HR Management, Talent Management

Be Honest — Are You Really, Truly an Employee-Friendly Company?

social-media-policy rules list do's and don'ts

If you were to ask any HR Pro or executive from any company if they were “employee friendly,” I can guarantee you that 100 percent 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.

A few not-so-employee friendly policies

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!“).
  • Or the policy that forces someone traveling for the day to come into the office if they get back before 5 pm, even thought they left on a Sunday to get to the client location.
  • Or 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.
  • Or the policy requiring you to “sign out” a laptop to take home to do work at home.
  • Or the policy requiring a doctor’s note when you stay home sick (just what our health care 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 ensure the employer is protected, first and foremost.

Real employee-friendly companies have very few policies

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 codes? Companies don’t stop being companies when they start writing employment policies.

Employee friendly companies usually have one very common thing — they have few policies.

They treat people like adults. They do what’s best for all stakeholders, employees, shareholders and customers. And, they don’t put up with idiots who try to take advantage of your awesome employee-friendly policies!

That’s the real issue, right? We have policies because of 5 percent of the people.

Hey, one time we had this guy and he 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!

Are unions to blame for unfriendly rules?

If you manage  the “exception” through a policy, you’re really good at bad HR and 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 judgment 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.”

Well, Mr. Smith stayed home because of bad road conditions 27 times in the past three months.

So, are you employee friendly?

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community – so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.