Saturday, June 1, 2019


After being an HR professional for over 25 years, I’m pretty familiar with policy statements. Most run the traditional route, communicating to staff and others what the company expectations are for performance and behavior. The policies, together, are one of the tools used to help set the culture of the organization and the tone of the employment relationship.

Last week, I attended a networking event at which I met a gentleman who worked for a large, nationwide financial firm. During our conversation he was telling me about his experience as an applicant at the firm, including the interview process itself, the personalities of the people he met, and the general cultural feel he encountered. He was so impressed with how calm, pleasant and nice everyone was – which, according to him, was notable because of its typical absence from the industry. He commented on this during one of his interviews. The interviewer then told him that the firm had a “no a**holes policy.”

This not only makes for a great cocktail-party story, but it opens a small window into how even one of the stodgiest and traditional industries (finance) can alter their approach to HR management in a way that supports their goals, enhances the employee experience, improves work and furthers their success (better organizational performance). How much do they now stand apart from their competition?

Next time I see this man, I’d love to find out how they’ve adapted and consolidated more traditional policies, tools and systems into entertaining and straightforward messages like this one. Is there an “a**hole management” committee? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just make this effective for society in general?