I love Fast Company – if I could only read one magazine ever – it would be FC. If I could read two – I would re-read Fast Company. Article for article the best publication on the market. (Editor note: Fast Company, please send the check care of The Tim Sackett Project)
Recently, FC had an article about the expectations you put on your employees, after hours: “It’s 10 pm, Do you know where your employees are? 4 Steps to set after-hour “work” expectations.” From the article:
“Leaders fail to clarify their personal preferences for staying connected to work with technology, and don’t share their expectations of the responsiveness with their direct reports. This leads to misguided assumptions that can wreak havoc on the work/life balance of their employees. And most leaders have no idea any of this is happening.”
1. Recognize that you have to initiate the conversation with your direct reports.
2. Decide what you really expect in terms of response and connection.
3. Have a meeting, state the parameters clearly, and then be consistent.
4. Finally, keep the lines of communication open and encourage ongoing clarification.
So, what is the big dilemma about setting after-hour work expectations? It invades upon our personal life, right!? Wrong! Here’s the deal – if you want work-life balance, you need to have balance both ways. That means, taking a phone call from the boss or the client at 9pm on a Wednesday, or finishing a project on Saturday afternoon, etc. But you should also be able to negotiate what “normally” will look like (knowing we all have exceptions that will crop up from time to time).
Here’s are the expectations I’ve set with my team:
1. If you are a Director or above:
A. If I call you after-hours, you pick up the phone – or call back within 10-15 minutes – or I read that you’re dead in the morning paper. (I rarely call my direct reports after-hours, so if I do, it’s important, you can step out of your son’s basketball game for 5 minutes and take my call)
B. I don’t make you work nights or weekends – but if you have to for some reason – don’t tell me you did it, like you just cured cancer – you didn’t, you did your job.
C. Let me when a client is upset, no matter what time it is, if I’m on vacation, if I’m at a funeral, my son’s wedding, meeting with Obama – I need to know – now!
A. If I call you after-hours, you pick up the phone – or call back within 10-15 minutes – or I read that you’re dead in the morning paper. (see the trend yet?)
B. If recruiters are always staying later than you are staying – eventually I’ll pick one of them to be manager. You don’t have to stay late every night, but don’t be the first out the door everyday.
A. If I call you after-hours, you pick up the phone – or call back within 10-15 minutes – or I read that you’re dead in the morning paper. (I think we are clear on this)
B. Unfortunately, recruiting isn’t a 9-to-5, Monday thru Friday job. Well, at least for recruiters who are actually good. Doesn’t matter if your agency or corporate – the best connect with talent on nights and weekends, especially to close deals. There is an expectation you will do this.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just be straightforward about it and set the proper expectations that “you” have – not organizational expectations – many times those don’t align – have enough self-insight to know what you need from your team – you’ll be happier, and they’ll be happier.
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