Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What (not) To Do With Your HR Department

NB: Before you read! All examples are fictional, any coincidences are by chance. Satire attempted, sarcasm intended.

There are many myths about HR. Most of them are true. But many are not. For example, there is a firm belief that HR people do not have feelings. I wish to disagree: I personally saw an HR director cry. Once. He was getting out of a taxi and the driver slammed the door before my poor boss removed the palm of his hand from the vehicle. You see - they are human too!

These days there are guides for everything. The How-To specialists are most sought-for employees at glossy magazines (ask Kate Hudson if you don't believe me). I have decided to write… no, surely not a guide, but a short list of do's and don’t's for dealing with HR. Mind you: it is a delicate subject, so please take my advice seriously and please pay absolutely no attention to it whatsoever.

When to distract HR from actually doing something by all available means:

  • Never ask HR to organize an event. At first they'll try to do some psychological tumba-yumba with you and later in the night will take pictures, which they'll attach to the report to your boss the following morning.
  • Keep HR away from any important numbers. Once an accounting assistant fell ill and an HR Director was asked to do the headcount budget for the following  year. Public embarrassment was avoided by sheer luck and involvement of the sick accounting assistant.
  • Try to do all interviews by yourself. HR questions like "What psychosomatic reactions do you experience when you see your own shadow?" do not add value to the interview process and confuse everyone, including the HR themselves.
  • Avoid asking HR for advice. You well know how it's gonna end: the lazy bastards will start by asking "and how would you…" type of stuff and end up with updating your personal record with "doesn't know how to do his job".
  • Do you best at keeping HR away from the employees. Preferably in a separate building. A separate country is yet better. Distance will ensure that HR will remain blissfully ignorant about the business issues and it will help them continue thinking that they are doing their job well. 

When HR folks are absolutely essential:

  • Firing someone: they revel in causing pain and suffering. Make sure that the candidates for layoffs have lots of underage kids and no opportunities for alternative employment.
  • Writing something: whether it is about a gum-chewing policy or back-scratching memorandum, you can rely on HR to document it correctly and file accordingly.
  •  If you are a columnist for Humor Illustrated, ask an HR person a business question. I guarantee: your readers will be delighted.
  • Chaos creation and people confusion. Just like an octopus squirts out ink to escape the predators, let your HR out to create havoc and communication paralysis inside the organization as well as among your competitors, suppliers and the stray dogs in the vicinity.
  • Paper-shifting, nose-wiping, belly-gazing. Unsurpassed champions!

Love your HR. Otherwise, they are gonna love you…

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