Not long ago, I wrote a piece called "Stupid Things Corporations Do." But never did I think that stupid could fall into the moronic range. WalMart proved me wrong....
According to a Nov. 2 AP article, WalMart's revised attendance policy forbids lateness due to snow. Apparently, Forrest Gump thought WalMart when he famously said, "Stupid is as stupid does."
So that WalMart lovers don't pull a Bill O'Reilly on me, I am not a WalMart hater. I also agree that companies suffer due to absenteeism. However, stupid policies that lead to brand damage, declining morale, lower productivity, and negative marketing don't solve the problem. In fact, I believe they increase absentism. And in this case, the policy also places employees in harm's way. Can't wait for the first lawsuit.
Look, brand building begins from the inside with employees. Happy and respected employees lead to great customer experiences. Great customer experiences lead to increased sales. Increased sales lead to growth. Combined, these things lead to great brand perception.
What WalMart did with this policy to every employee working in a snow belt is demoralizing, dangerous and disrespectful. What were they thinking?
According to the article, "the new policy appears more rigid when it comes to authorized absences. In the past, general bad weather would suffice as an authorized excuse; now it has to be a natural disaster like a hurricane or blizzard. Wal-Mart is now defining tardiness more rigidly as beginning work 10 minutes or more after the scheduled start time, which results in an incomplete shift. Three incomplete shifts add up to one unauthorized absence."
Imagine for a moment that you are a WalMart employee living and working in a suburban Chicago store. Anyone who ever lived in or visited that great city on the shoulder of Lake Michigan in January has been introduced up close and personally to subzero temperatures, bolstered by 15 mph wind gusts, combined with a four to six inches of snow, which likely won't be classified as a blizzard.
I can attest to the 35-minute drive turned into a two-hour scary, slimy, sliding crawl into Chicago in conditions such as those. Not a good experience for the brave at heart, let alone those who love their children and want to see them again. What time does WalMart suggest I throw myself in front of a snow plow so I can greet the one or two nuts who crash their way to WalMart to buy snow shovels?
"Stupid is as stupid does."
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