Last week a story was doing the rounds on social media. Over on LinkedIn it was described as ‘uplifting’, ‘inspirational’, a ‘lovely story’ and ‘heartwarming’.
It’s an American story, but I’ve heard similar tales in the U.K. too.
A Florida based teacher is undergoing treatment for cancer. He had used up all of his sick leave and still had several rounds of chemotherapy to go. He appealed for help and colleagues a plenty stepped up and donated their own sick days to make sure he had what he needs to get him through. Now that is absolutely awesome. And it is heartwarming when people, without the desire for anything in return, do something for others in need.
But where is the employer in this positively framed story?
I call BS.
The employer, and any other that allows this kind of system, should be utterly ashamed.
Ghandi said that the true measure of society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. The same can be said of employers.
How you treat your sick, disabled, pregnant or otherwise vulnerable workers defines you. It’s not about employee benefits and wellbeing initiatives and learning opportunities and all that other employer brand and engagement stuff. It’s about doing the right thing. And from time to time this means sticking your neck out for someone in need, going above and beyond the policy and saying to hell with the precedent you might set.