Consulting is an art. It encourages more to question and listen rather than to declare and sell. Sounds simple? It’s pretty difficult for most consultants to get the hang of it. Let us show how a typical consultant will respond to a question by the customer and how EconStra consultants would respond.

Customer: We’re facing a real morale problem for the past 8 months in our company. We need your help with it. We’re unable to improve it in anyway.
Typical Consultant: I have faced many such situations and handled them perfectly. I think a focus group can help. We did for an IT firm and the results were impeccable.
EconStra: Why do you think you’ve a morale problem? What are your bases of judging it?

Customer: We had a much higher yield from people we wanted to retain.
Typical Consultant: Turnovers are really expensive. Great employees are hard to find. In addition to focus groups we should also start off with exit interviews. That way we’ll get to know what their pain points are and accordingly move to increase morale.
EconStra:This isn’t enough to come to the conclusion that you’ve low morale amongst your employees. Is there anything else you notice or you think might be the reason for this?

Customer: Well, we received complaints from our clients regarding solving problems. It’s taking many of them more than 3 calls to resolve a problem. That’s really bad for the business.
Typical Consultant: Your company is desperately in need of an education program to make the employees realize that they represent the organization and that their actions are responsible towards the image of the company. You may also need a service training to train your employees as to how to resolve problems.
EconStra:Is employee turnover and customer service the only two proofs for this? Can you remember anything significant that might have occurred or might have been implemented during these 8 months?

Customer: We implemented a more stringent system for getting incentives and commissions. We have now administered a system wherein the employees receive incentives/commissions purely based on performance. Earlier it used to be part performance and part hours based. We have now shifted to pull strategy and client servicing instead of the push strategy we had earlier and we have segmented our customer service team into handling different categories of problems.
Typical Consultant: I think that the employees are resisting change. Also, the change in the structure of commissions and incentives might have a negative effect on them. Besides that, I think there’s communication gap. Our “Go To Communications” program can help you ace corporate communication.
EconStra:I think we cannot be certain right now as to how these two factors contributed towards decreasing the productivity of your employees and hence low morale in the company. Before we make any investment on morale improvement, would it be alright if we launch a survey to determine the causes of poor yield and customer service and which of these change factors has substantial contribution towards creating the same? At the end of the day, we don’t want to create any additional problems.

Customer: What’s your suggestion then?
Typical Consultant: I think we should not waste any more time and start off right away. If I were you, I’d be getting on with the focus group.
EconStra:Let’s do it like this. I’ll put together a proposal with a few alternatives concerning your investments, time and how we’re going to take this forward. Would that be good? You can expect the proposal by tomorrow before lunch.