HR: Get Out of the Baby-Sitting Business

By Hunter Lott

I have yet to meet a CEO in the Vistage community who finds joy in “baby-sitting” employees. Most members are good at innovation, crunching numbers, strategic thinking, sales or operations – but not at keeping track of how many sick days the receptionist has earned.

The point? Human resources – whether handled by a designated employee, someone in accounting, or delegated down to the frontline – should work to empower management to meet its goals and objectives.

HR Philosophy

The focus of human resources should not be compliance! You can be 100% compliant with all the laws and still make lousy business decisions. HR should be viewed as a resource to support you and your management team in making the best decisions given the circumstances.

In my “HR RoundTable” presentation, I ask members to choose from eight general topics. They determine the order and how much time they want to spend on that topic. The members – not me – drive the discussion.

Your HR philosophy should mirror that approach. HR should support making informed risk versus reward versus exposure-type decisions.

Yes, You Can!

Yes, you can discipline and fire the employee who is constantly complaining or sighing or whining. Check out this “behavior” policy…

Maintain positive work atmosphere by acting and communicating in a manner so that you get along with customers, clients, co-workers and management.

No, you do not have to treat all the employees the same (unless a union contract dictates). If you treat good and bad employees the same, you may be sending the wrong message. Allowing miserable and poor performing employees to continue to exist in your organization is a direct reflection on you. Equal opportunity does not mean equal treatment.

2014 Predictions

My prediction is that 2014 will bring an escalation in discrimination charges and lawsuits revolving around the hiring process. “Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring…” is the number one EEOC directive for 2013-2016. Rhode Island (with other jurisdictions to follow) has banned questions pertaining to criminal background from the application.

The Department of Labor continues to aggressively enforce the wage and hour regulations and with the memorandum of understanding with the I.R.S., the status of your 1099 contract labor will be particularly contentious.

So, let me make this clear: GET YOUR EXEMPT AND NON-EXEMPT DUCKS IN A ROW! (Dude, are you yelling at me? Yes, I am!) In addition, make sure your managers are trained at efficient and safe interviewing techniques.

Finding and Keeping “A” Players

There will be a scramble for “A” players. Even at a 7% unemployment rate, finding top performers will be a challenge. As the economy improves, outsiders will be poaching your good people.

Want to be become an employer of choice for top performers? Ask yourself one critical question  — Why would an “A” player want to work for me?

Sounds simple enough. But just because you worked hard to create, what in your mind is a special workplace does not mean an outsider will feel the same way. Have you won any awards for being one of the best places to work in your community? Will you give new hires the skills they needs for their next job? Is there anything on your website that would attract “A” players? We may have come to the point that if your website is bogus, your business is, too!

Not sure where to start? In the next 30 days, take an “A” player to lunch and ask  —  “Why are you here?”

Do Not Sell the Business

HR can be frustrating. Thinking the way HR professionals must think does not come naturally to most decision-makers.

So, approach HR like you approach most business challenges: Head on — with HR dedicated to the rights of management and focused on good decision-making. You do not have to be held hostage by bad employees. You can reward outstanding performers and get out of the “baby-sitting’ business for good.

For over 30 years, Hunter Lott has specialized in delivering business presentations and training on the legal aspects of management and employment practices, with a client list that has included Anheuser-Busch, The Milton Hershey School, the DEA, Ford and The National Institutes of Health. He is a top-rated speaker for The Society of Human Resources Management and Speaker of the Year for Vistage.
Originally published: Jul 31, 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *