The First Lie That You Hear in HR

Many of you are now aware that Peyton Manning, All Pro NFL quarterback, was released by the Indianapolis Colts (I wrote about it here).

Long story short, he was injured, he’s on the back side of his career, he was due a boatload of money, and Indianapolis made a business decision to let him go.

There was this really heartfelt press conference with the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, and Peyton on the day he was released where they both cried and talked about how much they loved and respected each other. But within all that, there was one giant lie – one we hear all the time in HR.

Jim Irsay stood at the podium and said, this is not about money.

Boom! Liar!

Money, money, it’s always about the money

It’s always about money – and this was about money. If Irsay would have kept Peyton on one (1) more day,  it would have cost his organization $28 million. It was about and is about money; you don’t know if he’s going to perform at the level he has over the past 14 years, and you aren’t willing to risk $28 million on that decision to keep him.

I can’t tell you how many times in HR I’ve heard this statement from employees who are leaving for another company, and 99.9 percent of the time they are flat out lying to your face! It goes something like this:

“Tim, I’m putting in my two weeks notice”

What can we do to keep you?“Nothing – it’s not about the money; I’m looking for that next phase in my career.”

So, you won’t stay if we pay you $100K more!” “Well, wait a minute – you would pay me $100K more?!”

“No! I just wanted to show you it is about money. Now go – I don’t like to work with liars!”

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Everyone has a price

That’s exactly how you do it, HR newbies! When someone tells you it’s not about money, start negotiating and find that price, because you’ll get to it pretty quickly.

“But Tim, it isn’t about money – I want to spend more time with my kids – I need balance.” “I’ll give you a 50 percent increase.” You know, my kids will sure like going to private schools much more than public schools.”

Everyone has a price, and some prices are just more expensive than others, but never let anyone tell you it’s not about the money – it is.

If Peyton Manning would have gone to Jim Irsay and said, “Look Jimmy (I assume he calls him Jimmy), I want to do right by the Colts; I’ll except the league minimum to stay here,” well, “Peyton, you got yourself a deal!” would have been the entire conversation. But Peyton is smart – he knows his value, as does Jimmy – so they cut him loose.

We do this all the time with our employees. Mary from IT just came in and said she got a new job paying her 20 percent more, and we calculate how much that will cost to raise up Mary as well as everyone else in her same position. We then look at Mary, shake her hand and tell her good luck.

That’s because: It’s about the money.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.