My boss is very religious and keeps many graphic religious artifacts in her office. We often use her office for meetings with potential clients, as it is the only conference space in our building. I have seen the look on people’s faces when they walk in; they appear uncomfortable and eager to get out. I think her taste in “art” is hurting business. I have mentioned it to her, but she doesn’t think her artwork is offensive. I know she has the right to decorate her office any way she wants, but I work on commission and it’s costing me money. Any suggestions?
A.You’ve told your boss what you think, and she disagrees with you. The fact is, you don’t really know that your clients are offended. You’re simply making that assumption based on their facial expressions. But what they think matters and the best way to find out is to ask them. I’m a big fan of “satisfaction surveys”. In addition to standard questions about staff courtesy, etc., ask questions that may solicit feedback on the art, such as “How would you rate our office and décor in terms of comfort and attractiveness?” If you are correct and the surveys indicate that potential customers are put off by your boss’s religious displays, and she chooses to ignore that information, you will need to decide if the impact on your commission is so great that you need to look for a position elsewhere. In the meantime, why not meet with the clients off-site, either at their offices or at a nice restaurant? It may be simplest solution to a sticky situation.