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Winter Artifacts

Artifact Seven

Bloch, J.  (2019, January 23).  Create a survey assignment.  [Electronic  document].

MSC 483-6: Using data to make informed decisions was to one of the most challenging classes for me.  I do not pride myself on being a numbers person and I found some of the topics difficult to wrap my head around.  However, as is often the case, the things that are most challenging are the most rewarding. For one assignment we had to create a survey and then write a one page paper describing the context of the survey.  In my previous role, I came up with the idea to implement an employee experience survey, to get a broad level sense of the employee happiness. I read a book, called the Human Sigma and it had an example of a survey to use to do so.  While I had already implemented the survey, I thought it was a great example to use for this assignment so that I could get feedback on this survey I had put into use in the workplace. The feedback was positive and reviewing the context of the implementation made me feel secure in the work I had done at my previous job.   

Screen capture of the assignment

Survey link and my one-page paper:


Survey instructions to employees:

For those in the company that have email addresses, the survey will be sent to those email addresses from a benign email address communications@vaneerden.com. For those who do not have email addresses, including many warehouse employees, the surveys will be placed in the breakroom of the warehouse along with a locked ballot box for them to be dropped into and a sign on it asking for the participation of employees. Most employees receive direct deposit with statement electronically so providing in a paycheck for example, would not be effective. As the survey is to remain anonymous, with the goal of having more employees participate, we will not be providing incentive for respondents beyond the chance to have their opinion “heard.” An employee survey has never been done at VE before, so we are hoping that them reading and feeling that the company is making a cultural change to ask employees their opinions will be enough as an incentive.  Outside of leaving gift cards in the breakroom for people to take it would be difficult to provide an incentive while keeping anonymity. The survey will be given on a Wednesday as the beginning and end of the week many of our employees are more busy than in the middle. It will be open for ten days in an effort to get to as many employees to respond, as some employees work part-time, only on weekends for example give all employees time to participate. A reminder email and post in the breakroom will be administered after seven days.

The survey that is accessed through the link above was created as an exploratory survey to assess the employee experience at Van Eerden Foodservice (VE), a family-owned broadline food distribution company consisting of 200 employees including office employees as well as warehouse and transportation employees. The primary question we are trying to answer by conducting this survey is: How well are we as a company reaching the emotional requirements of employees how well are we engaging with employees on an emotional level? This survey is the beginning of a greater company-wide initiative to maximize the success of employees and explore the areas that need the most attention. It was taken from Human Sigma, Managing the Employee Customer Encounter (Asplund, J. & Felming, J. H., 2007). After lots of research and now learning about surveys in this course, I feel that this survey is the best possible way to begin to answer our research question.

Because of the variety of employees we have working at Van Eerden, the survey, which is self-administered, consisting of all interval questions, will use multiple administration techniques with the goal of getting as many respondents as possible. The population is all VE employees. Van Eerden should use the data provided from the survey to choose the areas to focus on for further research and for more specific surveying methods including panel discussions and one-on-one conversations. For example, if question 11 comes back and the median response scales low then we know this is an area to focus on. This would be manifested by conducting further research including more narrow groups and open-ended surveys, discussion and panel conversations.

Artifact Eight

Bloch, J.  (2019, February 6).  Big Data Memo.  [Memorandum]. 

This artifact is a an executive memo that I had to create for MSC 483-6: Using Data to make informed decisions.  I completed this memo in the middle of the course in Winter 2019. Have worked in small companies, often running my own business, I have never had to write a formal memo in my professional career.  Just to figure out the right formatting to do so required a lot of research. For the content of the memo, the writer had to convince the CEO of the company we worked for to higher a big data analyst.  Very difficult for me as I tend to be a long winded writer with a very conversational style rather than the more succinct, clear-cut style that represents the style of many professional memos. The grade for my submission was not fantastic, however the commentary was extremely helpful for me in improving my memo when we had the opportunity to redo it at the end of the course.  After going through that exercise, I am prepared and confident that I can compose an elegant and succinct memo moving forward. 

Artifact Nine

Bloch, J.  (2019, March 12).  Exercise H-More than a mammogram. [Infographic].  Retrieved from https://canvas.northwestern.edu/courses/85136/discussion_topics/535960

In our Information Design course, in the Winter of 2019, we had the opportunity to create many charts and infographics and besides submitting them to the professor, we were able to post a lot of creations for group feedback and comments.  Exercise H was a re-design of Exercise E, an infographic displaying data on mammograms and breast cancer rates. Creating this infographic was very personal to me as my Mother had breast cancer as did my Grandmother and my Aunt. I actually go to a high-risk breast cancer clinic because of my family history.  As our history and experiences come through in how we approach the work we do, I approached the assignment from the perspective of not just relying on mammograms but also that you have to know your family history and how to do a self breast exam, as that is how a lot of cases of breast cancer can be caught. I gravitated towards pink as that is the color associated with breast cancer awareness.  I actually went to the breast cancer awareness site and used the pantone colors that they use. I received feedback that the professor was not a huge fan of the sans serif font that I chose to use as it seemed “antiseptic” on the light pink font. In retrospect I do not disagree. Whenever I am working to design something, I always ask for feedback from others, usually a graphic designer, as what I see in the middle of a design may not appear as I first perceived it.  Before posting this exercise I did not ask for feedback from anyone, rather the feedback came as part of the discussion after the fact. As receiving that feedback shows, in my career, it is important to get feedback from others as they will likely catch things that I did not see.     

My discussion post to go along with the graphic:

I am actually very glad we had the opportunity to redesign Exercise E, as looking back at mine, I was surprised I even posted it as is!  The fonts were all over the place and to me, aiming to go for the pink associated with breast cancer awareness, I missed the mark. This time, I got the proper hex color for the signature pink(s) from breastcancer.org and used these as the two pinks in my updated graphic.  I made the lighter of the two signature pinks, more transparent in the background of the gray body text to let the text stand out. I chose a sans serif font for the main text and slightly more decorative font for the header. While I realize the two fonts are not a dramatic departure from each other, I believe the header text is a slab serif, I wanted them both to be easy to read and also bold to go along with the message I am communicating.

Artifact Ten

Bloch, J.  (2019, March).  People Love Beer.  [Infographic].

Towards the end of MSC 537-6, we had to create an infographic that displayed the knowledge we have learned throughout the course including color selection and visually displaying data.  I used a data set that I had previously worked with, that showed the brewery count in the United States from 1984 until 2019. I love beer and I think in general it is a fun topic so I wanted to make a playful graphic.  I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to design, especially with spacing, so I spent many hours trying to find the right design and then many more hours trying to get the beer mug icons to fit on the shelves-and the spacing still isn’t perfect.  While it was an extremely time consuming exercise, I really enjoyed doing it. It made me want to design more and also learn how to better use the adobe creative cloud programs, as I think if I was able to use those instead of Canva, I would have saved myself a lot of hours and frustration.  Part of going through this program is learning more about our strengths and weaknesses and graphic design is definitely an area that I continue to feel I have strength in and this class reminded me that it is important for me to pursue a career that involves working with design. 

Artifact Eleven

Bloch, J.  (2019, March 20).  Final project MSC 537-6. [PDF].  

The final project for fourth class of the program, MSC 537-6:  Information Design, was due towards the end of March. The assignment was Visual identity for the Some Good Humans brand.  Brand that I created for my capstone project. Shows how culmination of coursework to lead up to our capstone and how we can build upon skills and also have our assignments be ones very personal and useful to us.  Used Canva, which is a tool I had never heard about prior to the course. Being introduced to Canva has forever changed the way I am going to work. I have since purchased the lowest level subscription so that I can add fonts and save custom brand colors.  As someone who does a lot of work with visual branding, I can now use Canva where I would have had to hire a designer before.