Years ago, I interviewed for a job and the VP of HR was full of himself. At the end of the interview, I asked him what differentiated their HR department from others. He gave a long answer full of buzzwords, but he didn’t believe in any of it. 

That was in 2004, but even now every trend I read about human resources and compensation uses those buzzwords. It makes them all feel like lies. 

I recently gave a keynote to a company called Curo Comp. It was about this very topic, truth versus reality when it comes to talking about money at work. 

In my keynote, I had to tell the audience that those trends were lies. I had to tell them that everything they aspirationally believe in is a lie. It was difficult, but it’s true. It’s important to disclose the lies and talk about where we stand and where we can go in the future. 

The lies about money at work are that equal pay and transparency matter, that there should be more bonuses and more short term incentives for regular workers, and that technology will drive all of the strategies behind fixing things. It turns out that technology doesn’t do anything, nobody really cares about equal pay and transparency (and, if they did, it wouldn’t be that hard to fix), and we are terrible at evaluating and recognizing performance. 

In reality, transparency is going to hit us all. If we don’t already believe in it, it is going to hit us like a truck. Additionally, compassion and empathy are no longer buzzwords. They’re the new operating model for the world of work. Finally, the reality is that self-leadership is the ultimate competency. 

I’m talking about these topics—and more on compensation truth and lies— in my weekly newsletter. I’m also sharing a video to help you think about your week ahead. You can sign up here.