Give Your Employees (Nerf) Guns
October 24, 2018
I work for companies that encourage employees to work from home, bring dogs to the office, and shoot each other in the face.
It’s counter-intuitive, but workplaces that encourage employee freedom are workplaces that ship great things (quickly).
To many managers, the idea of employee freedom is scary.
What if the engineers goof off and we miss a product deadline? What if IT is working from home and there is a critical bug? Will the college interns stay on task if we allow beer at work? Why would anyone come to work if we have an unlimited vacation policy?
During my short career, I’ve seen all of these fears turn out completely unfounded (yes even the drinking interns). Here is why: Employee freedom forces you to hire the right people.
Let me rephrase that: If your employees can’t be trusted to have a fifth of whiskey on their desks, you have a hiring problem. You suck at hiring.
If you hire a mediocre engineer and allow working from home, you will probably miss deadlines. If you hire an excellent engineer and allow working from home, she will stay when the recruiters come knocking.
In a world of Glassdoor reviews and LinkedIn recruiters, the time has come to stop treating employees like fixed assets and start treating them like people.
If you want high performers to work at your company, you have to accept that they must be treated as responsible adults. Responsible adults know when it’s time to show up at the office, they know when it’s time to blow off steam, and they don’t need chaperones.
That sense of mutual respect is one of the first things I look for in a workplace. The feeling of confidence I have when I know my employer trusts me to do the work. The assurance I have that I was hired because I was the right candidate, not the easy-to-manage one.
Few things say, “You’re an adult, and I trust you to get the job done,” as well as a Nerf N-Strike Mega BigShock Blaster.