Several years ago I had heard from a friend about SPD – Self-Perception Disorder.  You know…those times when the pot is calling the kettle black (aka double standards).  Or when people self-sabotage their own efforts for goals that are trying to achieve and wonder why they can not achieve their goals.

It became a running gag with friends and my wife.  But it does make you aware of how people (and yourself) can get into trouble by not being aware of what you yourself are doing.

Companies can have SPD as well.  For example, portions of a company (usually compensation and affiliates) will say push the bonus as part of the compensation.  In fact, your company might even compute the bonus as part of the total compensation package.  BUT, how likely are employees to get a bonus?  Are you the kind of company that pays everyone at least a little…or are you the kind of company that only pays the very top performers a bonus and most people get nothing?  If you are the latter, and still compute the bonus as part of the total compensation – that is SPD.

Total compensation is something the average worker would get (IMO)…not the one or two outliers.  If only one or two people per department get a bonus and the multitude of others get nothing, then you should not be hiring people and quoting the total compensation (including the bonus) as part of the package that you are selling.  That would be deception and fraudulent advertising, because the odds are the person will not get the bonus…as most do not.

Too many companies do this and that is why many candidates no longer put any faith in the “bonus potential.”  I have spoken with many candidates who discount the bonus entirely and demand higher base salaries.  Makes sense really…if so few actually get bonuses when they are advertised and sold to everyone.

Another case of SPD is when companies require a Bachelors degree for positions when current team members (even high performing team members or the managers themselves) do not have a Bachelors degree.  Obviously if the manager is in the next level above the position and doing well in their job…the real need of a Bachelors degree is questionable.  Also, if other team members who are doing well in the position already do not have a degree, requiring one now is questionable.

Also, I believe in promoting from within.  So, if someone in a lower level position who has already worked for the company for years should apply and he or she does not have a Bachelors degree…are they really not qualified?  If they would be qualified…again, the requirement of a Bachelors degree becomes questionable.

Of course, this could be with any skill…not just a degree.  I know companies are always trying to raise the bar with their “human capital”…but this brings up another case of SPD.  If you are trying to raise the bar (get better people than you have currently) or hire A-players/Stars…BUT you can only pay what you are currently paying your other employees (which is average for the market or worse…below average)…how will that work?

Like everything, you get what you pay for.  You want a higher skill-set…it makes sense it will cost more.  Otherwise, it is like trying to buy a new car that you see (the basic version) and getting a quote from the salesman and then saying you want leather interior, a sun roof, mag wheels, and more, but you refuse to pay any more than what was originally quoted for a more striped down version of the car.

Or think of it in sports…when an A-player or Star does become available, you will not convince him or her to come to your team when you say you can only afford to pay C-level rates.  You can say you have a great team and the best trainers or whatever, and to some players…being on a specific team does have some value – but very few will not drop their salary expectations that much in order to play for you.

Everyone wants to get paid what they are worth…and a team manager under-bidding on pay is saying through that action that we do not think you are worth that much.  So of course, players (especially great ones) will go where they think they will be more valued.

Not seeing this is SPD, because if a client of your company said you have been great but we will only pay you 75% of what you ask now…I seriously doubt your company will continue doing business with them.  Or more accurately, if a potential client said they are looking for new vendors, but they can only afford to pay 75% of what you are asking…would your company say fine and sign them up?  And if they were signed up (however unlikely that might be), what level of service would they get…your best?  How can we expect different from job applicants/candidates?

So please…my fellow recruiters…start really seeing when your own companies have SPD and shed light on it.  Make it known and conscious when we are using a double standard, getting in our own way, doing things to set ourselves up for failure, etc.  This stuff largely continues because it passes unnoticed and unconscious.  SPD is a condition due to unconsciousness.  Making it conscious may be the first step to a cure.


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