Stupid Workplace Rules Can Hurt Your BusinessWorkplace rules - the bureaucratic policies and red tape common to most organizations - are a hassle for everyone involved. Managers don’t like having to enforce them. Employees resent having to obey them.

While some policies are indispensable, particularly those relating to workplace safety, it’s worth thinking about those rules that complicate the workplace, rather than enhance it.

In this article, contributor Bruna Martinuzzi asks, “What can you do to make sense of workplace rules? What are some rules that you should consider and what rules do you need to discard?” Here are some of her suggestions:

Workplace Rules to Implement in Your Business

Implement a BYOD Policy

A Tech Republic survey shows 38 percent of companies lack a viable Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. But as employees increasingly carry with them a variety of mobile devices - smartphones, tablets, personal laptops - many employers are considering how to integrate them into the company’s systems.

“Doing so can create potential security risks,” Martinuzzi notes, but on the other hand, a blanket BYOD prohibition seems like “a particularly punitive policy that is sure to irk a lot of employees."

One option: Institute a policy “to plug any security holes” while permitting employees to use their own devices, as needed.

Don’t Try to Save Money at the Cost of Alienating Your Workforce

One policy that breeds resentment is the practice of taking back frequent flyer miles employees earn while they travel on company business. Yes, the company pays for the airline ticket but, Martinuzzi says, “consider the wear and tear on health” that comes from long hours of travel, eating bad airport food, disruptions in sleep patterns, and time away from one’s family.

“This is part of the unspoken loyalty of employees to their jobs. Responding by taking away airline loyalty rewards is not a fair exchange.”

Expand Your Outlook on Sick Leave

Conditions vary among companies regarding sick leave policy, but Martinuzzi offers examples of what some successful firms are doing in this area.

At Hubspot, the three-word policy for sick days is “Use good judgment.” This is offered within the context of “favoring your team over yourself” and understanding that “acting in our customers’ interest is our long-term interest, too.”

A small business called Tastefully Simple sponsors numerous wellness initiatives, including a “Hooky Day” (a birthday is a paid holiday).

Encourage Open Exchanges on Social Media

Many businesses have policies “that muzzle critiques of the company on social media,” but in the age of Twitter it’s increasingly harder to enforce such policies. Consider taking a different approach.

Nokia, for example, has created online platforms where employees can express themselves on everything from executive decisions to software inefficiencies - discussing problems and solutions that will help the company improve in the end.

“Business executives need to be prepared to handle more and more open reactions from staff,” Martinuzzi says. Look for ways to permit your employees to “speak up for the good of the company.”

Some workplace rules were put in place to address specific issues. If those issues are no longer a problem, eliminating the rules gives your company (and your hard-working employees) more room to breathe.

What workplace rules could you eliminate today?

No Emotional Intelligence Costs You SalesEmotional intelligence—“the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions and use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”—could be a great resource for your sales team. If they lack emotional intelligence, your salespeople might make errors that cost you sales.

So says Bruna Martinuzzi, the founder of Clarion Enterprises Ltd, and a contributor to OPENForum.

She lists six key mistakes she’s seen, with advice on how to avoid them.

No Emotional Intelligence Means No Emotional Connection

We buy from people we like—not a news flash, right?

But too many salespeople focus on closing a sale, rather than on forging a relationship with prospective clients. The ability to connect and create long-lasting relationships is at the core of emotional intelligence. A salesperson who enters the relationship “with the mindset of doing service” will more often make that all-important emotional connection.

According to Martinuzzi, doing service means “going out of our way to match a customer’s needs, making ourselves available … and taking personal responsibility for anything that happens, especially after the sale has been made.”

Listen More, Talk Less

Salespeople are often trained to speak over a potential customer’s objections, to get the sales pitch in before anything else happens. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes—do you think you’d like to be subjected to this approach?

Instead, Martinuzzi says, be aware of the affect your pitch has: “Watch for body language cues that signal when they've had enough.”

Emotional intelligence means you can ask prospects these key questions, and listen to the answers:

One more tip: Take notes while you listen. Don’t rely on memory or you’ll be sure to forget something.

Lack of Self-awareness

Each salesperson has a unique style, but if they’re unaware of it, they can’t gauge the affect they have.

Researchers writing in the Harvard Business Review identify several types of behavior that work against closing a sale:

Your salespeople need to know their sales style so they understand what’s effective, and what works against them.

Inability to Adapt

A salesperson with a high emotional intelligence IQ can adapt to unforeseen situations, and is open to new ways of doing things.

Lack of Authenticity

“When we use scripted sales pitches, we lose some of our authenticity,” Martinuzzi says.

Potential clients are generally alert to any false notes or insincere language in their dealings with salespeople. The most effective approach is to learn everything you can about the client before you meet with them, then “forget the script and speak from the heart about what you do and what you can offer.”

Emotional intelligence means genuine wins over faking it every time.

Where’s the Humility?

A salesperson who acts as if he has all the answers and nothing to learn from the potential client’s own experience is failing to make an emotional connection.

As Martinuzzi puts it, “Wanting to be the smartest person in the room rarely works.”

Successful sales happen when you connect with what matters to people. And what matters to people are emotions.

What sales mistakes have you seen or experienced, as they relate to lack of emotional intelligence?


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