Beware of the Company Policy Double Standard

Something has been bothering me lately. It has to do with the double standards when using company policies to regulate associate behavior.

I have found it intriguing to see how I have gotten reprimanded, under violation of the ‘solicitation’ policy, a couples times for encouraging people to take advantage of free personal and leadership development seminars. But no one seems to care when company resources are used to run NCAA basketball bracket tournaments, fantasy sports leagues, or to watch sports tournaments on ESPN.

Not only does is this behavior normal but they are sometimes “sponsored” events with the premise of it being a team building activity.

What’s My Problem?

My problem is not really against the activities themselves. Personally, I consider them ways to blend personal and work life.

What I have a problem with is with the exceptions we make to accommodate the activities that don’t necessarily add value to the company.

Let’s get real.

Whatever ‘team building’ that results from those exceptions doesn’t compare to the power that comes with helping people develop themselves.

It’s Not The Policy, It Is The Enforcer

In the majority of cases, I think company policies are mainly useful to address problems that are convenient to whoever is the enforcer.

  • The avoid the difficult conversation.
  • To prevent doing something that requires too much work.
  • For protection against an audit.
  • To prevent lawsuits.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

I’m Just Asking For Balance

I don’t have a solution to this dilemma. I’m simply pointing out there’s a discrepancy in what companies claim to be and what they actually do.

They claim to be about developing their talent. However, they seem to find ways to make it challenging for associates to feel comfortable in pursuing their development.

Feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the matter. Otherwise, I’ll talk to you next week.


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