Most weekday mornings I rise around 5 00 AM. to get ready for my workday. Part of my morning routine means turning on the TV to capture the weather forecast. I live in a climate where the weather can be quite varied. In the morning you can wear clothes and jackets and in the middle of the afternoon they wear shorts and T-shirts. Or a few days its just the opposite. You start with short sleeves and before the day is over the temperature has fallen 20 or 30 degrees and you grab your jacket. Precipitation here also varies considerably. For a moment there is not a cloud in the sky and a few minutes later its dark and raining so hard that you can barely drive.
I look at the weather forecast in the morning to be prepared for these temperatures and precipitation changes. I feel more prepared to leave the house if I know what to expect. The forecast makes it possible for me to know if you want a shirt, jacket or rain jacket, or if I need to take such things with me for later use. Knowledge of the forecast also helps me make an informed decision regarding shoes - Is it okay to wear leather shoes or do I have to wear shoes that are waterproof? Do I need to take an umbrella?
When I leave home and start my commute to work, I start to notice other people on their way to work or school. Observing them, I can sometimes conclude that many of them either did not look at a weather forecast before going home that morning or did, but ignored it. I decide this to see people out in short sleeves without jackets with their arms crossing and shaking at 49 degrees morning. On other occasions, I see people trying to cover their heads with a newspaper or something else they can find when the rain hits them and they do not have a raincoat or umbrella.
The gloomy prospects that many in the United States have about the economy and its impact on their lives can be worrying for businesses. We want the sales of our products and services to increase, not to decrease. But in this economic climate, many consumers can cope with the expenses. So how can we get an accurate forecast for our companies? The answer is simple, we must manage our human assets well. This means we must be knowledgeable about our customers attitudes and perceptions. But our customers are not our only human assets. We must also be aware of our employees attitudes and perceptions. These two groups are intricate.
So its with people that we have to start if we want to get an accurate forecast for our business. I recommend that you start with employees because they directly affect our customers perceptions. Regular employee surveys at least once a year can keep us well informed about attitudes and perceptions. Assuming that the survey is well-designed and properly analyzed, the results will reveal the key drivers for our employees behavior. This means that we will get what we need to predict employee behavior. Surveys help us identify areas where we need to concentrate our change efforts to maximize returns.
Once we have a process of predicting employment behavior, we need to add a process to predict customer behavior. Customer surveys can enable us to better understand our customers. One of the most important tasks we can get directly from our customers is their overall satisfaction. Customer satisfaction affects behavior. Even more important, we can also know if our customers plan to return and do business with us again. It takes less effort and money to keep customers than it does to recruit new ones.
If our forecasts will be useful to us to manage our human assets, they must be correct. To get precise forecasts, we need high quality measuring instruments. That is, they must be scientifically designed. Without a high quality instrument, we will not receive high quality information. I have a colleague who bought a cheap voice recorder for his work a few years ago. It worked well for about 18 months and then stopped working. He owned a number of other products from the same manufacturer who had done very well so he decided to buy another voice recorder of the same company, but this time he would get a more expensive model assuming it would be better than the first. This new recorder did not last as long as the first one. It still plays, but the sound quality of the recording is so bad that you can not figure out what is said, which makes the product useless. Then again he will buy another recorder and this time, from another manufacturer.