QTWTAIN – the HR version

You may have come across the concept of Questions To Which The Answer Is No. It comes from Betteridge’s law of headlines that states: ‘any headline that ends in a question mark, can be answered by the word no‘.  There is even an annual award ceremony for the best examples of the tradition.

So I got to thinking. What are the HR versions of QTWTAIN? Here are mine…… but I’d  love to hear yours too.

Should we write a policy for that?

Probably not. Especially if whatever it is, is a one-off occurrence or relates to one individual. Most of the time, a conversation will be just fine. Resist the urge to turn everything into a document.

Should I raise a grievance?

Not unless you have already explored every possible way of resolving the situation; grievances polarise people and are rarely constructive experiences.

Should I discipline him or her?

Not unless it is a gross misconduct offence, or as above, you have explored other ways of dealing with the situation. Discipline should be the last resort, not the first step.

Should I change the name of the Human Resources team to something else?

Nope. I dislike the term as much as many people, and am acutely aware of the importance of names and labels. But a Snickers still tastes like a Marathon.* Only change your name if you are going to change other stuff too, like what you do and what you stand for. Otherwise, what is the point?

Should we link pay to performance?

No. It doesn’t work, and may well have unintended consequences.

Should I do an annual employee engagement survey?

Not unless you are going to genuinely commit to doing something with the content, and finding other ways of listening to your people too – and definitely more regularly than once a year.

Should some of our benefits not apply until the end of our probationary period?

No. If a candidate was good enough that you wanted to offer them a job, then offer them everything. What message do you think it sends if you make them prove that your hiring decision was right before you offer them what everyone else gets?

 As part of this restructure, should employees have to re-apply for their own job?

No. Never. I can think of few more crappy things to do to your people. If someone is doing a job well, then they shouldn’t need to apply for it. If they are not then they need that a whole different type of conversation.

I have an employee who is not really performing. Shall we make their role redundant?

No. This isn’t a redundancy situation, it is about performance. So let’s deal with it appropriately even if that is more difficult.

My employee has a body odour problem. Can you tell them?

No. You can.


*Note to younger readers (Gen Z and below, probably). Snickers used to be called Marathon.

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