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Putting Humanity into HR Compliance: Consistency May Not Be Worth the Costs

December 03, 2018 / Jathan Janove

Human resources professionals pride themselves on consistency: consistency of policy, implementation, documentation and treatment of employees. In my first column, I listed consistency as a critical HR checklist factor. Yet can consistency be carried too far? During my years as an employment lawyer, I sometimes felt HR professionals took an overly rigid approach to consistency, missing the forest for the trees. The question "What's consistent with policy and past practice?" would supplant "What's the right thing to do?" HR professionals most often cited the legal system as the primary reason for rigid adherence to consistency. Yet, in my experience, employers who do the right thing based on fairness and values instead of relying on the most consistent thing based on fear of claims have nothing to dread about the legal system. Tim Conner, SHRM-SCP, is senior vice president of HR and team services for Associated Food Stores in Salt Lake City. At his company, i...