Would You Enforce Workplace Policy If You Had to Follow Them?

Enforcing Workplace Fair Policies

If you’ve been in Human Resources long enough you have likely found yourself shaking your head at the stunning lack of compassion coming from those around us.  And I’m not necessarily talking about your business line manager that wants to give everyone a 1% raise…we’ve seen the penny rich pound poor HR people to.

You know what I’m talking about: the people who are concerned about enforcing workplace policy such as someone getting two extra hours of vacation or god forbid someone working 39.75 hours last week instead of the full 40….it only goes downhill from there.

I think this happens because we spend a lot of our time dealing with negatives: bad performance, bad management, and everyday trivial crap that it colors our view of everyone in the organization.  Some days it’s really easy to fall into the mindset that everyone is out to take advantage of the company’s goodwill.  I understand this because I’ve been there too. 

Put yourself in your employee’s shoes.

Maybe it’s the great employee who can’t get promoted because they don’t have a college degree.  Or perhaps it’s the employee with a sick parent who has had to take unpaid time off for the last 6 months because their two weeks of vacation and sick time ran out in March.

When did we decide to enforce workplace policy such as no more than 2 weeks of vacation and sick pay for hourly employees, what are we really thinking? Have we really even thought about what it would be like to only have 10 days off a year? Would you enforce workplace policy if you had to abide by them?

Or how about the stellar employee who can’t move ahead because they don’t have a college degree? What is driving the requirement for a college degree? Is it a requirement of the field (engineering or accounting) or is it because a bureaucrat somewhere declared that any position above a certain grade must have a college degree?

When we agree that a three day funeral leave policy is acceptable have we thought about the anguish of losing a loved one? Would you be ready to go back to work in three days?

Think about it.

I’m not advocating for any one policy or rule for your unique organization, but I am asking you to stop for a minute and think about your employees. Is that enforcing workplace policy necessary in all circumstances? Has it ever been enforced? Is it relevant to your workforce today or is it a relic from 1985? How would you feel if you had to abide by that rule?

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Melissa Fairman

Melissa Fairman is the author of the blog HR Remix and has five years experience working in HR. She's super awesome and has an MBA with an HR concentration from Baldwin Wallace College and a PHR certification from the HRCI institute. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter at @HRRemix.


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