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Vital Signs

Have you taken your business pulse lately?

Shhhhhh! listen closely to your employees, and you may hear the pulse of your business beating loudly in your ears. A new system similar in theory to the pulse of the human body has found its way into the business world, identifying unusual rhythms and healthy signs in today's companies.

The system is used mostly by companies that are experiencing fast growth or major changes and are concerned about the impact on their employees, says Theresa Welbourne, CEO of Valour Inc., the Ithaca, New York, company offering the service. Every Friday, companies' employees are asked one question via e-mail that's devised to gauge the pace at which people are working, their efficiency rate and their job satisfaction level. The confidential responses are used to obtain a "pulse" for the business. A rating in the "at rest zone" (0.5-2.4), for instance, means employees are bored with their jobs and aren't performing well. Companies in the "aerobic zone" (2.5-7.5) have workers who feel busy yet efficient, while an appearance in the "anaerobic zone" (7.6-10) means employees are working too hard and may soon reach the burnout stage.

"We offer information on the hot issues companies need to address that employees may not feel comfortable bringing up," Welbourne says.

In reality, the idea behind the pulse system isn't new. It's based on a time-honored concept: listening to your employees. Ultimately, it will help keep your business as steady as a beating heart.

Contact Source

Valour Inc., (607) 272-2977,

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This article was originally published in the July 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Vital Signs.

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