That wont work here, because we only employ stupid people

Recently I have begun to notice how many HR Policies have as their core assumption that people are stupid and must be given a very short leash or they will will do harm.

I can’t help but have the reaction that this is a very bad reflection on the HR process and is probably bad to believe in general.

The thing about assumptions like this, be it in a social media policy, or a benefits process, or a talent strategy, is that they have a way of proving true.

I would like to call this Meg’s second law (remember I have already put down another law) — please let me know if I accidentally lifted this from someone else and I’ll happy attribute.

When you assume your workforce is stupid they will learn to prove you right.

HR Department, please remember that you put yourself at the center of acquiring, developing and retaining talent.  So if your workforce is dumb you might need to look in the mirror and find out why.

When you find yourselves wanting to build policy that has, at its core, a distrust of the mental capacity of your workforce, I would like for you to consider a different assumption instead.

How about you start with the assumption that you employ smart people who are just in need of access to the bigger picture, the organizational goals, and the core values of your company, and then maybe give them some space to do great things.

If this is not going to happen where you work, I suggest you might want to consider moving to an organization that employs smart people, or you might have your own reputation tarnished in the process.

Seriously, if you only have stupid people working at your company, you need a better place to practise your HR craft, because those people are going to take you down with them,


if you are creating stupid people as a result of your policies you might want to quit doing that.

3 thoughts on “That wont work here, because we only employ stupid people

  1. Hear hear!
    Long overdue that this gets pointed out.
    HR has been trying to mandate everywhere who gets to work in every field of expertise.
    With totally horrible results.
    A quick and simple example: HR in a retail company has no clue how to hire an IT person, it’s not their field of expertise. But they insist in doing so.
    Result? Total disasters are called in for interviews or worse, are hired. Time is lost by everyone involved, and the much advertised “savings” of a central hiring team dissipate. Although of course this is never shown to senior management…

  2. This is a great post but just to be devil’s advocate – a single stupid person can bring down HR so paranoia may be natural. I agree with everything you just said but maybe use ‘manager’ instead – I mean, no one really cares about HR on a daily basis (sorry, HR, but you’re off in an ivrory tower worrying about lawsuits and balanced scorecards and we never see you) but the manager is right there. In one’s face, so to speak. 😉

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