Exit interviews do not always provide knowledge and insights into what we are doing wrong –especially if we are not particularly interested in and capable of inviting or receiving feedback. Also, why would any person of intelligence, through acts of omission and commission, drive the horse out and then bolt the stable door?
As a C level manager with a $40 billion MNC with enormous brand image, I was shocked to learn from a friend in my alumni network of how his friend’s sister joined our company- at another location – but left in a matter of days! She told him that she hated the company because, on Day1, no one bothered to give her important information on where the cafeteria and rest rooms were located (she could never forgive the company for the callous disregard for her discomfort) and that her boss kept pushing her too hard – and so she quit in disgust! Ironically, we were striving to bring the double digit attrition numbers down at the time with the cost of attrition pegged at $3500. I found later that her exit interview had only mentioned something innocuous like home sickness.
Companies today are making it a part of their HR policy to make the workplace a ‘home away from home’! If a person was to spend 40 out of the 90 waking hours in a work week in one place (deducting 6 hours for sleep), it is only fair to make that place conducive to the person’s physical as well as emotional comfort. Outstanding HR policies are made of creating that emotional comfort which can only come from the assurance of guidance, support and acceptance that an organization provides to its employees. Disney has pioneered this system of management and the stragglers are still trying to catch up.
The employer can continue to lay down rules conducive to the long term vision and strategic planning as long as it is explained to the employees well in time and before an occasion arises for disagreement and altercation. If an employer has a strong reservations against the conflict of interest in having an employee work alongside an immediate family or spouse – as members of the same team – this rule can be enforced provided it is articulated and clearly explained to the employee in a convincing manner.
Management holds the prerogative to formulate the business policies, but their implementation may be handled in such a way as to avoid unnecessary friction. To illustrate, if you have a policy of paying a contractor’s bills only after tallying them with the customer’s timesheets, there will be pressure on the customer to review the timesheets and approve them; while the contractor’s frustration at the delay keeps mounting and the contractor may exert pressure on the customer for a speedier disposal. Having both parties understand your policy and its implications earlier on in the relationship would help in preventing such incidents.
Being employee-friendly does not necessarily mean that an employer has to do whatever the employees (with or without the backing of a workers’ union behind them) want. The management is not expected to surrender totally at the altar of employee happiness. But, policy changes should not be sprung upon the employees suddenly without adequate communication.
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