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Up Front: MORALE SQUAD
SURVEY SHOWS: TOO MANY SURVEYS
CORPORATE AMERICA HITS its hapless employees with a lot of surveys these days. How do they feel about the company? Co-workers? Bosses? Surveys are rife when a company is downsizing, as it tries to gauge how survivors will function in the scorched-earth aftermath.
Trouble is, companies often don't want to face negative feedback. And that leaves employees distrustful of management and its surveys. This conclusion comes from--what else?--a survey. John Stanek, chief of Chicago's International Survey Research, did a study of 125,000 people at 55 companies. Findings: At companies in financial trouble, only 20% said those other surveys had done any good; at successful companies, it was 38%.
The problem is compounded, he says, when companies take too many surveys, which he defines as more than one a year. Even employers that do want to act on survey results don't have the time before a new survey is launched.
But the biggest obstacle to surveys' producing workplace changes, say the experts, remains the head-in-sand boss. A client of Deborah Cornwall, a managing director at the Korn/ Ferry consulting firm, refused to believe the survey results that slammed his managerial prowess. Says Cornwall: "He said that obviously the computer made a mistake." EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI Cindy Webb