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Memo to Mr. Slate: Check on Flintstone’s Engagement

December 14, 2011

Yesterday I joined in on a webinar hosted by the fine folks at Rypple and featuring our pal Scott Eblin who will, by the way, be speaking at the Louisiana SHRM State Conference in April 2012.  The topic was “Coachable Moments” and Scott delved into a lot of great material culled from his years as a business leader, executive coach and author of The Next Level.

At one stage, an attendee asked a question along the lines of “what can we do if our employees go rushing out the door right at 5 PM?” – the implication being that their desire to rush out the door indicated that they perhaps aren’t fully engaged.  What came to my mind (and thus was also immediately tweeted) was the image of Fred Flintstone, sliding down the dinosaur’s tail as soon as the whistle blew at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company, to the always-lively tune of “Meet the Flintstones.” **

For all our talk about work/life balance and work/life integration and workplace flexibility, old viewpoints die hard.  The reality continues to be that many people (leaders, managers, HR ladies) equate dedication, loyalty and employee engagement to face-time and people’s willingness to hang at the office for extended hours.

An organization with a deeply ingrained corporate culture of  “the more hours you put in, the better” is probably finding it harder and harder to recruit and retain talented individuals who want to spend more time with their families. And while not easy to change (nor will it ever fully change), we in HR can help by chipping away at the mindset of managers who believe that Jane who leaves at 5:45 PM is a whole lot more dedicated (and thus a better employee) than Sally who leaves at 5:00 PM on the dot.

Because you know what?  I’ve worked with both Jane and Sally; oftentimes Sally got her work done (and then some) while Jane had to stay late to finish her work because she wasted 2 hours every day chatting up her co-workers.

Now I don’t want to be Fred; ecstatically leaving work each day because it’s drudgery and Mr. Slate’s been on my case.  But if I do want to scoot out at the blow of the whistle, I want that to be OK too.

I want that face-time concept to be history.  Stone age history.

Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
They’re the modern stone age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They’re a page right out of history.

Let’s ride with the family down the street.
Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet.

When you’re with the Flintstones
you’ll have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
You’ll have a gay old time.

Music by: Hoyt S. Curtin
Lyrics by: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera

** And you’re welcome.  I know you’ll now have the tune in your head all – day – long.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2011 12:32 pm

    But Robin, this is so great because, it really is a changing of the guards and a “Sign O’ the Times” (shout out to Prince) that should not be a valid indicator. Look, you’ve them there all day, people have stuff to do. As long as the work is done, don’t be upset if the parking lot is empty by 5:03pm.

  2. December 14, 2011 12:41 pm

    Great post Robin ! I love the tie in to the Flinstones! The type of companies that demand a set start and end time may be able to still attract employee’s (it’s a bad economy after all) but will see those employee’s flee when the economy gets better or their life changes (getting married, having kids, taking care of a parent etc;)

  3. Phyllis Hill permalink
    December 15, 2011 2:33 pm

    I agree with your examples of Jane and Sally. I believe that all managers should be aware of those who are getting the job done instead of watching the clock to see who the first one out the door is.

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