Keep Telling Yourself That (The Lies We Tell Ourselves That Are Killing Our Culture)

Part 1: I can’t discipline my top performers.

There’s no question that your top performers are somewhat critical to the success of your business, but what happens when Second Coming Steve is accused of FMLA interference and retaliation by Wilma With Child after he publicly shames her for her upcoming [super sarcastic air quotes] “BABY vacation,” you know, “while the rest of us will be stuck here working our butts off?”

As you are reading this, you have already begun to formulate excuses for Steve; excuses that would sound absurd to you if he wasn’t ‘District Widget Sales Champion,’ 3 years running. “But I’ve invested so much in Second Coming Steve and his sales are so high that I couldn’t possibly give him a write-up, much less let him go. That might hurt his wittle feewings and that would be HORRIBLE for business [insert toddler foot stomp]!” Wrong. “But Wilma IS lucky to get so much time off – historically men don’t get all of that time off for new babies!” Wrong again. “You know, Wilma isn’t even that good at her job…” Oh honey…so SO wrong.

Here’s the deal. No matter how many widgets Second Coming Steve sells, the fallout from his childish and illegal behavior is tenfold. First, you have to find a way to defend the ever-so-enjoyable FMLA interference and retaliation lawsuit (with defense and settlement costs of employment lawsuits averaging $160,000 in 2017…you might need to raise the price of those widgets), then you have to square with all of Wilma’s coworkers who (1) know what Steve said; and (2) know that you did nothing about it (other than defend Steve). Now your culture is in the can and I can just see Wilma’s viral Facebook post now, “Widget World cares more about selling widgets than mothers bonding with their babies!” But the news never picks up stories about evil corporations…oh, wait. I hope your crisis communications manager is on speed dial (if you don’t have one of these, give me a call and I can hook you up).

You might also be interested to know that New Mexico, Nevada, and California have the highest employee lawsuit litigation risk (around 50% higher than the national average). So, if you’re also lying to yourself and saying, “But she won’t actually file a lawsuit,” yep, wrong again. What does this all mean? It’s simple: valuing profit over people will not pay off, unless you are an employment lawyer hired to defend these suits.

Maybe as you read this you realize that you inadvertently valued your Steve over your Wilma. I’m not judging. At Human Resources Experience we just want to help, and we have the expertise to proactively protect your business from employment lawsuits while building a strong culture and training your team on the laws that apply to your business.