A month after our lovely Shih Tzu became part of our family, I saw her running through the house with a box in her mouth, and she was eating something from the box that looked like candy.
We had a bit of a mice problem a while back. As a result, we purchased several items, including rat poison. The rat poison had done its trick and had been disposed of, or so we thought.
Are you catching on to my story?
Upon this discovery, I called my vet. The vet referred me to animal poison control. They instructed me that rat poison doesn't kill immediately and that I had three days to give some kind of antidote. However, since it was caught early, I had some other options. Poison control then instructed me to vacate the poison and call back once complete. I followed their advice, and it seemed to work. I was then told that the dog should be fine as the poison appears to be out of her system and to follow up with the vet in a few days.
Fortunately, I called the veterinarian right away and took the dog in promptly for an appointment. The vet stated that it seemed as though all the poison had vacated the dog's system. However, she took a blood sample to be sure. The sample would take a bit to analyze. Therefore, I had a choice. I could start the dog on an additional antidote (vitamin K) immediately or wait until the blood work came in to be sure that she needed the vitamin K. When I asked the vet what the side effects of the vitamin were, she told me none for the short time period it was administered. I didn't seem to understand the choice, the vet said "cost." It costs more to give her the preventive vitamin dose.
As it turned out, some of the poison had entered the dog's bloodstream, and acting promptly was not only necessary but lifesaving. I also learned that rat poison does take three days to kill a dog. However, the longer rat poison is in the system, the more severe the treatment needs to be and thus an even more costly endeavor.
HR is a lot like that, isn't it?
An ounce of prevention: In hindsight, before adopting the dog, we could have searched the house for any perils or paid a professional to search for us, much like you do before a child is born. In HR, the preparation work can be an HR audit or a job interview.
More preventive medicine: Once the mishap was discovered, it was dealt with quickly. In HR, this would be corrective measures such as updating your 5 (or even 10) year old employee handbook or engaging your performance management process.
It will cost you: The preventive vitamin K costs less than $50. I could have waited a few days and saved some money. However, a few days' delay would have run into the thousands and potentially killed the dog. In HR, when we delay our people issues, we run the risk of costly litigation, damage to our reputation, loss of customers, loss of valuable employees, and in some cases bankruptcy.
What about the dog?
I'm happy to say that the dog survived and lived until the ripe old age of 15, which is somewhere between 76 and 80 in people years.
Contact The HR Team to discuss how you can prevent costly risks at your company.