Everyone who has ever worked in Human Resources has probably experienced these principles at some point or another. And so, with tongue planted not-too-firmly in cheek I offer them to you:
- No good deed ever goes unpunished. One of the worst things you can do is to fail to follow your own policies. You might think you’re cutting an employee some slack, and you are, but you can almost rest assured that the favor will not be appreciated or returned. When managers don’t enforce the rules, they lower the bar for everyone. To make matters worse, lackadaisical enforcement can lead to claims of discrimination when the rules are enforced. If you have a policy, make sure it is clearly communicated and consistently enforced. If the policy no longer fits, change it.
- Five percent of employees cause ninety five percent of the problems. You know them, the ones who are in your office constantly complaining about this and that. They also seem to be the ones who can’t seem to get to work on time and cause friction when there. Again, consistent policies consistently enforced are the best way to deal with these miscreants.
- All the children are above average. We’ve all seen it, the manager who complains about the terrible employee, who, when you look at the performance evaluations consistently “meets expectations.” Managers need guidance in providing honest feedback to employees, whose performance won’t improve without it. Which leads to…
- If the pink slip comes as a surprise, you haven’t done your job. Employees should know when they are on the bubble. If you follow your progressive discipline policy, they may not like the result, but they will at least know its coming.
- When employees come to work, their social media comes with them. Cracker Barrel found this out when it fired Brad’s Wife. (Google it if you haven’t heard.) A simple post on the company website from an angry husband quickly went viral and inspired a massive and at times humorous response. You can’t control what former employees might say, but you certainly can curate your own webpage. Moreover…
- Fairness goes a long way. Employees who believe they have been treated fairly are less likely to go running to a lawyer, or airing their perceived grievances on social media, even when fairness dictates showing them the door.
- Sometimes, the choice comes down to which lawsuit you’d rather defend. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in the healthcare industry. Bad patient care must be addressed, even if it means terminating an employee under less than ideal circumstances. If you’ve done you job, those situations hopefully will be few and far between, but in those instances a call to your in-house or outside counsel may help you to put things in their best possible light.
So there you have them, a few of the principles that every HR manager knows by experience, if not by instinct. For those wanting more, I offer:
THE ONE PAGE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK
EVERY HR MANAGER WISHES
THEY COULD PROVIDE:
Come to work.
Do your job.