#ProOpinion: Closed Mouths Stagnate Progress

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Working in HR you get your fair share of discussions around the need to have a town hall or to administer a survey. I’m pretty sure most of the workforce is over surveys, because two things happen: 1) They end up answering questions leadership knows the answers to and 2) There is usually no action behind the surveys- making employees’ efforts fruitless. I believe in soliciting feedback from the very people we serve: employees and customers. Despite the stigma around surveys, they still have an important use in many areas of business when utilized appropriately. It is clear that, businesses focused on new ways to serve their customers and employees are poised to see continuous growth in their organizations. It goes back to the old saying:”You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” How can businesses stay ahead-of-the-curve while operating their businesses blindly? The truth is they can’t and many CEO’s are adjusting to this new reality of data-driven decision making.

A 2015 Global CEO survey by PWC found that 60% of CEO’s are concerned about threats to their businesses given the increased transparency around business operations in the past few years. Additionally, they found that 67% of US CEO’s feel their are more opportunities for their business today than three years ago. Even in this instance, you can see the power in surveys and soliciting feedback. We simply have no way of knowing where we have been, where we are currently and where we are heading; unless we ask the those connected to our markets how we are doing.

You can question the efficacy of surveys, but what I do know is closed-mouths stagnate our progress in business. If a product is terrible and doesn’t do what it purports to do- the business never knows they need to make a change unless consumers speak up. If a business process is slowing down the productivity of employees, leadership has no clue and carries on as usual- if none of the employees speak up. One of the ways we get people to let us know where we can improve is via surveys. Per my earlier sentiment, if those customers and/or employees don’t think their voice is important enough to record their thoughts in a survey; nothing will change.

This is why I am so happy to be working with ProOpinion as a brand ambassador. ProOpinion allows business professionals to make data-driven decisions that will drive results. Essentially, they are a survey partner for businesses that need to get feedback on their products or market behavior from professionals like you and I. I just completed a survey today about business communications, the providers I use and why I use who I do for my communications needs. I have had so many trials and tribulations with phone and internet providers that I was actually happy to provide some feedback on my experiences. Will my feedback change certain providers behaviors? I certainly hope so. However, I can rest easy knowing I didn’t sit in silence when my voice and opinion could have made all the difference.

Image Courtesy of ProOpinion

Image Courtesy of ProOpinion

I need a favor from you. You all are professional rockstars and have shown up for me in the past. Sign up for ProOpinion here. It is free and will enable you to have input into some of businesses most pressing concerns. Additionally, you have the ability to earn rewards like Amazon.com Gift Cards and gift cards from many other retail outlets. In addition, you will have access to their infographic vault and blog filled with timely business information and metrics. Your initial profile creation will be around 20-25 minutes, but that is just so they are clear on what surveys to send you. Surveys come straight to your email inbox specifying the time it will take to complete it and the amount of reward points you will earn for your efforts.

Join me on ProOpinion and start allowing your voice to have an impact on business while earning great rewards. After all, it isn’t often that you get so much for free. The only thing that isn’t free is your time, but what better way to spend a few minutes than to chime in about topics that are important to you. Check it out you won’t be disappointed.

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HR’s Role in Making Work-Life Balance

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photo credit: Kathy Colaiacovo

Work-Life Balance. Its on the mind of your managers and employees, especially now that we are on the brink of summer. I’ve always thought that people think of “work-life” balance as options for working from home or the freedom to “come and go” as you please. Its really much more than that to me. Its the opportunity to work and recharge at my pace and with some flexibility in regards of what is meaningful to me. While I think that ultimately it is up to the individual to strike the right accord in regards to work-life balance, I do think that HR professionals have a role in helping to set the standard.

 Lay the Foundation

Laying the foundation of programs that offer better work life balance and flexibility may be easier said than done. First off, one size does not fit all. We all come from different industries and businesses — half days, working from home, flex schedules, job sharing will not work for everyone. Even within a single organization one option will not work for all jobs. I think that the biggest mistake in starting these types of programs is that managers or HR come up with a list of possibilities for flex programs and find that its poorly received. It could be due to the rollout or the change management — but I think its even bigger than that. Ask your employees what do they want and value. What helps bring balance to them? It may be volunteer time, on site day care, a concierge service — its not always in the bucket of “how do you get people time away from work to do other things.” Several years ago, as recognition of work that I was doing on a large project implementation, I got two weeks worth of prepared meals. Talk about bringing some balance back to my life! The convenience allowed me to put my time and energies elsewhere when I was at home with my family and to this day is one of the best rewards that I’ve received. Not having to get groceries, meal plan, or prepare meals went a long way to my “balance” during that project. If someone had just given me time off, I wouldn’t have gotten the same relief or feeling of balance at that time.

 

The point is, HR should do a thorough review, including a survey of employees’ desires, to help create a program for managers and employees to follow. One more note — lay the foundation means just that — help get things going, but allow employees and managers actually build the program. It will be much more successful if the program is developed by the people and not just another HR thing. Be a champion of work – life program options.

 

What are your thoughts on work-life balance and who owns what — does HR still have a role or is it squarely on employees and managers?

 

Andrea Devers (@thegirlinhr) is an expert in HR Technology, HR process and programs, HR Service Centers, Shared Service, change management,  project management, and six sigma. Feel free to connect with her on her blog, The Girl in HR, or follow some of her musings on Twitter.

 

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