Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Don't Shoot the Messenger

If you work in HR, I find it hard to believe you wouldn't relate to this one. If you don't AND you are a manager, this is about you!

Imagine this scenario....

As an HR professional, you give advice to managers related to documenting performance issues, discipline, performance appraisals, little things called "laws"etc. Seems fairly straightforward right?

If it were that easy, I'd either be a millionaire or extremely bored at work.

Here's the problem (listen up managers), you DO NOT LISTEN. Then you get sick of your lack of really dealing with the issue and blame HR and/or your legal department for "standing in the way" of managing your problem employees when you decide to fire your "problem you did not manage."

Of course we aren't really allowed to tell you that your lack management skills led to this problem. Such statements (also known as "the truth") wouldn't represent an air of partnership and cooperation.

Which leads me to today's lesson...Accountability is for the other guy.

Sound familiar?

If it doesn't and you work in HR, I want your job.

If it does, welcome to the world of "The Truth of HR."

Yep, all the information you may have read about a career in HR was a ruse to entice you.

Often (daily), HR is the proverbial fall guy, the monkey wrench, the fly in the ointment, and much worse. Feel free to share how you have heard HR being described. It's not pretty.

I realize my role is advisory. I sell my point of view. I do not take it personally when management doesn't listen. While I don't want to sell myself short, most of it is common sense. My experience strengthens my position but in the end, it's a matter of calculated risk whether to heed the almighty (me).

All that being said, "I" am not the problem. If you don't want to listen, at least admit you are ignoring it. As much as I enjoy a healthy debate, you can't successfully debate good practices when yours stink.

I know you don't like the FMLA but the Department of Labor didn't ask for volunteers. Budget woes and you don't want to pay overtime in the week the hours were worked? Yep, clearly I have a creative, legal solution I have been hiding from you. No documentation and you want to fire a disabled employee? I'm sure no one will notice.

Of course I will get the job of working with legal on the response letter to the EEOC but as long as you get rid of your problem, it's a great day.

The real purpose of HR is to be a neutral touchstone. Today I got stoned and it wasn't in a enjoyable, illegal way.

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