One of the reasons I refer to sports so much in this blog is due to the fact that decisions are so transparent in the sports world. Talent decisions are made, articles are written and HR lessons are transparent for anyone who wants to talk about it. Nice!
"Texas Tech suspended coach Mike Leach indefinitely after a player and his family filed a complaint about the player's treatment after an injury. (note - he was fired a couple of days after this)
The player, Adam James, is a redshirt sophomore wide receiver for the Red Raiders and the son of ESPN college football analyst Craig James. A source close to the family said James sustained a concussion on Dec. 16, was examined on Dec. 17 and told not to practice because of the concussion and an elevated heart rate. The source said Leach called a trainer and directed him to move James "to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours."
The lessons from the Mike Leach story are pretty simple, but valuable:
1. Employees generally don't get suspended with pay unless those doing the investigation feel that the employee in question is going to be terminated. It's just too hard to bring them back into the fold once they've been taken out of the workplace for days, if not weeks. Leach forced Texas Tech's hand by pushing legal action on his own behalf to be reinstated. Rather than live with an outcome of reinstatement, Tech did what they likely would have done in a week had they had the time to investigate fully - they fired Leach.
2. Employees usually don't get suspended with pay unless it's impossible for them to remain while the investigation ensues. In this case, Leach is the boss, and based on the circumstances, it's hard to believe the investigation could have been completed without him out of the way.
3. Outlandish behavior, if publicized, can put an organization in a spot where they feel they have no choice but to term you.. Everybody, in sports and in business, wants to win. With that in mind, most organizations allow high performers to stretch the rules a bit. However, when you're in charge and you put someone in a dark closet to stand for hours at a time? Let's just say you're not leaving them much of a choice.
Paid suspensions. A tool to be used only when you feel like the person in question probably isn't going to be with your organization long term.
What's that? Your company uses paid suspensions all the time and no one ever ends up being fired? There are two types of organizations that do that: Dysfunctional or unionized.
Come to think of it, those are probably the same thing. I'm out...