Layer upon layer of control

Not everyone gets into work on time every day. One minute early one day, five minutes late the next, people are so unpredictable really.

Now some managers, when faced with this normal variety of human behaviour find it quite difficult to deal with. After all, five minutes can become ten and then ten can become thirty and the next thing you know there is complete chaos with everyone coming in two hours late and spending their entire time talking.

To prevent this breakdown some order has to be imposed. Anyone coming in late is given an interview to discuss the reasons and a note is put on their file. Of course then the time has to be made up before they go home.

Quite often though this isn’t enough. Before you know it the people who come in late are also working slower than the others, they just don’t seem as motivated as the others. So before this turns into an epidemic action has to be taken. Targets are set for how much work is done and anyone that doesn’t meet those targets is given an interview and a note put on their file.

Just when it looks like it is all under control, it takes a turn for the worse. We begin to discover that there are some people who not only get in late and work slower, but they also have the ‘wrong’ attitude to their management and company. Now we have the most awkward of HR issues – problem staff.

Of course this could happen so differently. We could decide to ignore the timekeeping variances of the good workers, and only deal with those that take the piss. In fact we could decide to deal with people as individuals on a personal level and be flexible in our approach. This might even run the risk of motivating those people to work a bit harder. But then that is so much more work than adding a new level of control.

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