…. we focused on the many not the few.
Early on in my HR career, an employee took paid bereavement leave after the death of a close member of the family. Only we found out some time later that the person concerned hadn’t actually died.
Once, I dealt with an employee who took several weeks parental leave (a UK statutory right to spend time with a child). Only instead he renovated a house for profit.
I know of one employee who asked to become a home worker, and spent all day most days watching daytime TV, and doing very little actual work.
I’ve dealt with maybe three or four cases of inappropriate use of social media. I’ve been called out of bed to deal with a serious assault. Two cases of fraud. An arson attempt. One employee doing some stuff I really wish I hadn’t had to see on the internet, having found a way through the usual firewalls.
Most HR professionals have a tale or two to tell, just like these, if they have been doing the job for a while.
Only here’s the thing. Note the numbers. Those incidents occurred once or twice. Over many years.
But you know what happened next, in these cases and plenty of others. We wrote some policies. We introduced some new procedures. Banned some stuff and closed some stuff down. Made it harder for everyone else.
Because of the behaviour of the few.
And then the HR department spent far too much time ensuring compliance rather doing something more valuable instead. Filling out forms. Making sure other people did the same. And so on.
I think HR would be better, our reputation would be better, if we focused instead on those many employees not doing all of that stuff I mentioned earlier. When we design a policy, project, initiative. We can take account of the few. Deal with them when needed. But not put them at the centre.
In a series like this, there will I am sure be bigger ideas. More ambition. More impactful stuff. I sure hope so. I want us to shoot for the moon as a profession. But first, we will need to unshackle ourselves. Loosen the ties that bind us to mediocrity.
And focus on the many, not the few.
This post was written for the HR Carnival, collated by super connector Steve Browne. I hoe you are already following him on Twitter. If you are not, hustle over and find him there as @sbrownehr or check out his blog.