Monday, September 28, 2009

Intent and Tone

Right now, I'm a Policy and Procedure writer.

Usually my work is more focused on training in some capacity, but I'm enjoying the pace shift.

Writing for this particular large, sports-industry corporation, I'm in a unique position, in that my work affects a lot of employees globally.

As I sit in meetings every day, I'm faced with a perpetual, interesting-possibly-only-to-me dilemma: what is the corporate INTENT when writing Human Resources Policies? And how do I use the right tone to reflect that intent?

Are Policy & Procedures meant to be PUNITIVE ("Do XXX, or face these consequences")?

Or RESPECT-BUILDING ("We expect XXX in order to uphold corporate integrity. Failure to comply may affect business and will result in consequences to employees.")?

Generally, I'd say that my job is for a company whose corporate lifestyle is so clearly NOT punitive. For example, my spacious cubicle is built from bamboo and rice paper, the campus is surrounded by acres of woodlands, and my (company lunchroom) meals are fresh and organic.

And also generally, I'd say I'm more of the Respect-Building school, and - as an employee - appreciate the softened, conspire-for-success tone.

But no matter what the corporate lifestyle is, do people, generally (aka you, 4 readers), want policies which are plain:
(Policy/Punitive response to failure)
OR softened:
(Policy phrased respectfully/Reasons for policy/Consequences of failure)?

Which is really a rabbit hole of political correctness (or touchy-feeliness) vs. old-school transparency (and bluntness).

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