What HR isn’t Telling You…

Image

Every Human Resources Professional has seen some quirky, crazy, and eyebrow raising things in the office. Chances are, unless you’re involved in disciplinary action, a complaint, performance review, bucking for a raise, being onboarded or prepped for exit interviews, you will never see them. But don’t be fooled. HR knows more about you than your manager, and some of your closest coworkers. Here’s a look at what they are really thinking when it comes to employee relations…

1. “The No. 1 thing in job security is your relationship with your boss. Even if he says, ‘I’m sorry I really wanted to keep you, but they made me lay you off,’ that’s almost never true. He probably made that decision.” –Cynthia Shapiro, former human resource executive

2. “If you’re accused of sexual harassment, even if you’re found to be not guilty, people will always look at you funny afterwards. It can kill your career.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C .

3. “Even in jobs where you test applicants and those with the top scores are supposed to get the job, I’ve seen hiring managers fix scores to get the people they like.” –HR representative in the manufacturing industry.

4. “If you have a question, come to my office. Don’t corner me in the bathroom.” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

5. “Children and hobbies do not belong on a résumé. And never, ever say, ‘Now that my kids are in college, I’m ready to get back in the workforce.’ ” –HR professional at a mid-sized firm in North Carolina

6. “You’re right to be paranoid. The company is always watching you, and there’s a record of everything you do: every phone call, every text, every tweet and instant message. At most companies, they save that data forever.” –Laurie Ruettimann, HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, N.C

7. “I was asked by one CEO to hire the long-legged girl with the long dark hair even though she didn’t have the right skills. Another time, I was instructed not to hire anyone with children because the company had too many people leaving for soccer games. That kind of thing happens all the time.” –Cynthia Shapiro

8. “I know a lot more about you when you walk in the door than you realize. I’ll search for you on the web and often use my own personal network to do a pre-interview reference check.” –Senior HR Executive in Vancouver, BC

9. “Generally speaking, you only put someone on paid leave if you’re pretty certain that they might be terminated from the company once you do your investigation.” – Jenny Gantham

10. “Never accept the job immediately. Say you need to think about it overnight. Once you sign on the dotted line there’s no room for negotiation.” –A human resources professional in Seattle, WA

11. “If you get fired, don’t just stomp out and go on with your life. The company may be willing to give you some severance, especially if you can point to someone different from you who didn’t get as severe a punishment. Just saying, ‘Well, I talked to my attorney’ (even if you don’t have an attorney) can also give you some leverage.’” –Suzanne Lucas, a former HR executive

12. “If we ask ‘What salary are you looking for?’ say you’re flexible, or say it depends on the responsibilities of the job. Try not to name a salary unless we really push you, because that gives us a leg up in the negotiating.” –A human resources professional in Victoria, BC

13. “Companies do have black lists. It’s not written down anywhere but it’s a list of people they’d be happy to get rid of if the opportunity arises. If you feel invisible, if you’re getting bad assignments, if your boss is ignoring you, or if they move your office, you’re probably on it.” –Cynthia Shapiro

14. “I may say ‘I’m terminating you because you didn’t meet performance measures.’ I’m not going to say it’s because you’re a pain in the butt and piss people off every time you interact with them.’” –HR Manager at a Loblaw

15. “One time a candidate sent – I love this – a thank you card with a professional picture of herself, which quite honestly became the running joke for weeks. The picture was blown up and posted in my office with hearts drawn around it.” –HR director at a financial services firm

16. “Don’t ever tell me that you have to have this job because you’re going to lose your house, your kids have nothing to eat, your mother has cancer. Companies aren’t a charity.” –Suzanne Lucas

17. “Networking does not mean using Facebook or Linked In. It means going to events, getting your face in front of people and setting up informational interviews.” –A human resources professional in Hamilton, Ontario

18. “We get résumés on fancy schmantzy papers. We get them with gold-pressed lettering. We get them in binders and in document protectors with ribbons. None of that sways me.” –HR Manager in St. Cloud, Minnesota

19. “98 percent of the résumés we receive when we post a position on a big jobs site like hotjobs, monster or careerbuilder are junk, people who are nowhere near qualified. We’ll get a guy who’s a bar manager applying for a director of public affairs position. Or a shoe salesman. That’s why we like posting jobs on websites that target specific industries.” –Michael Slade, HR director at Eric Mower and Associates, an integrated marketing communications agency.

20. “I had somebody list their prison time as a job. And an exotic dancer who called herself a ‘customer service representative.’ ” –Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

21. “Don’t stalk me.” –A human resources professional in Vancouver BC

Mercy & Grace in the workplace

When facing public humiliation, disgrace, and a tarnished reputation, most of us pray for mercy and grace. We wish to be absolved from our wrong doings and go on to do better things, be given a better chance, and gain more positive enablers. So when I found out my beloved agency had an embezzlement scandal, I was rather shocked.

Sometime previously, there had been investigations completed, disciplinary action taken, and a conflict resolution specialist brought in as recommended by my action plan. Unfortunately the termination of employment for fraud and false representation had not been honoured.  I have tremendous respect for my former CEO and have tried to understand the decisions made that kept the individuals who participated in criminal activity there.

mercy-grace

Someone once told me that grace is a pardon of good will and faith, while mercy is getting what you don’t deserve.

Let me ask you, as managers and executive staff, do we not need mercy and grace in the workplace? It compliments forgiveness without explanation and complicated detail… More of a, “if you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot, you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot.” Most people deserve a second chance- I say that with my own bias towards anyone who’s a pedaphile or rapist- not acceptable under any circumstances and no, you don’t get a second chance in my books. But with that being said, I think we would all hope for a second chance because we all make mistakes. As managers, supervisors, assistants, friends, lovers, and someone’s child- we all make mistakes. A colleague of mine chuckled, “No one makes it through childhood unscathed.” And isn’t that the truth? We are not golden children who are golden statuesque adults of perfection. I admit, the workplace remedy of grace and mercy has further enabled my own sleep at night. It’s as though that one extra chance of walking the road with someone ensures you do your part on behalf of social exchange and give them the opportunity for change. And, if they are going to shoot themselves in the foot, then oh well. Employees want someone to believe in them. They don’t want someone watching them expecting a screw up. They don’t want their position to be undermined, nor taken for granted.

My experience has been that having good faith in sometimes even what appears to be the worst employee, really pays off. No- not because they marvelously change, but because instead of undermining them as a whole, even drowning in screw ups, you can sometimes make out a glimmer of talent- and as that wonderful employer that you are- you place them in another position within the company where that glimmer of talent encompasses their entire being and they can rock out as the best employee for that job ever. That’s called talent management- and by the way, it shouldn’t take HR to do talent management. It should be decent human beings who are rooting and hoping for one another. I think that’s well enough to ask for.

I hope that my employer continues to give me mercy and grace- just as swiftly as I am to judge others or make rash decisions. And before the few of you go out on a limb and start listing your degrees in assessment let me kindly remind you that it’s illegal to make decisions on an employee’s job based on predicting the future- it’s also against most spiritual practices. Please make sure you use your strategic planning for this one. Everyone deserves the feasible chance to get ahead. There’s enough success in the world to go around.