Lookin’ for HR Love in All the Wrong Places

Just a few short weeks ago the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition rolled into New Orleans; with the volunteers and vendors and attendees there were 20,000’ish folks at this HR love fest.

I enjoyed the big show; I always do. And, excepting the usual number of Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys who have since felt the need to weigh in on various SHRM hosted message boards and communities about the “cold session rooms” and “the vastness of the convention center” and “the awful box lunches” (hey – you try to feed 15,000+ people lunch), so did the vast majority of the attendees.

As is usually the case the HR themed swag was flying off the shelves in the SHRM store. Frankly, I don’t get it; I just can’t see myself walking around town wearing an “I Love HR” shirt or displaying an “I Love HR” lamp on my desk (note: this lamp is so popular, the store has it on back order. I’m not kidding). Apparently though I’m in the minority as the SHRM store has been carrying this stuff for many years now and the desires of Linda, Betty, and Bob to buy these professional-themed career-loving-masturbatory tchotkes remains high.

Now, I would certainly hope that if one is working in human resources one loves it. Or, at the very least, doesn’t hate it.  However I’ve yet to see anyone wearing an “I love Internal Audit” tshirt. I have never walked into the office of a marketing professional to come face-to-face with a stuffed teddy bear emblazoned with “I <3 Marketing.” No IT guy/gal I’ve worked with has ever twirled an “IT 4ever” keychain on their fingers as we’ve walked out to a parking lot together at the end of the work day.

It’s a nice thing, as Whitney Houston once sang, to remember that “Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all,” but is this need to continually espouse professional self-love due to the fact that we are still (STILL!) recovering from the “I Hate HR” diatribes that began well over a decade ago? Are we collectively so insecure that we’re doing the professional equivalent of reminding each other that “You is Kind. You is Smart. You is important?”

Because, once those tens of thousands of human resources practitioners walked out the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center they probably got reminded that there’s not a whole lot of lovin’ coming from people outside of our little enclave. Here are some comments from a recent article on Yahoo entitled “A Woman Who’s Spent over a Decade in HR Shares the No. 1 Sign it’s Time to Quit Your Job,” that includes insight/interview with Toni Thompson, Head of HR and Talent for The Muse.  (note: at the time I’m writing this, there were 370 comments on the article. Not a single comment was positive about human resources).

  •  HR is a dinosaur concept that needs to go away. I laugh when an HR person calls themselves a professional
  •  HR departments are a joke ow that they are filled with SJW stooges. People become HR because they fail at math and accounting.
  • When will people realize that 99.9% of HR “professionals” exhibit sociopathic behaviors mainly due to the fact that it is the easiest profession to step into and you have to lie and create fantasies in order to give the appearance you are contributing. You don’t need a high IQ, you can hide behind others and find someone to blame just so you can keep your job. Most companies are better off with HR administrators only to take care of paperwork, benefits, etc. The minute an HR wannabe shows up the dynamics change and their goal becomes how do I find controversy in order to prove I bring value. Absolutely useless profession.
  •  Most HR people are totally incompetent. They cannot think outside the box and rarely fact check anything.
  •  People in HR are imbeciles trying justify there jobs as truly the most important. News flash, not so much.
  •  NEVER let HR run your company- They are called Human Resources- NOTHING more! They will run a company into the ground if you let them- They are little more than social workers.
  • One time I told a boss something the HR lady said, my boss’s reply, “She’s Human Resources, she’s paid to lie!”
  •  HR is there only to protect upper management, not an employee. Policy interpretations will always go in favor of management, and If employees think that HR is on their side, they are in for a very rude awakening at some point.
  •  Hate it when some HR person is in on the interview process asking dumb questions. They know nothing beyond a couple of buzzwords.
  •  HR people are either sociopaths or psychopaths for the most part. No empathy. Stay away from them, don’t trust them. They are under no requirement to be confidential no matter what they say. They are there to keep management out of legal trouble, not to help employees .
  •  HR departments are the worst thing that has happened to big companies ever. There is NO PERSONAL contact most of the time. You submit an application and you may or may not get a response either way. COLD COLD COLD. I know some very good people who have not even gotten an interview or response. A damn computer decides if the person is worth pursuing. TERRIBLE. If I owned a big or medium company, HR would be gone. Assuming you wanted good people and bright employees. No one can really tell anything about someone without a face to face. PERIOD
  •  HR is a blood-sucking parasite to employees and they will do anything to anyone to make the owners or boss happy
  •  This article is useless because HR is useless.
  •  Rule No 1 don’t trust HR.

Wow. This sort of stuff makes me sad. And I know…comments on any article show the seamy underbelly of humanity, but I still think it’s worthwhile to read them and see what people are saying.

It begs the question of course…is there anything wrong with wanting to feel valued, worthy and loved? Of course not.  But you know how we’ll know when LOVE for HR is a real thing?

When our employees, leaders and applicants wear those “I Love HR” t-shirts.

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It’s OK. I’m With the Band (recruiting edition)

I live in south Louisiana and let me just say that one perception about our lifestyle here is pretty damn true: we have lots and lots and lots of live music. Most anywhere, and at most any time, one can find a band or a solo artist jamming out or singing on a street corner. There are musicians who cart their instruments around town as they head from gig to gig, while the piano players and vocalists often just “show up” at venues around town and sit in with the band. Everyone, seemingly, seems to know each other because, more than likely, they’ve played together before.

Since it’s so prevalent, I would say that at least 1 or 2 nights per week, Mr. S and I are listening to live music at either a festival, in a bar, or just by happenstance as we meander around town.

I love it.

Now, as it just so happens, this past Saturday evening we were out and about and decided to check out a hidden local venue (aka “a neighborhood bar”) we had never visited. Small’ish with about 12 barstools; crock pot of homemade tortilla soup on a side table (for all to enjoy) ; cheap drinks; 60 or so patrons. We, being strangers, were immediately assessed as we walked through the door but, as we were relatively harmless looking, were allowed to enter.

There was a band playing (blues, classic rock, cajun and zydeco classics) on the small stage and, as we settled in, multiple people came over to say “hi;” the owners (the husband and wife each made individual visits to our table), the bartender, and several bar flys, regulars, patrons all paid us a visit.

Now, as it just so happened, I was wearing a t-shirt from last year’s ERE Conference (2016 – held in New Orleans); logo on the back is a Mardi Gras mask and, emblazoned on the front is “ERE Media” and, more prominently “TALENT ADVISOR.” OK – we who work in HR and Recruiting understand this but, let’s be real, the average Joe has no concept what any of this “Talent Advisor” gibberish means.

At one point, as I was walking across the room, sipping my extraordinarily inexpensive drink (neighborhood bars rule!) and humming along to “My Toot Toot” , one of the gentlemen from the next table stopped me and said “Hey!, Which agency are you with? (my blank stare apparently signaled to him that I had zero idea what he was talking about).  “Your shirt,” he said by way of explanation. “Talent advisor. Are you a scout? Here to see the band?”

First time, I must admit, anyone has ever mistaken me for a music impresario or an A&R rep.

But…for those of us in Recruiting or HR, this experience at this off-the-beaten-track Baton Rouge neighborhood bar should serve as a reminder of how, even today with all the technology and bots and automated processes, finding talent can still be done by getting out of the office and:

  • Scouting for talent (in ways beyond merely digging through our ATS inbox)
  • Going where the talent hangs out (and not simply waiting for them to come to us)
  • Identifying ourselves (‘branding,’ if you will) in a personable and interactive manner

Right?

Anyway, as the night wore on and we chatted with our new friend, I mentioned to him that I was the head of HR for a local casino (“we’re hiring!”) and, I thought, convinced him I wasn’t there to sign the band to a record deal.

But then, at the break, the bass player came over to say “hello” and gave me his card……….

It’s OK. I’m with the band.

 

 

 

 

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The #HROlympics

synchro swimWhile the Olympic athletes are deciding whether or not to stay in the Olympic Village or head on out and book a room at the local Hilton, the rest of us are just sitting here waiting for the opening ceremonies to kick off next week.

Those of us in HR though, in between having super-important-strategic meetings where we literally sit at the table and/or are running around prepping for open enrollment (sweet baby Moses…. already? didn’t we just do this?), still need a bit of fun. I mean, something other than the monthly SHRM chapter luncheon meetings at The Central City Convention Center (oh my god Tara! They’re serving the hot buttered rolls! And the special Green Goddess dressing!!) Am I right? Yeah; you know I am.

So, because I desired a bit of levity, I posed a query on Facebook the other day and asked folks to “name some featured sports in the ‪#‎HROlympics.”

I went first and offered up what I thought was a sure fire winner —- “Forced Hoop Jumping.”

But then we got more ideas; way better than mine. Let me present to you the following #HROlympics sports for your consideration:

  • Passing the buck
  • Running a 401(k)
  • Lying (** ouch**)
  • Discussing Psychometric Assessments
  • 4 judges with numbered cards for annual appraisals
  • The hamster wheel
  • Bending over (** double ouch**) (also – not in that way. Get your minds outta the gutter.) 
  • Lawyer wrangling (this from an employment attorney) 
  • Back peddling
  • Excuse wrestling
  • Synchronized employer branding
  • Extreme cat herding
  • Ass kissing – closest to the center ring wins (wait…isn’t that the #MarketingOlympics?) 
  • Disgruntled employee steeplechase
  • The OFCCP luge
  • OneUpsManship
  • SHRM swag powerlifting (with reference to Coach bags and Michael Kors)
  • The Marathon – (just another day in the life of HR)
  • Biathalon: Failed teambuilding exercise and synchronized bitching
  • The outside counsel waffle
  • Insurance decathlon
  • Picking low hanging fruit
  • Stamina & endurance test: proving you have at least one more f*ck to give

My goodness. We’re a cynical bunch.

Or…perhaps…incredibly self aware.

#GoForTheGold

 

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thanks to: Matthew Stollack, Christine Assaf, Stephen O’Donnell, Julie Sholar, Heather Kinzie, Kate Bischoff, Franny Oxford, John Jorgenson, Damona Barnes, Mike Haberman, Martin Burns, Mary Faulkner, Lois Melbourne, Tim Baker, Mary McClure Wright, Brad Galin, Kelly Blokdijk, Christy Chess, Paul Miller (and more….) 

p.s. since, as we know, NO idea in HR blogging is original, let me point out that back in 2012 my friend Tim Sackett wrote a post about the “The HR Olympics”. I, however, think our 2016 list is better…..

 

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