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Archive for December 2015

2015 OV Year in Review

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The dedicated staff of OrgVitality thank you for your continued support!

We are thrilled to report that we grew over 25 percent this past year, allowing us to add employees in both our New York and California locations, as well as a new programming center in Gujarat, India.

October saw a record-breaking feat of 29 simultaneously-live global surveys. We also conducted surveys in 38 languages and in over 100 countries.

We are proud of our continued work in the not-for-profit sector, helping such worthwhile organizations as Stop TB (Tuberculosis), Save the Children, and Berkeley Food & Housing Project most effectively continue their missions. We are also proud to have the PGA Tour as a client; few people realize all the charitable good works done by this not-for-profit organization.

Additionally, we are pleased to continue to provide representation for the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) to the UN. Walter Reichman was again co- chair of Psychology Day at The United Nations, and OV a sponsor of the event.

Many of our favorite projects were direct referrals from current clients. Here’s some of the OV Buzz:

“It is a tough climate for law enforcement these days, and OrgVitality has helped us calibrate how we are actually perceived in our communities, rather than having to just rely on the headlines in the news.”
– Colonel Scott G. Hernandez, Colorado State Patrol Chief

(Willing to make some noise yourself? Email us at if you’d considering giving us a client testimonial for use on our website or book.)

That’s right, we said book

Look for Creating the Vital Organization by Jeff and Scott, and published by Palgrave Macmillan, on shelves in June 2016. This is a must-read for any organizational leader looking to streamline current work products and services in an effort to support future explorations and innovations.

We’ve been busy updating our amazing tech tools to make them even more fun and user-friendly:
Enhanced Real-Time Reporting gives clients the most up-to-the-minute data
Interactive Reporting System offers fully-customizable reports in the format the end user most wants
• Our Passcode System enabled over 45,000 employees of a top Fortune 100 company to make the move from paper to web-based surveys – and company leaders were thrilled when response rate shot up as a result
• Our updated Performance Review System provides clients with an easy way to track employee performance and allocate bonuses based upon specific and transparent variables.
• Other enhancements to our tools include our Matrix Analysis & Action Planning Tool, 360 System, Responsive Web Design Surveys, Offline Surveys, and OrgCoding Tools.

OrgVitality is committed to data protection:
2015 saw a global challenge for many US and EU-based companies when the EU Court of Justice struck down the Safe Harbor data transfer pact, the international agreement that allowed European Personally Identifying Information (PII) data to exist on American servers. We are monitoring the Safe Harbor situation, and our legal counsel continues to update us on any steps we need to take to be in compliance. On December 17th a draft agreement for a new Safe Harbor Framework was announced so we expect this situation to resolve in the near future. Until then, we have entered into an agreement directly with the EU, which meets their privacy standards, and substitutes for the Safe Harbor pact by providing assurances and outlining our data-handling methods. This needs to be done separately for each client.

Society for Industrial Organizational Psychologists (SIOP) Presentations, April 14th – 16th:

• The Amazon Culture: Should it be Emulated or Denigrated? Jeffrey Saltzman, Walter Reichman
• Mergers & Acquisitions: Impact of Integrating Organizational Cultures. Victoria Hendrickson, Dana Costar
• From Insights to Action: Making Survey Comments Work for You. Scott Brooks, Victoria Hendrickson
• Feedback Effectiveness Within and Without Performance Management. David W. Bracken, Dana Costar
• 20 Years of Innovation in 360° Feedback: Evolution or Devolution? David W. Bracken
• Death by a Thousand Items: Challenges from Survey Fatigue. Victoria Hendrickson

Join us for the following workshops and webinars in 2016:
Why Employee Engagement is Not Strategic: Employee Engagement is an important analytical tool for organizations. But too often, this measurement is wrongly tied directly to an organization’s outcomes. Come discover how to craft the most effective strategy – and learn what role employee engagement should have. February 9th

Nudges in the Workplace: We’re not talking about stocking the office with carrots instead of candy. Here, learn how to more effectively and easily guide your employees toward better behaviors, and help them live up to their own good intentions to change. March 15th

People at Work – Myths vs. Reality: Don’t let erroneous assumptions steer you in the wrong direction. Join OV’s CEO Jeffrey Saltzman as he reveals the truths behind commonly-held beliefs. The tips you’ll learn will help you become a better decision maker. May 3rd

Creating the Vital Organization Series:
Join us for a series of webinars based on Jeff and Scott’s forthcoming book:
Strategy, Insight, and Action: These are the three critical elements for organizational effectiveness. Join us as we explore how best to tap into the best of what your employees have to offer. June 7th

Protecting Innovation: Most companies say they are innovative, but few truly are. Yet innovation is key to ensuring lasting success. Organizations must balance the daily demands of Current Performance with Future Potential Exploration. Here, we take you through the ways you can enable and protect innovation efforts, including creating a culture where employees “fail fast.” August 9th

The Three Types of People Every Organization Needs: There are three key roles in the vital organization: Explorers, Executors, and Boundary Spanners. Learn how to identify which employees fit which role, and how to support them. September 13th

The Power of Organizational Storytelling: Crafting an engaging narrative can help drive your business and shape your legacy. Here, we discuss how to become an effective storyteller. November 15th

And new for 2016! We are planning a fun, interactive Virtual Conference in September. More details to come as we get closer.

Don’t wait for the Year In Review to get your OV Fix!
Check out what’s happening daily on our social sites.

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

December 30, 2015 at 6:35 am

Respect and Dignity

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Asking an employee population whether they are treated with respect and dignity has been part of employee surveys for a long time. Those two words are so often used in conjunction with one another that they have become joined at the hip as a unified concept not only in the world of surveys but also in our day-to-day conceptual thinking as well. Respect and Dignity. While some argue that it is a double barreled concept, it would be really impossible to treat someone with dignity, but without respect, and likewise if you are being respectful, dignity would, it would seem by necessity, tag along. As a gestalt, respect and dignity are two sides of the same coin.

I will deal with the dignity side of the coin here. The concept of dignity has a long history and interesting origins. As a constitutional right, dignity today is often defined as a “person’s freedom to write their own life story”. [i] Freedom to create one’s life story requires freedom from oppression, and has within that notion both rights and obligations. One right is of control over oneself and one’s body and an obligation would be to take responsibility for your behaviors and actions – for your future.

Maintaining dignity in the world of work, using that definition, will be a balancing act. If dignity is about the right to choose, as one enters an employment situation one is giving up at least some dignity, in that you are working not necessarily to your own ends, on your own initiatives, but on organizationally defined goals and often on an organizationally defined schedule.

While the emphasis and enshrinement of dignity in the modern age largely was the result of the horrific abuses of human dignity in WWII, and today the only constitution that defines human dignity as an unassailable absolute right is the German Constitution in reaction to those abuses, the sense that humans have and should be treated with dignity is an ancient precept. The ancient Greek and Roman philosophers spent time with the notions of dignity, assigning human’s dignity because of their ability to think and choose. Dignity in Buddhism is based on the idea that humans can choose a path leading to self-perfection and hence are dignified[ii]. Judaism and Christianity believe that mankind was made in god’s image and because of that, mankind, as a reflection of god’s image has dignity. There are religions that do not believe that mankind was created in god’s image, but because mankind was created by god, and given the ability to think, we have a dignified (rank) special place. In Islam for instance because mankind is a creation of god a person should not be harmed, for if you harm another human you are harming god. The major religions of the world do not have a corner on defining and rationalizing the need for dignity. Ubuntu for instance is a Bantu term that is often translated as “humanity towards others”, treating others with a humanness or dignity with which they deserve.

Needless to say the concepts and definitions surrounding human dignity have been around almost as long as mankind’s abuses of that dignity. Dignity is a social term – a societal definition. You are treated with or without dignity only in relation to how others in society are treated. If you are enslaved your dignity is measured against those that are free. If you have no access to clean water, food, shelter, health care etc. your dignity in your society is measure against those that do have access to those items. If you were a solitary individual on an island the concept of dignity is meaningless, as there is no one else to treat you with or without dignity, its meaning and your relative standing being solely derived from the society in which you are embedded. Organizations are nothing more than encapsulated mini-societies.

From an organizational measurement and performance perspective that is where the concept of dignity gets interesting. People in organizations are rarely if ever treated the same. And it would be easy to argue that some of the differences are there for motivational purposes, to give people something to strive for – more money, a promotion, access to training and developmental experiences. As a relational variable when you ask someone “are you treated with respect and dignity” their response is in relation to how they see others being treated both within and external (those referent points can be teased out) to the organization. And across a large number of people you will in all likelihood receive a range of responses, if the question is asked the right way and your scale is sensitive. You can take that range of responses and throw them against absolute business metrics such as turnover, customer satisfaction (depending on how measured can be relative or absolute), sales success etc. to determine which of the metrics are impacted by the relative treatment of people. And inferentially within your organization you can determine which specific policies, practices and processes are enhancing people’s sense of dignity, which are decreasing it and which simply have no bearing on the matter. And ultimately you can determine how to best impact people’s sense of being treated with respect and dignity, a human fundamental, and the financial benefit or cost of doing so.

Note: New blog postings from me have been few and far between this year. The reason is that I have been writing a book, co-authored with Scott Brooks, titled “Creating the Vital Organization; Balancing Short-term Profits with Long-term Success.” It is due out in mid-2016 by Palgrave.

[i] 2015, Barak, A. Human Dignity: The Constitutional Value and the Constitutional Right, Cambridge Press.

[ii] Soka Gakki International website. 12/09/2015,

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

December 9, 2015 at 11:53 am

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