Tuesday, September 15, 2009

At work we have several non-profits and my employer (an unprofitable for-profit) all in one building sharing a lunch room and various corporate services (IT, HR, etc). Every two years they conduct an employee survey, asking folks from all the entities various questions about the workplace, ranging from satisfaction with management to opinions about kitchen snacks.

The survey was taken by nearly 50 people and was anonymous, to encourage honest answers. Today, during a lunchtime presentation, they reviewed the results with us.

Most of the questions were multiple choice, where we rated our satisfaction with some workplace aspect on a scale from 1 to 7. Some questions had a text field where we could add additional comments. The presenter ran though the first few sets of results on Powerpoint slides without discussing any the additional comments. The very first comment they put up on the screen was from a question asking us to list the kitchen snacks that were our least favorites. The anonymous survey comment said:
I dispute the premise of a least favorite snack.
Immediately several of the people around me whipped their heads around and stared at me. "Was that from you?" they all asked?

It was.

The next slide was about the idea of having an in-office talent show, suggesting that we could all demonstrate our singing, dancing or other artistic abilities. The presenter again picked out a single anonymous user comment from the survey question. The comment said:
Holy cow, that would be a train wreck! I have no artistic abilities, but could theoretically compose a poem under sufficient peer pressure.
Again, the people around me turned towards me and smirked. Larry leaned over and whispered, "You have a distinctive writing voice."

So much for anonymous surveys. Next time I'm answering in all caps.


Anonymous said...

"I dispute the premise of a least favorite snack."


I tell my three elementary age chilrins that very same thing every day - Snack, at all, means I love you more than all the other crispy granola non-snacking parents in this crispy granola snack-laden town (Austin). And I put them in the super cool little baggies. Still, all I hear about is "that's not my favorite". Hush, people.

Mike Duffy said...

You *do* have a distinctive writing voice. Take it as a compliment. :)

Mike said...

Cottage Child, I hear you. Kids have an amazing ability to decide that Flavor A is the best, but Nearly Identical Flavor B is disgusting. My daughter, for example, adores French Vanilla ice cream, but refuses to eat Vanilla Bean ice cream.

Mike, oh, I take it as neither a compliment nor an insult. I just consider myself warned that I need to vary my tone if I want to truly be anonymous. For what it's worth no one pegged one of my positive comments as mine.

Portlander said...

Next time pipe all of your survey answers through jive before submitting them! Does jive still exist?

Mike said...

Jive is like Latin, a precursor to today's modern dialects such as ebonics.