Saturday, May 24, 2008

HR Myths

If you follow the last post titled "first do no harm" and the comments, it leads to the conclusion that there's not "one best over-riding" way to do many things that we do in HRM. But somehow, the "one best way" philosophy has a strong grip on the field. Research that I have conducted shows that simply raising employee engagement or employee satisfaction or employee survey scores is not always the right strategy because raising scores for some employees lowers their performance. There's a similar story for turnover. Lowering turnover for all departments, all jobs, and all groups also is not the right thing to do for many organizations. What other myths should we be challenging in the field?


James Hayton said...

Hi Theresa, your blog made me think of another HR Myth - the HR Personality. I have blogged on this idea at

Basically this is a reflection on the article at HR Exec Online which discussed whether HR people differ from non HR people in personality, and whether or not this matters.

My opinion - while there may be small differences, this should not be used as an excuse for not doing the right thing!

Anonymous said...


It has been voiced by Drucker, Seligman, Buckingham and others.

The myth that the best use of our limited time/energy is get better at what were are not good at.

I go along with that the notion that we can really soar when we get better at what we are already good at and find methods, others, etc. to minimize the time and energy devoted to weak work.


Anonymous said...

I've gotten increasingly interested in a very fundamental question -- when and how much people actually change what they believe about, and how they interact with, other people. I recognize that people can and do make some behavioral changes (moving from one software program to another, changing the columns used on a spreadsheet, etc). But I wonder whether HR researchers and practitioners are somewhat gripped by the myth that "people change." While it is true that they can, there is evidence is that more often than not, they don't (I'm thinking of Prochaska's work). There are people who "get" this, such as TQM advocates who push to eliminate individual performance appraisals and instead focus on entire processes. And the selection folks, who see placement as critical to personal and organizational success. Am I on to something here, or just being grumpy this morning?

janysek said...

My experience shows that the organization is immune from the sting of isolated individuals who, ultimately, returns to spend their energy and creativity outside the workplace. In this case, if the employee loses, if he goes or stays, the fact of the organization.

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