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Second Law of HR Dynamics

Second Law of HR Dynamics

by Frank Roche on July 7, 2008

in Change

You don’t get anything clean without getting something else dirty.
— Cecil Baxter

That quote could a variant of the Second Law of HR Dynamics. I’ve been talking a lot lately about what happens when we implement HR policies. Sure, we clean up one area, but do we dirty something else? What happens when we write a policy that says employees can’t take partial sick days? Does that make sick day occurrences go down? Or what happens when we put in one of those 70-30-10 performance plans that kicks the bottom 10% of employees out of the company each year? Are the 10% who go the worst 10%? (Don’t get me started on performance management processes…not on Monday morning.)

Think before you act. That’s what my dad used to say to me. What else he should have said was, “Think 10 steps ahead.” The Second Law of HR Dynamics is, “The acceleration of an unintended consequence depends on the net popularity of a program and how long it’s been around.” Take away a “little” gainsharing program that’s been around 30 years and find out what I mean. And fast.

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