Friday, April 26, 2013

Life is not fair, but can work be?

Welcome to being an adult- you go to work day in and day out. You follow the rules, procedures, standard protocol, you play nice, you “play the game”- you do what you do because it’s what you're supposed to do. It’s the old adage “treat others the way you want to be treated” in adult form, with the hope that if you do what your told, bosses will do what the employee handbook says they are supposed to do (promote you, give you a raise, treat you with respect, etc.)

But what happens when that doesn’t work out? You reach for that next level and you get denied. Suddenly, you’re being told that you’re not ready or that you have a lot left to learn or that the next step isn’t something that is for you. It all seems so unfair.

But can organizations truly be fair? And who determines whether or not something is fair anyhow? These are the real questions. These are questions that need to be answered by leadership. And leadership needs to understand the impact that these decisions have on work culture.

Often times, through organizational growth, leadership loses sight of what drives the company and what moves the employees. They forget to tend to the work culture that initially allowed them to further their own mission and objectives in the first place. As more and more people join the mix, the culture becomes diluted if policies are not put into place to ensure its cultivation. Culture is not "what we do," rather it's "why we do it."

Leaders- take the time to understand why you have created the policies that you have created. Do they further your mission? Do they allow you to stay true to your core values? Do they allow for productivity? Are they sustainable? Do they drive your work culture? If you cannot answer these questions with a YES, then perhaps it's time to go back to the drawing board.

It's OK to craft new policies that motivate people and ensure success. If a policy isn't working out- throw it out! Explain to your employees WHY your policies exist in the first place. Make sure that employees are aware of your company values, where it is headed, and what is necessary to move up.

Life may not be fair, but work can certainly make an attempt.

By Kristen Keyes

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