My mother used to say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. We have all heard that saying, and I think you would agree with me that mom was right. This is why we ask our children to move their milk glass away from the edge of the dinner table. We know that a misplaced elbow can easily push the glass off the table, and we understand the time and effort involved with cleaning up the non-toxic spill! It's so much easier to prevent a problem than deal with the mess that follows a mishap.
Over the years, I discovered that there were ways to prevent “spilled milk” in our business. One of our best Human Resource (HR) policies provides a simple way to prevent misunderstandings with our personnel.
Have you ever encountered a situation at work where someone was told they should expect a raise, and the raise didn't come, leaving the employee with hurt feelings? I've seen this type of situation happen multiple times at our own company.
A simple HR policy to the rescue
Eventually, we instituted an HR policy called “One-Over-One” to help address this very problem. Here is the policy:
Any decision regarding branding, procedures, procurement or personnel matters must first be discussed with, and agreed upon by, the supervisor one level above the supervisor making the decision.
Managed expectations boosts job satisfaction
So, BEFORE a supervisor tells a direct report that he is going to recommend that he get a raise (promotion, or working condition perk, e.g. larger work area, a special chair, a printer in his work station, a window, a corner office, etc.), the supervisor must FIRST speak with his supervisor and get approval for the raise.
This simple policy helps manage the expectations of everyone involved, especially the hard working employee who shouldn't be assured of something that his supervisor might not be able to deliver upon.
These potential problems exist in every organization. The good news is that every leader can improve the morale and effectiveness of their organization by adopting this straightforward policy.
Why this HR policy works
This directive seems like common sense, and it is. So, you might wonder why we have a policy like One-Over-One? Well there are multiple reasons:
1. As leaders, we are called to define the standards for how we serve our clients and our employees. The One-Over-One policy is one way we can lead our organizations to higher effectiveness and employees to greater job satisfaction. We’ve all heard the saying , “Two heads are better than one”. This policy encourages our people to tap into this valuable principle.
2. Leaders can avoid significant complicated personnel risk. Either an inappropriate decision must be allowed to stand, or the supervisor’s decision needs to be reversed. Either of these alternatives can potentially create significant problems.
3. Leaders can build confidence and trust between a supervisor’s supervisor, supervisor, and the employee when the process is explained to employee AFTER the decision to give them a raise, or promotion, or working condition perk.
A policy that enables effective leadership
Imagine being able to better manage the expectations of your employees with a simple policy. The One-Over-One policy will help you prevent “spilled milk” and reduce misguided efforts at your company, thus creating more time for you to proactively build and grow your business.
Consider adopting this HR policy in your own organization. A clearly written HR Policy is one of the best tools a leader can use to guide his team forward.
How do you address these situations in your organization?