Leadership Needs to Stop Telling Employees Where and How

bullThe war for talent in certain industries is back on. Gone are the days when college graduates joined a firm and worked diligently and stayed 10 or 15 years–or their entire careers, for that matter. Candidates are looking for a purpose they can connect to, or a cause they can believe in.

Even more, though, employees need and want to be told by leadership what they need to accomplish, and why it’s important. What results do they need to get? By when do they need to get them? What will make the customer happy? The customer doesn’t care how long something takes unless it affects when they see the finished product. Effective employees get results, not just put in a lot of face time.

A recent blog post I read illustrates how financial giant Goldman Sachs is getting this horribly wrong. In a business notorious for asking their associates to put in long hours, Goldman is now setting “flexible work” policies to dictate when and where employees work, and how they should do it. Junior associates are not allowed to do any work on Saturdays, and the firm is monitoring remote logins to enforce this. This is their committee weighing in on how to make work more flexible for their people. Instead, they are threatening to punish workers for when they work.

Why not just be very clear on what results they are expecting from their people, and measure those results? The how and the where is up to them. As the blog post states: Stop worrying about when you see your people and how many hours they’re working. Tell them what they need to get done, and hold them accountable for doing so.

The results are what matters.

What “flexible work” policies does your firm have? Are they effective? I’d love to hear from you.


This entry was posted in Core Values, Human Resources. Bookmark the permalink.