As a manager, I know how to handle big performance issues; people need to be warned, given time to improve, and then either shape up or ship out. I’m wondering, though, about less severe issues and how to properly handle them.
One of my biggest day-to-day headaches are the minor transgressions, those behaviors that technically violate policy or slightly inconvenience employees, but are far from a fireable offense. For example, our company doesn’t allow sneakers as part of the dress code. We have an employee who walks to work, so he wears sneakers to come in and keeps a pair of appropriate shoes at his desk. This would be fine, but he often forgets to change and will spend the majority of the day violating the dress code. Generally he forgets because he jumps right in and focuses on something more important: his job! I don’t feel like I can sit this guy down and tell him that he’s violated our shoe policy and he’ll need to remember to change or he’ll be fired. That just seems silly.
Another example is an employee who doesn’t check our message board and won’t set up email reminders. She doesn’t want the email clutter, but also doesn’t want to take the time out of her schedule to check in for important messages every now and then. So if we need something like a health insurance form filled out, I need to hunt her down to get it completed. Obviously this example DOES affect my job, but am I to threaten the job of one of our top performers over it?
These ARE policies and requirements we’ve set though, and I don’t want to give the impression that our policies (small or large) can be violated without consequence. There are many examples of minor transgressions at the office. Each one adds up to drain more of my time/energy, and I do see signs of other employees following suit. Without consequences, there is no motivation to change.
Over at Fast Track, I weighed in along with three other fantastic career and workplace experts. Let us know what you think of our advice and if you have anything to add!