ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - June 2000
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Issue Highlight - Safe Return Doubtful
---Much of the attention in human resources seems to be about how to recruit and retain good people. The conventional wisdom is to offer people the possibility of big benefits and instant wealth.

In This Issue...
The Real World at MTV
New American Revolution
Basic Training
Bringing Values to Life


Features...
Peter Block Column
Views for a Change

Pageturners
Heard on the Street
Diary of a Shutdown

Heard on the Street
A compendium of ideas and news affecting our lives from the Wall Street Journal and other sources


Dress to Impress
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While it may seem to some that manners have gone by the wayside in the advent of cellular phones and pagers, one company is not losing sight of proper etiquette. According to the Wall Street Journal, Alliance Capital Management, a Manhattan investment firm, recently distributed a manual outlining more than just the expected dress of its employees. Within this 22-page manual, employees are given guidelines for a multitude of situations. From flossing to office conversation, nothing is left to employees' discretion.

-- For example, employees are instructed that "it is customary to face front" while riding the elevator. The company also mandates that on a crowded elevator, employees ask someone to press the floor number instead of reaching across other passengers.

-- Although the company expects this strict business dress code to be followed, employees just got a break. A memo recently circulated allowing for "business casual" dress on all summer Fridays and every day in August.

 

Not On-The-Job Training
-- Companies have begun focusing on employee training as a preferred tool for recruiting and retaining quality employees in today's tight labor market. Because of this, there is a growing trend for companies to look to outside vendors for this service.

-- According to a survey conducted by Buck Consultants of New York, 58 percent of firms outsourced their training programs last year, a 160 percent increase from 1996.

-- This booming trend is attributed to companies realizing that their In-House/On-Site training programs are no longer enough. Companies must now look to outside providers to aid in the creation of effective educational programs for new employees.

-- The same survey also reports that when companies are searching for a vendor, their most prevalent concerns are cost and reputation. If this trend is effectively executed, it will benefit the employer and employee. While employees can expect to receive a more thorough training program, employers can expect their new hires to keep their companies competitive.

 

Breaking Through Boundaries
-- In the past, it has been customary for new employees to receive descriptions of duties expected of them. However, in the ever-changing workplace, this practice is becoming obsolete.

-- According to the Herman Group of Greensboro, N.C., new employees are beginning to receive role descriptions as an alternative to job descriptions. These descriptions, which are simply broad statements of verification, do nothing more than confirm the employee is expected to help in any way possible.

-- While traditionalists are currently resisting this idea, it is expected to benefit both employees and employers. This description helps to alleviate employees' impressions that they should not step out of the boundaries set forth by their position. Initially, it allows employees to develop several specialties and find what best suits them. Following this, employees can more easily grow within an organization by utilizing their extensive knowledge.

-- In addition, having employees who are skilled in a variety of areas is helping employers deal with the tight market-place. Workers will be able to pitch in wherever they are needed, thus benefiting the entire company.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes: A Customer Satisfaction Buzzword
-- While a majority of companies continue to assert their dedication to customer satisfaction, most customers are reporting an overall displeasure with the service they are receiving.

-- Buzzwords focusing upon the customer, such as enterprise customer management and customer centricity are extremely popular right now, but satisfaction and retention of customers is down.

-- According to Blinq, Inc. of Chicago, this problem stems from the fact that most companies do not understand what it is like to do business with their own firm.

-- As a way to combat this problem employers are encouraged to look more closely at the customers' situation. They can begin by purchasing their own product, using their own Web site, installing their own software, etc. Following this, they should observe companies that are leaders in customer service to witness how it should be done.

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