In my last post I mentioned that I am all for work environments characterized as caring and respectful with clear boundaries making everyone feel secure knowing what is and is not acceptable behavior. In this post I would like to elaborate on one of the first steps to take in achieving a warm and friendly work place environment.
Parents, in an effort to encourage order and prevent chaos in the home create “house rules” for their children. Children on their part quickly learn what is and what is not acceptable behavior, both inside and outside the home; how to treat others, including family members; and what to anticipate as a consequence for straying from these expectations.
Frequently, I visit organizations where there are no “house rules” and the result is chaos! Employees can be seen coming and going as they please, behaving in a manner inconsistent with high performance in work and personal interaction, unaware of any expectation or consequence of their behavior, and finally resulting in conflictual relationships and reduced work performance.
Leaders of these organizations in defense of their policy say that they do not want to create rigid environments for their employees with too many rules or too much bureaucracy. It is their opinion that having company rules will take away from the laid back, family atmosphere they are seeking to create.
However, if we go back to the family scenario for a minute, we see that house rules provide order and give all family members a sense of security in knowing what will happen and what to expect in any given circumstance. It does not take away from the warm family setting, but enhances the experience.
It therefore, stands to reason that by developing and implementing company rules (policies and procedure or employee manuals), and by informing employees what is expected of them and the consequences, employers are giving employees that same sense of security as in a family setting.
It is this knowledge (of the parameters of their actions) that fosters a sense of well-being; and in turn, it is this well-being that promotes a relaxed, friendly, respectful atmosphere in the work place… as it does in the family setting.
Do you have “house rules” in your organization? If not, what is preventing you from developing and implementing them?