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Spot a toxic company culture by asking about attendance policies

If you want to get honest insight about a company’s culture, ask employees about the attendance policies.

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Looking at a company’s culture

Too few of us ask about a company’s culture before taking a job, perhaps because we feel we should be grateful for the opportunity of employment. However, company culture is the difference between a stressful stop-over delaying you from better opportunities and the perfect fit that leads to a lasting career.

Overly restrictive attendance policies are one key indicator of a toxic corporate culture.

Being present at 8:00 on the dot matters when you are in a customer service position but for most salaried workers work is not a matter of showing up at particular times to perform a repetitive task; for many of us work takes place within a more fluid framework in which task accomplishment should be the barometer, rather than adhering to an inflexible attendance policy that confuses quantity for quality.

A slave to the clock

Obviously chronic tardiness is unacceptable, but a good work environment will be forgiving of the odd 70-minute lunch or late arrival due to dropping the kids off at school.

Before decrying these employees as lazy, consider that the average American now clocks 47 hours per week at work and only takes 10 of his or her 14 available vacation days.

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Consider then that according to several surveys workers spend 1.5-3 hours on private tasks anyway. Would it not be better to allow an employee the leeway to leave early once in awhile to take care of personal business?

When speaking of positive corporate culture, trust reigns supreme

Employees trust that their hard work will be adequately compensated and that they will be trusted to make decisions for themselves as responsible adults, while the employer trusts that an employee will put in the time and effort necessary to get the job done.

Whether it be a manager demanding a doctor’s note for an afternoon off or a jealous boyfriend poring through his significant other’s text messages suspicion and a lack of trust can only foster resentment and a toxic environment.

Policing employee’s time and maturity does not an effective workplace make. Instead the focus should be on hiring employees who can be trusted to make their own decisions and allowing them the freedom to do so.


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