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Let's Ask the Staff

Dear Dave
We have decided to conduct a formal review of our pay and benefit practices. Our first step was to establish a committee comprised of a cross-section of management and staff to study the topic and report back to our board with recommendations. The committee has met a few times and has subsequently asked for permission to survey all employees (about 400) for input on likes and dislikes as a way to begin. A few of us are concerned that this whole initiative is getting more complicated than we originally anticipated. The committee insists that the staff survey is a vital part of the process. Do we need it or not?

Dear LK
Since the committee consists of a “cross-section of management and staff”, perhaps you can make the case that the committee should be more than capable of getting started with their own inputs and wait until they are further along in the process to see if there is merit to engage the entire staff. You might also wish to point out that by waiting until some preliminary ideas have first been generated, the committee should be in a position to better focus the survey instrument with the end result of gaining much more valuable results from the survey effort and expense.

Another factor to consider is whether or not surveying and asking for input is in-character with the way the firm typically operates. If asking for input is foreign to you, issuing a survey can cause suspicion and anxiety among some of the rank-in-file folks who generally see any change as disquieting.

Finally, if you do survey, you create an implicit obligation to eventually offer feedback to those who participated. Don’t ask if you’re not willing to react and respond to what you hear.

Wahby and Associates