Oct 13 2011

Beyond Policy

Beyond Policy

Policies are an important part of managing employees. Similarly, contracts are an important part of running the commercial side of the business.  But it’s impossible to legislate every potential down-the-road situation ahead of time. That’s why one of the 13 core values at Return Path is

We believe in doing the right thing

I’ll admit that more than most of our values, this one sounds like Motherhood and Apple pie. Who doesn’t want to do the right thing?  The reason this value is an important part of our culture is that when we are in a tough situation, we stop and ask ourselves the most basic, yet thought provoking question — what’s the right thing to do here?

  • When you fire an employee immediately before a major block of stock options vest, what’s the right thing to do?  Vest the options
  • When you have a client who for some reason can no longer use your product or service or legitimately can’t pay their bill, what’s the right thing to do?  Let them out of their agreement, or at least let them suspend their agreement, even if it’s a long term contract
  • When you make a payroll mistake and the employee doesn’t notice it but you discover it after the fact, what’s the right thing to do?  Let the employee know…and make them whole (the reverse is true of course as well, in cases where employees are the beneficiaries of an unnoticed payroll error – the right thing is to let the company know and make the company whole)
  • When you have a choice of a car service (price equal) that runs only hybrid cars or more luxurious gas guzzlers for your routine trips to the airport, what’s the right thing to do?  Go green, baby!
  • When you make a mistake and a client is adversely impacted but doesn’t notice it, what’s the right thing to do?  Fess up, quickly and thoroughly

I’m sure we don’t always get the tough calls right. That’s part of being a community of humans with emotions and faults. But we know that our reputation as a business goes well beyond following our policies and contracts and try to do the right thing as circumstances dictate.