Playing #HR Whack a Mole

Every organization has their share of them.  I am talking about the problem employee. They are your nemesis. There is so much effort in watching, documenting and reporting on all of their indiscretions. They drag others down to their level and point out all of the holes in policies and procedures.  But then one day, boom! The problem employee falls off of the tight rope they have been walking. YES! You have finally managed to get them through the door, on down the road, off your payroll and then you think all of your woes and cares are gone. Now HR can get back to working on the real organizational problems and stop focusing on the demise of the problem employee.

So now onto the bigger and better things, the important stuff, all of those things that you did not get to spend time on because you were caught up trying to “take down” that problem employee.  But soon after the problem employee’s exit, a new problem employee begins to emerge.  We now have a new and developing problem employee.  Before long it appears that they are stepping up to the plate to fill in the void, with the departure of our last and best problem employee.   So being the good HR cop you are you make it your mission to take this person down as well.  The XYZ Company is not going to have this kind of problem employee on our payroll. We are going to rid the Company of these folks.

You are playing HR Whack a Mole.  You can keep swinging at those pesky moles, but they just keep popping up.  You will not win, you will become angry, frustrated and if you stay at the game long enough somewhat jaded.  I know I have played this game and had those outcomes.

So what do you do?  Have a re-think and start to work the other side of the street.

This problem was pointed out to me by my friend Steve Browne.  I will call this program Steve’s Three Rules.

Rule # 1. Be Happy

Rule # 2 Be Awesome

Rule # 3 Help others with rules one and two.

Here is the deal. Instead of focusing on the bad eggs and dedicating so much time and effort in trying to get rid of the bad eggs, HR should focus on the great employees and make them better.  HR should help the good employees become great employees and we should make the average employees good employees.

For the bad eggs, well, we shouldn’t ignore them we need to keep tabs on them, and let the cards fall where they may. The people who walk the line, will at some point slip up and cross the line. It is an eventuality. It will happen, and if you or your department are so focused on this you may lose focus of all of the great people within your organization.  Don’t let this happen.

When the bad eggs do fall on their sword, succumb to their own fate (or insert your metaphor here) they will be shown the door.  But when this happens don’t have any illusions, someone will step up to be your new problem.  There will always be one. Remember don’t get sucked into playing HR Whack a mole, because you can’t win.  Play a winning game and Be Happy and Be Awesome and make as many folks as you can in your organization do the same!


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