Friday, April 10, 2015

Democratic Take On The Communications Survey Results

So, the WSM employee Market Messenger this week (you know that document; it's the one you throw away when opening your pay check), anyway, it has some more results of the Employee Survey all we workers recently completed.

Well. It has the interpretation of management of those results. Let's take a step back, go through them, and add a little bit of democracy to the interpretation.

And remember, we workers should now be given the opportunity to see ALL of the results (which MM tells us can be found on the WSM wiki home page), discuss them, and ensure that we are actively involved in designing the new communications and decision-making processes that follow. We didn't take part in this survey just so that management could make all the decisions.

Right. Democratic take on the management interpretation:

SLACK/COMMUNICATION GENERALLY - Management recognize we need more Department Meetings. But they seem to think those meetings are just to allow managers to lay down the law. They are not. They are the sharp end of economic democracy within our co-op. Employees should help set the agendas. Votes should be taken. Departments should decide consensually. Managers then oversee implementation. But, you have to push for that. My writing about it won't make it happen.

We are told the new web-site is on the way. I know one of the things that has been holding it up. Just how interactive it will be. It seems to me (and to certain other advocates, whom I can't name, but I know are fighting hard for interactivity) that we've all (workers, consumers and owners), we've all had quite enough of one-way communication in this democratic co-op. We want to be able to provide feedback, in real time, where other people can see it, and we can all see management responding. In the past few years, for example, I have regularly suggested the web-site include an open forum.

- Loads of guff from management. All of which misses the primary points. This survey took place because I hammered management for two years about explicit co-op policy, which clearly states that employees are to be included in decision-making which affects them and their workplace. One of the issues specifically mentioned is the employee dividend.

These decisions about our dividend are not supposed to be taken by management or the Board alone. We workers are supposed to be involved in setting the size of the dividend each year.

Now, it is not enough to have a quick discussion at the end of the year about the dividend. Because the decisions are taken at the beginning of the year, when setting the budget, about how much profit there will be. The size of the dividend is determined by the size of the profit. Employees need to be engaged in both the setting of the budget and then in the setting of the dividend. The MM doesn't say that. We need to. To our department managers. Now.

MARGINS - You're going to start seeing a pattern here. We workers, in our department meetings, should be consensually agreeing margins. We should all be presented with the same data. We then all make the decisions, together. What's that called? Democracy. What's that called? Complying with co-op policy.

One of the things that management have begun in recent years is to talk about certain financial objectives as if they are a c'mon-everyone-knows-that, standard-practice given. You know who I'm talking about.

In a democratic co-op, nothing is a given. We get 'given' the information, and then we decide what is 'given.' Don't stand for this overbearing, superior, patronizing crap.

What is the point of more communication if all it is is telling us what someone else has already decided is too difficult for us to comprehend or be involved in? In contravention of co-op policy.

EMPLOYEE PAY/BENEFITS - What interests me, and it should interest you, is all workers being involved in the decisions that set the size of the pot from which raises are drawn.

We earn this money. Who says managers alone should decide how much of it should be used for pay raises?

And so, onto more feedback in the next Market Messenger ...