Tag Archives: Views of HR

Does HR Shoot Itself In the Foot?

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the annual SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) conference in Las Vegas, which I was very impressed with in almost every respect.  Gathering 14,000 HR professionals and keeping them engaged, energized, and pointing toward the future (the slogan was “We Know Next”) isn’t an easy task– and SHRM and its many volunteers did an outstanding job.  There was only one thing that disturbed me: the seemingly ubiquitous “I Love HR” logo items (t-shirts, stickers, teddy bears, etc.).

Does "I Love HR" really send the wrong message?

I know that sounds like there should be a punch line there somewhere – “you’re upset about teddy bears, really?” — but I’m actually serious about that.  I believe that the “I Love HR” message is quite self-defeating.  Here’s why.

The “Seat at the Table” Conversation

I wrote last week about HR’s unique positioning as an “internal external” consultant – i.e., sharing perspectives that others are too close to the battle to see.  Ironically, HR isn’t excluded from this truth, of course – i.e., we’re too close to our own issues to see them clearly, just like everyone else.  (Example: HR is notoriously bad at Continue reading

Can HR Help Companies See “The Forest for the Trees”

One must step back from a Monet painting to see "the forest for the trees"

It is said that if you stand too close to something (either physically or emotionally), you’re bound to miss the “big picture.”  In a more ethereal way, St. Paul writes about being “in the world but not of the world.” Applying this in a corporate context is no less tricky than in a spiritual one, of course – but I believe this is an important part of HR’s role, to serve as an “internal external consultant.”  Because we serve all constituencies in the organization, we’re better positioned than most to help the organization step back and see “the forest from the trees” at those moments when perspective is necessary.

Lessons from a Planning Meeting

I recently witnessed the following during an organization’s monthly management meeting:

  • Meeting Leader:  “The XYZ line of business is no longer very profitable for us, due to significant changes in the marketplace. In fact, we’re barely breaking even on it.”
  • Meeting  (sadly):  “But we really love the XYZ business – it’s what we’re all about.” Continue reading

Is There Anything Better Than …?

Has it been a “long winter” in your workplace the same as it’s been in mine?  

Do you get as much satisfaction from making job offers as the American Idol judges show when telling participants they've made it to next round?

Here in the northeast US, the blooms of spring can’t come soon enough for most of us. While this is true every year, this came home to me the other day when I realized that even the most even-tempered, easy-going, always-a-smile-on-their-face-and-a-kind-word-for-all people in the office were sniping at co-workers and generally walking about with forlorn looks (or worse). Despite the fact that Punxsatawney Phil has guaranteed the early arrival of spring, it sure seems like everyone can still use a few encouraging thoughts.

For my part, I thought it might be a good time for some reminders of the best things we get to experience as HR people … Continue reading

Managing By Cliches, Part 1: Knowing When To Cut Your Losses

Picture of hole cards in a game of texas hold 'em

Knowing "when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em" makes all the difference in "not throwing good money after bad"

I came to the realization not long ago that managing my work by cliches wouldn’t be a bad idea.  I mean, cliches might be considered trite, boring, and unexceptional — but they became cliches because there is truth in them, right?  I mean, as odd a saying as it might be, can any mature adult really disagree with the notion that “you can’t have your cake and eat it, too”?

With this in mind, I thought that I’d begin a short series of posts exploring the work-related implications of a number of cliches.  Today’s post focuses on the notion of knowing when to cut your losses (or not “throwing good money after bad,” or, in the words of the Kenny Rogers song, “knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em”).

Cutting Your Losses: Backstory

As with most people, I have a wealth of answers to the standard job interview question, “Tell me about a failure you experienced — and what did you learn from it.” (LOL – or “laughing out loud,” as they say in the texting world).  This particular case involved building a database to manage the HR side of my former company’s frequent acquisition activity.

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“Why Do They ‘Hate’ HR?”

Ok, well — maybe not “hate,” exactly (though in some offices, this is no exaggeration, I’m sure).  Perhaps it’s something closer to this snippet of dialogue from Godfather III* (I know, I know — “it wasn’t as good as the first two,” something I still grieve over 20 years later):

  • Michael Corleone (Al Pacino): “You hate me — you truly hate me.”
  • Kay, ex-wife (Diane Keaton): “I don’t hate you, Michael.  I dread you.”

Is dread any better?  I don’t know.

* Apologies to my female readers.  I know that The Godfather is a “guy” thing mostly (and probably a New York guy thing, more particularly).

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25 Images For HR Power Point Presentations

Mentor, Good Listener

Here are 25 or so free images (downloaded from Microsoft’s web site) that may be helpful for “telling your story” or “making your point” in Power Point presentations (see prior post for the story).

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JFK Quote on “Happiness”: Does HR Strive to Create “Happiness”?

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy was quoted as saying, “Happiness is the full use of your talents along lines of excellence.” According to this definition, is it fair to suggest that HR’s purpose is to create “happiness” for employees?

Common View of HR in the Organization

Depending on the organization, HR is often considered as something just short of “evil” (think Catbert from the Dilbert cartoon).  For further evidence of this, think of Michael Scott’s relationship with Toby the HR guy in “The Office” (quotes such as “You suck the life out of everything you touch” come readily to mind).  In these offices, the notion of HR as having anything remotely to do with “happiness” (by any definition) would be laughable.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those organizations where HR is thought of as the “party people”  Continue reading