Susan & Renée
Righting the Balance Between Employees and Company
In our discussion about responding to the unique needs of employees, we’ve discussed the importance of also keeping the company’s needs in mind.
There is a spectrum from being too lenient with enforcement of company policies to being too rigid. When in either extreme of the spectrum, everyone ultimately loses.
As we discussed last week, finding that sweet spot first involves assessing if there is an imbalance. Today, we share some thoughts that can help as you take steps to honor both the unique needs of individual employees and the needs of the company more equitably.
Recognize the value of flexibility to employees. While not every business can offer unlimited PTO or function without on-site workers, a bit of creative thinking may reveal more options than you would initially think possible. More and more employees are demanding flexible working arrangements and being able to provide this helps you retain dedicated staff.
Be firm on company goals. Even in the most flexible workplace, there will need to be some sort of structure. Maintaining a focus on goals and the milestones for achieving them provides a strong anchor from which to decide how much and what kind of flexibility you can allow. Be sure this focus permeates to all levels of the company so that employees can be on the same page with leadership.
Be flexible within limits. Try to avoid all or nothing thinking and look for compromises. For example, you could establish a policy that allocates employees a certain number of schedule change requests during a specified time period. This reminds everyone that both the employees and the business have needs.
Be clear when you decide to deviate from policy. When making an exception to standard procedure, make sure all relevant parties understand it is an anomaly and explain the reasoning for the change. The intention here is not to make people feel bad or guilty for having unique needs but to remind employees that you must consider the company’s needs, too.
Review policies periodically to ensure that they still make sense. You may discover that your policies aren’t enforceable because they no longer speak to the company’s current reality. Make modifications as needed and communicate those changes to staff.
Communicate about any changes. If the policies are good but just need enforcing, be sure to communicate extensively to staff about what will be changing. In this way, you can help them adjust their expectations. Review the policy, explain when and how enforcement will begin, and the reasons why. When employees see the big picture and understand how lax enforcement jeopardizes the company, they are better able to adjust to these changes with a cooperative attitude.
Consider the cultural context. Sometimes leaders fear that making changes will negatively impact staff morale and the overall culture of the organization. When this is likely, we recommend enlisting outside support to help reshape expectations while holding to company values.
At G2 Solutions, our goal is to help leaders create a workplace where both the company and employees thrive. If you’d like some help in making this happen in your business, contact us for a free consultation.