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This blog was originally posted by Melissa Fairman on the Peformance I Create blog. Twice a month Blogging4Jobs will feature a guest post from the up-and-coming multi-contributor blog, Performance I Create.
One of the thornier issues in HR is trying to develop policies for employee populations we aren’t part of such as hourly non-exempt workers or sales people. Ideally we work directly with the business line to understand the needs of the business and the type of employees working in that business.
When I’m working in this space I try to think about how I would feel complying with this particular policy. Would I think this is a fair way to treat someone?
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Typically this serves me well but recently I realized I should be careful about looking at things through my own perspective. As HR professionals and leaders we may think a policy or program is a great idea because we are thinking about it through the lens of our life and our experience.
How about these scenarios?
“I can’t imagine needing more than two weeks of vacation in a year…that’s how it was when I started working. Let’s leave it the way it is, they will get more vacation when they have been here for five years.”
“Why do we need to offer paternity leave? My husband was back in the office two days after our son was born.”
“Why do we need flexible scheduling? I don’t understand people that can’t work between 8 and 5. Those are standard business hours! (Said by someone who was a manager overseeing a team who worked on projects not tied to core business hours).
The above are examples of letting your own life experience dictate a policy. Holding to a policy because “that’s the way things were done in my time” is not inclusive and doesn’t take into account the very different world we are living in. Instead, take a look at your employees, get to know them and maybe you will see the situation differently. Take a minute and realize this could be your employees (or prospective candidates) speaking:
“I would love to accept the job offer but two weeks of vacation isn’t enough. I have kids and aging parents I need to take care of. I have 10 years of experience and they can’t even give me an extra week of vacation?”
“I’m excited to become a Dad and can’t wait to spend a lot of time with my son when he comes home from the hospital. I’m really happy to work for a company that understand and values families. “
“When my father became ill and had to receive weekly dialysis treatments my manager completely understood and has worked with me and my team members so I can leave early on the days he needs dialysis.”
What do you think the employees at your company would say?