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Archive for January, 2017

A NEW TWIST ON COMPANY VACATIONS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 6, 2017

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– Are unlimited vacations practical?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

My brother-in-law recently paid us a visit. He recently retired from General Electric, an old customer of ours, and we talked a little shop. He brought to my attention, a new vacation policy of G.E.’s whereby salaried employees can now take as much vacation time as they want, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their project schedules. Like most companies, the scheduling of vacations used to be critical and you were typically rewarded vacation time based on your length of service to the company, e.g., one week after one year, two weeks after two years, etc. Evidently, it is not that way anymore.

Now, employees can take as much time off as they desire whenever they want, which is referred to as the “permissive” approach by the company. Such a policy may be well suited for female employees who have become pregnant and want to spend time with their newborn before returning to work, but this is now applicable to everyone.

In a way, it is similar to the old concept of “flex time” which allows employees to come to work either earlier or later and depart earlier or later, but they have to be at the office for a certain length of time each day (such as eight hours) and work between certain hours, such as 10:00am to 2:00pm. This provides employees a certain amount of freedom in order to honor other commitments, such as making a doctor’s appointment, shopping, tending to school children, etc.

General Electric certainly did not invent the concept. Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group announced it in the fall of 2014. However, G.E. is the biggest company to date to embrace the concept which now affects over 30,000 salaried employees, not hourly workers. General Electric’s size adds legitimacy to the concept. The big question though is, “Does it work?” As G.E. has only been using it since early 2015, it may be too soon to determine its success.

The biggest concern, of course, is the temptation to abuse the system. To overcome this problem, managers have to be on top of their game in terms of project management and being able to balance the use of human resources. Bottom-line, how well does the manager trust the employee? In yesteryear, managers had to carefully schedule resources in order to meet delivery deadlines. When completed with one assignment, the employee was given another.

The question then becomes, “Is enough work being allocated to the employee?” If the worker takes off for several months at a time, it would suggest that, No, the employee is not performing his/her fair share. Now, I will admit some employees are more productive than others and can complete project assignments faster, but the manager should be cognizant of this and adjust the workload accordingly. However, this is 20th century thinking.

Today, it is a new world in corporate America where millennials are flooding the work force, people who want more personal time for themselves. To earn such freedom as unlimited vacations, they must demonstrate they can assume responsibility and deliver on time. However, if they feel “entitled” to such perks, the program is doomed to failure.

Again, this is a concept still in its infancy. Some companies will embrace it, others will have difficulty swallowing it and abandon it if their output suffers. As for the rest of us, it will be fun to watch.

By the way, in my day, unlimited vacation was typically referred to as “retirement.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  DEALING WITH ADVICE – Some tips for entering the work force.

LAST TIME:  OUT WITH THE OLD…  – Time to clean house as we start 2017.

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

 

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OUT WITH THE OLD…

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 4, 2017

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

– Time to clean house as we start 2017.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

As is customary for the new year, I’ve become a big believer in the phrase, “Out with the old, in with the new.” I have been on a cleaning kick lately as I’ve been trying to free myself of the flotsam and jetsam around my house and office. You know, the crud that mysteriously accumulates around you. It was in my garage where I first started to notice it. Despite my best intentions, I was still collecting and saving things with the thought I might need to use someday.

It started with my bicycles, which I haven’t driven in several years now. I gave the best one to my son who now uses it around his neck of the woods. I trashed the other. Since then, I’ve disposed of a fertilizer spreader, various cans of paint, and much more. I suddenly discovered I could get both my cars in the garage comfortably. “Who-da-thunk-it?” As an aside, I believe there is a business opportunity for cleaning up garages and turning them into man caves.

I then moved on to my office where I disposed of old CD’s, books, and ancient computer cables, not to mention dusting and cleaning everything. “Where did all this dirt come from?” I asked myself. I am also not one to make use of trays as it has a tendency to collect superfluous trash as opposed to anything of merit.

There are those who believe a sloppy desk is indicative of a brilliant mind. Baloney. A sloppy desk is indicative of a pigpen and the person is disorganized and undisciplined. Too often people use a cluttered desk to give the illusion they are being overworked and use it as an excuse for being late on a project. For managers who have been around the block a couple of times, a cluttered desk doesn’t fool anyone anymore. In our office, we would tell our programmers to subscribe to the military concept whereby you either work on something, file it, or throw it away. If we need more file cabinets, we’ll get them, but let’s not let our desks become pigpens. To enforce this rule, we would periodically go through the office at night and throw all of the debris on the desks into the garbage. You do this a couple of times and people finally take you seriously. Keeping a clean and orderly workplace can have a dramatic and positive effect on the demeanor of your office workers and they will start to behave more professionally.

I am mindful of the Bryce’s Law whereby, “Everything eventually ends up in the garbage dump.” Think about it, everything you bring into your home and office will someday be disposed of, and I mean everything. The question becomes, “When?” Preferably sooner, rather than later. As I’ve been cleaning house, I’ve been challenging why I’ve been keeping certain items. Two reasons come to mind, sentimental value and laziness. Because of this, I’m starting to look at things with a fresh perspective and only keeping those items I really need.

Using the first of the year as a day to clean your department can work wonders on the morale of your people. It can improve camaraderie simply by working together on something other than regular work assignments. It also makes them cognizant of where everything is. The key though is to get everyone to participate, not just a few.

People still practice Spring Cleaning at home as well. You see signs of it by the many garage sales in the Spring where people circulate their junk to other people who recycle it around the neighborhood. I tend to believe there is a certain amount of items we simply rotate from one household to another, so why bother with the garage sales? Let’s just play musical chairs with it. Better yet, why don’t we just dispose of it once and for all?

I remember my Scottish grandmother in Buffalo, New York was a big believer in Spring Cleaning. Every year she would lead the family in cleaning the house like Atilla the Hun. Beds would be turned, rugs taken out and beaten, windows washed inside and out, silverware polished, kitchen and bathroom floors and fixtures scrubbed, etc. You get the picture; she was very thorough, but she wouldn’t stop with inanimate objects, to her way of thinking “Spring Cleaning” also meant cleaning up the family. To this end, once a year she would brew a pot of tea made from Senna Leaves, a very powerful herbal stimulant laxative. I guess she figured it was needed to clean out the toxins in our system, and as anyone in our family can testify, it works, perhaps too well. Not long after drinking a cup of this tea, your system would be flushed of impurities right down the toilet, perhaps hours at a time. It was rather brutal. This tea was so strong, it would even clean the dirt from behind your fingernails and the wax from your ears. Small wonder Spring Cleaning conjures us a bad image in my mind.

As a result, I try to keep things orderly and tidy all the time as opposed to waiting for a Spring Cleaning. Maybe that is what my grandmother was trying to teach us all along. Nonetheless, I haven’t had a cup of tea in years.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  A NEW TWIST ON COMPANY VACATIONS – Are unlimited vacations practical?

LAST TIME:  2016 YEAR-END WRAP-UP  – My most popular columns this year.

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

 

Posted in Business | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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