Employees Avoiding Corporate Barriers

Employees Avoiding Corporate Barriers

This is a story that is close to me because I see employees avoiding corporate barriers every day. I’ve seen what command and control leads to and it’s not good for anybody, organization or employee.

When an organization gets worried about lawsuits and starts to shut computer systems down to prevent leaks and errors, people don’t always take part willingly. For an employee, getting their job done the best they can is the first priority. If something gets in the way then they’re going to find a way around it.

If an organization must secure themselves by putting up barriers, before erecting those barriers, other equally effective ways for employees to get their work done should be in place.

Working Around Legal

My favorite story is that of the relationship between Learning & Development and the legal department. If an organization demands everything be approved by legal, yet doesn’t reduce the effect it has (timelines, back and forth, etc.), it’s going to backfire.

I was on a new project with a business partner who it was suggested strongly to needs to send everything through legal for review. That review could add upwards of one week on an already tight project deadline and speeding the process up was not an option.

The business partner was not thrilled with this slow-down and with the rate the project moved at it would have had unrecoverable effects. The business partner chose to step around legal and the others on my project were more than willing to turn the other way.

How could the organisation have ensured this sort of thing wouldn’t happen? Put the necessary resources in place so a legal review wouldn’t affect the deadline and push through in the same speed as any other review.


Collaborating on projects is a must in any workplace, nobody works in a silo. It’s also clear that email isn’t the most effective way to collaborate on a document or exchange video files for review.

If barriers are in place to share files and collaborate on documents, employees will probably go to external methods. Even a barrier as small as needing to sign into a firewall is big enough to make an employee avoid security measures.

If there’s not good place on an organizations network to drop that video to have the subject matter expert review, it’s going to be stored in Dropbox. That reduces the barrier for the employee and allows work to get done faster.

Give Me A Place To Work

Long before any barriers or security measure can be put into effect, money needs to be invested at providing another solution that’s just as good or better. Employees demand a place that’s easy and quick to get their work done. If that doesn’t happen then work will move off the organization’s network and to 3rd party services. It may even move to employee owned devices.

Organizations need to do a thorough analysis of the cost of securing their network, the true cost. That means not just accounting for the cost of shutting services off or security those services (which makes them more difficult to use). It also means accounting for the cost of opening another services to replace it or making those secured services just as easy to use.

Employees want and deserve their information now so they can get work done better and faster. It’s the organizations responsibility to let them have it.

What have you seen done successfully in an organization that serves both employees and the organization? Anything not so successful?