I love hearing from my friends about their organizations. Just when I think I didn’t have anything to write about this week, my favorite friend calls and asks if I’ve ever heard of a “clean office policy”. “Ummmm, please go on, ” I giggle inside wi
She proceeds to tell me due in part to some of the company dealing with banking info (actually a valid reason not to have client info on your desk for others to see/snatch), they are talking about the need for an all employee clean office policy. So instead of the manager of these few employees simply saying, “Hey – make sure you put up client folders whenever you leave your office”, a couple of the organization’s leaders have decided EVERYONE should have a clean office all the time and therefore they need a…..POLICY.
We don’t have a handbook at hrQ. We have a couple of things written down as guidelines (i.e. we offer unlimited PTO as long as you cover your responsibilities while you’re away), but we (and I especially) don’t believe in thick handbooks managers can hide behind. In fact, if I were interviewing at a new company I’d ask to see their handbook. I think the size of an organization’s handbook has a direct correlation to leadership. The bigger the book, the crappier the leadership.
I can hear the lawyers now – but even when I worked in corporate HR I was able to produce a 5 page handbook with all the legal stuff needed to keep the GC out of my hair. How? I had an awesome team of LEADERS. We said to every employee – “We trust you to act like adults and when you don’t there will be consequences”. Then we made sure our managers knew how to consistently use common sense and actually manage their employees.
Wouldn’t common sense dictate when your employee’s desk or office looks like a hurricane hit it you’d simply say – “By Friday I’d love to see the color of your floor”, or something even more clever like, “Clean this s*&t up so I don’t look like I hired a teenager!”.
Think about the leaders you admire or those you’ve worked with who you respected. Do you remember them ever pulling out an employee handbook? Did they ever say, “It’s a HR policy so we have to deal with it”??!! I bet not. I bet they never even read your handbook.
Leaders don’t need policies to be effective – and they certainly don’t need them to know how to treat adults like adults.
A clean office policy…seriously. Have you seen my stapler? Please hand it to me so I can go staple THAT policy to your “leader’s” head.