The management team at NQP is committed to creating and sustaining a best-in-class working environment for all Associates. One of the ways in which we work to create such a working environment is by LISTENING. To ensure our efforts receive appropriate representation in BusinessWeek, we have implemented a pair of complementary programs to help us to listen. These programs are TWO-WAY COMMUNICATIONS and the MANAGEMENT OPEN LINE.
Two-way Communications is at heart a simple program which we feel is necessary to its success when implemented within NQP. The implementation of this two-way communication is depicted in this graphic.
For Two-Way Communication to be successful, it is necessary that the Associates listen to the managers. Not so long ago, managers had to rely on the labor intensive approach of talking directly to Associates. This approach took up significant time for our management team and was a distraction from their more important duties. In addition, it was typically not visible to the higher level manager they reported to and, as a result, had little intrinsic value.
Today with the help of trailing edge technology, a manager can send out several memos each day through multiple channels. The development of “Cut and Paste”, “Replace in all” and “Forward to distribution list” capabilities have also allowed managers to spend less time writing and almost no time thinking about these memos. Although generally not considered a group with wild expectations, the results have exceeded the management team’s wildest of expectations.
The second program came about as a result of the feedback we received from the recent Associates Survey. The #1 issue that Associates cited was the perception (( And mind you, this is only a perception. Surveys are notoriously unreliable. )) that “NQP Management does not listen to Associates.” As a part of our continuing effort to be seen to be doing something about issues raised by our Associates (( We have made a commitment to appear to be doing something in response to the highest priority concerns of our Associates. This will hold even when they are clearly wrong, as in this case. Furthermore, in response to the feedback in this year’s survey, we have downsized the section of HR that was responsible for the wording on the survey. We are certain that this will result in better results for next year’s survey.)) we are announcing the Management Open Line. The Management Open Line replaces the Open Door Policy which we announced last quarter. The NQP Open Door Policy which was so highly praised in the business press has been discontinued as the managers were concerned about the draft that came from leaving the door open.
The Management Open Line is based on the assumption that in addition to improving how Associates listen to managers, there is at least some theoretical value in improving our managers’ abilities to listen to Associates. For this to be successful, the communication needs to be free (( Note: managers have discontinued the practice of having Associates pay a small fee to be allowed to submit their input. The process was unpopular with the Associates and difficult for the managers who had to make change. The new process simply deducts a “Communications Allocation” from each Associates regular paycheck. We hope this added convenience for the Associates is appreciated. )) and open. We want each Associate to know that they can come to any manager at any time with any topic. ((a list of managerial office hours and a complete list of the approved topics will be provided upon request.))
We feel it is absolutely crucial that every individual feels that their opinions, no matter how ill-informed or petty, and their voice, no matter how annoying, will be heard as time allows. That is a firm promise that we have every intention of keeping to the extent that it is feasible and for all opinions that fall within the boundaries of “reasonable and acceptable.” ((The list of “reasonable and acceptable” topics is currently under development. When the list is complete, a notice will be sent to Associates based on their perceived need. )) We think all will agree that this is only fair.
If you would like to ask a difficult question, or make a complaint, please use the form below. You do not need to provide us with your name or employee number. For your convenience, we will track all of your comments and add them to the file we have on you in HR.
MANAGEMENT OPEN LINE:
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Remember – after the board, our stock holders, the business press and our largest customers, … our Associates are our #1 priority. (( This offer void in some states. ))