Ignoring Sadie will cost your company money

Today is February 29th, Leap Day! There’s all sorts of superstitions, traditions and myths around February 29th and one anachronism hanging around from (take your pick) the 5th, 12th, 19th or early 20th century is a phenomenon that’s come to be known as Sadie Hawkins Day.

For those of you unfamiliar with Sadie, she was alleged to be the homeliest girl in the lilabnerfictional town of Dogpatch but it was determined that on one day of the year (here’s where the legends and myths collide) she was allowed to propose to an eligible bachelor and he couldn’t refuse. It was so successful for Sadie that it was decided that this would become a regular event for all single women in Dogpatch. And I guess to protect the single gents that day was set as February 29th so it would only occur once every four years.

So what’s all this got to do with HR? Well, the way the men in Dogpatch treated Sadie  reminds me of how many eligible corporations today treat candidates. Sadie had a lovely personality, was strong and fast and although she was over a certain age (the ugly word “spinster” was tossed around) she was, I presume, absolutely capable of fulfilling all the necessary requirements of a spouse. Think of all the candidates who have lots of business knowledge, pleasant personalities, loads of experience and are ignored by companies because of their age or some other reason that has nothing to do with the work to be done. And yes, this happens more to women over a certain age than men.

Ageism and sexism run rampant in today’s workplace despite decades of legislation. Too many companies seem to want the newer, younger models. Well, that’s fine if you insist on that. Just be prepared to pay more and fight harder to get and keep them. The Millennials are the largest generation since the Boomers to enter the workforce, but they can’t make up for the number of boomers leaving the workforce and the fact that Gen X fell far short in terms of the number of people in the workforce.

Graying boomers (and soon X’ers) will be staying in the workforce a lot longer by choice or need. Companies ignore them at their peril.

Happy Sadie Hawkins Day.

Need a little motivation?



Or a little inspiration on a Friday afternoon? Here you go. 120+ motivational quotes compiled by Carol Roth of Tough Love for Business.



There’s great quotes from Vince Lombardi, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Peter Drucker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Yoda and yours truly. I’m in there at #65!

Take a look to see what I submitted as well as all these other great quotes. A great way to end, or start, your week!

One more reason to hate performance appraisals

Thank you Yahoo.

It’s not as if enough people didn’t already hate performance appraisals and blame them for everything from global warming to ankle warts. Now the management at Yahoo has given us one more reason to blame performance management for the erosion of trust, productivity and collaboration in the world of work.

As outlined in this article from the NY Times, light has been shed on how performance appraisals were done and used at what was once a premier internet company. Reviews were used primarily as a means to fire people and had no connection to employee development or performance improvement using a performance management method commonly known as “Rank-and-Yank” that faded from favor over 15 years ago. Using a forced ranking bell curve to rate employees has been abandoned by more forward thinking companies that formerly used this method. It was found them to have a “corrosive effect on productivity and employee morale.”

Pardon me for repeating myself but performance management must focus on the growth and development of the employee and the workforce to be effective and not seen as punitive. If it’s not a tool for improving performance then please don’t abuse it and your employees by simply using it as a rationale and cover-up for indiscriminate terminations. You’re not really helping yourself or your company and in reality, you’re poisoning the minds of others who might hope and plan to use their performance management systems for good not evil.

If all you want to do is cut heads, get yourself a guillotine, not an appraisal.