It is both amusing and sad that I need to write this out so explicitly.
I think if I counted the number of young professionals I have met who do not take policies, processes, and professional ethics seriously, I would be surprised myself.
A company can have the best IT tools to help streamline sales, CRM, Supply Planning, project management etc. but they fail the second no one uses it.
You can create the most efficient processes that minimizes waste but it falls apart the second people choose not to care about them.
The trouble that I have seen is not that people find using those things too difficult — it is more that they do not understand how important it is in the company for everyone to structure their actions systematically.
There are many, many examples of the types of policy violations that can occur — gossip in the office about coworkers actually violates ethical policies of ‘not evaluating coworker performances publically and without due diligence’; If the company has certain documentation requirements (that are part of quality processes like ISO) then choosing to NOT document because it ‘makes work faster’ is actually a violation of a company process.
Please remember: What can seem like a ‘shortcut’ today can have serious implications to the company down the road. What if the company has signed a lengthy partnership agreement with another company, and someone overlooks one sentence in that agreement?
Is that just one sentence on some document that ‘you will get to when you have some free time’, or is it a breach of a legal contract that can result in a liability claim to the company? Was it worth being ‘faster’ in your day by choosing to not give enough importance to that one sentence?
I hope the following perspectives can help align your priorities around policies (I am just shooting these perspectives as ideas):
- Always think about the bigger picture — Your company’s health before yours. If you can figure out a way for the entire company to be ‘faster’, then by all means lets implement that. However, focusing only on making yourself faster isnt always the right choice
- Cover all bases for the company — I might write more on this later, but again cover bases for the company rather than for yourself. You can do this by ensuring that the company will not face a $MM lawsuit because the smallest of your activities and actions.
- Take the policies as you take your religious book; your constitution; your law; the advice of your grand-parents; etc. — I.e. they are the absolute most important part of your work life, and they are larger than life. If you take none of those real-world things to heart either, then surely there is something you take seriously : advice from Simon from American Idol? Bill Gates’ vision for the next few years of software?
- Read every word. — Every single word of every policy and process is typically carefully planned, deliberated, analysed, consulted upon with lawyers etc. Wouldn’t it be a waste if no one tries to understand them? That is all I ask, just try to make sure that your interpretation of the words is the same as the company’s intended interpretation. [Note: If your company does not give due diligence to potential HR or internal policies and processes, please stop working for them because that can only be bad for your professional career]