Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Slice of Work #15 — Culture Drives Policy, Not the Other Way

This was a fine mid-sized culturally vibrant dream company to work for. It had a large heart. It attracted good talent and much of it was owed to its CEO, a very fine man who was both genuine and charismatic.

The HR head met a candidate, Nirmala, who had a career break. She had a great background and experience. Just when the job offer was going to be made, Nirmala said that she wanted flexibility – work from home, work part-time and work at will, at least for a year plus to look after her child. The HR head heard himself agreeing to each of these although they were not part of the policy.

Convincing his colleagues and his boss was easy, for the culture was supportive. All this was almost 20 years ago when such things were really unheard of. Nirmala turned out to be one of the best a really a refreshing professional who brought in high energy to the place.

The HR Head moved on. He had long forgotten about what he had done. Nirmala did not. Nirmala recounted this positive experience at a National event where she spoke passionately about what this meant to her.

Her story was impactful—the ability to do things for others is within us and it is for us to bend the rules. People of influence can support people who are great talent. Flexibility starts with us being flexible in our mind.

Nirmala’s story reminded me that it is not a policy that drives culture, but culture that drives policy … and happiness at work. And someone who can take a lead on it.  

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