Okay, I am not really a disgruntled employee. I’m just a regular “I hate Mondays, and am on third cup of coffee at 10am” employee. And on Monday’s like these it’s easy to play my favorite hate-on-work game: If I Were The Boss. The point of this game is to come up with the most outlandish things that would make employers, and companies better for the employee, and industry.
My fellow lower-level employees (we’re not actually low level, but we aren’t in power positions either), have been joining me the last few weeks, and this is what we’ve come up with so far. I think these things point out that we might be a little bit more interested in the employee experience than the bottom line.. but we are after all employees, not management.
If I were the boss…
- Everyone would get off bankers holidays- one long weekend a month for everyone.
- If you can’t take a holiday off due to workload, or company necessity, you get a floating day off, to use as you like.
- Employees volunteer for holiday shifts, and then use their floating days as they wish. If there is not enough volunteers, then those who would be normally scheduled will cover.
- All on-shift holidays will have non-monetary compensation (ie free lunches, and raffle prizes).
- Company paid benefits. Actually paid for by the company. This includes prescriptions, dental, eye and life- healthy employees are productive employees.
- Flexible and Compressed schedules. Go home when there’s no work. Work when there is. Teams and partners can come together to work out what works for them as people, and as employees.
- Everyone is hourly. You get paid for the work you do.
- Ratio salary caps. The highest paid person gets no more than 10x the lowest person.
- Living wages. No one working full time makes less than a living wage, after tax.
- Reasonable sick leave- you do not use any sick days while hospitalized. Employees are allowed 2 weeks paid sick leave a year, with additional unpaid days as medically necessary.
- Reasonable vacation days- all employees are given 15 days paid vacation, and 5 days paid public service time. This time carries over.
- Family Support- the company will provide a low-cost buy-in childcare program for parents during school closures, for all ages.
- Company and Department Lunches. Taking time out to regularly sit and break bread- either during staff meetings or simple functions.
- Regular department meetings. Mandatory twice a month check ins for the staff with their management, and a member of upper management.
- Snacks. Lots and lots of coffee and snacks. Healthy, junk food, even those weirdo diet bars for those who are so inclined. And while we’re ordering groceries- get good coffee, tea, and creamer, won’t you?
- Incentives and awards voted by the staff. Executives receive a single vote, because executives higher paid, but not more important employees. Which is also why one incentive plan covers all employees equally.
- Remote or field employees would attend all meetings via video. The expectation is you look someone in the eye when you ask them to do your grunt work.
- Logical dress codes. Everyone must meet the minimum standard (lets not look like h**kers, ladies and gentlemen), but you also don’t need to be in a suit and tie to sit in a cube all day.
- Partners desks for partners. Team zones for teams (bull pen style). Build collaboration not cubes.
- All the office supplies you need, without weird budget considerations (Dad’s Bic Pen Theory¹).
- Badges. Okay I know people are going to hate on this, but if you have more than 15 people in your office badges help with names, faces, and security.
- Emergency plans. What’s your company’s contingency if your office burns down? If there’s a snow storm? If head lice runs rampant in the local Elementary School? Write a plan and share it with the team.
- Contract out. If you aren’t tech support- get tech support! You don’t need to hire everyone full time, but you do need access to vitals like legal, tech, and logistical support.
- Eradicate the term “face of the company.” The receptionist is a receptionist. They are more than a face at the desk, they are a living, breathing (hopefully) useful part of your team who has more value to you than just a pretty face.
- Banning the Blackberry. If you need regular contact with employees outside of the office, issue regular smartphones that are user friendly, and come with explicit instructions about when and how they should be used after regular business hours (do you really want me answering a call at 3am?). Bonus if they are dualies and you save a little pocket space for your employees.
What would you change at work? The temperature of the water cooler? The number of bathroom stalls to women ratio?
¹Dad’s Bic Pen Theory- for those of you who haven’t worked for my father. Companies buy cases of Bic Pens on the assertion they are cheaper per part, which is true. However 1 out of 5 of them never work in the first place, 1 out of 5 are chewed on and never touched again, 2 out of 5 never write well. Ultimately you are only using 1 out of 5 pens in the box, cutting your value drastically. But if you buy the smaller boxes of slightly more expensive pens in the first place, you replace the ink, don’t throw them away (save landfills!), and they are sturdy enough to hold up against accounting during tax season. Ultimately investing in good pens is investing in your company’s bottom line and karma by not creating waste.