computer operator required me to wear a tie, with the jacket hung smartly on the back of the chair. In those days, computer printers were BIG, with 132 hammers noisily pounding on a rapidly spinning chain requiring oiling similar to a chain saw. Big, noisy, and oily. A machine’s machine.

Today, casual is the order of business. Not business casual, either. It amazing staunchly conservative financial services companies now allow shorts. Why not? We have laser, ink jet or ion deposition printers…operating quietly in the halls and on desks of many businesses. Having to load the paper or replace the ink/toner cartridge is something akin to a messy task. Come on kids, when was the last time you oiled the printer?

My peers have a work ethic definable as “old school.” They “do what it takes” to get the job done, even if it means serious personal sacrifice and long hours.

The newer crowd tends to work their assigned hours, and often little more. They’ve seen their parents toiling long hours, and missed their moms and dads at different events. They’ve also see companies where layoffs were once never considered reducing headcounts to achieve financial targets. The next generation has said they are going to keep their priorities straight.

The day a large financial services firm fired a large number of people for sharing a piece of pornography (“the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my life” commented the hip HR person) is engrained in my mind. Pornography has no place in the workplace, and this firm was (appropriately) stamping it out immediately. “Company resources may only be used for legitimate company business,” was the mantra.

Yet a 23 year old recently commented her internet access being restricted at work was ‘harassment.’ “How can I find another job if I don’t have internet access? I’ll simply die without Facebook.” While Facebook and pornography may not be the same thing the concept of “internet access as an entitlement” vs “internet access as a company resource,” is an interesting dichotomy.

Of course, this brings up the whole topic of social media. Yes, I had sausage and eggs for breakfast and catfish for dinner, and can tweat this to the world immediately posting on my Facebook or LinkedIn pages. While an innocuous tweat arguably of little interest anyone, I’ve noticed parents using Twitter to comment on their lives in intriguing 140 character tweats. And obviously my perception of the importance of tweats is misguided since now Google is indexing all this vital information. Most parents are somewhat cautious in what they tweat because they have lived through the Watergate era.

The young’uns use Facebook to post the immediate details of their lives, and do so in gory detail for all their “friends” to see. It’s like Facebook has become a psychiatric journal for all to see and comment on. “After last night…I have NO idea how I am going to survive the pub crawl on Saturday lol,” is an example of a self incriminating statement from Facebook.

Larger companies have little discussed portions of their firms mining this data. It’s arguably no different than clipping services from years ago scouring the papers for executive and company names on police blotters and news columns, with the exception of being self reported and self published.

So generations change, and I’m not my Dad and my kids are themselves. Who has it “right” or at least better? What are the tensions between the two styles? How can the two work together well?

Each group brings unique perspectives to the environment, and we should work to accept the best of all worlds and move forward together. Parents often have wisdom, and children just don’t know what can’t be done and therefore often surprise be exceeding expectations.

The truth is I’m OK with smart business casual, and think shorts in the office environment are a little too casual. Working to get projects completed on time is a good thing, and let’s not mess up our family lives. Company resources are just that, company resources. And I’m OK if you want to share the intimate details of your life, and respectfully suggest you do so either with a smaller, intimate group or with the decorum appropriate for an auditorium of people.

That’s my perspective. What’s yours?

Monday
Mar222010

The Middle Management Crisis

The VP of a major retailer was very clear, “The biggest issue I have is helping my managers learn to lead people.”

This was in response to the softball question, “what keeps you up at night?”

And he was serious in his response. “We’ve taken technicians and put them into management roles. This created a gap in the technical space, and now has us scrambling on how to pair the new managers up with experienced managers so they can begin learning the art of people management.”

This sentiment was echoed by a mature contributor in a financial services IT organization. “I watch managers 10 years my junior make mistake after mistake leading people…it’s very frustrating. People are unhappy in their jobs, when the economy turns staff will begin jumping.”

While both organizations are in different industries, they share many characteristics. They are leaders in their industries, and reacted quickly to the 2008-2009 downturn with immediate staff reductions. Like many organizations, the middle management tier was immediately impacted: the “top of the house” was needed to lead during the crisis, and the front line technical staff was needed to “keep the lights on.” The middle management ranks were the first to suffer reductions.

As the recovery begins slowly gaining steam, companies should begin examining how they are positioned to lead into a recovering time.

We are not advocating a return to the management structure in place before the downturn; some of the reductions and realignments position companies with strength going forward. (“Placeholder” managers are best left finding other more suitable roles!)

It is wise to begin assessing middle management bench strength and making adjustments appropriate for continued growth:

  • Training – have newly minted managers received the necessary support to effectively succeed in their new roles? We’re specifically talking leadership training, not training in administrative aspects of a managerial role so many companies pass off as management training (salary administration, reviews, etc.)
  • Mentoring – a low cost, high value approach ensuring high potential managers receive the coaching needed to lead
  • Role Assessment – do the managers have the “right stuff” to successfully lead, or is it best to begin the process of allowing them to return to their technical roots while backfilling the managerial role they’ll be vacating

We’ll leave it to scholars (and the 1983 comedic movie Trading Places) in determining whether leaders are born or bred (nature versus nurture.) Our view is more pragmatic.

Companies are wise to examine their IT leadership structure and begin addressing any gaps so the IT staff stays engaged building the company rather than building their resume.

Monday
Mar152010

Worker Mobility – Productivity, The Final Frontier

(Part 3 of a 3 part series on Worker Mobility)

Part 2 of this series looked at obstacles to working outside the corporate office. The final post suggests way to evaluate and overcome obstacles to achieving a productive Worker Mobility environment.

So, how do we go about analyzing something as subjective as “user experience?” As silly as it sounds, it all starts with the user. IT people are not reliable sources when it comes to defining user experience. We have a tendency to characterize everything in terms of quantifiable metrics; a highly valuable skill at the detail level of a problem, but a barrier to achieving a holistic view. IT people shouldn’t use their own experiences as the benchmark for user experience. We know how to fix technical problems, we expect to be on-call 7x24, and we have no fear of technology.

Identifying user behaviors, as it relates to the work they perform, allows the creation of “User Experience Profiles” and the ability to group users with similar needs and behaviors. Now, you have a common language to describe types of users. The profiles describe business outcomes and not technologies. A decade ago, we used terms like “Road Warriors” and “Weekend Warriors” to describe remote computing users. This worked well when we only tried to describe connectivity speeds. Worker Mobility looks at the same problem by examining business processes, the roles people play in those processes, and how they can perform those roles from any location and any time of day.

With the User Experience Profiles we can start attaching technology and environmental requirements and looking for common characteristics across all profiles. This forms the basis for a “Worker Mobility Framework.” The Worker Mobility Framework becomes the building blocks for providing services and solving user problems. Instead of point solutions or infrastructure enhancements, we evaluate everything against the Framework and ask ourselves whether and how it can improve our overall Worker Mobility offerings. Everything added to the Framework must have metrics and a process for evaluating the performance and reliability of each component, and therefore the Framework.

The Worker Mobility Framework should include a set of core components that have typically been an afterthought for past mobility solutions. Security, data redundancy, and support (to name a few) need to be “baked-in” to every Framework component. Performance and usability must be measured using these core parts of the Framework.

We now have a clear understanding of user needs and have implemented a Worker Mobility Framework. If done correctly, we should be able to apply the framework to all of our day-to-day computing needs, be they in the corporate office, or on the road, and provide users with a robust, scalable, and common user experience performing equally well under all conditions.

Sounds easy? It isn’t. You should expect this will be incremental and iterative, and will take years to correctly implement. Vendors will tell you they can solve all your mobility problems but no one vendor has all the parts of a solution. The true solution lies within your organization and your ability to understand the present and future needs of your workforce.

The author of this article is a principal of Harvard Partners and contributor to the Harvard Partners Worker Mobility Program offering.

 

Monday
Mar082010

Worker Mobility – Kids, dogs, and other distractions

milo

 

(Part 2 of a 3 part series on Worker Mobility)

In part 1 of this series, I talked about new business challenges driving us to think about user computing services and support in different ways. In this post, let’s take a look at IT and non-IT challenges facing a virtual workforce.

On a day when I am not seeing clients or pitching new business, I work from my house. My attire is typically sweats and I work from many different rooms as the day progresses. Let me describe one day, a few weeks ago, and see if this sounds familiar.

The day started, as it usually does, with a videoconference with my business partner, Gary. We start every morning this way, as it helps provide us focus. On this day, Gary reminded me we had a video conference with a company wanting to partner with us on a consulting gig, we were also spending time completing a proposal for a client, and we had an audio conference with our web designer. As I started the videoconference with the other company, I looked at the video of myself and realized I had forgotten to change out of my sweats. Even though I made fun of myself and got through the call, I was thoroughly embarrassed. Later that day, while working on the client proposal with Gary, my dog, Milo (the cutest 6-month old beagle you ever saw) jumped on my lap creating a static shock causing my laptop to freeze. I lost no work, but I did lose 20 minutes waiting for my system to reboot. Finally, during our call with our web designer Milo decided to start howling from another part of the house. If you have never heard a beagle howl, it is a sound that penetrates all closed doors. Our web designer thought it was cute, but it became a distraction and we rescheduled the call.

While not a typical day, it helped me see beyond the technical aspects of working from home, and envision a more holistic approach to provide a consistent, reliable and productive user experience, no matter where you are located. In short, it defined Worker Mobility.

Worker Mobility is a framework for delivering computing services anytime, anywhere and with the same level of user productivity as found in corporate offices. It applies technologies to supplement or offset user behaviors in different geographic locations or at different times of the day. It identifies real world obstacles (pets, airports, hotels, children, etc.) and helps people navigate their work and home life when both are located in the same place. It sets performance standards for computing services not based on best case scenarios (i.e., corporate offices), but uses the worst case as the benchmark to beat. It considers the emotional strain of being always available to those you work with.

In the final part of this series, I will share ways to improve productivity when not in the office.

Monday
Mar012010

Worker Mobility – The Virtual Workforce

(Part 1 of a 3 part series on Worker Mobility)

You arrive at work, turn on your computer, open your email, and find a message from the VP of Human Resources announcing the company’s new employee telecommuting program. You think to yourself, this might not be a bad idea. Wake up in the morning, put on my sweats, grab a cup of coffee and work from home. You imagine you will finally have a work-life balance, and get to spend more time with your family, something you have been meaning to improve for a while. The number of daily meetings will be cut in half, and you will finally get some uninterrupted time to complete some opportunistic work projects. Ah, this is going to be sweet.

Many companies are converting brick and mortar employees to a virtual workforce as a means of reducing real estate costs. Outsourcing and globalization have taught us we can manage people from any location, but do we really understand how to make people comfortable and productive in their new environment.

As IT professionals we worry about the VPN, laptops, BlackBerry’s, security, and viruses. We seldom think about what makes people productive in an office environment and how technology has improved their quality of office life. When it comes to Worker Mobility, we focus on support issues. How do we do a better job of fixing a laptop, diagnosing connectivity problems, counting the number of Help Desk tickets responded to in an hour, and providing more availability to applications and other in-house computing resources. From a data center point-of-view, we focus on the servers, storage, and networks that support the desktops and laptops. We never really take a holistic view of the “user experience.”

And then, one day, the Help Desk gets a call from a senior executive informing us she is on the road and everything is slow. The entire infrastructure organization drops everything they are doing and works to diagnose a problem that probably can’t be diagnosed. We look at it from every angle, break out our real-time performance metrics and, in the end, just say “the problem is with the network.”

Why don’t we take the time to understand what “slow” really means? How do we measure “slow?” What do we measure? Is slow for one user, fast for another? Does it make a difference?

As business realities drive us to a more virtual workplace, maybe we need to take the time to analyze and design a new model for providing services and supporting a truly mobile workforce. We can provide a common user experience (look and feel, performance, support) whether in the office, on the road, or at home and, by being proactive, help transform traditional business environments and processes into ones that are highly productive and dynamic. First, we must overcome some unusual obstacles.

In part 2 of this series, I will identify some common, non-technical, pitfalls.

Monday
Feb152010

Where are Businesses with DR and Business Continuity?

I recently refinanced my house for a lower interest rate. The final days leading to the closing give insight to the business continuity and DR improvements companies can strive to achieve.

My refinance was with the mortgage holder. This US bank, one of the big four and the recent benefactor of bailout funds, was more than happy to accept my refinance application.

As a bill-paying-never-in-arrears-with-my-mortgage customer, the approval process was lengthy. (“If only you’d missed some payments we could make this happen quickly” Argh.) Once finally approved, I wanted to move quickly to the closing to immediately begin reaping the benefits of the lower rate.

The closing was scheduled with great expectation for 8AM on a Wednesday.

This is when the company flaws became pronounced.

At 2:00PM the day before the closing the bank called, “We’re sorry, we don’t have the final closing numbers because our computers are down.”

“So a big name bank with billings of dollars (and bonuses to match) can’t access my closing account information. OK, interesting… banks should have generally available systems, outages are really unacceptable. Oh well, I’m sure it is temporary,” I thought.

Wrong…the next day, around 9:00AM, we rescheduled to 2PM.

And then we rescheduled to 4:30PM.

At this point, I asked for a manager. The manager sheepishly acknowledged, “We’ve now got the final numbers, but the Title Company we use has staff ‘working from home’ due to heavy snow in Maryland. They not able to work effectively from home.”

So this bank subcontracts certain key elements of the closing process to other firms…and obviously the business continuity plans are ineffective. When was the last time these plans were exercised? If Maryland is getting hammered with snow, why not redirect the work to the west coast? Why isn’t the bank asking these questions of the firm they use?

Another day goes by, and I’m still paying the old, higher rate on the mortgage. Somehow, this doesn’t seem right. And what reasonable recourse do I have? I am paying the bank for a service, and they hired the other companies. The DR and continuity plans are clearly inadequate. How do I get reimbursed for the extra day at the old interest rate? How do we address the poor service issue?

As a customer, there’s little we can do beyond being vocal, especially at the end of a long road. The companies providing the weak service get paid no matter what, and are not held accountable.

Ironically, if a gas pump at a local gas station doesn’t work, you either use a different pump or go to a different station. There is a direct impact on the sales and profitability of the station. It’s a simple model.

How does a bank get held accountable by their customers? Go to a different bank…easily said, and harder to do at the end of a process. I don’t envy Department of the Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner trying to sort the bank accountability issue!

Did I eventually close? Yes. I did discover this bank has an active social media monitoring effort. To their credit, they picked up on some tweets in the waning moments of the process and tried assisting.

The closing attorney and I did have a bit of a disagreement; I insisted the computer generated forms use my name and not someone else. We’ll talk data quality in another post!

Monday
Feb082010

Let’s Replace Employee Surveys

Companies spend large sums of money on employee surveys. What do they really learn from them?

Human Resources’ (HR) types frequently argue anonymous surveys give the timid a voice. While it’s important for everyone to have a voice, my sense is the process is fundamentally flawed. Please note upfront lifelong learning and improvement is something we value deeply, it’s the tool we are questioning.

HR spends time pulling together the reporting relationships and making sure there are ‘enough’ staff to assure anonymity. Often, newly minted front line supervisors, where often the most learning can take place, aren’t measured as they have too small a staff. To see the impact of the survey and subsequent improvement planning, surveys take place over a number of years. Since few organizations are static, managers/staff change roles making year over year comparisons difficult.

In my experience, year one establishes a baseline. Clearly everyone has improvement opportunities. Managers getting feedback is an imperative part of the process. And admittedly, it does force discussions. One very senior manager I know was stunned to find all her staff gave her low scores on recognition. Where it was a uniform rating, the veil of anonymity was pierced. The subsequent discussion was valuable, and indeed the manager evolved the behavior. Was a survey needed for this gold nugget?

Generally, the second year tends to have declining overall scores. While there are many hypotheses for this, one resonating for me is an improvement expectation is established with the staff by simply doing the survey. The second year exposes a gap between the improvement potential and the expectation. Managers are often dismayed when the rating hasn’t improved in year two.

Then the staff gets more work. While managers do improvement planning in year one, it tends to be a minimally engaged effort as many managers do the minimum needed. When the improvement isn’t as substantive as the manager expects, the staff must be engaged in an overall improvement process. HR submits this is a good thing…the discussion continues. Many staff members, however, feel they are asked to do additional work on the manager’s behalf, yielding an unintended boomerang effect.

Year three tends to have an improvement over years one and two. HR types suggest this indicates a valid and valuable process, and managers feel they are vindicated. Many staff members submit it is easier to give improved scores than have to do all the planning work. Have things fundamentally improved?

Having experience with two household name firms providing survey vehicles, they each have questions (in the same space) generating a great deal of debate. One asks a question along the lines of, “Do you have a best friend at work?” The controversy tends to come from the word,”best,” staunchly defended by the survey company. Many people look at a “best” friend as someone where long term deep relationships are established with an unwavering support structure. I can still like working at an organization and really like the people I work with…and frankly I’m “ok” if my best friend doesn’t work there.

Another firm uses a question we like better, “Would you recommend your firm to a friend as a place to work?” Both questions get to an affinity of the staff to the company as a whole. We like the work reference question better because it nets out ALL the inputs (the company/department culture, benefits, the cafeteria, parking, managers) to a single litmus test. The answer to this question is key.

Do employee surveys lead to improvement? Of course. Any vehicle giving managers feedback for improvement must provide some value. Do they provide the best return on investment?

While there are many alternatives, well orchestrated 360 feedback can often provide some valuable highly leveragable feedback. The manager selects staff and peers where feedback is valued. We don’t get to choose our managers in most cases. The feedback tends to be unvarnished, and discussions can take place in a more private setting.

Caution: “Analytic-type” managers often take the numbers too literally. They can get obsessed with the standard deviation of every response. A third-party coach can help interpret and focus on the improvement opportunities.

Real-time surveying is another tool. (Think GE-Workout in the digital age.) This requires a large group of people. You pose a question. People “vote”. The aggregate results are shown to all. The manager either responds to the group, or seeks clarity from the group. The group really feels like the manager is listening and engaged. It also shows initiative on the part of the manager, rather than the manager just doing the survey because their manager (or HR) instructed them to do it.

One of my favorite observations comes from working with a new HR generalist. The HR generalist was seen as part of the IT organization, attending all team meetings, etc. We’d have regular 1:1s, often in my office as we were in an area removed from HR and the generalist wanted to be seen. Whenever she left our 1:1, she’d head back to her work area. Inevitably, she would be stopped by staff repeatedly to talk about family, training needs, weekend plans, their latest project, etc. HR was seen as someone genuinely interested in people’s growth and development. While this is a part of the manager’s job, having a non-managerial resource for trusted conversation is invaluable. What a shame many companies have relegated this to an 800 number!

The other managerial vehicle often overlooked is the 1:1. 1:1s are supposed to be about the people, not about the projects. Staff should be greeted with the same question for each 1:1, and should learn the 1:1 is about them. Once trust is established in the 1:1, everyone’s voice can be heard.

There are many manager tools available in this space. Managers should use these types of tools to keep their managerial skills current.

To be clear, we don’t think employee surveys damage an organization. Something is better than nothing. Ongoing conversation in a non-punitive, growth oriented manner is where we believe the biggest impacts can be realized.

Let’s work on the values of honesty, highest ethics, open candid discussion, leadership…