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 Fouth Biggest Lie in HR: It’s the company’s desire to provide strong benefits to all team members. How many shades of gray are there on the color wheel? While we like to take care of team members, if it wasn’t part of the American health care system and a competitive necessity related to talent, employers would be out of the benefits business so fast it would make the collapse of Martha Coakley in Massachusetts seem glacial in comparison. As someone who has been fortunate enough to run a self-insured health care plan in a smaller business environment and witness the humanity firsthand, I can tell you the biggest component to this lie is our unwillingness to hold employees accountable for their own health. HR professionals talk about our cost increases during open enrollment, but most of us never really try to change employee behavior through incentives or penalties.
The truth: If we had the guts, we’d tell employees: We’re not Mom. We only provide benefits because it’s an expectation we have to meet in order to compete in the talent game. We have little to no control over insurance costs incurred, and due to our collective unwillingness to penalize smokers and team members who are gold members at Krispy Kreme, we never will. Employees have to take the cost increases we give them as a result, and if we ever get brave enough to try to change the behavior of the outliers, we’ll find we’re too late due to a legislative environment that protects those making unhealthy choices. Wow, that was depressing to write.
Put the donut down and ponder this: 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..