Let's Just Touch Base With Human Resources

(By Haraz N. Ghanbari -- Associated Press)
By Paul Farhi and Mark Leibovich
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

If your boss reassigned you to a new job that you didn't like, you could:

(a) Try to talk him or her out of it;

(b) Grumble and go along with it; or

(c) Find alternative employment.

Alfonso Soriano believes he's come up with a fourth option: Tell the boss to forget it and stay right where you are.

Normally, that kind of 'tude would turn an employee into an ex-employee pretty fast. But Soriano isn't like most employees. The Washington Nationals' star player -- a four-time all-star who earns $10 million a year -- believes he can refuse the team's demand that he play left field instead of second base, his preferred position.

Soriano is so adamant that he stayed in the dugout when the Nationals played a spring training game Monday, leaving left field temporarily empty. As of last night, the two sides were talking it out.

Short of laying down a trail of $1,000 bills from the dugout to left field, what's an enlightened boss to do?

Human Resources on Line 2:

"This is a great opportunity for the Nationals to revisit whether they're doing everything they can from a human resources standpoint," says Kathy Albarado, the founder of Helios HR, a Reston-based firm that specializes in "retention and employee engagement."

Albarado has many questions for the Nationals. Like: "How did we get to this point?" "Were the National expectations properly communicated to the player up front?" And she wonders how other "high-performing employees" on the Nationals might be affected if they see such "sub-performing behavior" being tolerated.

Indeed, John Challenger, chief executive of the human resources consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, says the Nationals should consider a tough-love approach.

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