If you were to ask any HR Pro or Executive from any company if they were ’employee friendly’ I can guarantee you 100% of the time, their answer would be ‘Yes’!
But are you really?
I’m sure you would point to your some of your policies to demonstrate to me how employee friendly you are. You would show me your policy on flexible work arrangements or your personal time off (PTO) policy, maybe even your anniversary policy. These would prove to me that your truly are employee friendly.
What I wouldn’t see would be policies that aren’t so employee friendly. Like the policy of only allowing lunch to be reimbursed when traveling if you were with a client (you have to eat lunch when you’re in the office and we don’t pay, this is no different!). The policy that forces someone traveling for the day to come into the office if they get back before 5pm, even thought they left on a Sunday to get to the client location. The policy that forces you to use your PTO when you decide to stay home during a snow storm, instead of trying to make it in to work in dangerous driving conditions. The policy requiring you to ‘sign out’ a laptop to take home to do work at home. The policy requiring a ‘doctor’s note’ when you stay home sick (just what our healthcare system needs, employees coming in with colds).
The reality is, most policies are written in the best interest of the employer. It’s the employer who writes them, so we can assume that they’ll weighted to ensuring the employer is protected, first and foremost. Put it this way, we have way too much tax policy/code in our country. Do you think that is in place to protect you, the individual, or the government and/or the companies that pay billions of dollars to lobby for company friendly tax code? Companies don’t top being companies when they start writing employment policies.
Employee friendly companies usually have one very common thing — they have few policies. Treat people like adults. Do what’s best for all stake holders, employees, shareholders and customers. Don’t put up with idiots who try and take advantage of your awesome employee friendly policies! That’s the real issue, right? We have policies because of the 5%. Hey, one time we had this guy and stole a laptop he used to take home for work. So, now we have a policy to make sure that never happens again. If we told people they would get paid if they stayed home when it snowed, people would stay home when there was 1 inch!
If you manage ‘the exception’ through policy, you’re really good at bad HR. You are not employee friendly. I blame unions for most unfriendly employee policies, because unions will take everything to the letter of anything written (and I like to blame unions for the downfall of American manufacturing, the economy and Santa Claus not bringing me presents once I turned 13). Common sense is thrown out the door. You said in paragraph two that employees should use their judgement when coming in if they feel road conditions are dangerous, and Mr. Smith felt like 1 inch of snow is dangerous, so you can’t fire him and you have to pay him. Mr. Smith stayed home because of bad road conditions 27 times in the past 3 months.
So, are you employee friendly?
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I could not agree with you more on this point: employee-friendly companies don’t have better policies, they have fewer policies. I work at a relatively small company that’s in the business of being employee-friendly. Not only does the lack of Policies lead to higher employee engagement, but in my view, it tends to produce more empowered employees who are more likely to do the right thing. Naturally, I can’t speak for every company or employee base, but having come from a larger, policy-happy company, I’m not sure if I could go back to an environment like that. And I don’t think that’s the future.
I would be very interested to hear more about the effects of Policies on employee engagement and happiness! If you know of any studies, LMK…thanks! 🙂
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