Those of you who know me know that I'm a big Cleveland Cavaliers fan. (Being from Cleveland, and into basketball, being a Cavs superfan is not exactly an uncommon occurrence.) However, my Cavs were bounced out of the NBA playoffs this year by the Boston Celtics, who outplayed us by a sizable margin.
The bottom-line reason for the loss? Talent management.
Not to get too deeply into the details, but suffice it to say that the other team's manager (Boston's Doc Rivers) inspired and utilized his talent much more effectively than our company's manager (Mike Brown), and as a result, we were outcoached and outclassed on both sides of the floor. (Also, as a result, Mike Brown just lost his job.)
All of which is a roundabout way of saying that sports have got me thinking and reading a lot about talent management these days (you got to have something to do in the off season!) so Liz Ryan's BusinessWeek article on destructive HR policies was a particularly relevant read.
In hjer article, Ryan calls out five specific policies that "that serve to slow operations and drive away talented employees."
According to Ryan, the five biggest HR policy mistakes are:
1. A time-off policy "oblivious to a normal person's entanglements and obligations."
2. A manager-driven transfer policy that "lets employees know that if they can't trust their boss to look out for their interests when an appealing job in the company is available, their best bet is to bail on the organization entirely."
3. An inflexible, fear of liability risk-driven policy of "no references" even for the best/brighest employees, that ensures a burned bridge behind them.
4. The "bereavement leave police" that make employees provide written documentation of a death in the family
5. (And this one is my favorite.) A new class of bad policy -- so-called "theft of time" policy that obsessively tracks time spent on external web sites and seeks to bust employees for non-productive behavior. Ryan says that such policies "make it clear that we really don't know how to manage or evaluate the work our people do. We only know how to count the hours their body is in the seat. That's a management failingand a time-obsessed culture will drive your best people right into your competitors' arms."
All five of these policies are harmful to your companies talent management, development and retention programs.
Unfortunately, the same mismanagement of talent that led superstar LeBron James and a talented cast to miss out on a NBA championship might also be happening at your company.
But you won't have a high-profile, nationally-televised tournament to make you aware of it.