What Would You Do With Marshawn Lynch?

Jason Pankow Culture, HR, HR & Sports, in the news, Jason Pankow, Personal Brand, Pop Culture, Sports

Ok… I was trying really really hard NOT to write about the Seahawks. I think it’s pretty clear from past posts that I love my Seahawks. And, given that they are in the Superbowl (the first team to go to back-to-back Superbowls since… well, since the last time it happened), I figured it would just be expected that I would write something about them.

Well, you’re right… I am writing about them. More specifically, I am writing about one of them. Beastmode, himself: Marshawn Lynch.

I am curious, dear HR professionals. What would you do with an employee like Marshawn Lynch?

What we have here is a stud of a performer.  If you stack rank your employees, Marshawn would be at the top of your list.  The guy who makes your team successful.  The guy who literally drags the competition across the field.  He’s the guy that you pay a ton of money to do what he does.  You don’t pay him for his personality.  You don’t pay him to make friends.  You pay him to kick ass and take names.  And, he does just this.

However, you also have a contract with a partner.  This contract says that your employees—all of your employees—will be available at certain times to answer questions.  Maybe about a product or something. Who cares.  You have a contract with a vendor that says your employees must be available.

However, your best employee, Marshawn, hates this part of the job. Hates it! He would rather sit through a root canal than meet with this partner.  So, he ditches.  And, you give him a warning.  He ditches again. And, you reprimand him.  However, nothing you do seems to work.  He hates this requirement and he has no qualms about telling you so.

What do you do?  He’s one of your top performers.  It’s obvious that, without him, you would not be in the place you are.  However, it is spelled out clearly in your arrangement with him that he WILL meet with these partners.  Again…what do you do?

It’s been amazing to watch this go down with the NFL. I’m a Seahawks fan and a huge Marshawn Lynch fan.  So, in that sense, I say “Let Marshawn be Marshawn!”  However, as an HR professional, I totally understand where the NFL is coming from.  I mean, the guy has a contract that he is willingly thumbing his nose at.  To let him get away with such a thing sets a precedent to anyone else who wants to skip part of their job.

So, dear HR friends… I am curious.  What would you do in this situation?

Me?  I would probably let him be.  I would see that he clearly doesn’t like this part of his job.  And, really…Marshawn isn’t being payed to talk to the press.  He is being paid to run as fast and as hard down the field as he possibly can, dragging as many defenders with him as possible in the process.  If it becomes a problem with other players down the road then, fine.  Address it when that time comes.

Of course, I may change my mind after the Superbowl when a player on another team tries to pull the same stuff, but whatever!  For now, let Marshawn be Marshawn.  And Go Hawks!!!

What about you?  What would you do?