Bob Goldman

Now I've heard everything. After years of telling us how to think, employers are suddenly obsessed with what we think. Or, to be more specific, what we think about what they tell us to think.

Think you're confused? Let SurveyMonkey explain.

SurveyMonkey is in the survey business. Why they called themselves SurveyMonkey instead of SurveySimian, SurveySalmon or SurveyHedgehog, I have no idea. I suppose they conducted a survey, and "SurveyMonkey" won. Ignore the logical question of just how serious we can take a firm with "monkey" in its name.

The company recently announced a partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management. The result of this association is a panoply of exciting new surveys made available for employers who want to probe the inner lives of the employees whose outer lives they usually are trying to squish.

Let's put aside the thought of how much more we would like HR departments if the name of their organization was SHRMM for the Society of Human Resource Management Monkeys and think about how these surveys aim to "help organizations improve employee engagement and satisfaction," not lingering on the truly wild and out-of-the-box concept that employees might not need to "improve engagement and satisfaction" if their salaries were increased to, say, one-hundredth of the paychecks cashed by their fat cat CEOs. These surveys are touted as a "fast and easy way to assess employee engagement, identify successes and determine where there's room for improvement."

As long as that room isn't occupied by company executives, of course.

According to the Monkey, this new SRHM-approved survey program fixes the polling techniques of the previous decade -- a decade in which surveys weren't "asking the right questions to properly assess employment engagement and satisfaction." This surprises me. I assumed that when a manager pops up in your face to ask if you would rather stop complaining and keep your job, or quit and feed your family off government cheese, the responses would be 100 percent accurate.

This raises an important question about the questions on the survey: What are the right answers? For me, the answer is obvious. It's the answer our employers want to hear. After all, what would your management prefer to do? Make a bunch of changes to make you happy, or simply solve your unhappiness by firing your sorry butt?

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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