There’s no denying that Richard Branson is an extremely successful business person. So when he talks, people listen…….Richard has long promoted the benefits of putting employee’s first, even above the customer, and his brands work hard at ensuring the workplace is a fun place to be.
But what would you say if he suggested unlimited flexibility and annual leave at your work place? It’s a policy that was implemented at Virgin US & UK following Branson learning of the same ‘policy’ existing at the then fast up and coming Netflix brand which seemingly saw instant upward spikes with morale, creativity and productivity within their work force and set the brand on course for the worldwide success it is now seeing.
The theory is that we no longer have 9 to 5 work days. Businesses operate 24/7 and with today’s technology, employee’s take their work everywhere with them….responding to emails or business texts long after they have left the office. So with this expansion of working hours, how can business leaders reconcile this with the old fashioned set annual leave policy?
We should be striving to create a workplace environment where employees enjoy coming to work, believe in what they do and understand the impact they have on their colleagues and customers. Therefore, if this culture exists, employees would consider the impact their absence would have as they decide when they want to take time off – along with the impact any misuse of this flexibility would have on their career!
It’s easy to forget that the people we have working for us have children, mortgages and busy lives to run – and most seem to do it quite successfully. So why do we think that when they step into the workplace they need to have policies and multiple step approvals before they can scratch their noses!
Telstra have also taken a step away from the policy rules all mind set. They implemented a no approval travel policy which allowed employees to undertake work travel as they saw fit – no approvals, no explanations required. The assumption was based that if the buck stopped with the individual that was taking the action, there was no one to hide behind – the finger couldn’t be pointed at a manager for ‘signing off’ on the travel in the first place. The results were instant in that travel within the company decreased dramatically as people had to come to terms with taking on the responsibility themselves. If they were asked to explain the purpose and outcome of the travel upon their return, could they actually justify it? And if anyone did abuse the opportunity, they were brought in to answer why they were not adhearing to one of Telstra’s core values: Truth. Those people ended up not having a very long career with Telstra…..
It seems that leaving accountability with the individual isn’t as silly as it sounds. The main challenge is creating a workplace where team members care enough about the impact they have on the business, their colleagues and customers to make the right decisions when left to their own devices.
So have you got the right people on the bus? Do you know what you should be working towards to achieve this – have you got an end goal?
Do you need to take the time to stop and think about where your business is heading and how you are going to be a force to be reckoned with moving forward?
Join us at our next Business Camp in April 2017 where you can take the time to stop and work ON your business, not IN it.