This is a post in a 5-part series targeting the 5 biggest lies in HR. Lucky you.
That’s right. I’m here today not to give you the normal PR spin about how strategic the HR function can be, but instead to call B.S. on the biggest lies in HR. It’s not that HR people want to lie, it’s just that we’ve created our own prison: urban myths developed over last 20 years as the HR function has matured.
As a result, we’re trapped. We’ve spawned narratives that make the HR function appear like a cross between Mother Teresa and Stuart Smalley, while the team members we serve need more tough love, a cross between Jack Welch and Dennis Miller.
You know, that little thing called the truth, effectively washed down with a bit of leadership, personality and at times, humor.
Here's the fourth biggest lie in HR. t's timely with the emergence of Obamacare:
Lie #4: It’s the company’s desire to provide strong benefits to all team members. How many shades of gray are there are on the color wheel? While we like to take care of team members, if it wasn’t part of the American healthcare system and a competitive necessity related to talent, we’d 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’s been fortunate enough to run a self-insured healthcare plan in a smaller environment and witness the humanity first hand, I can tell you the biggest component to this lie is our unwillingness to hold you accountable for your own health. We’ll talk about our cost increases during open enrollment, but do most of us never really try to change behavior through incentives or penalties.
The Truth: We’re not your Mom. We only provide benefits because it’s an expectation and we have to 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. You’ll have to take the cost increases we give you 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 (althought maybe less so under Obamacare). Wow, that was depressing to write.
Could we even change your behavior? Probably not. You're a mess. So are we. Fitness memberships probably aren't going to change you.
Our biggest lever in the benefits world is cost. We tinker with the co-pay and co-insurance to try and keep the cost increase to 20% instead of 40%.
If you’re a good HR pro and don’t feel like you subscribe to this lie, I’ve got one question for you:
If you don’t actively pitch the lies outlined 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.
Lie #3 is up in a couple of days.