HR Does Nothing but Create Stupid Policies All Day

There seems to be a myth about ALL HR pros.

Everyone from other Managers to employees seem to think that as HR I either sit at my computer all day doing nothing, but stare into space or I waste time writing too many stupid policies.

Since starting this job, I won’t lie.. I have felt a bit like the policy police. The progressive discipline process was some strange point system that even the managers who were supposed to be enforcing it didn’t understand the ins and outs of. So one of the first things I did was completely re-write the progressive discipline policy. I simplified it and in addition to that, I create a thorough SOP for the managers (in Laymen’s terms) so it was incredibly clear-cut as to how the process works and how to properly use it. I also updated our Corrective Action Review form so it aligned with the new policy.

This was months ago and I’m still trying to get all the managers to follow the procedures.

The thing is, it’s not like I just sit here and scheme about ways I can make everyone’s lives miserable. We had people getting written up for the most absurd things, yet people who were incredibly problematic were not getting any worse discipline.

It was chaos. And the President asked me to fix that.

And the sad thing is that I dumbed it down several times to make it as simple and straight-forward as possible and shared the changes with everyone.

Then we had an incident that needed addressing immediately. I searched and searched and discovered there were not only no policies on how to handle Workers’ Comp, but there were no forms to be filled out either. So once again, I came to the rescue and created an incident report form and handled it like a pro even though it was my first workers comp case.

Do you see where I’m getting at? There were basic needs that I have filled. I hate making policies for the sake of making policies. This topic has come up several times lately as I am in the process of updating our Handbook. I am updating the discipline police to denote the changes that have already been (somewhat) implemented, but I was also asked by the President to modify several other policies to make them clearer. That’s fine, I like clarity. If we have a rule, I want to know everyone knows that rule in and out as well as why we have the rule.

So why am I writing this post?

Simply put, today it was implied that I should be writing/creating forms for other departments because they are too busy.

Okay. You done laughing yet? I’ll give you more time.

Yes. You read that right. After 5 years of being around, apparently there is not an incident report that is for generic incidents that do not involve specimens or personal injury. And apparently since I don’t have anything else going on, I should be the one to write this!

Maybe it’s unreasonable for me to be irritated at the presumption, but I make it a point to complete assigned tasks in a timely manner and I also believe my assignments should only really relate to my department. This particular form that they want the HR Manager to write is operations related. I mean, seriously. When I was the admin assistant, I did this stuff all the time, but as the HR Manager my time is spent on other matters like recruiting, benefits, revising the handbook, searching for new software the bossman wants us to get to help payroll run smoother, etc.

Opening up Word to type up a form in which I don’t even know what all Operations wants on it is hardly a priority here. I am a one woman show and it’s frustrating when people assume I am just a blackhole sucking up time and money.

Let’s face it. The reality is, HR can be one of the most thankless jobs out there. Sometimes it even makes you question why you chose this profession.. but then an employee thanks you for the opportunity to work, or recognizes that you were behind them getting paid on time and you remember.. it’s not always about the negative views people have on the profession as a hole, it’s about you breaking that stigma and doing what you are passionate about!

As the holidays get ever closer, I must say that even with all the frustrations that make me want to hit my head against my desk a few times, I am so thankful to be doing what I love.

Also, I think being somewhat crazy is a job requirement in this field.

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Pet Peeves- What NOT to do as an applicant!

In the time that has passed since my last post, a LOT has happened to me! Through the process of trying to find the right job for me, a layoff, and even working selling cars (that’s right, I sold cars and was darn good at it!) I finally landed a great position and am working as the HR department at a local business. Yes, little ol’ me is the whole HR department (with the exception of Payroll with the Office Manager does along with her bookkeeping/accounting work).

Part of this work involves the recruiting process. As a former recruiter, I am quite familiar with this process although this industry is a new one for me to be recruiting for. After going through hundreds upon hundreds of applications in my time, I thought I would share my biggest pet peeve about applications. If you are looking for a job, take note of this!

All of these are equally bad, but these are in order of what came to mind so it’s safe to say the first ones listed are the worst offenses:

1) Not attaching a resume

It really doesn’t matter to me what work you are doing. What I want to know is how stable your work history is. So if there is an option of attaching a resume: ALWAYS DO IT! Take care to pay attention to such things like typos and make sure dates of employment are on there. If somehow I still decide to phone interview you- I will ask about dates and any gaps. How about you make it easier on everyone involved and just include that information to begin with? If you need help making one, go to a career center for assistance.

2) Refusing to properly complete the application/questions

My applications have 5 questions. FIVE. That is it! I do not make you completely rewrite your resume, nor do I ask a million behavioral questions. I ask 5 questions that can tell me enough about you to know if you are worth calling. When I ask you to tell me about your work history, this is to allow you the opportunity to tell me how qualified you are. This is not the time to tell me that “I have already applied. Call this number for an interview.” What that tells me is that you think you are above this process and the rules don’t apply to you. This also tells me that you likely won’t fit in with our company.

3) Calling too many times

When someone applies and did not receive a confirmation email, I am okay with them calling simply to confirm the application was received. Calling me everyday and then showing up to my office, however, is harassment. Do not harass the people doing the hiring. There could be many many reasons why you have not been contacted yet. That being said, I do my best to contact everyone who applies with an update on their application, but it is through email. Which leads to my next one.

4) Not checking your email/Answering your phone

If I email you to tell you thanks but no thanks, calling me and asking for an update won’t change my answer. If I call you for a phone interview and it goes straight to a voicemail box that is not set up EVERY TIME, you’re going to irritate me. If I email you to set up an interview time and you don’t reply, that tells me you’re not interested. I don’t know what else to tell you about that.

5) Giving me lip because you did not ever get a call from your application you put in 8 months ago, which was 3 months before I even started

Here’s something too many people seem not to know: Don’t be rude. Give the receptionist a bad attitude? I ask her to let me know if she has a bad feeling about someone. Call in and automatically start whining on your high horse? Maybe you should find out who you are talking to. For quite some time, I was both the receptionist and the HR admin. I had someone call in and immediately begin giving me an attitude because 3 months before I started, she had applied and never heard back. She continued to tell me that we couldn’t possibly have found anyone more qualified than her and I was lying if I said I did. So I did what any self respecting hiring manager would do: I asked for her name and immediately pulled it up so I could make a note of it in our applicant tracking system and informed her that we had no positions that would be a fit for her. Your attitude when speaking to employees weighs heavily, but especially so when the position you are trying so hard to get is heavy on customer service. Before you give an attitude, think about how the employer will feel about it. How can they trust you to interface with customers when you put down people that would be your own co-workers.

6) Lying

Just don’t do it. It’s really not worth it.

7) Accepting a job offer when you have no intention of staying at the company

Don’t waste the company’s time and don’t burn bridges. Going through the entire hiring process and quitting on your second day because you never left your other job and they countered our offer after you already accepted it is not smart. HR people do talk and companies remember things like this. If you constantly burn bridges, you’re going to be left jobless one day and nobody will shed a tear about it but you.

8) Refusing to follow instructions

If I give you hiring paperwork with clear instructions, there are reasons for that. If it takes you nearly a month to bring me back incomplete hiring paperwork- guess what? It goes back to that burning bridges thing. I will take that to mean you declined the offer long before you ever returned it. If I send you benefits information and you never send it back to me? Don’t come whining when you have no health insurance. If you don’t correct your address with me and don’t receive your W-2? Not my fault. You are an adult. Act like one.

9) Trying to get around HR to get hired

I know there are some sources out there that recommend reaching out directly to hiring managers to get your foot in the door. I say stop it! Here’s why: Most people who do this only serve to annoy the Hiring Manager because they have to tell you to apply properly or because they send you to HR who is then annoyed that they have to tell you what is clearly stated on the company website and all the job postings. It also sends a red flag to me just like number 2. Yes, the rules DO apply to you. We want you to apply a certain way for a reason and that reason is that we have a very lovely software that tracks information for us and makes us do mandatory reporting. You trying to skip that 5 question application online can cost precious time and energy in HR. We aren’t doing this because we are lazy and mean. We do this to ensure everyone receives equal treatment and we can prove it.

10) I’ll leave this one to the crowd. What is YOUR pet peeve about applicants? What would you recommend people NOT do when trying to get a job?

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Drug Screen- The Good, The Bad, and The Down Right Disappointing

Taking urine samples from just hired employees is certainly not the most glamorous part of my job, but it is often the most revealing. Over time I have learned enough about human behavior to get a good feel of who will probably fail the drug screen, however thinking someone may fail a drug screen is obviously not a legal reason not to hire someone. There are often signs, though, like when they get antsy when they see the drug consent form and start asking questions like what we test for and when we will be doing the test, will they send them somewhere else for it.. etc. But I always go into my interview with an open mind and base my hiring decisions on our needs and the persons skills.

That being said, it never ceases to amaze me how people respond to failing the drug screen. One of my favorites is the Denier. They either insist that the test must be wrong that they have NEVER done drugs or they say they are on a prescription and that must be the reason why. Really? Awesome! If they say it is wrong, our policy is to have them retake it. If it’s a prescription, we need a copy of the prescription so we can verify that it would cause a positive result for that particular drug.

For some strange reason, they never return with that information.

Another of my favorites is the repeat offender. It doesn’t happen often, but our company has a policy that an employee must wait 6 months before reapplying after failing a drug screen. At that point, in my mind, you have no excuses. You already know we do the drug screen. OBVIOUSLY. Yet a handful of times I have had people come back after 6 months and fail again. I kid you not, I had one employee tell me that they “thought they had waited long enough for it to be out of [their] system this time”

Gee, that’s reassuring. I definitely want to put you out on a job site now!

There’s also the group of people who always take a ridiculously long time filling out their paperwork (I can only assume they are considering whether or not they want to risk the test?) only to fail. These types often have the most frustrating responses.

“Really? Darn..”

“Okay”

“Oh yeah, I smoked a couple days ago.. I thought it would be out of my system by now!”

“Yeah, my friends smoke all the time so it’s probably just second-hand.. oh well.”

Really?!

It frustrates me to no end when they go in knowing (or they should know) that they will fail, but they waste my time as well as their own.

 

The disappointment comes when I actually do believe the employee or when I know they would have been the perfect candidate to fill an open job order. One employee had just lost their child in a tragic accident and after failing, admitted that they had done the drugs to cope. I do not condone the use of drugs, but it still breaks my heart that not only did they lose their child (which I do know is true) but they messed up an opportunity for employment. That employee had the perfect skills for an order that had an immediate need and they wanted to get to work to keep busy.

Lately I have had a string of fails that took me by surprise. Professional looking employees who interviewed well, conducted themselves in a similar manner, tested well, etc.. yet they fail.

Which brings me to the good.

You never know who is doing drugs!

We screen every new hire as well as screen after an on the job injury, because at the end of the day it is a liability not to. Even with the best red flag detector, there will always be people who know how to hold themselves professionally yet they hide a dark secret. The last thing you need is to send someone to a job site, representing YOUR company, when they could show up high or worse– get injured due to being high.

Now even with your screening process (in our case: phone screen, interview, drug screen, AND background screen) you will not catch everyone. Perhaps they have never been caught doing illegal activities and perhaps they were smart and expected the drug screen… but at least you can say that you did your due diligence in screening them.

Testing urine may not be glamorous, but it sure is important!

 

Do you have any funny/shocking drug screen stories?

Share below!

 

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Things to Come (What to expect)

Greetings fellow HR peeps!

It has been quite a few months since I last wrote a blog. It is not for lack of inspiration, but rather the reality of balancing a full time work schedule and volunteer work along with finding time to write was more difficult than I had expected. But I have returned and with more experience to boot! So let’s do this thing.

Recently one of my HR buddies (http://hrpockets.com/) approached me to write a guest blog post (I will post the link when it’s up!) about my internship experience. As I mentioned in my first post, I was hired into my first paying HR job after being an unpaid intern. Since that time I have pushed the importance of networking and internships to college students. Without those two things, who knows how long I would have been searching for a job!

In the weeks to come, I plan on writing about the importance of internships, speaking from the point of view of a former intern AND someone who has hired interns. As I have stayed in the Staffing area of HR, I am sure I will have some staffing related posts pop up as well. If there are any topics you would like to hear my thoughts on, please leave them in the comments below!

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My Journey Thus Far

Before I explain how I got here, let me define what “here” is to me. My name is Melanie and I am a twenty-five year old, recent college graduate. I graduated in May 2012 and, as of November 1st, I have my first paid position in human resources as a Recruiting Assistant.

My journey started on a very different path. Upon graduating high school, I had so many interests that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I finally settled on music and poetry and majored in Liberal Arts at my local community college. My last semester of getting my Associate’s in Arts, I realized there wasn’t much I could do with said degree. I graduated and decided to go back, this time for Business. My intention was to go the Entrepreneur route, but my Management professor suggested Human Resources. I took an HR class and was hooked. After getting my Associate’s I transferred to a four year college and graduated with a BSBA in Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management. However, there was not much available for me in the job market. With the economy the way it is, many places were requiring at least three years experience which I did not have.

I networked as much as possible through SHRM and eventually my luck changed. I stumbled across a posting for an unpaid/volunteer internship in HR. Despite being unpaid, I jumped on the opportunity to gain experience and applied. I was accepted, along with three other interns. It turned out to be the best learning experience! I learned far more in that one internship than I ever could have learned in school. They have now hired me on and I couldn’t be more happy!

I am writing this blog to provide perspective of a young professional still trying to break into this field. I plan on writing about lessons I’ve learned and suggestions I have for other young professionals to get their foot in the door. At some point I may even include book reviews, so if you have any suggestions for books, please share in the comments below!

What about you?

How did you get into Human Resources? Are you struggling to do so?

What suggestions do you have for young professionals/ recent grads?

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