What Your Employees Want You to Know (But You Might Be Afraid to Ask)

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This is a challenge for every company owner and manager. You have tremendous plans for growth and expect a lot of your employees. But do you know if the company is meeting your best employees' expectations? Are you providing the type of environment that supports high productivity and high quality? Do you really want to know?

If you do, consider creating a Company Performance Review to find out what your company culture really is. Find out how employees feel about their environment and morale at your company. The Company Performance Review asks employees if they see certain behaviors occurring at your company ? behaviors that could kill a company over time if left unchecked. It will help you determine if there are ethical issues you need to be concerned about in your company.

This review must be completed anonymously, or employees won't be comfortable answering honestly. The object is to make all employees suddenly more aware that actions that are sometimes common in companies can do real and lasting damage. It takes effort to increase the recognition of ethical issues to make it easier to begin setting standards.

For instance, here are some questions you might consider asking employees ? but only if you are ready to deal with the answers in the whole culture (don't kill the messenger).

Do employees??

Give a full days work for a full days pay
Accept gifts or favors from suppliers
Falsify time sheets or other reports
Gossip about other employees
Do other work on company time or with company equipment

Do managers or supervisors??

Discriminate by gender or race
Allow unsafe or unhealthy work conditions
Discourage criticism
Forget or fail to give promised performance reviews or salary increases
Have unfair work performance expectations

Does top management??

Ignore long-term problems
Live up to our mission statement
Provide rewards such as promotions on a basis other than competence
Mismanage company funds
Really care about employees

When you get the answers tabulated consider these thoughts:

Are there ethical issues you uncovered with this survey that surprised and concerned you?

Are you setting the right example for employees?

Are you satisfied that the standards of behavior you have set are high enough?

Are there items that should be added to this list that are unique to your company or industry?

Do you have a policy and procedures manual or employee handbook that sets standards on these issues?

Should some of these behaviors be cause for termination of employment?

Honest feedback can be hard to hear. I suggest you work with an industrial psychologist or other professional to help you hear the positive message in the survey results and formulate a plan of action. The real reward will come later when you administer the survey a second time and the results have changed for the better.

About The Author

Jan B. King is the former President & CEO of Merritt Publishing, a top 50 woman-owned and run business in Los Angeles and the author of Business Plans to Game Plans: A Practical System for Turning Strategies into Action (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). She has helped hundreds of businesses with her book and her ebooks, The Do-It-Yourself Business Plan Workbook, and The Do-It-Yourself Game Plan Workbook. See for more information.

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the byline is included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

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