Tuesday, October 30, 2012

PENNY WISE & POUND FOOLISH


Time is money!

You shall not steal. It  is one of the Ten Commandments, of the Torah (the Pentateuch), which are widely understood as moral imperatives by legal scholars and Catholic scholars. I have always been taught that workmen who do not do a just day´s work are stealing.

I have always believed that goofing off, doing personal stuff on company time – when there is paid work to complete is stealing. Sure, there has to be some give and take, but if one is not earning his or her pay – they are stealing from their employer.

Recently, I have encountered a couple of twists that have caused me to reflect on these life long beliefs. The issue is the give and take. I believe that sometimes, in an effort to be efficient in an accounting sense, employers can be penny wise and pound foolish.

Cracking the whip unnecessarily can kill worker morale, devalue employees and poison the workplace. Two recent examples of cracking down have me shaking my head in terms of the potential damage done to employer/employee relationships.

On Sep 11th, a serious hurricane blew over the Avalon. Most business were shuttered. Schools were canceled. Memorial University was closed. The Confederation Building was closed. Emergency Measures Organizations, The City of St. John’s, the RNC, Transportation and Works & the RCMP were advising residents to stay off the roads. People were advised to stay home unless it was an emergency.

Many, like myself, were without electricity, we were relying on our radios for storm updates. There was no access to the internet.

Several weeks later some staff with the provincial government who work outside the Confederation Complex were asked to provide leave slips for part of the morning of Sept 11th. If one heeded the radio warnings by police and municipal leaders to stay off the roads and did not report for work at 8:30, you had to submit a leave slip for the period between 8:30 am and 9 am – which was when the provincial government officially closed for the day!

Perhaps, if a stingy bean counter multiplied the 30 minutes by the number of employees involved, the value might be quite high. However, considering the power outages, the dangerous conditions, the warnings and the announced closures – is the cash grab worth the resentment that it created with employees?

Frankly, I think it is petty, a poison bill, an accounting exercise that is mean spirited. I could care less about loosing a half hour’s pay. It is the principle of this claw-back that really disturbs me.

Another example of the value of time, and perhaps misguided accounting. An employer Is deducting minutes of pay from staff that go over the time allotted for breaks or meals. I could see this for chronic infractions, but the blanket rule just serves to frustrate good employees. Nickel and dimming employees does nothing to boost morale or increase retention.

Lack of common sense or good business sense?  Does this type of approach on small costs by employers just ensure they paydearly in terms of lost productivity on expensive staff. What do you think?

 Penny wise, pound foolish.

2 comments:

Tony said...

So much for driving the SAFETY of personnel to the forefront!

Tony

Anonymous said...

Misguided. The principle here is much important than the time. Dunderdale is sticking it to people. What is wrong with people?