I’ll let you in on a little secret.
To keep great employees, all you really need to do is … stop creating stupid company rules, AND treat people like professionals!
Yep, sometimes it’s that simple.
A lot of companies, however, create rule-driven cultures that give executives and management a sense of control but crush creativity, enthusiasm and passion, and send the best employees packing.
Sure, you need rules. But you don’t need dumb rules.
How do you know what’s dumb?
Ask who it’s directed at?
If its aim is to control a few bad apples, but the entire company is made to suffer, it’s a dumb rule.
And then, of course, there are those holdover rules from the “Mad Men” era. Those are doozies, too!
Here are nine rules you need to seriously reconsider:
1) Strict Dress Code Policies
If you hire professionals, there’s no need for a formal strict dress code. Most adults are more than capable of dressing appropriately for work.
However, if someone does wear something questionable, the person’s manager needs to address the issue one-on-one immediately. You don’t need to drag the whole company through the wringer.
2) Dictator-Like Attendance Policies
This type of policy sends one message to your employees: “We don’t trust you!” And why would you hire someone you don’t trust?
Salaried professionals shouldn’t have their comings and goings hawked. They’re salaried which means you are paying them for their work, not the time they are sitting at their desk.
Chances are, if they leave early one day, they’ll stay late another day or worked on the weekend. Professionals know what they need to do to get their jobs done, and they do it.
If someone is consistently taking advantage of the company by not showing up, it’s extremely likely they’re failing in other aspects of their job too and need to be cut loose.
3) Barbaric Time-Off Rules
If there’s any company that still requires a doctor’s note when employees miss more than one day of work from being sick, it needs to be shut down.
Employees are adults, not children missing school. You should encourage them to stay home until they feel better and aren’t contagious.
As for personal days, employees have every right to use them for whatever purpose. Some companies stipulate what you can use a personal day for, and some employees feel they must lie about why they’re taking one.
Smart companies lump personal, sick and vacation time into one category – paid time off – for their employees to use as they see fit.
Requiring any kind of documentation for sick, personal or bereavement days again sends the message you don’t trust your employees. Treat them with respect and in turn, they will work hard for you.
4) Six Months Before You Can Get Promoted Rule
Here’s an oldie, but certainly not a goodie! The six-month rule dictates employees must be in their positions for six months before they can be promoted or transferred.
What’s so magical about six months?
This rule hurts companies. If someone is in a position he or she isn’t good at, why prolong the agony. Move the person to a more suitable job.
The opposite is also true. If someone excels and there’s an opportunity for a promotion, why wait?
In today’s world, people won’t wait. If a better opportunity presents itself, they’ll jump ship in a heartbeat.
5) Stringent Bathroom Breaks Rule
Really? This rule is totally barbaric. If someone needs to use the facilities, why would you stop them? It doesn’t matter how many times they need to take the trip. You don’t know what’s going on inside their bodies.
6) Restricting Internet Use
If internet use is severely restricted, good luck enforcing the policy because everyone in the office will break it, including the people who created it.
Sure, there are the obvious restrictions, like pornography sites. But so many people need to use the internet to do their jobs, the line gets fuzzy after the obvious restrictions.
For example, restricting social media is a problem because human resource professionals use it to vet possible interview candidates, and many companies monitor chatter to make sure any negative press is taken care of right away. So, what can you do?
Hire professionals and trust them to do their jobs. And if there is an infraction of a policy, handle it on a one-on-one basis right away.
7) Banning/Restricting Mobile Phone Use
You have got to be kidding me. This is next to impossible, so don’t waste time or resources trying to uphold it.
Asking employees to be courteous about their cell phone use is one thing, forbidding them to take personal calls is another.
However, if you have a select few who are constantly on their phones, that’s a different issue. You have every right to call them on it.
8) Crushing Self-Expression
Believe it or not, some companies restrict what people can have at or on their desks, like water bottles, plants, photos, etc.
This is ridiculous when you consider a lot of people spend more time in their office/cube during the work week than they do in their houses.
Allow them to have things that make them smile and create a homey atmosphere. They’ll be happier and more productive because of it.
9) Idiotic Frequent-Flyer Mile Rules
First, this makes your company look like Scrooge. It’s bad for your image, recruiting and a hassle to monitor. And does it really save the company money?
Let’s look at the frequent-flier mileage issue from the other side.
When employees travel for work, they disrupt their personal lives. The company wasn’t inconvenienced.
Especially, with all the security restrictions at airports, think how much time employees lose.
Look at it as a no-cost reward for their sacrifices – a morale booster.
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Have you ever experience any company rules you think are ludicrous? If so, share them in the comment box below.
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