I became an HR person in 1984, when many of my readers had not been born yet. I was happy to be able to set my company apart from the other employers in Chicago by killing off stupid, outdated rules and policies.
Getting rid of pointless and insulting HR practices made it easier for my company to hire and hang onto tremendous employees, many of whom are still my homies today.
That was over thirty years ago, but lots of organizations are still following the same archaic rules we abolished in 1984. They don’t realize that every policy they shove down their employees’ throats is another reason for a talented person to leave them and work for a more deserving organization.
Here are ten policies that every employer should get off its books before the champagne corks fly on January 1, 2017.
These policies should have disappeared long ago — so if your company is still following them, now is the perfect time to step into the modern age by killing them off!
Ten Obnoxious Company Rules To Kill In 2017
- Get rid of any rule that links time off from work with a disciplinary infraction. If an employee needs time off to deal with a personal issue (a kid’s illness, a court date, a plumber’s visit, an automotive repair, etc.) and they don’t have available paid time off to cover the absence, then don’t pay them — but don’t put a black mark in their personnel file! You hire adults. Don’t treat them like children.
- Kill the policy that requires an employee who wants to apply for an internal transfer to get their manager’s permission first. You can’t stop your employees from applying for jobs with your competitors. If you make it hard for employees to transfer internally, they’ll take the path of least resistance and leave your company altogether.
- Get rid of any policy that stacks or ranks your employees against one another. Vile and pointless stack-ranking programs are ineffective, expensive and trust-killing atrocities.
- Nuke the policy that requires employees to bring in a funeral notice to prove that a family member died, just to collect a few days’ bereavement pay. If you can’t trust your employees at a time like that, when would you ever trust them?
5. Lose the painfully-detailed dress code policy that talks down to your employees with stitch-level instructions on what to wear to work. Instead, simply tell them “Dress appropriately for a business office, and err on the side of caution.” No matter how elaborate the dress code policy you write, your managers are still going to have to talk with employees about their wardrobe choices from time to time. That’s part of a manager’s job. Don’t insult all of your employees just to try (fruitlessly) to avoid a few awkward conversations!
6. Get rid of the policy that lets salaried employees stay at work finishing projects until seven or eight o’clock at night without compensation or thanks but gives them a demerit if they walk into work five minutes late in the morning.
7. Kill the policy that prohibits your managers from giving glowing references to great employees once they’ve moved on. These horrendous policies assume that your managers are too stupid to give a reference without sliming a former employee and thereby exposing your company to a defamation charge. Are your managers that stupid? If so, how stupid are you for hiring them?
8. Abolish the policy that bases an employee’s annual salary increase on any factor apart from the employee’s market value. Across-the-board pay increase policies tell your employees “We’re giving you all two percent raises this year — if you can get more from somebody else, you’d be foolish not to go get it!” The best employees will do so — after all, isn’t it every employee’s right and obligation to get paid what they’re worth?
9. Lose the policy that doesn’t count or value work that doesn’t happen in your facility. It’s almost 2017, and smart employers embraced flextime and the ability to work from home long ago. So should you!
10. Finally, go through your policy manual and your employee handbook and get rid of every policy that treats your employees like potential criminals — the way a depressing number of traditional company policies do. You and your employees are on the same side – there’s no “us” versus “them.”
If there is an “us” and a “them” in your company, your culture is broken! All the energy you might spend protecting your company against your own employees is energy that should go to serving your customers, delighting your shareholders and making your organization an amazing, vibrant, human place to work.
It’s a new day. Step into the new year with a slimmed-down policy manual that reflects your trust in yourself and your awesome, brilliant teammates!
Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author ofReinvention Roadmap.