Stop Fixing The Leaks – Write Foundational Policy

Hancock Bank Bldg, Beach Blvd, Biloxi, during demolition

I recently read this post from Dawn Hrdlica-Burke. In her very cool job at Daxko, she has the opportunity to set policy, and in her post she proudly presents their thirty-eight word social media policy.
It’s a policy admirable not just for it’s brevity, but for its basis in principle. If you work at Daxko, you are assumed to be smart enough to get this policy.
I love that. Do what makes sense. Be smart. Use your head.
How many times does HR get involved in managing an employee issue that came from a possible policy violation? The employee (or his representative) states that his specific action wasn’t covered by the policy. It turns out sometimes that we have defined policies in terms of exceptions. And some employees look for the leaks. When this happens, it tells you two things:

  1.  The offending employee is not a part of the business. They see themselves as an independent contractor.
  2. Your policy is designed to prevent bad behavior, not to promote good behavior. Respectful behavior. Accountable behavior.

Sometimes the right call is to stop fixing the leaks to the roof, and build a stronger foundation for allowing employees to do their work.

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While on the topic of policy, I am interested in the emerging technology question about employees with device preferences who “Bring their own device” to work. This interesting survey over at Software Advice on that topic may help you think about your policy in this emerging area. I urge you to take a few minutes to go there and contribute to the input.

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