<i>Dear Workforce</i> Our New Sick-Leave Policy Will Be Controversial. How Should We Handle the Fallout?
March 29, 2010
Sick leave has a high organizational cost in terms of replacement workers, lost productivity, errors and rework, client unhappiness and, of course, the inevitable frustration for employees who are at work trying to pick up the slack. As a supervisor, you already know that the use of sick leave is on the rise. With more being asked of all employees, even the healthiest workers start to feel they deserve a little time off and begin to take sick days.
Context and background make it easier to formulate the reasons you are making the change. Stated clearly and concisely, these become your talking points:
While some employees will be unhappy with the change in policy, the majority—those who rarely if ever take sick leave and generally have to pick up the slack for others—will appreciate the change. Quite often organizations make decisions intended to avoid backlash from a vocal minority and ignore the endorsement from a supportive (but often silent) majority.
I would be remiss if I didn't comment on your acknowledgement that you don't agree with the policy. It isn't easy to execute the direction set by leadership while managing and motivating employees, who may see senior leaders as out of touch with what is happening on the front lines.