Saturday, February 07, 2009

Call for transparency

So despite my recent drop in confidence (see, it's not just the markets that fluctuate), I did have some takeaways from the HR Conference. One of the most interesting sessions was regarding transparency in HR.

Now to some, this may seem like an oxymoron because isn't the purpose of HR to obscure policies and procedures. Aren't we meant to hide behind the cloak of darkness?

Some days....yes.

Most days...no.

We want people to understand the inner workings of the company because quite frankly I'm sick of explaining the sick policy, where you can find the form to change your address on the Intranet, and yes, your supervisor DOES have the right to ask you to be at work on-time. We need for everyone to be able to find this information on their own, be able to understand it, and make informed decisions.

Instead, we manage to shoot ourselves in the foot by creating inaccessible, out-of-date, and vague processes. No wonder they keep calling us. No wonder they think we are out to get them.

The session reinforced this idea by promoting the idea of opening up the HR books (policy and procedure books that is) to supervisors and managers so that they can do what they are suppose to...manage and supervise their employees with the resources to back them up.

AND, they suggested opening these same books to the employees. Why? So that they can see that there is a method to the madness, that there are procedures in place, and that there is an attempt at consistency.

Really and truly, there should be noting to hide. How we recruit, how sick days and leaves are dealt with, how transfers and changes in positions are handled, how vacation days are determined, the disciplinary process, how continuing education is applied for and reimbursed....all of these things should not be a mystery to the employees.

If you keep this information locked up in your HR lair, then it's no wonder the managers and supervisors make the assumption that it's your job and not theirs to deal with it.

While I thought that my company was in decent shape - and we are - I realize that there is much more we can do to make things easier for all parties. Oddly enough, it involves applying a bit of a technical approach in how we document our processes.

Before it sounds like I'm off on a the latest and greatest HR method. I will loudly state that I agree with Laurie at HR Punk Rock, I do not believe that HR is a science. It does us a disservice to try and justify it as such. However, there is logic in borrowing ideas from other areas.

Being in HR exposes you to such a variety of issues and people - why would we rely on a limited pool of resources and perspectives to deal with these.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

trust in me

Oddly enough I have recently had an internal conversation between myself and..well..me. It went something like this:

Me: I've lost my mojo. My confidence is shaken and stirred. I am unsure about what I am doing and whether I am in the right place.

Myself: What the hell are you whining about now?

Me: The HR conference that should have inspired me has left me questioning whether I made the right decision to change fields and take the plunge into HR. My counterpart in the company is 10 years younger than me - in fact, she IS me, back when I was confident. I felt like such a dork around her.

Myself: Where is this coming from? You like your work.

Me: I know, but I'm not sure whether I'm cut out for this. I feel like I have to morph into someone else to do my job. I don't feel like I'm myself.

Myself: You aren't "myself" - I'm myself.

Me: Hello...it's an expression. What I mean is that maybe I've compromised too much to make this change. Maybe it was a good effort, but still not what I should be doing.

Myself: Read this (hands Me my journal)

Me: Which page? The food log, the page of quotes, or the wines I would like to try?

Myself: *SIGH* The letter you wrote to yourself before you started your new job...

Me: Oh that. I forgot about that. (reads note) I wrote this?! I wrote that I knew that I would hit a point when I would be insecure about what I'm doing. I reminded myself to give myself a break - that there would be moments that I questioned my decision, but that I must not cave and let this discourage me. I even listed reasons why I was doing this and that I was not going to bail on this opportunity.

Myself: Yes

Me: What?! Am I freakin' psychic or something?

Myself: No - you just know yourself too well. We've been down this road a few times before, but you always seem to take the wrong exit. You wanted to leave yourself a note so that you wouldn't get lost this time.

Me: So, basically...I told myself so.

Myself: Pretty much

Me: Cool.

Myself: Yup.

Me: And annoying. Do I always have to have the last word?

I: Yes. Now shut the hell up, LOST is on and I'm trying to concentrate.