Are You a Lazy Manager?

I’m all for blanket policies, they make life easy, everybody knows where they stand:

  • Everybody on the same pay scale
  • Everybody entitled to the same amount of holiday
  • Everybody gets the same computer

If you treat everyone fairly then everyone feels fairly treated.

But I’m not so keen on blanket solutions

A few years ago the retailer Tesco had a sickness problem.  Either its stores were hot beds of infection or people were pulling sickies left, right and centre.

Tesco’s solution was simple, a blanket policy change, stop sick pay for the first 3 days of any absence.

I wasn’t there, but I guess this change in policy changed behaviour:

Sometimes for the better

And sometimes for the worse

  • Sick people dragged themselves into work
  • Sick people made their colleagues sick
  • Sick people made their customers sick

Reviews were mixed:

Was it an employee relations success?

I work for Tesco and I think it sucks!!! ~ Jules

Or a public relations success?

Tesco’s new scheme is dressed up as a means of supporting staff who feel they are let down by absent employees. Rather than find the money to cover absent positions, Tesco’s have devised a plan that will save them money and not address the real issue at all. ~ Jason Kitson

Or a resounding success?

Cool – Tesco have now officially extended sickies to 4 days! ~ John B

Maybe there are better ways than blankets

Perhaps the managers could have found out who was sick and why:

  • Were they genuinely sick?
  • Did they have a problem at home?
  • Did they hate their job?
  • Or were they swinging the lead?

Then done something about that.  Instead of punishing everyone.

Next time you are about to apply a blanket solution…

Banning access to social media…  Stopping people from bringing mobile phones into work…  Insisting that people work from 9 to 5… try this one instead:

Hire people you trust to do a good job, treat them like adults, be clear what is unacceptable and discipline the individuals who misbehave.

Blankets are just for the lazy.

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Image by hradcanska


  1. James,

    Thanks. Needed to be said. I’m familiar with a scenario in which a blanket solution was used among employees in a certain department, so as to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. Some people in the department are happy about this, while others are offended and believe it’s ridiculous. It creates confusion for employees (in other departments) not affected by this decision – and potentially creates confusion among customers, too.

    I believe the decision was made because, as you say, blankets are just for the lazy.

    Annette 🙂

    • James Lawther says:

      So by not hurting anyones feelings they hurt peoples feelings?

      Sounds like an ingenious solution

      Thanks for your comment


  2. Hi James,
    As you say, blanket solutions are for the lazy and they make it easy for management not to do the ‘hard’ work. Many of our MPs and legislators could do with reading this post too.