Are you a limbo dancer or a pole vaulter?

Are you a limbo dancer or a pole vaulter?

I just wanted to do a quick video - it's a bit of a rant I’m afraid! It's really about pole vaulters and limbo dancers. I see too much limbo dancing and not enough pole vaulting.

What the hell am I on about?

Those of you that know me well know I'm always banging on about this.

Laws, policies and all that good stuff are just minimum standards. It's just the MINIMUM requirement that we have to do - legislation tells us to do that. So, somebody can claim unfair dismissal if they've got more than 2 years service. They can't if they haven't - fine. Well that doesn't mean treat people unfairly - just because they've only got one year or six months service.

What I see a lot of in the mediations I'm involved with are people contacting us about - “Can they do that to me? Is that fair? That's not right?" There are some HR people out there giving advice like - “You don't have to do that because they've not got two years of service” or “Don't worry about that - they haven't got protected characteristics."

Well, actually we've all got protected characteristics. I'm a white straight male but you still can't discriminate against me because I'm white, or because I'm male, or because I'm straight! It's the same principle. Too many times we're just looking if we’re below that bar and trying to drag ourselves up to the minimum standard that the law requires.

If somebody has less than two years service - does that mean you just treat them like dirt - down here in the mud? No it shouldn't - these are people that we’re dealing with. That's what I mean about pole vaulters - I want us to treat people far above where the law says we have to! If you do that, you're never going to have a problem with the law. If you're in a big dispute, or if you're in a Tribunal, they're looking at this minimum standard and you've been operating up there don't worry about it - you're going to be fine.

What this gives you is you’re treating people like people. You're treating them like human beings. You're treating them fairly - you're trying to do the best that you can for your people.

What I would say is if you're leading a business, you're managing people

or you’re a HR professional giving advice - think about how you'd like to be treated. If that doesn't work think about your son, daughter, brother, sister or somebody you love. How would you want them to be treated at work?

You’d want them to be treated up here. If you do that for the organisation that you're working in you don't need to worry about this. You'll be fine.

If you keep looking back - you make sure that you’re compliant to legislation obviously, but you can either treat people like dirt, and operate in the mud just pushing up to the law if you have to or you can just operate up here where it's a better world for everybody - productivity, employee welfare, mental health, etc. If you're operating at this level.

So please ask yourself the question.

Are you a Limbo Dancer or are you a Pole Vaulter?


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