Our job, as leaders, is to provide clarity to our team.
As we continue to grow at Raise The Bar, what we have discovered is that providing that clarity not only is important for projects and work tasks, it’s also integral for the guidelines on HOW we work.
When I founded Raise The Bar, I wanted to build a culture focused on outcomes and not hours, allowing my team members to work anywhere at any time they wanted, as long as they got the work done. So initially, we had an unlimited vacation and days off policy. I assumed that newer team members would see my example and all would be good.
Instead what we found, as we started scaling, is that not everyone TAKES advantage of that policy. There's always a laundry list of projects and work to be done, and it can be difficult to disconnect completely from it.
The real problem is that newer team members end up being unclear if it is really okay, or just okay for the management team.
Even if those values are stated on their organization’s website, do they truly live in the day to day life of the workplace? Or are they simply performative? Team members may be reluctant to take vacation, because they are busy and they fear retribution from their managers.
So they end up not taking any.
There are unwritten rules and practices like this in many organizations. Their "stated" work hours may end at 5 pm, but in actuality no one leaves on time - it’s an unspoken practice that if you want to be "seen" in the company, you work late every night and come in on weekends.
And in many organizations, team members do not share their personal issues at work. They are concerned that sharing struggles with their manager may hold them back from advancement, so they keep human issues like a sick child, burnout or depression private.
As we evolve and grow at RTB, we realized that we needed to provide clarity for every single team member. We changed that policy to now say that all team members must take at least 15 days of paid time off. We trust that they will get their job done and hold them accountable for their results.
The impact of having a team of engaged employees, who feel free to be their authentic selves and have autonomy over their work, is exponential. Team members appreciate that you care and support them, and they buy into the organization’s goals and commit 100%. And other top performers will want to work for your organization as well, giving you a competitive advantage.
"The real problem is that newer team members end up being unclear if it is really okay, or just okay for the management team." Listen: In a recent episode of The Open Honest & Direct Podcast, Jim Conti, Talent Partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners and former Head of People at two fast growing startups, dscout and Sprout Social, discusses how taking a human-based approach to support employees in their individual journeys, both inside the business and outside in their personal lives, is a game changer for both the employees and the organization they work for. Read: While a four day work week may not always work for every company, it’s an important stride in giving them the autonomy they may need for work/life balance. At Raise The Bar, for example, we do not schedule any meetings on Fridays all year round and give our team members the option to take them off.
Discover: How do you become a better leader? Start here.