In the age of work-life balance and flexible work schedules the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) is taking a step backwards. I saw a news report last week where they are moving from employees being able to work remotely four days a week to one day a week. Amazing! The idea of teleworking in the federal government started at least twenty years ago Telework Guidance and Legislation.
The reason given was to build a sense of community among Agriculture employees. The high-ranking official that was interviewed said this change in policy is in response to a complaint by employees that work in the office. These employees said they have experienced and are experiencing a lack of connection with their colleagues that telework. My first reaction was, how many employees are in the office on a daily basis to complain and why aren’t they teleworking?
This new policy is supposed to go into effect July 1, 2018. The report said this will put approximately 5,000 people on the roads in the Washington, D.C. area. When I heard that I flipped out! I live and work in the D.C. area. I also telework two days a week. I can’t imagine the effect that is going to have on the commute in this area. The D.C. area already has some of the worst traffic in the U.S. How Bad is Traffic in DC.
In the next few months it will be interesting to see how this is plays out. Hopefully it will work out in favor of Agriculture employees and the rest of us that live in this area. If officials at Agriculture truly wanted to resolve the issue of comradery among their employees they could have found a better way Three Pitfalls Facing The Federal Distributed Workforce.
If you poll everyone you know in the workforce you will find that all managers aren’t good managers. Whether you’re a front line manager, mid-level manager, or in upper management the people you manage expect you to lead. I’m not talking about mentoring or coaching I’m talking about being the decision maker. The line “I’m not a leader, the only way I could get a promotion was to take a management position” is outdated.
I agree, in many organizations the only way to move up is to become a manager. The flip side of that coin is everyone doesn’t want to be a manager and everyone isn’t built to be one. By default people end up in management positions where they do not want to be, or are not built for. This post isn’t about analyzing the structure of companies, it is to highlight many managers leave their employees in limbo.
Regardless of how managers got to their positions, employees expect managers to lead. Employees need leadership when things are good and when things are bad. Leadership qualities shine in the midst of a bad situation. If a manager can lead their employees out of a bad situation they will be an instant hit. If a manager doesn’t lead when things are good or bad they create a leadership vacuum.
Leadership vacuums not only occur when a manager isn’t leading they also occur when a management position is left open too long or there is a leadership merry-go-round. A leadership merry-go-round is when a management position is occupied by several people in a short period of time. When employees have more than one manager in a short period of time it’s difficult for them to get their bearings. When a leadership vacuum occurs employees are left in limbo. They don’t know what to expect on a day-to-day basis and are left in a state of confusion.
When employees experience a leadership vacuum morale can go down. Morale goes down because the employees don’t trust the current decision maker(s). Employees will blame the current decision maker(s) for everything that is going on. Low morale can lead to a decrease in production, a decrease in the quality of work, and could ultimately lead to employees leaving the company/organization. If managers lead they will not leave employees in limbo.
As I stated in my previous post, without a passion for HR there won’t be any innovation. As Rory explains his passion for HR his thought process changes. As his thought process changes his focus changes. Follow his thought process and you’ll see the innovation coming from his passion.
…So it has been about 6 months since I last wrote in this space. I took a break because my process had gotten stale and I think I needed some white space to think about out what I really wanted to write about. I think I know now. My HR career began when I decided to move […]
My favorite HR practioner from India, Ankita Poddar, hit another home run earlier this week. In my post, HR Professionals Create Something, earlier this week I was urging my fellow HR professionals to come up with something new or different. Well I’m not alone. In her post Where Are the HR Innovation Conferences Ankita laments that HR professionals aren’t innovative.
I understand HR is not one of the arts where you use the right side of the brain. Regardless of which side of the brain you use innovation is needed in every field. On a large scale HR has to move beyond the mundane and into the future. In no way am I suggesting that HR is beyond the times, absolutely not. However, unlike other fields that people purposefully entered HR is a field that many people stumbled into.
I want to give you a brief history lesson of HR. Historically HR has been a female dominated field and it still is. In the business arena HR is a support function. In the workforce women have historically held support roles. In the mid twentieth century when women were entering the workforce in large numbers the only positions they were allowed to have were support roles. So by default many HR professionals stumbled into the field.
There’s nothing wrong with stumbling into a field. However, there’s a difference between doing something you love and having a job. Once again unlike other fields HR has been a field that you didn’t have to have a degree get into. Just having a job won’t give you a passion for what you do. Not being mentally challenged before entering the workforce also won’t give you a passion for what you do. A lack of passion is one of the things HR is missing. If you have a passion for your job then you have a dog in the fight. Without a passion for HR our field will always be lacking on the innovation front.
If you have questions about this blog post or anything else please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and http://www.linkedin.com/pub/cornell-jenkins/11/476/897/