26 Feb Attendance and Punctuality

attendance and punctualityA few years ago, our Vancouver manager and current COO arrived at the office at 10:00 a.m. on a Monday morning.

It could easily have been assumed that she had chosen to sleep-in because she was the boss, and therefore had the power to do such things. In fact, one team member made just such an assertion.

The truth, however, was that she slept in because she had worked all-day Saturday and Sunday and had answered company emails until the small hours of Monday morning.

Not knowing the full story, and making an ungrounded assumption led to a serious misunderstanding, which was an abrupt reality check for this unfortunate team member.

Transition from “working from home” to “working from the office”:

Serving on the senior leadership team often means giving up evenings and weekends for meetings, trade shows, travel, processing payroll, and simply getting all of our work done on time. Our arrival at the office, and our departure from the office simply represents a transition from “working from home” to “working from the office.”

We work these hours because we want to, and because we want Qualifirst to grow. Our mission is to spread our passion for food. We also work longer hours because we want to ensure the rest of the team is able to maintain a good life balance. And we are happy to do so.

I am telling this story now because it forms part of my team message about attendance in general. As senior leaders (myself, Jodi and Brigitte), our accountability revolves around making sure Qualifirst grows and prospers while also making sure the members of the Qualifirst team have jobs to return to.

Great attendance is the minimum we expect:

We do expect perfect attendance from that part of the team that is required to work regular office hours Monday to Friday. Great attendance is the expectation that comes with regular hours. Great attendance is the minimum we expect.

In last week’s blog, Accountabilities and Engagement, I discussed behaviours and attributes that contribute to each of these terms. Further to this, “engaged” can mean arriving a bit early and leaving a bit late sometimes.

At Qualifirst, all of our working teams are small. Each complete team must be present to work together, answering each other’s questions and meeting each other’s needs so we can all keep working.

We strive to provide life balance to each employee

And we always want to be fair. But there are times when we give someone a day or week off, and at the moment, if another team member or two also chooses to not show up, it makes for a very challenging day for the rest. And that’s not fair.

I have resisted, and I will continue to resist putting a set of rules in place that treats our team like children. Engaged employees deserve to be treated as adults. So we have implemented one simple rule: Attendance is a major accountability and not meeting it will be cause for dismissal.

We have also chosen to restrict vacation time in order to accommodate our busiest time of the year, which runs from September 16 to Dec 15, when the full team is absolutely essential. Vacations can be scheduled outside of this window, and time off can only be considered for the most important of personal reasons.

Clarity of communication:

Although these statements can be seen by some as harsh, this is the type of clarity and communication that our team members have been asking for and that I am committed to provide.

It is important that I ensure this message has been understood and that this is indeed a two-way communication. As such I have asked each member of our team to confirm that they understand this policy, and I have encouraged them to submit a short comment if desired.

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