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5 Steps to Get a Work Policy Changed

You have to be a high level muckity-muck with numerous minions at your command in order to make changes to the company, right? Of course, it seems easier to do that when you've got all the power, but those people aren't the only ones who can--and do--make things better.

Plenty of people have made real differences in their companies and you can as well. If you want a policy or practice changed, here are 5 steps to go through.

  1. Be a top performer. No one listens to suggestions about work-life balance from someone who comes in late every day and does shoddy work. You want your suggestions to be taken seriously? Do good work.
  2. Look outside your department. In a big company, departments can differ wildly. Sure, they all have the same employee handbook, but managers do things differently. Before you go making new suggestions, see what other people are doing. If you can show that department x has implemented this program and the people are productive and the earth has not ceased rotating, half your case is made for you.
  3. Pick one area you want to improve. If you go into your boss with a list of 25 things you want fixed, she'll tune you out before you get to item 3. Pick one thing. After that's fixed, go onto thing 2.
  4. Be willing to do the work. You can't just waltz in and ask to work from home on Thursdays and expect it to be done. You'll have to write up a plan that will demonstrate the costs and benefits. Don't leave off the negative consequences to your plan or no one will take you seriously. You will have to persuade so make your presentation a good one. When you do your research, be willing to find out that your "fabulous" idea is one that was tried in the past and failed miserably. If that happens, either demonstrate how this is different, or drop it and try something else.
  5. Be patient. Companies often move slowly, so don't freak out when it takes a while to get things done. You may have to present your ideas two or three times. You may have to meet with more than one, two, or three different people. But, be patient.
These steps will help you make policy and practice changes, even if you aren't a high level person. Next week, I'll give you a few hints on how to make changes in the relationships in your department.
Photo by tompagenet, Flickr cc 2.0