Mayflower at 50
And by Mayflower, I don’t mean the ship that carried the Pilgrims to the New World. I mean Mayflower Group, the organization that has enabled large, global blue-chip companies to collect high-quality benchmark data for use in employee listening programs. Mayflower Group members and alums met recently to celebrate 50 years of data sharing, benchmarking, and professional development at the place where it all began, the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC (hence the name of the group).
Fifty years is extraordinary for any group or company to remain in existence, but particularly one that is entirely volunteer-led. Mayflower has no paid staff, so the work of writing benchmark questions, managing the database and planning meetings, among many other tasks, falls to dedicated volunteers who already have day jobs, but see enormous value in not only the benchmark data generated by the Group as well as the opportunity for professional networking.
I am a proud alum of Mayflower and served the Group in multiple ways. I was the Mayflower representative from two of the companies I worked for, IBM and Eastman Kodak. I also had the opportunity to attend meetings to represent the organization that served as the clearinghouse for data submissions and reporting to members. My time with the group ultimately spanned close to 15 years.
Why would a company choose to join Mayflower? Many reasons, but primarily to gain access to high-quality external benchmark data for employee listening. Because the Group includes so many global companies, the data are available by country and region, not to mention many other demographic cuts. The benchmarking data illuminates cultural differences between parts of the world, tracks long-term trends for key metrics, and serves as the data that drives research into the employee experience.
But beyond that is the ability to establish a professional network of experts that work in employee listening and people analytics. Members provide insights into their organization’s listening strategy, people analytics practices and a host of other HR topics. How have other companies retooled performance management? What are best practices for retaining IT staff? What is the latest in thinking regarding DEIB? Members describe a safe space where these and other issues can be discussed, debated and shared. LeClaire Hammerle, current chairperson of Mayflower Group says, “Mayflower members trust each other with sensitive information, both survey data and company practices. We can share openly because there is a high level of trust among the members.”
Needless to say, it was wonderful to reconnect with current members and alums, many of whom have become my friends. I have learned from all of them, and I aspire to being someone they can learn from as well. Their insights have influenced my recommendations to my internal and external clients, my philosophy on the value of employee listening and people analytics, and what I know about HR more broadly.
Here's to 50 more years of insights, fellowship, and friendship. Congratulations to you, Mayflower Group.