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Strange workplace email

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hi. I mentioned this email from my boss in one of my team chat threads. It's long, so I didn't want to just copy and paste it there. I'm sharing here in case any of my friends are curious and want to read what I referenced. I won't share the name of the sender or the company, but you'll get the gist of why I feel a little weird at this workplace. It's a closely held business, but we have over 220 employees in 14 states, so it's not a small enterprise.

Note for context that we have many employees who are currently classified as exempt (not paid hourly, but salaried and not qualified to earn OT) who, if the change in OT rules had been allowed to take place, would have become non-exempt and therefore eligible for OT. These people, in my opinion, really should always have been classified as non-exempt. We started to implement the rule change, but then rescinded it the moment the judge in Texas put the rule change on hold.

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Dear Company Leaders,

It is unique for me to have to write this (though not the first time I’ve had to – I have seen this happen before over my business career, though never in an organization which I started). The only difference is - I am not quite sure why it’s happening now, though I am confident that it needs to be addressed ASAP.

Note that these points are not directed at you but rather at your respective direct reports to the extent you have those. Otherwise this is being sent to you as an ‘FYI’ as you are a member of the organization’s leadership:

Since the entire FLSA ‘fiasco’ (which of course we didn’t prompt and quickly reversed as soon as we had the opportunity to), I’ve noticed a negative culture shift. Simply stated, the home office seems to ‘empty out’ at exactly 5pm and I’ve also heard that this may be happening in some clinics. With this said, I’ve also noticed (and once again, heard it as it may pertain to some of the clinics) that people don’t think much, (nor nothing may be mentioned) to those who choose to walk in at 9.10am/9.20am or later.

Our direct reports (whether in the field or at the home office) need to know that nothing is missed over time. My personal view/ business culture has always been that the organization or its various leaders should never be construed as ‘clock watchers’. As long as the tasks on hand are regularly/timely accomplished and the goals are generally met (and to the extent that people don’t regularly take advantage of this virtue), our employees should feel free to tend to their necessary medical appts., attend a child’s recital/holiday play, run an important errand, etc., without feeling as though we are constantly looking over their shoulder/s. Of course in a clinic setting, the patient hours should always be respected and upheld, and we should never be in a position where a patient might wait for a provider or a PCC outside the door as they ‘Waltz’ in late.

At the same token, I also expect that from time to time (and as needed ) employees stay late, come in early and in general have a ‘can-do/will do attitude’. Simply stated – our relationship should always be of a fair and reciprocal nature.

I’ve also developed this point of view over the years: If one (at best) comes in and leaves EXACTLY on time, and only does EXACTLY as they’re asked without showing any interest in being a part of the organization’s culture, completely disconnect when they are not physically at work and thus behave as though ‘a job is a job is a job’, one might just stay EXACTLY where they are as far as promotions, advancement, pay-scale, etc. It is needless to say that I don’t view us as a mediocre organization in our industry, or a mediocre company to work for. As such, I cannot (and never have) supported mediocre work ethics or traces of shear laziness. We strive to exceed our employee’s expectations every day. I expect the same in return from our employees.

I am glad to talk to each of you individually as to how to handle with your respective teams (to the extent you feel that this is indeed happening in your respective realm), and stress that this needs to be addressed ASAP as may be required on a case by case basis.

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It just seemed a bit like a tantrum to me and not the kind of leadership to which I typically respond well.

I know my friends Carol and Jon will read this if they get a chance and respond. Anyone else is free to share their thoughts.

I didn't really take this personally as I know I and my team are doing a great job and working hard. Most of my staff is here by 8, or earlier, and leave by 5. Maybe he sees people not working until 7 and thinks they are slackers, but maybe he doesn't realize how early they come in. So I will let him know these details as it might ease some of his concern.

Anyway, thanks for thoughts you might share. I may not agree, but I will "listen" if you have a response to share.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CALGALFOX
    His grammar and word choices are enough to set my teeth on edge! If you're sending something like this out to a group of managers, you'd think you'd read it carefully. Butts in seats...always a bad strategy.

    It's one thing to expect leaders of the company to be there longer hours, but to expect rank and file (even if you mistakenly have them as salaried) to stay longer than a forty hour week is just silly. Those jobs are difficult to work longer hours and they've done studies that show you get diminishing returns.

    Maybe the new place is a better option than not. Travel three days a week is not that much...
    1633 days ago
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