• HR Rockstars – Really

    I was talking with my Project Social partner Laura Schroeder and the conversation continued to come back around to Rock Star Employees.  I explained to Laura that I don’t want them, I probably don’t need them, and couldn’t keep them if I landed them as employees in my mundane world. For the most part I sense that Laura shares my opinion – you can read her’s here.

    In trying to justify this position I thought long and hard about the matter.  As I did, this song came to my mind.

    Now thanks to Chad Kroeger and Nickelback, a great group in my opinion I have a pretty good idea of what a Rock Star is…

    I’m through with standing in line
    To clubs we’ll never get in
    It’s like the bottom of the ninth
    And I’m never gonna win
    This life hasn’t turned out
    Quite the way I want it to be

    (Tell me what you want)

    I want a brand new house
    On an episode of Cribs
    And a bathroom I can play baseball in
    And a king size tub big enough
    For ten plus me

    (So what you need?)

    I’ll need a credit card that’s got no limit
    And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
    Gonna join the mile high club
    At thirty-seven thousand feet

    (Been there, done that)

    I want a new tour bus full of old guitars
    My own star on Hollywood Boulevard
    Somewhere between Cher and
    James Dean is fine for me

    (So how you gonna do it?)

    I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
    I’d even cut my hair and change my name

    [Chorus:]
    ‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
    And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
    The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
    We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
    And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
    In the VIP with the movie stars
    Every good gold digger’s
    Gonna wind up there
    Every Playboy bunny
    With her bleach blond hair

    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

    I wanna be great like Elvis without the tassels
    Hire eight body guards that love to beat up assholes
    Sign a couple autographs
    So I can eat my meals for free
    (I’ll have the quesadilla on the house)
    I’m gonna dress my ass
    With the latest fashion
    Get a front door key to the Playboy mansion
    Gonna date a centerfold that loves to
    Blow my money for me
    (So how you gonna do it?)
    I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
    I’d even cut my hair and change my name

    [Chorus]

    And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
    With the latest dictionary and today’s who’s who
    They’ll get you anything with that evil smile
    Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial, well

    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

    I’m gonna sing those songs
    That offend the censors
    Gonna pop my pills from a pez dispenser

    I’ll get washed-up singers writing all my songs
    lip sync ’em every night so I don’t get ’em wrong

    [Chorus]

    And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
    With the latest dictionary and today’s who’s who
    They’ll get you anything with that evil smile
    Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial

    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

    So there’s your rock star. Is that what you are looking for in a top employee?  Not this HR Guy, I will be happy with the person that shows up most everyday and does a good job most everyday – and someone who doesn’t make too many waves or cause me too many headaches – I have enough already thank you very much!

    Rock stars not welcome here!


     
  • You Can’t Fire Everyone

    Last week I was not quite home, as it was  go time for HR Happy Hour.  So I thought no problem I will just call in on my cell phone and catch the start of the show that way.  Shortly thereafter, I found myself speaking to the show’s host Steve Boese.  Steve was missing his guest, and checking the phone lines for him.  A few moments later, I found myself along with Dawn Hrdlica-Burke (on twitter @DawnHRRocks ) as what Steve referred to as conscripted guests.

    So in true live broadcaster fashion Steve charged ahead with the show and tossed a few question at Dawn and me, that he was going to ask his guest Hank Gilman.   Hank has authored a book called You Can’t Fire Everyone.  You can catch the show here if you like.

    Now during the course of our conversation Steve asked Dawn and me both about “top talent”

    Photo from PresentationProcess.com

    and how we treat them.  I kind of downplayed top performers saying  that I didn’t want to rock the boat too much.  Dawn on the other hand said she wanted a whole organization full of rock stars.  Dawn is in the software business and I am in manufacturing.  After reflecting on our comments and where they came from, I had somewhat of an epiphany about this. Compared to Dawn I am practicing defensive HR  (not unlike defensive medicine).  Dawn is seeking all the rock stars she can get, me not so much.

    Dawn is more than willing to deal with the difficulties that the rock star may bring her, in return for their rock star performance and talent.  Me, I am trying to keep peace in the house.  As I thought about this, it became clear to me that what I am doing is maintaining the status quo.

    Rather than leading with bold innovation and pushing the envelope, I don’t stray too far from the known path. I don’t take outlandish risk.  However it is with outlandish risk come outrageous gains.   The great equalizer here is this, if one goes too far out on a limb and things don’t work out, you may find yourself in a very precarious employment situation, depending upon how your superiors views your actions.  Said another ways does your boss think you are being reckless or innovative?  In many instance this will speak to who is willing to take risk and who is not.

    As I look at the industry comparison, those of us in manufacturing are into replication, while those in software are always looking for innovation.

    I am not sure what all of this means.  I am going to look real hard and my prospective here and see if I can force myself to live a little closer to the edge.  So I owe Steve and Dawn a big thanks for helping me to see this.