By accepting an employee’s workplace excuse, the management is actually hurting the employee rather than helping him or her. On the other hand by giving an imaginary reason in place of the truth for not attending, the employee hurts the employer as well as losing self-esteem. Workplace excuses hurt everybody. And there is need to take a fresh look at this commonplace malady.
What Is The Actual Problem?
In any messed up workspace there can be essentially two situations - either the organization has the wrong employees, or the organization has a wrong management practice. The applicable situation differs from case to case and sometimes both can occur together.
First, in a modern-day workspace, the employer-employee relationship should not nurture a policy where the worker needs to lie to take a leave. In most offices, it is common practice to predefine the number of casual or paid leaves a worker may take in a month or a year. It is impractical to devise things otherwise, but it is unintelligent to fight and try to force this as a rule upon employees when they need leaves. Usually, management without imagination creates the space for employees to use their own fancies.
Dumb HR management personnel fail to accept that in a free world office discipline or protocol is no more a one-sided affair but a matter of mutual consent. The employee-employer contract only lays down broad principles and certain inviolable rules, but conducting day-to-day business in an office workspace requires repeated situations of arriving at mutual consent without citing the employment contract or needing to fall back upon it. In workspace interaction, the employment contract is the weapon of first resort of an incompetent HR manager as well as an incompetent employee, and the last resort of a competent one.
Is It A Problem At All?
For HR it is necessary to understand that if an employee wants a leave for which pay is deductible, then that employee needs the leave. It is always better to go along with something you cannot stop than try to fight it needlessly. It is lack of open relationship and inflexible attitude of an employer that compels the employee to give excuses for taking a leave rather than tell the truth. In such a situation, the employee loses both money and self-esteem, or creates a perception where office-work is no more serious-work. The result is harmful for both the office and the employee leading to loss of efficient work-culture as well as employee loyalty.
How to Solve the Problem?
If you are the HR manager, then your best bet is to avoid fighting the situation, and develop a relationship where the employee feels close enough to be candid with you. If the situation is so that not having the particular employee at office on that specific date can cause irreparable loss, then talk it out with the employee. Reach mutual consent for him/her to attend office against other privileges, or incentives or a better leave at a later date. Whatever the way you solve the problem, you need to be imaginative and get your work done without degrading employee loyalty.
Urging employees on a track where they feel compelled to lie to the employer is the dumbest thing HR can do. Office rules are meant to help run a workspace well, they are not meant to ruin the workspace. In situations where rules defeat their own purpose, the rules are expendable but not the purpose. The job of HR is to make intelligent application of office rules not follow them blindly. At the most, if you think that the situation is too difficult, or the employee is a chronic offender, refer the situation to your superior, but do not cue the employee to lie.