I was reading a textbook on organizational behavior recently that included a chapter on perception --- how we perceive things. Stereotyping was discussed --- a means of organizing, identifying, and interpreting information in order to understand the environment.
We’re all familiar with stereotyping/labeling people. It’s become expected as well as accepted.
What do you think of when you see these words?
++++ Nerds, introverts, blondes, liberals, jocks, hicks, Generation Y ++++
Why do we use labels? Several reasons but the biggest one is that it helps us try to simplify our complicated world. If we couldn’t use labels, we'd quickly get overwhelmed.
Labeling serves a useful purpose, but it does have a down side. The biggest problem is we can easily get trapped by labels. Labeling encourages closed-mindedness. When we start believing a label, we can’t seem to see anything beyond it. It saves us the trouble of actually understanding something and still gives us the false belief that we’ve figured it all out.
People are not the only thing we label. We are also guilty of labeling practices, ideas, processes, beliefs, philosophies, etc. How can we apply this to the world of Compensation?
Well --- what do you think of when you see these phrases?
++++ Best practices, seniority pay, bell curve, performance reviews, counter offers, employee engagement ++++
We have a tendency to operate in a comfort zone and to want to “hunker down” with a specific viewpoint. Counter offers? “They’re a bad idea every time. Everyone knows ole’ Jack has already left the company mentally.” Oh? Every time? You mean 100%? An absolute? No chance for deviation --- ever? I don’t know about you but I have a visceral reaction when I'm told something is absolute --- even in Compensation.
Unless we consciously try to understand different views on a practice, process, etc. our minds will eventually close and we’ll become prisoners to a point of view we’ll never question.
Here's a quote that I’ve saved from Dan Walter, one of my colleagues here at Compensation Café: “Even though there are great ways to do almost everything, there are very few absolute ways to do anything".
Here’s reality. The world is changing fast. Globalization has forced companies in the U.S. to change their “tried and true” business models (read as 100% always right) to get a foothold in emerging markets. Selling, marketing and design techniques have had to change. Given this, don’t you think it’s possible there might be a few practices that could/should change in Compensation? Think we can peel off a few labels and see?
Something tells me that we’re going to see some big shifts. You know the old saying: “There is nothing certain except death and taxes”? Well even that’s changing to --- “There is nothing certain except death and taxes and change”.
I don’t know about you but I’m going to re-examine my “sacred cows” to see what I’ve missed during all the time I’ve thought I’ve always been right.
Are you with me?
Jacque Vilet, President of Vilet International, has over 20 years’ experience in Global Human Resources with major multinationals such as Intel, National Semiconductor and Seagate Technology. She has managed both local/ in-country national and expatriate programs and has been an expat twice during her career. Her true love is working with local national issues. Jacque has the following certifications: CCP, GPHR, HCS and SWP as well as a B.S. and M.S in Psychology and an MBA. She belongs to SHRM, Human Capital Institute and World at Work. Jacque has been a speaker in the U.S., Asia and Europe, and is a regular contributor to various HR and talent management publications.