Deciding on the rules for your company and your employees is an important part of shaping your company culture. Communicating these rules to your employees show them what is important to the organization. But are there some rules that could actually be turning good employees away? A recent article from the Huffington Post gives examples of some rules that may actually be hurting your company more than they are helping.

1- Waiting periods before a promotion. Some companies will put into place waiting periods that require employees to work in their position for six months (or sometimes more) before being eligible for a promotion. This rule is short-sighted and could cause a rock star employee to leave rather than waiting it out. It could also cause you to keep an employee in an ill-fitting position too long, causing performance and morale issues. Allow managers to make these decisions on a case-by-case basis rather than placing a time limit.

2- Ridiculous rules for time off. Companies that require documentation for time off due to illness or a death in the family send the wrong message to employees. If you want your employees to trust leadership, you will need to offer them a bit of trust as well.  Requiring a doctor’s note or proof of a death for a day or too off is a bit much.

3- Detailed dress codes. Creating extensive do and don’t lists for your employees will not end well. Consider what is necessary for a safe, professional work environment in your industry. Allowing employees to retains some level of self-expression is important. Does it really matter if your employee who only contacts customers on the phone has blue hair, tattoos or piercings?  Probably not. Don’t push away potentially great employees who may be a little creative with their appearance.

4- Restricting internet use. Again, you have to decide what is best for your company, but being overbearing is likely both a waste of time and potentially turning good employees away. Find the right balance between security for your company network, employee productivity and employee satisfaction. For more on this, check out our blog about Cyber Monday.

5- Bell curves for measuring performance. This old-school view of human performance is in desperate need of an update. Ranking people in this way makes them feel like they are just a number. It also unfairly pits employees against one another. Instead judge each individual on their own work and performance.

6- Banning cell phones. This is another rule that unless safety or security requires such a ban, just sends the message that you don’t trust your employees. Find places where you can give a little leeway.

7- Overbearing email policies. This again comes down to trust. If you can’t trust your employees to use company email properly, why did you hire them. Providing training and setting realistic expectations for use is better than having extensive rules.

Having clearly communicated expectations for employees is important, but we recommend that you find a balance between creating a rule for everything and having a free-for-all, neither of which will be very successful. If you want to attract and retain the best employees, you need to decide what is really important to your organization and let the rest go.

If you have questions, please reach out to one of our human resources experts at 1-800-748-5102 or