Dear Corporate America,
You’ve still got it all wrong!
In your quest to make the world better by doing “X”, you’re breeding complacency and turning good people into liars.
I don’t write you out of spite. I do so having seen the solution work firsthand.
What is true success?
No doubt any startup, mature company, emerging roadside stand, whatever, can make money.
But how successful are you really if the people doing the work, day in, day out, don’t like you?
Because truth is, nearly 3 in 4 workers slap a label on their happiness that’s best described as doing the bare minimum to hold onto the monetary lifeline you provide.
There is no love for you, just you scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours.
The truth is, the people you see every day are withholding potential goldmine ideas.
They aren’t mentally invested in the success of your mission.
They don’t believe in your leadership capabilities. Sorry, not sorry!
The unintended consequence
And worse yet, you’re turning well-intended employees into liars.
Let me explain.
Employees of the world: Have you ever called into work sick before, but really were 100% healthy?
Perhaps you needed a “reset” day.
Or you just wanted to jet off to the beach and get started on a three-day weekend early.
Maybe you just wanted to chill the eff out and watch Netflix all day.
Everyone’s been there, whether slogging through 80-hour workweeks or working part time.
It’s natural to impromptly need time away from work, on occasion.
But enabling these healthy habits is not truly embraced by you, corporate America.
If it was, you’d empower employees to have completely free reign of their time off, for whatever length. Employees aren’t just means to your profit end.
There are consequences for your mistrust.
You’ve now turned well-intending, honorable people into liars. Instead of telling you the truth that they NEED a day off, they’re compelled to lie and take the easiest route.
“[cough cough] I just can’t make it in today boss” says Bob from his car parked beachside.
Chances are if your employees really said what’s on their mind (“I’m stressed and just can’t handle working today.”), your perceptions might be that Bob is lazy or not a hard working, team player. He’s thinking only about himself.
Bob is, as he should after enduring years of mistrust.
Thankfully, there’s a small, easy fix to restore your employees’ faith.
Trust that your employees are hard working. Trust they possess untapped creativity. Trust they want to unleash their talents. Trust they are ALL good people.
A powerful force of profits is yours if your employees know you’re worth it.
And the best way to convey a message of trust is to grant each and every employee unlimited paid vacation, no questions asked.
Don’t keep track behind their backs, either. Fully embrace trust, 100%, and don’t fake it!
You’ll find its one small step that installs widespread trust across your organization.
But I can hear you thinking right now — “Nathan, I want what your smoking? I’ll be taken advantage of, and no doubt Carla in accounting is gonna screw us over with this new policy by taking months off every year.”
Carla will (Sorry to all of the Carla’s of the world. I trust you’re all beautiful and amazing.)
But Carla is an edge case. The other 99.9% will take sufficient time off to make their lives better, whether it’s two weeks or a month.
The perfect result
But know that they’ll work harder and contribute to your mission, perhaps more vigorously than you ever imagined.
Honest conversations will follow. Ideas will be shared. Cross-department bickering will subsside. Productivity skyrockets.
By not bestowing trust in your employees, by doing something so seemingly normal and restricting time off, you’re neutering your best employees’ motivations (read: rainmakers) in favor of avoiding a 5-minute meeting with with Carla to talk about her excessive time off use.
Trusting employees works.
I’ve watched first hand as would-be, lifetime gas station attendants found trust within their work residence, and unleashed their talents.
It’s not just one person either. Motivation pours in from everyone, everywhere.
I don’t fault you for falling into line and doing it as it’s been done for years, though.
Combating your tendencies to always plan for the worse is difficult.
But in such a safe environment, your company thrives.
And most importantly, no ones is lying directly to your face about being sick.
Having seen the light,