When we are hired on as managers, one of the first things we learn is that we are the go between. We are the person in the middle of company policy, and the employees that hate it. Learning how to effectively deal with this common problem is absolutely vital to our efforts in becoming an excellent manager.
When a seemingly asinine company policy comes down the pipe, it is you that will have to explain, encourage, and otherwise calm your employees. Regardless of whether you agree with the policy or not, the first step is to never, ever show it. You are the representative of the company to each of your employees, and you must not show anything more than compliance. If you let on that you think it is silly, you are setting yourself up for them to break the policy.
Before you attempt to calm the questions from your own employees, make certain that you have already talked with your own superiors to get answers. As crazy as some policies seem, there is usually a good reason for them. Find out that reason, and all of the questions that might be asked by your employees. You must understand the reason for the new company policy and have an explanation for the seemingly unexplainable.
Make a careful notation as to how much the policy affects you and your subordinates. Many times, a company policy will not even affect certain areas of the business. If it does not affect yours, then use this as a diffusing tactic with your employees.
Another great way to handle difficult company policies is to find the silver lining. There is usually something positive that comes from any policy. If you can locate that positive result, and then paint the picture nicely for your employees, then you can expect some good results. Find the silver lining, and focus on that instead.
Remember that people are naturally resistant to change. The first few weeks of any new policy will have its share of people against it. Time will take care of most of the uproar. It is your job to implement. This means to give the information, enforce the information, and support along the way.
People will come around once they see that it is what it is. Never ignore questions about a new policy. If you get a question that you can not answer, then go find an answer.
New company policies are always a bit stressful in the beginning, but over time they will take hold and become old hat. Be firm, fair and forgiving, and you will soon find that your employees are following in line just the way you intended.