Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shit My Job Says: 20 Rules for Employers

Here are some rules for business.  I just thought these up off the top of my head.  Any similarity to real events or real people, living or dead or banging their head against their desk, is purely coincidental. 

Rule #1:  When a new office is opened, provide employees with a move-in date for the new space.  Also, don't neglect to actually lease the new space. 

Rule #2:  Set an office budget for furnishings, supplies, etc.  Tell people what it is.  Tip:  "Cheap" and "Anything you can bring from home" are not considered standard accounting terms.

Rule #3:  Tell the HR department when new employees have been hired, or at least provide their phone numbers so HR can call and ask them who they are and how long they've been here.

Rule #4:  Tell the CEO, too, preferably before he/she publicly announces the opening of the "new" office that has been staffed and operating for more than three months.

Rule #5:  When a new person assumes leadership of a team, inform team members of the change; before the change is preferable to after, but after is preferable to not until someone mentions it in passing on a conference call.

Rule #6:  When a customer opens a service ticket on a product damaged during shipping, the first-line response from customer support should not be "Wait, are we selling those now?"

Rule #7:  When a service ticket is escalated, the second-line response should not be "Our engineers say there's no way that unit could have been damaged during shipping."

Rule #8:  Let employees know what the company's products cost, even if they're not directly involved in sales.  The preferred terminology for this is "Please don't discuss prices unless you're authorized to issue a quote," not "We don't want to give you a price list because you don't know what you're talking about."

Rule #9:  If you promise a 24-hour response to e-mails, remember that most people know how to count.

Rule #10:  When the company grows beyond the number of licenses purchased for a particular software program, consider purchasing additional licenses as an alternative to telling employees "What possible use could you have for that program?"

Rule #11:  When giving a PowerPoint presentation from a remote location, it is encouraged to make the slides available for viewing (e.g., via e-mail or videoconference) rather than describing them over the phone.

Rule #12:  Managers who are directly responsible for solving a problem should refrain from telling co-workers they no longer want to be included on any e-mails related to solving the problem.

Rule #13:  Try to avoid giving diametrically opposed pieces of information to employees who work in the same office on the same day.

Rule #14:  Keep in mind that most of the advanced features on an expensive phone system work best if more than one phone is provided per office location.

Rule #15:  Consider one of the dozens of online file-sharing options currently available in lieu of sending out priority overnight packages consisting of a single sheet of paper.

Rule #16:  Question the wisdom of flying managers in to the corporate office to lecture them on cost-containing strategies.

Rule #17:  Provide training to all employees who use the company's complex and powerful enterprise management software.  Make sure to include the senior manager who keeps insisting that all the most important data be maintained in multiple Excel spreadsheets.

Rule #18:  Avoid assigning tasks to nonexistent employees.

Rule #19:  Offering a comprehensive benefits package to recruit and retain good people is most effective in conjunction with a policy of telling them what it is.

Rule #20:  Remember that satisfied, productive employees doing meaningful work are a company's greatest asset and rarely compose satirical lists of business rules that get forwarded everywhere and eventually made into a really excellent book or hilarious sitcom pilot.  Completely fictional, of course.

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