Rule Breakers in the Workplace

Many times policies or new company regulations are adopted by management that make no sense to ground level employees. However, no matter how extreme these rules are, there is alway one employee that follows them to the extreme and requires you to take a ticket in the waiting area when there are no other customers. The regulation helps them to become inefficient.

These policies are usually intended to correct some extreme case of abuse and the average customer finds them insulting.

Are your policies created rule breakers?

When I move to Texas – purchased a new home, and went to work for a university that started in the community in 1901. You would think it would have been recognized for its impact as one of the largest employers in the town. However, when I went to my bank to make my first payroll deposit. My account had been open for a month. I was told by the bank teller on duty that I could only have $200 of my monthly deposit in cash until the check cleared the bank. “This was company policy”, said the employee with an expression that indicated ” I know this is a stupid rule but I have to follow it.”

Many doctor offices are now demanding your payment before you can even see the doctor. It’s similar to the concept of paying before you pump mentality. There is generally a lack of trust in operation. I am very glad most restaurants have not adopted that policy yet.

Some employees are so put off by these bad company rules that they just don’t take time to enforce them. Recently, I was out shopping and I was buying three similar shirts that I thought were on sale. One of the shirts happen to be different color and was not on sale. When she rang it up – the register rang the different color at an higher price – I said I would still take it – she said it was a stupid rule to charge more for a color and he manually applied the discount to the third shirt.

When employees feel that policies are unfair to customers – they tend to allow customer exceptions rather than to argue or uphold a policy. In leadership, our office policies must create a process that is fair and is easy to deliver. Otherwise, we will get these random cases of rule breakers. These small exceptions may cost the company thousand of dollars every year. Either in lost business or reductions that were not authorized.

The angry customer usually creates this kind of pressure for the policy breakers. No one wants to uphold a unfair policy with an irate customer who wants to argue. After all, you personally don’t think it is fair anyway.

What are some policies or company rules that are creating rule breakers in your workplace? Rules and policies need to be reviewed and monitored regularly. Are they really that important to the mission of the company? Have you been a rule breaker?

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