Too many companies today suffer from systemic mistrust. They have policies and systems that reflect a culture that assumes the worst of employees. If this sounds familiar, actions taken in the name of efficiency might actually be doing harm.
For example, our company, Softway, used to have this problem. We installed a thumbprint-based system that tracked the comings and goings of all our teams. We told our employees that this system was purely for security and confidentiality. But in practice, we used it to punish tardy employees.
Not only was this system dehumanising, but it was also inefficient. Our practices took time away from HR’s other responsibilities, like recruiting candidates. Worse, the inherent mistrust behind the system demoralised our employees. Eventually, this dissatisfaction led to exactly the opposite results we’d wanted:
More team members began showing up to work late—if at all. The lesson here is that a punitive, distrusting culture does the company no favors. You might think you need policies to keep employees from breaking the rules, but you don’t.
Instead of creating a culture of mistrust, deal with individual rule-breakers as needed. Keep the overall culture loving, and everyone will be more productive and comfortable for it.