All ApexSQL employees should have the right to …
- One job – Not 2 or 3 – on which you can focus on and strive to be the best. We find when people have to cover more than one job, morale and productivity suffers
- One boss – Everyone has the right to know exactly who their boss is and have just one of them. People may have internal “customers” who they must be responsive to but should only have one boss.
- No boss – Now that we have moved to “Enterprise scrum”, there are many situations where people have no boss. 2 boss bad, 1 boss good, no boss better
- a Job description – Everyone has a right to know exactly what their job description is. That doesn’t mean they can’t chip in and help out, outside their core competency, once in a while. But, for the most part, people should have clear roles and responsibilities. These need to be in the form of a document that they can access at any time
- Promotion – People need to know what their next opportunity is, what it looks like, and what responsibilities, skills it entails. They also need to know what the pay will be for their next promotion and the promotions above that. Generally, we have 4 levels for each job description. Employees need to know the exact pay grade for each job level and the full job description for each level
- Yearly review – Every employee should get a formal review at least once a year where they are certified at their present level, job. Everyone has a right to ask and receive detailed spot feedback at any time
- Freedom of schedule (if possible) – Unless a schedule is tethered to direct customer interaction e.g. customer service, then employees should be able to work a flex schedule. By flexible schedule, we mean work whenever you want. Just send us your planned work hours and let us know if there will be any changes
- Freedom of location – Employees should be able to work wherever they want. This is normally assumed to be at home but this includes the right to work at an office. I find that an office where employees can come and go, mixing work locations between home and office is best. Some will work only at home, some only at office, some – like me, a mixture of both.
- Payment – Be paid on time, in predictable fashion, including the right to escalate payment problems (that we never have) to the CEO directly. Whether employees are full time or part time, their payment must be consistent and predictable
- Quit – To be able to quit without negativity, hassles, payment delays or other problems. We never like to see an employee leave but when they do we need to make the process as respectful and efficient as possible. We know that the mark of a company is not in how they say “hello” but how they say “good-bye”
- Freedom from “forced fun” – I suffered through forced fun in the Army, where you get a “day off” only to be forced to play tug-o-war and other contrived games and activities all day! I would have rather fought in a war than had such “fun” 😉 ‘nuff said. Still, you may run into some spontaneous “Office Beer Friday” hangouts with other employees
- Take vacation – We offer 5 weeks to start. 6 after two years. 7 after three years. 8 after five years. 9 after ten years. We simply ask that we have redundancy coverage and that we get sufficient notice. Otherwise, vacation is approved automatically
- Roll over – I dislike “use it or lose it” benefit schemes, whether it is dental insurance – “Can you drill my teeth just to use up the $500 I have left until Dec 31st”, sick days, floating holidays, or vacations. Vacation time should be allowed to be rolled-over each year if not used, and better yet – sold (see next)
- Not take vacation – There are some people who don’t need 9 weeks’ vacation, and some who don’t need any. Rather than being forced to sit idle, mow the lawn, go to 6-flags an employee should be allowed to work instead and get paid for it. We offer to buy back vacation time (and sometimes even buy forward) to multiples of up to 1.5x pay
- Be sick – We offer 5 sick and or personal days a year that can be taken in a no questions asked, dignified way. No doctor’s note etc. If sick days, personal days become a problem, we follow-up. Otherwise just let us know that you will be out
- Not be sick – Employees who are never out, need to be acknowledged and rewarded. Unused sick days convert to vacation days automatically, at the end of the year.
- Enjoy holidays – We acknowledge all local national holidays and even offer a few days extra to cover for “floating holidays”. If your team needs to provide redundancy during a holiday you will be appropriately compensated
- Not meet – Meetings suck. Better to understand the goals of your team and meet on an ad hoc basis to work out the details. If it can’t be solved, then kick it upstairs but don’t sit around talking about it forever
- Not commute – Commuting is stressful, dangerous, wasteful (of time and money). Let’s not do it. Our technology centers are in the center of cities, making walking or bicycling easy for most employees.
- Not be in “solitary” – No matter what people tell you, nobody, and I mean nobody likes to work in isolation, without anyone to communicate with, share ideas, sound-board or even just to gripe with. When people work in isolation their morale gets low, anxiety increases and productivity degrades. The harder and more complex the task, the more prone people are to the negative effects of social isolation. We make a point to always pair people off on any task or job and look for cases of isolation.
- Not be overworked – By not subsidizing low ROI task with “hard work” and capping hours we are forced to work smarter. If people can reclaim some leisure time and waste it on fun, entertainment, friends etc – then that is a small price to pay! 😉
- To specialize – Being a generalist, jack-of-all-trades, switching from app to app, competency to competency and project to project is no fun and can be downright demoralizing. It forces you to multitask which hurts productivity. Everyone should have the right to be allowed the time and focus sink their teeth into a particular task, project, or competency to do it right.
- To be the best – Being allowed to specialize, to focus on something until it is done right, allows you to nurture a sense of pride of accomplishment and craftsmanship. Everyone should have the chance to go home and tell their kids (if they have them) that they are the best at whatever they do.
- To have freedom from clothing – at least in the privacy of your own home office 😉
This is a work in progress. Comments welcome. What rights would you consider inalienable at your perfect job?
July 4, 2018