Have You Fixed the Broken Window?

Left alone it doesn't take long for a building with a single broken window to rapidly become a building with many broken windows. Fixing problems when they are small will prevent them from developing into larger problems.

The same is true when considering the level of employee satisfaction Dissatisfaction spreads like wildfire and in a surprisingly short period of time you've got morale problems of the kind that are notoriously hard to fix.

Ensuring your employees are happy is mostly about being tuned into what their problems are and, importantly, dealing with them early on. Keeping the initiative is really important and the secret is that it is better to give a little and often.

This turns out be a virtuous circle. Fixing the problem when it's small is also when it's easiest and when it's cheapest. And taking the initiative without being prompted puts the manager in a position of strength, which also suits the employees. Staff like strong, confident management and this approach generates respect not least because someone has taken the time to understand some of the employees' issues.

Compare that with managers who are out of touch. They arrive late at a problem so they are on the defensive, and with their credibility eroded they have to concede to demands which in turn leads to further and less reasonable demands. It's not big and it's not clever.

The issue, then, is how to go about monitoring the morale of a company without a big budget and without much spare time?

The first port of call should be an online survey. They're quick, easy to use, and a low cost solution. Surveys can be created in minutes and deployed in seconds, with the results compiled in real time; and by using email and websites they cost nothing to disseminate.

A corporate internet is the ideal delivery mechanism. By linking through to an online survey website such as http://www.surveygalaxy.com a company can regularly conduct surveys so they become part and parcel of the daily operations.

With an online survey's ability to produce results in real-time the mood of the employees can rapidly be gauged and concerns highlighted both on a collective and individual level.

Using the survey results companies can quickly identify problem areas and follow-up surveys can be used to target specific concerns. With good information managers are able to get to the root of specific problems and prepare a considered response.

A major advantage of regular surveys is that it allows a company to address small problems in a timely manner avoiding 'the straw that broke the camels back' syndrome where a relatively insignificant incident unleashes a torrent of pent up concerns.

And don't forget that the majority of employees appreciate being consulted so asking their opinion is not a sign of weakness but an indicator of good decision making.

It's unusual to find, but there it is ? sometimes management problems can be solved with something that is quick, easy and won't break the bank.

Martin Day is a Director of Survey Galaxy Ltd a web site that allows anyone to create, design and publish online surveys. For more information please visit http://www.surveygalaxy.com

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