You know who they are. The “special” ones. The people who always insist, whether consciously or not, that regardless of the rules or the process, that they get treated differently. Their situation is different. Their work is more important. They are too critical to the companies success. They even may be right. And that’s what makes it worse.
I have a hard time with these special unicorns. On the one hand, I don’t think that HR should be a road block. If something needs to be done because it is critical to the company, well, process be damned. Get things done and file the paperwork later. But what if everything they want is critical because they couldn’t plan ahead or because they sat on information for months? What if it puts the company more at risk giving them what they want than taking a little extra time to make sure it is done correctly? It’s frustrating because these are no win scenarios.
Sound familiar? Special unicorns aren’t so hard to find as they exist in every workplace. If you are unlucky you might have more than one running around. So what can you do? In some cases, nothing direct. HR can advise, document, and give them enough room to let karma sort themselves out. These type of people will eventually push things too far. Other times, we can help stop them before the drama starts. Besides having a good hiring process to screen them out, as a rule companies should never have a position where one person is the only one who can (insert company critical function here). No one person should be so important that they cannot be put in check.
I like unicorns best when they are either the stuff of legend or soft and plushy stuffed animals. Either way, they probably don’t belong in the office.