Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Proof that life isn't fair

I spent the entire day manning our company booth at a Job Fair yesterday. It was so much fun that I'm heading back today. I suppose it's HR penance.

Actually there are many interesting people, but there are only so many ways to repeat the same information, in both English and French, that by the end of the day I was getting close to that "lose it" point.

Something that I saw which really surprised me was that I had quite a few parents visit me on behalf of their "child". This is debatable since not many adults would be seeking permanent full-time employment for their 13-year old, so I'm assuming these are fully functional near adults that have over-involved parents. There were also a number of students there with their moms, with the mom doing most of the talking.

I worry about this. I'm a parent and I know how it feels to want to do everything for your child, whether it be the obvious math homework or spread peanut butter on a piece of toast, but the reality is they have to do this. They have to experience the errors, the learning curves, and joy of ensuring the peanut butter doesn't get on the crust and you don't rip the bread.

I recently attended a session on generations in the workplace and while I don't fully subscribe to labelling someone based on the year they were born (I am Gen X, I'm suppose to be skeptical), there is certainly truth in the fact that many newcomers to the workforce are operating with a different set of expectations.

Part of this comes from the fact that at no point has anyone pushed them off the diving board and said - Now swim to the side of the pool; we won't let you drown, but you've got to find a way to do it on your own.

Harsh, perhaps...but who said life was fair. Or easy.

Just to show that I'm not entirely bitter, I do believe that more direction, expectations, and feedback should be given to all employees - not just the Gen Ys who supposedly demand it. At the same time I caution automatically dolling all of these out without allowing someone to develop their resourcefulness and iniative.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where there's smoke...

I've made no bones about the fact that recruiting is not my favourite HR activity. It's very time-consuming, very frustrating, and akin to speed dating.

Now I'm sure some recruiting-loving person out there will point out that if I was doing it right, then it would be a breeze. Fine - give me your sales pitch and then move along. Odds are you are you are going to present some excellent points and provide great techniques, but it's not going to change my mind.

This is why.

In an interview yesterday the candidate walks into the room abso-freaking-lutely reeking of smoke. Now I shouldn't assume anything...perhaps she had just rescued a trapped family from a burning townhouse, but my HR-instinct told me she just powered down a few cigarettes prior to the interview.

Here's the rub. The role that we are filling is a group that is struggling with absenteeism and presenteism. There are production issues. There are training issues. There are issues. The supervisor has to deal with a number of employees with regards to the amount of time that employees take to get a "breath of fresh air". As we are on an upper floor of a multi-floor building, any break takes considerable time away from the workplace.

So, when my first whiff of this candidate provides me with an indication that they may contribute to this issue, I lay a few rows of bricks in the wall that may go up.

When the only questions that the candidate ask about the job are - how long do I get for lunch, how many breaks can I take, how often can I go to the washroom (seriously!), and is a hoodie considered "business casual", I'm in full-fledged wall-building mode. I can envision the next meeting I would be having with this employee, which would be to say, thanks, but no thanks (which incidentally is my favourite thing to do in HR).

I would be interested in hearing from others what your views are on candidates that
show up with a blatant red flag, whether it be inappropriate clothing or a cloud of smoke.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Things that are debatable

Some weeks I am entrenched in the mire of HR. I am challenged, I am busy, and I am productive.

Other weeks, I find myself up against the forces of ridiculousness. As such, these are the highly controversial and important things I have debated with colleagues so far this week

1.There is such a thing as a mercy interview (for internal candidates) and there are times when it is less damaging to do the interview than not to.

2.Saying “that’s not my job” is a career limiting move and I don’t care which generation you are from, it applies from A-Z

3.As HR, it is not my responsibility to ensure that you have hand sanitizer available at your desk. It's not that I don't care, but I'm not picking it up when I'm out on my lunch.

4.Documenting is a pain, I know, but it really is worth the trouble and no, I’m not your stenographer, do it yourself. You and your employee will thank me. I promise.

5.Being Team Edward does not make me a cougar – he is a fictional character; I don’t equate the character with Rob Pattinson (but he does create a nice visual)

Friday, March 05, 2010

I'm in re-run mode

When I get into a tv series (and it doesn't happen very often) I am dedicated, loyal, and will schedule my evenings around watching my show. (And yes this means I'm one of the poor slobs who hasn't embraced PVR-ing.)

So when a show goes on hiatus or re-run mode, I become agitated for a few weeks and then I move into acceptance. My interest starts to wane. I start to forget what I enjoyed about these shows. Sometimes I drop it, just out of principle because the interval is too long and/or it's just a ridiculous schedule.

Unfortunately, my work and personal schedule has been such that I haven't been able to blog anything coherent for some time. I've even neglected visiting many of the blogs that I enjoy. Strangely enough, when I started to catch up this morning, I saw a similar message at My Hell is Other People and HR Fishbowl. I am not alone.

This is a temporary situation. I plan to get back on track with following and sharing, but it's amazing how much I can shift all of my focus to one or two areas, and lose sight of the other parts of my life that add interest and balance. It's actually scary.

So, the sun is shining today. I'm slowly lowering the blinders that have kept me heading down one track for the past few weeks and I'm sharing again.

As for the TV programs. Lost, you lost me with a 9-month hiatus and starting back up during the Olympics. I'll catch you in re-runs.