New Engineer December 1977 Page 28

Memo Mania

Editor's Column
when determining its course

There's really not much we can say about the memo below, except to note that it was not a joke when written, it is well documented, it originated in one of the firm's California offices. The program it proposed was never implemented (at least not on a formal basis). Have you received a humorous or obnoxious, or otherwise noteworthy memo you'd like to share with other New Engineer readers? Send it along. We'll pay $10 for each one published.

Philco Ford

Intra Company

January 31, 1975

From:   Team xxxxx

To:     VP HR

Subject:   Solicitation for Inputs to People Effectiveness Program



  1. Minutes of May 22 Director's Meeting published May 28, 1974
  2. Memo to _______________, Jun 14, 1974
  3. Personnel Morale Improvement Program, Strawberry Institute
    Publication, June 1974
  4. TQM: The Japanese Path to Better Productivity in Turbulent
    Times, Fortune, October 1974

HR instruction on reference 1 cites Division concerns about increased human relations or "people effectiveness." Reference 2 offered a five-step strategic plan to improve employee morale with monthly events by personnel experts. Lack of progress due to low participation in the plan have raised personnel tensions, worsening communication and effectiveness. Accordingly, a more robust effort is needed. The following Phase II tactical plan is proposed for a holistic program to improve Division morale.

Recent research in the published liturature indicates Divisional objectives can be achieved by a stunningly modest upgrade to our highly successful coffee break system. Reference 3 establishes sexual activity is a prime source of self-image and satisfaction, particularly for "people" relations, which is the goal of the program. Support facilities can be installed at minimal cost in Conference room 28 of Building #1, which is currently under utilized, yet is centrally located to reduce travel time from throughout area offices. This proposal optimizes use of existing resources and time.

The program name needs more work. "Sex break" is logically analogous to "coffee break," but carries a stigma of community opprobrium that discourages wide participation. Alternatives are "Recreation Time," "R&R Period," and "Stimulation, Re-Focus Exchange" which is currently favored because the three (3) character acronym (SRE) fits the quarterly "Morale Evaluation" form, and because it reflects joint activity consistent with program aims to improve interpersonnal synergy.

The next challenge was partner selection.

This has been solved by a new "Room and Partner Reservation" system, added to the current Conference Management system. The reservation clerk has offered to support this initiative within current budgets, but notes video "conferencing" will require a slight charge, similar to those who bring special blends for coffee breaks.

MIS reports that a slight change to the Conferencing program will produce a really "neat" new report on frequency of use to measure improved morale. Public Relations says a "Morale Boosters" of the month award can be determined using the new MIS report. This meets TQM objectives for metrics on personnel involvement, reference 4.

The Personnel Department can, also, use the revised MIS report for EEO requirements to show participation by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and new catagories discovered by Congress. This will enable the firm to qualify for Federal funding to launch the program. Once the program takes hold, charges can be made to make this a net revenue generator. Experience from this effort could be used to migrate the program to other organizations, further increasing income. Thus, the program meets policy objectives for income growth.

The attached survey gathers feedback on the level of interest in this change. It requests input on naming the program and setting the optimal time to allow for each session. Senior managers have agreed to provide "hands on" testing of procedures to validate program theory and justification. After validation by senior management, it is expected the program can be implemented without significant training (only minor vertical and latteral personnel moves will be involved). However, where necessary, senior managers have agreed to provide training, and will regularly observe implementation to ensure quality control in accordance with reference 3.