The Hay System in Practice or: The Brown-nosing Effect

The Hay System is a standardized job evaluation methodology used by corporations and organizations throughout North America. A successful Hay implementation will provide local HR departments with the requisite gobbledygook needed to validate predetermined pay scales, along with copious amounts of convoluted graphs and charts used to justify exuberant salaries of political cronies, close friends, and senior management.

The cost of implementing the Hay system is offset by the savings recouped through the rationalization of rank-and-file employees in a process referred to as rightsizing, downsizing, or restructuring (i.e. elimination of the competent). The process starts by requiring all rank-and-file employees to qualify, quantify, and meticulously itemize their individual job functions. The process ends with huge fanfare and the release of the updated organizational chart that was pre-approved by senior management prior to the start of the implementation process.

Unless you are already in senior management, there are only two ways to survive the Hay review process. The first is to somehow manage to get yourself promoted to the senior management group. The second is to convince management that you are one of the few rank-and-file employees that they really need. I will discuss the first option in this blog, the latter will be discussed in a future posting.

The art of management promotion involves a complex process known as brown-nosing. The process can be fairly straightforward, especially for those with pre-existing political and/or family connections to the powers that be. This type of promotion requires the newly minted manager to be totally subservient to all the whims of their immediate superior. I have seen this process in action, and it appears to be easier than it sounds. For example: There is rarely a need for independent thinking, and the actual act of brown-nosing usually comes naturally to those involved. To be fair, since the selection committee always knows in advance who to recommend, the hired candidate has already met theses key requirements.

Actually, there is a second way to achieve a management promotion, but I am hesitant to bring it up for moral reasons. Let’s just say that it can involve body parts other than the nose and requires supporting oral, analog, or digital documentation.

I will discuss the second way of beating the system in a future blog, but the old adage, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with bullshit” is key to that process.

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