Hell has been relocated!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Monday, 26 October 2009

The HRD is away

Climbing hills.

Normal service will resume on 2 November.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Conversations with the CEO

Regular readers will have noticed that I have not recently had a conversation with the CEO.

So have I.

If anyone sees a slightly mad, swearing, manic individual can they place let me know?

We need to talk.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The King's Shilling

A long time ago, but not in a galaxy far far away, accepting the King's shilling signalled your willingness to serve in the army or navy. It was a commitment to do your duty. The press gangs used to use all sorts of nefarious tactics to get people to accept the King's shilling...including slipping it into a tankard of beer. The view being that when you finished your beer and looked at the shilling....you'd accepted it.....and hence why you can get tankards with a see-through base.

I mention this because I used this phrase yesterday with one of our Directors. To be honest, the guy is one intransigent fucker and in this specific scenario has been happily sitting on his hands for months rather than carrying out a piece of work that we need doing. Why? Because he doesn't agree with the request.

We've had the debate, we have heard the arguments and we have decided on our path. He doesn't agree so he is not doing what he needs to. His boss has had repeated exchanges and so I suggested I do the old Mystic Meg routine and "predict his future". We danced around the subject for a while before we got to the main issue. His view was that he was happy to "put forward the company's view". My response was "you are the company".

The practice was not illegal, or he could have used Whistle blowing legislation. It wasn't even grey. He just doesn't agree.

My view? No-one slipped this in your beer. You take the King's shilling you do your duty.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Gender Bender

I’ve spoken before about gender stereotypes and work, but something happened this week that really gets my goat. I’m involved in a voluntary capacity at my local school, which is a village, state school for 5-12 year olds. The school is lucky enough to have two male teachers. I say lucky because I believe male teachers are hugely important role models for boys at this age and there are not enough of them in the profession.

One of the teachers is relatively new. It came out in conversation that the village witches had been gossiping about this guy and casting aspersions about his sexuality. Apparently it was their conclusion that he was gay. Unfortunately I wasn’t there when the conversation took place (or maybe fortunately), because I would have had one or two things to say about the matter.

What the hell does a teacher’s sexuality have to do with their ability to teach? If he was gay, does that really matter? But….perhaps….just perhaps the actual undertone here is something different....something more sinister?

Are these people having the same conversation about the women teachers? My outraged reaction was something along the lines of, “well that witch is fat and ugly and wears trousers all the time so she must be a dyke”. But are they wondering whether the nice Miss.Y from class 3 actually likes sleeping with corpses because she wears black a lot? Or Miss. Z who wears shorter skirts than most spends her weekends partaking in Romanesque orgies?

No, it’s because he is a man. And a man who “god forbid” is working in a predominantly female profession. Ergo sum he is gay and probably a kiddie fiddler to boot. The same conversations were murmured in the darkest recesses of the playground about the other male teacher, but he’s been around for a number of years now and since Special Branch haven’t swooped in and confiscated his computer, I guess he must be ok……?

Years ago I went for an interview with a major pharma. It was a long process and at the final stage, I waited a long time for feedback. The call from the head-hunter eventually came: “they really like you, you have all the skills and experience they are looking for, it’s just, well, they think you’re a bit…….gay…..” So I told them to go f***k themselves….up the arse. It doesn’t matter that I am married. That I have two kids. I’m a man, in a predominantly female profession. Therefore I MUST be a homosexual. And anyway, what if I was?

And it’s the same case for this guy. He has a girlfriend. I’ve met her. But I guess that counts for nothing to the school yard witches.

If you’re a man, in a woman’s world……well hell, there must be something wrong with you.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Sanity is not a competency

In our time I’m sure we have all come across our fair share of lunatics. Normally through job applications. You know the ones? The fantasists, the dreamers, the clinically insane….

Now I know that someone is probably going to call me for picking on the mentally unstable, but seeing as I have done the fat, the stupid, the ugly and women. I figure what is there to lose? Why alienate 99% of your readers when you can go for the big 100? Yes you. You know who you are.

I received this job application from Philip.

Philip was kind enough to apply for a job that I wasn’t advertising at a Company that I don’t work for. But I don’t think that should come between a potential employment relationship.

He is applying for the job because he thinks he would find it “easy and interesting”. So, you know, I’m kind of liking the guy by now.

His salary request for £300,000 per annum seemed a little steep, especially considering he could only work Monday to Wednesday. But his request for a £4,000,000 joining fee did start to raise some questions.

Fortunately he informs me that “the reports and results [he] produces are second to none”. So I’m starting to think that golden handshake might just be worth it….

There are a few gaps on the CV though, but Philip helpfully points out that he has recently been “helping various people overcome personal grief, and also with helping them with various problems and generally being sociable (WITHOUT REMUNERATION)”.

But just when I was about to pick up the phone, the bombshell. Philip informs me that “very fortunately indeed [he] has no ties with any of the companies that [he] has worked at”. He has, “never worked for the same company twice”. And “This will remain the case”.

You had me won over until there Philip. But company loyalty? It’s a must.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

When negotiations turn sour.......

IDIOT: No offence.........but I need to talk to the organ grinder and not the monkey.

HRD: (After a pause and a pretend phone call). Right I've spoken to the organ grinder and......"no offence".....they think you only warrant the monkey.

Friday, 9 October 2009

The sounds of another icon turning to dust

Think of Britain and what do you see? Rolling fields, rain, warm beer, cricket. And how about postal boxes. The red ones. An archetypal image of Britain. A symbol of this sceptered isle.

Not for long. Not if the Communication Workers Union has anything to do with it. Yesterday they voted by 3:1 in favour of industrial action. This on the back of several localised strikes that have led to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of letters being destroyed, lost or otherwise delayed.

Why are they striking? Because they say that management are "modernising too quickly".

The Royal Mail is already significantly less efficient than other mail providers and these days, businesses have the choice of who they use. Two of the big commercial users of the Royal Mail (Amazon and Argos) have already said they are putting in place alternative arrangements. What are the chances that they will come back post industrial action?

Joe Public, for the moment, does not have a choice of who it uses as mail provider (although the use of email must surely be another nail in the coffin). Combined with stories like this one. And the likelihood of a Tory government. How long before we start to hear the cries for the opening up of domestic postal services to competition?

Just like the Miners in the 1980's, the postal workers are bringing on the demise of the Royal Mail as we know it. Take pictures of those post boxes when you see them guys. Because soon, they'll be adorning novelty pubs and peoples back yards. And no longer a fixture on every street.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Bring out your dead......

There has been a mighty brouhaha in the UK HR community about this article which appeared in The Times on 5 October 2009 written by Sathnam Sanghera. Message boards and blogs are filled with arguments pro and con. These basically divide along two lines:

1) HR is a pointless function full of bureaucratic little dweebs who failed to make it into traffic warden school
2) HR is misunderstood by society and is more strategic than a strategic thing from strategy land….if it could only be taken seriously

I was approached by one of the main trade press to provide a rebuttal to Sanghera’s article and after considering it for a while, well if I’m honest, I struggled.

That’s not to say I agree with him whole heartedly, the article is poorly written, poorly argued and lacks any real substance other than Sanghera’s views. And seeing that his biog shows that on graduating from Cambridge University he went straight into journalism – his views don’t carry as much weight as many in my opinion.

But let’s face it; our profession IS probably one of the most neurotic professions in the world, constantly doubting and questioning its own worth and worrying about how it’s perceived. Like an abused partner that is constantly told they are worthless and meaningless, are we really surprised that we have some sense of neurosis?

And then this just gets worse as we start to harm ourselves. Read the blogs, look at the comments. Lets be self depreciating, because if we say we are pathetic then it won’t hurt so much when others tell us we are. Will it?

So we change how we look, alter our views and appearance, because maybe they’ll love me if I change? All a load of old tosh and a waste of time and energy.

Business Partner? My arse!

Let’s get some confidence, let’s get some swagger, let’s stop worrying and start performing. If people don’t take us seriously lets work to persuade them, to show them, to convince them. We have worth, we have value, we ARE lovable. And if they don’t understand…maybe that’s their problem and not ours. Maybe they have the issue.

If anyone is going to sound the death knell for Human Resources, it will be the profession itself and its lack of spine.

Sanghera has that much right, if nothing else.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Generation XY

I like to think I’m a bit of a new man. You know, in touch with my inner soft furnishings. I don’t just watch films about war and I’ve been to a musical. I can cook and get a lump in my throat watching Watership Down.

So much so, it seems that I could be mistaken for a woman.

This has happened to me once before when, in a bar in France, a lady who had consumed enough Pastis to intoxicate the entire Foreign Legion from behind a dune, tapped me on the shoulder and in a gravelly voice borne of smoking Gaulloises since the cradle, enquired, “mademoiselle?”.

That relationship never had a future……...

More recently it has happened in the blogosphere, which doesn’t really surprise me as a lot of HR people are women a lot of bloggers are women…so combine the two and Bob's your Auntie.

Anyway, it made me wonder this.

If we put aside the arguments about whether HR as a profession is any good or not for the moment and accept the stereotypes given to it (remember: we are as other people see us).

Is HR viewed as being un-commercial and ineffective because there are more women in it?

Or are women attracted to HR because its appeal is being less hard edged and commercial and more intuitive?

And is the only way to change the perceptions of HR to recruit more men and change its modus operandi?

Friday, 2 October 2009

Idiot questions and suitable punishments

I it just me or are we inundated in HR with idiot questions?

Sometimes it feel as if the whole of the organisation has some form of "business tourettes" brought on by being in the HR department.

"Can you tell me how much holiday I've taken?"

No, but I can tell you how much I've taken. Because I have a brain.

"I want to make a complaint against my manager, but I don't want them to know. Is that ok?"

Yeah.....I want to punch you but I don't want you to know. Close your eyes?

I'm thinking that we should have some sort of fining system going on. A 5% deduction in monthly earnings for every 5 minutes of my life that you waste. Or maybe bring back happy slapping or sumo wrestling?

Tell me I'm not alone....tell me this pain is shared?