The Third Biggest Lie In HR: We're Into Pay for Performance....
He Said/She Said: Apple Genius Dorks and HR Dinosaurs...

The Second Biggest Lie in HR: All "A" Players is Possible Outcome...

I’m here this week not to give you the normal PR spin about how strategic the HR function can be, but instead to call BS 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: the urban myths that have developed over the last 20 years as the HR function has matured.

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.

Let's roll...

The Second Biggest Lie in HR: We want only “A” players. I gave Neutron Jack some love earlier this week, but now allow me now to take a Tonya Harding-like whack at his kneecaps. Like many of you, I love the sexy GE thought leadership and the Netflix slides that say you’re either up or out. I’d love to say that our companies should be on a quest to fill our ranks with nothing but “A” players. There’s just this one little problem with this theory.

The truth: “All ‘A’ players” doesn’t work. We can’t find enough of them, and even if we could, the world needs ditch diggers too. The interviewing process is still more art than science, and even the best interviewers misfire in hiring on a frequent basis. We need steady people who come into the office and crank out a solid day’s work, don’t bitch and don’t act like divas when the company doesn’t stop the operation to thank them personally every Tuesday and Thursday. Granted, we still have the little issue with 90 percent of team members thinking they’re “A” players (that includes HR pros too, by the way...), but that’s a puzzle to solve another day. For now, we appreciate the fact that some employees just understand where to put their noses: to the grindstone. 

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..


Kim Bailey

This is a very timely post for me. I have a possition that has been open WAY too long, but not for lack of candidates. Apparently, the hiring manager is waiting for the perfect A candidate, rather than hiring someone that has "A" that because the hiring manager CAN'T spend time working with high potential people...or WON'T. I don't know, but I continue to offer options, suggestions, reality checks of candidates, etc, etc.

Sometimes a B is just an A in the rough, if you know what their potential is!

David, I think some definitions are in order. What constitutes an "A" player. I think the definition varies by role. Not to get too detailed but a "ditch digger" in some orgs may be an "A player" in others. Personally for my company I think I want the ditch diggers - coders, hackers, outre graphic designers, deep level video player designers. Not glamorous roles but core to my success.


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