What’s In a Name? You’d be Surprised



There are lots of policies that get ‘adopted’ by firms which never get to see the light of day in terms of actual implementation.

From my experiences and what I’ve heard from so many, I have come to the conclusion that some policies aren’t passed to be adopted; They serve instead as a ‘corporate green card’ needed by an organization to be accorded the sort of audience more sophisticated/refined organizations seem to enjoy.

One of such policies is the ‘first name basis’ policy.

The use of it has become more of a fad. The concept as well as all accompanying benefits are both valued and acknowledged, but, often from a safe distance. Although seen as desirable, fashionable and modern, organizations who value seniority and appreciate more traditional forms of respect have found it difficult to embrace.

Personally, I do agree that it does break some communication barriers and eases up the gap that strains open work relationships. But does it really have any correlation with actual performance? That’s debatable. However, it can be argued that if it promotes a healthy work environment and eases the work-flow, it is bound to have some carry-on effect on overall organizational performance.

I have heard several tales about employees taking offence to being called solely by their first names. Usually, these employees reprimand colleagues (often impolitely) for omitting the decoratives that precede their names. ¬†Similarly, I have seen first-hand, the damage these encounters do to the morale of the ‘corrected’ and the quality of interpersonal relationships that ensue afterwards.

I value integrity, which after all is doing exactly what you said you would, and I also appreciate the countless number of organizations who have successfully enforced and imbibed the culture/policy.

Essentially, for any human related policy to be successful, it is paramount for policy makers to acquire a thorough understanding of the organizational culture. Policies formulated should be done in consideration of the people, the company’s ideology and culture. It is worth throwing some issues to the opinion polls or conducting a survey around certain subjects before running them.

Alternatively; if an organization insists on making such transitions, it is pertinent that such initiatives are completely supported by top management and same are seen to be actively engaged in acting out the newly adopted behaviours.

In conclusion, to be seen as credible and be taken seriously as an organization, to avoid the animosity that may arise from un-receptive staff, to maintain subsequent levels of motivation, commitment and engagement, (organizations should carefully consider the likelihood of success in implementing such a policy by taking into consideration the attitude to culture change as well as the possible impact on organizational harmony & performance).

Do you have experiences of your own to share on the subject? …and is there really any correlation between a first name basis policy and subsequent performance? I would love to read your thoughts. Do feel free to share…