A dear friend of mine gets a call tell him his mother is no more! A shocking call to receive for anyone. Inevitable but nothing prepares us for it.
A couple of days later, he’s booking tickets to fly to his home town in another continent. I spend an inordinate amount of time with this man, so as usual, we are on a call discussing how he is feeling. We talk everything under the sun almost daily.
It hits me; my friend is booking annual leave to attend his mother’s funeral! I ask him to request leave under the bereavement policy.
He didn’t think about it. I am not surprised, as this should not be on his priority list. That is why you have a wingman. My nudge saves him three days of annual leave.
The next 30 minutes are spent on finding the right form to fill to apply for Bereavement Leave!
Seriously? A form? Think about it. Bereavement itself is a rare occurrence — a time of emotional swings. You are sad, upset. You have just lost someone dear. And the last thing people want to do is follow a process!
It is a prime example when the process should be as simple as it can be, a step or two at the max! The process could be a generic HR email ID and a one-liner saying I need to take bereavement leave. No questions ask. That should be it! Or the line manager should be able to liaise on the employee’s behalf.
Expecting to find a form, fill it during such a sensitive time defies logic and also shows how bad we are at second-order thinking – what are the consequences of the action. I understand people need to follow a process, fill a form for traceability/audit purposes but not during the time of emotional turmoil and emergencies. During these instances, people should always, ALWAYS trump over the process and compliance. Compassion should win over compliance.
There are 3 Ps any company needs to focus on – People, Purpose, Passion (profit is always a consequence of taking care of these 3Ps).