And so we’re trapped. We’ve spawned narratives that make the HR function seem like a cross between Mother Teresa and Stuart Smalley, while the team members—aka employees—we serve actually need more tough love, a cross between Jack Welch and Dennis Miller. They need that little thing called the truth, effectively washed down with a bit of leadership, personality and, at times, humor.
The fifth biggest lie in HR: We’re responsible for the work/life balance of team members. I believe it was a man named Jack Welch who infuriated a bunch of HR pros at SHRM 2009 in New Orleans by daring to say that “there’s no such thing as work/life balance. There are work/life choices.” I’ve never met a star who didn’t absolutely outwork the competition for promotions, yet in our HR universe there’s endless talk about the search for balance.
The truth: Employees are responsible for their own work/life balance, and if they want more money, promotions and fame, they’re going to have to work harder than those around them. That holds true even if they’re as smart as Al Gore, who had to work really hard to create the Internet and get invited to SHRM 2010 as one of the keynote speakers. If you happen to be a team member reading this, the reality is that the business world is chaotic, and everyone’s winging it, to a certain extent. Most companies try to staff at levels relative to the work at hand (more revenue always helps in that regard), but it’s always going to feel like a free-for-all at times. Or, as Neutron Jack might say, it’s your choice. Either you work hard and create the Internet, or you don’t.
If you’re a good HR pro and don’t feel like you actively pitch the lie above, do you actively preach the truth?
If the answer is no, you’ve got work to do before you’re part of the solution.
See the whole list of HR Lies at Workforce here, or wait - I'm previewing them all week long. Lucky you..