Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Perceptions of HR

I was told today by one of our supervisors that one of her employees is slowly coming unhinged. The employee revealed to the supervisor, among many other bizarre concerns, that every time she sees me walk by her office she feels like I’m going to fire her.

Mental note to self: stop making throat cutting gestures to this employee…she apparently doesn’t get the joke.


Monday, June 29, 2009

What happens in Oz, stays in Oz


When I last left you hanging, my Executive's (lack of) integrity case had escalated to the CEO. Well, we all know the saying “what goes up, must come down”.... In this case, it didn’t come down quite as hard as I anticipated which was good since I was mentally crouched in a corner awaiting the bomb to drop.

To summarize, I was told that while it was understood that I had to do my job, I needed to learn about the “corporate flow” and that if things are under control, there is no reason to magnify a situation.

What I heard: Listen up little girl – pull this shit again and I won’t be so “understanding” of you doing your job. What happens in Oz, stays in Oz.

I remain unapologetic for making the decision to do what I did.
This, incidentally, was the right thing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sometimes doing your job is the hardest thing to do.

The past few weeks have been extremely challenging.

The eternally optimistic part of me thinks: what fantastic learning opportunities you’ve just been through. Think of the growth. Think of the experience.

The other 95% of me thinks: what the hell did I get myself into?

One of our company’s core values is Integrity and recently, I was put in a position when I had to demonstrate mine by calling out a VP on his.

I won’t lie – I lost sleep over this one. There was just no way this situation was going to end with a group hug (which is probably good considering I’m vehemently against group hugs).

I approached the VP about the fact that I recognize that while he may be coming from a good place, his message and questionable tactics regarding a required designation exam that some employees are taking, have left me and some employees (that came to me) feeling…well…very uncomfortable. To say the least.

After speaking to the VP, I then updated my manager, who does not work in this office, about the situation. My manager supported me completely with how I handled this.

It has since escalated to the CEO’s attention and I am in limbo waiting to see what the fallout, if any, there will be.

Despite knowing there may be a storm heading (or at least a severe cold front), I have been able to sleep every night since I took action.

Friday, June 12, 2009

You've been here how many years?!

Yesterday was my and my husband’s 15th wedding anniversary. Yeah us!

Although traditionalists in many sense, we do not get overly hung up on milestones or feel the need to attach a dollar value to these milestones. I don’t even know what the traditional/modern anniversary gifts are. (Incidentally, 15 years is crystal/ watches…of course I looked it up).

Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries …I’m pretty low-maintenance. I would prefer one sign that shows me you put some thought into recognizing the day (even if it’s just a card) and I’m good.

With that in mind, we thought the best way to recognize the day was to spend some time together, and not in a scripted “this is what you have to do on your anniversary” fashion, but in a way that best reflects us. If booking a babysitter, getting dressed-up, and going out for a candlelight dinner is your thing…fill your boots. It’s not mine though.

So I cringe at the idea of having an employee recognition program that is so utterly uniform, not only within our office, but also from year to year, so that I believe it has now lost its value and purpose.

We provide the employees with a letter of recognition and a chocolate (and not just any chocolate, but a particular chocolate that is the same in all our offices) on their anniversary. If it’s a milestone anniversary, they are offered the opportunity to choose one of a limited amount of pre-selected gifts.

How these gifts are presented varies more based on the manager’s style than on the employee’s preference. Some are left on their desk for them to find when they arrive in the morning – others are given to them in front of the entire group in a surprise meeting.

The sad fact is that this has become a process that has no meaning to those on either side of the desk. The employees see it as a token, not recognition. The managers see it as another annual duty that they have to do, up there with performance evaluations.

Creating a recognition program that matches every single employee’s need would be a nightmare, but surely there are better ways of saying “Thank you for all your hard work and for being part of us for x years”.

My suggestion is that actually having someone take the time to say these words, face-to-face, would be a good start. After that, you can decide whether a bobble-head of the World’s Best Employee or a gift certificate at the spa is more appropriate.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Putting the fun back into HR

I woke thinking today was Friday.

Imagine my irritation when I discovered it wasn't. To compensate for this confusion, I decided to have a little fun at work...because I'm all about fun in HR.

I decided to answer any question that began with or was similar to "what do we do with someone who..." or "how should we handle so-and-so, who has/is/will...."

My answer: we fire them

I'm not sure about the people asking the questions, but I'm getting a kick out of it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Would the real issue please stand up and be acknowledged

As with many people, I'm constantly striving to do better in all aspects of my life. One of these is eating more "real" food and less processed. I'm not on any hardcore bandwagon, but it's just a decision to stay away from processed food as much as possible, with the hope that I will feel better and possibly slim down a bit.

Of course, we still stock some of these offenders at home since my kids would likely file for emancipation should I choose to stop buying Cheez Whiz or chips.

And then last night, I found myself with a wicked craving for something sweet.

Good news: I passed on the box of Oreos that dared me to eat just one.
Bad News: I made a sugar pie from scratch. (Honestly, I only had one piece!)

It was a lot of work for a passing craving and I'm wondering if avoiding the processed food really dealt with the real issue.

This brings me to a situation at work:

We are recruiting for a administrative support position (again). This role reports to a particular manager that is, at best, difficult to work with/for. At worst, she's controlling, insulting, and in complete denial of the impact of her actions.

Good news: Executives have acknowledged that this manager is having a negative impact on the group and that something needs to be done about it.

Bad news: They are re-distributing the workload of this particular admin position so that they person won't have to work solely with this manager.

Again, I'm faced with a lot of work being done and the real issue not being acknowledged.