October 30, 2012
Jack and Jill Do Not A Fairy Tale Make
This is a true story, only a few of the facts have been changed to make a point.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a handsome young man lived in a Valley called Silicon. Jack was a programmer for a big company and he worked and worked and worked. Everyone knew he was the hardest worker in the company.
The king of Jack’s company worked hard too. He was usually the last to leave the building. Except for Jack. Long after dark, the king would see Jack’s silhouette in the office window, and nod approvingly.
Jack’s manager, an old fashioned kind of manager too, also appreciated Jack’s efforts. The first to clock in, the last to leave, Jack sometimes worked deep into the night. Jack usually worked on weekends too. Jack was always at his desk, hard at work. Jack was a star employee.
In another part of the Valley, there was a beautiful young woman who worked for another company. She was a programmer too. Jill seldom was at her desk, but her boss knew she could always be reached by phone, text message, or email. Jill’s boss was amazed at how productive she was. In fact, Jill seemed to produce more than several workers combined. Jill was a star employee.
One day, Jill’s boss got a call from Jack. Jack said he was a matchmaker. He said he was starting a company that helped freelancers find work and helped companies get work done. Jack said Jill frequently hired his people to help her get work done, and Jack wondered if there was anything more he could do to help.
Jill, you see, was hiring freelancers with her own money, to make sure she was more productive than anyone. Jack’s time and attention were spent building his own company using his employer’s resources and money.
The moral of this tale is that measuring time spent at the office is a measure of nothing. Measuring results is a measure of what’s important. When you do that, involuntary turnover goes up and voluntary turnover goes down.
Trusted to work where, when, and even how they want, people will rise to new heights. If they don’t, you can feed them to the ogre in HR.
- Tom Harnish, 10/30/2012