A Process for Satisfactory Resolution
Several weeks after I said farewell to a previous employer, I received a thick packet in the mail from corporate headquarters. It was the new and improved Employee Dispute Resolution Process, and a copy had been sent to all 120,000 employees. I pictured a committee of HR folks, legal advisors, and Quality Assurance Enforcers, meeting weekly in a stuffy conference room for six or seven months to define the Dispute Resolution Process. They spent the first two months in heated debate, trying to define what they were trying to define. There were Gantt charts, multiple peer reviews, requirements tracking, and metrics collection (how many typos per lines of text per document page?). Meeting minutes were typed up and archived. Everything strictly adhered to Six Sigma standards--they were, after all, designing a capital-P Process.
Rather than tossing the packet into the recycling bin, I flipped through it. I'm glad I did, because I may have otherwise missed the awesome "flow chart" of the Employee Dispute Resolution Process. It begins, simply enough, with "Start," and ends at "Satisfactory Resolution" (the committee members were all optimists). Between Start and Resolution, the hapless Employee with Dispute must navigate a nightmarish process of paperwork, interviews, committee reviews, mediation, and so on. In fact, the "flow chart" is a (nearly) fully-connected graph.
I updated the flow chart to reflect my own path through the Process, from Start to Resolution. It's a bit shorter, and I find the outcome really satisfactory. And let's be honest here: you can throw however many dollars at a quality control methodology, but your company--and your products--will still suck.