The Rule to Guide all rules

Rules are generally accepted as a necessary evil, created to maintain order in the chaotic world we live in. This applies to the workplace, as much as anywhere else. However, in a workplace, these rules don’t always need to be written into a book that every employee simply must refer. At Frontier we don’t believe in setting up a rule book for two main reasons;

  1. You don’t need policies for everything. For example: at Netflix, a company whose culture deck gave us a lot of ideas says “there is also no clothing policy at Netflix, but no one comes to work naked”. Many rules are generally known and accepted; they don’t need re-stating.
  2. Simply because someone made a mistake years ago doesn’t mean we need a policy. We don’t penalize the many for the mistakes of the few.

Thus, we can reduce the number of rules to be published in an employee manual to the “golden rule” or the 3-word policy of Use Good Judgement. This can be considered the “rule to guide all rules”. It is expected that people working at Frontier would use their common sense and good judgement rather than having to refer to a list of rules every now and then.

In the event that someone does make some bad judgement, our response will depend on whether that mistake is “mission critical” or not;

  • If it is a mission critical issue or likely that many others might make the same mistake: We will talk about it so everyone understands and it could go into a process book (a small guide we use to support decision making in complex situations) to avoid any future confusion over the matter.
  • If not:
    • At times we will let it slide (to see if it repeats, in order to assess if it is bad judgement or carelessness)
    • At times it will be dealt with quickly, mostly individually.

Broadly, making “bad judgements” impacts perceptions towards one’s judgment/maturity. This is symmetric to Frontier’s relationships with its clients. What our CEO, Amal Sanderatne, says and does matters, in the context of how clients perceive Frontier. This is implicit in all firms; even those with big rule books still rely on judgment. It’s about demonstrating maturity and professionalism.

However, we do have one key “rule” at Frontier – No bullying and harassment. Which brings us to how we look at conduct at work.

Conduct at Work

Unacceptable behavior at Work is viewed in two main aspects:

First, discrimination based on stereotypes. Everybody has stereotypes, we agree, but we must not act on them, especially if it unfairly discriminates a few. What is important is that one must have the maturity to respect other people and accept them for what they are as individuals. Be it religious, sexual orientation, gender, other beliefs or lifestyle choices which can lead to people being categorized in a group (such as people who frequent night-clubs or even those that prefer to stay at home). Acts of discrimination or bullying must be avoided and are not judged by the perspectives of the majority but by that of the individual.

The other aspect is general nastiness, gossiping, backstabbing etc. Again, a lot of this also depends on context. Everything is subjective and a remark in a certain context may cause hurt, while in another context it could be joke that we can all laugh about. It could even have a different impact on different people.

The general idea is that if someone feels they are being harassed or treated badly by another team member (as outlined above), it is something that matters and should be dealt with in some way. This can be done either among the parties in question, with other peers intervening or by another senior member or Amal becoming involved. No one should feel that work is a place that they get bullied, harassed or discriminated against.

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