If I ever run a big company… (More than like 100 employees) I am going to implement the “Me Be Smart” policy.
I think almost every company I’ve every known or worked for would introduce policy without always thinking it through. The employees most affected would be shocked. Horrified. Frustrated.
So if I every run a big enough company I am going to give out five “golden tickets” every year. Randomly placed in departments and at mid- to entry-level positions. Purposefully sort of the “line” employees.
With this golden ticket they are allowed to request an appointment with me any day. And they are to be given up to a 1/2 day when I am available (obviously, if I’m traveling this isn’t possible). They are allowed to try to convince me a policy or plan is stupid.
If they can convince me a policy or plan is stupid (if it involves a department-head, they might be included too) – they get a $5,000 bonus. They only get the golden ticket for a year, so if they waste my time they don’t get it again. Maybe not ever. It also goes in their performance review. Or maybe they only get $3,500 for presenting the problem and they have to propose a solution for the problem for the last $1,500.
BUT – if they can make their case. It might even be a $500 reward if I can find that they really put in the effort (not wasting my time). If I can explain the reason (sometimes the reasons suck, but they exist…) and they nod and say, “Ah. Damn.” – they get the $500 bonus and they help me write up a communication explaining (when/if possible) the reasoning behind the decision frustrating the line-people.
Oh, and of course every good decision gets merit-commendations-something on the employee’s annual review. They get put in the company drawing for the yearly vacation-of-awesome. “Ultimate employee benefit.” Something.
Reward when they make the case. Reward when they convince me. Reward MORE for solutions (not just problems). You prove my decision stupid – you get cash & credit. You get lauded. Good job! You made my company better and at the end of the day that’s what I want. You fixed the morale problem. You reminded me that my employees are people, not numbers.