It’s the classic refrain trotted out every year come 8 March, when International Women’s Day is celebrated:
“But what about International Men’s Day?”
What started as an isolated article or post seems to have now become a steady stream. Barely a day goes past where I don’t happen upon some status update, some commentary on employee experience, some so called expert telling me why all of the problems organisations in the twenty-first century are experiencing are HR’s “fault”.
We all know those emails, right? The ones that drop into our inbox and fill us with an immediate sense of impending doom. Fifteen people in the ‘To’ field, a further ten in the ‘Cc’ field… and goodness knows how many in the ‘Bcc’ field. From the moment that first mail arrives, you know you’re destined to spend the next couple of hours watching email after email in the chain arrive, circular threads of communication between anyone and everyone who may – or may not – be able to help address the topic in question.
My Christmas blog post this year is a well overdue one; having checked back on the dates it seems it’s been almost two months since I last blogged. There are no excuses other than the usual ones of there always being something else taking priority. Which is ironic, given what I wanted to write about, ahead of Christmas, is arguably one of the most important things for any of us to remember within our respective workplaces.
When I first started out working out in HR, I was told that there needed to be a policy for everything. A policy for managing absences. A policy for holidays. A policy for dress code. A policy for adverse weather. I even once wrote a policy to respond to the very specific strain of swine flu that was sweeping the nation at the time.
We know that culture matters. As our workplaces evolve, so too does the increasing focus we put on cultural behaviours within our organisations. When we think of our stand out performers within the business, it’s likely that the first names which come to mind are those who are vocal advocates for our culture.
There’s a lot of focus these days in organisations on delivering. Quite right, too. Not before time, we are moving away from the era where performance was judged on hours spent at one’s desk, and to a far more enlightened and productive age, where our stand out performers are those who are seen to be consistently delivering tangible outputs and achieving goals, regardless of the amount of time they spend in the office.
When you think of flexible working, what kind of employee demographic comes to mind? Working parents? Likely primarily mothers? If so, you wouldn’t be alone. Historically, flexible working has very much been seen as the domain of those employees with childcare responsibilities to work around. With the majority of primary carers still being mums rather than dads, it is easy to see how flexible working can have been dismissed by organisations as something which is required by the few, not the many.