Exceptions vs. Precedents

Human Resources needs to get past this, “Do it for one, must do it for all” mentality. It’s just not true, and a lousy way to help a business succeed.

I regularly tell people this about precedents: “Yes, I’ll likely do the same thing, given the exact same circumstances, in the future.”

For example, if I allow an extra week of protected FMLA for a stellar employee in production with 6 years with the company, I may very well agree to do that same thing for the next “stellar employee in production with 6 years with the company.” Change a single parameter and the precedent doesn’t exist.

But even that isn’t the right answer, since decisions need to be made based on current business needs. I’m not trying to create a social system at work whereby all receive identical treatment. They won’t. I’ll do those things necessary, including making nondiscriminatory employment-related decisions, as the business needs dictate.

There’s all this talk about HR’s “seat at the table.” Want to get “kicked off the table” in a hurry? Adopt the inflexible, “Do for one, do for all” mindset. It has no place in business, in my opinion.



Kevin Berchelmann

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