Thursday, April 19, 2012

THE HR DEPARTMENT DILEMMA



There is an amazing dichotomy to all things Human Resources.

There is what we think the HR Department is there for, and what the HR Department is really there for. Not to mention the wise old Warrant Officer truism, "...there are always three sides to every story: yours; mine; and the cold, hard, inconvenient truth.

Our Company, though it's been around now for over seventy years now, has not taken the HR functions particularly seriously. PII data protection aside, we've always been pretty loosey goosey about employee data. This is manageable though. The real problems come from beauracracy for the sake of beauracracy. The Harvard Business review's number one reason that employees leave their current employer.

Human nature is so, sadly predictable by those of us with children.

If you don't get what you want by asking Mommy, go ask Daddy. Why is it that the folks that inhabit the dark cabal of the HR Department, forget these basic tenets of human nature when they walk through the doors in the morning, on the way to the coffee machine?

As an International Company, our propensity to foster the "...absentee Manager..." dynamic, just exacerbates the problems, like David Bowie so aptly put it, "...it's like putting out a fire, .... with gasoline...".

Our INFOSEC team is hard at work doing a XACML implementation in our home grown SOA Services, ERP/CRM system. They are learning alot and making daily break through's. But they are not alone, like most business's today, we form matrix'd teams that are task organized, coming together for projects or chunks of projects.

And, if you are the absentee Manager of one of these matrix'd teams, and you're on site, those very same front line leaders are working on their loaner brains (well, the cat IS away...).

How do you hold folks feet to the fire?

How do you (parents, cover your children's ears please) hold folks RESPONSIBLE for their tasks?

Not easy in our overly "political correct" world of today...because, when you attempt to hold them responsible (which is by the way, the filthiest work in the English language, RESPONSIBILITY!)...they run to the HR Department and file a compliant.

Yes, (insert heavy sigh and eye rolling here), the minions don't really like working for a living, so they file a complaint with the HR Department, and the HR folks, stampede to the kitchen to search for a bigger spoon with which to lap up the complaints. What can I say? After explaining to the HR folks that since the complainer, actually sat in a daily meeting for thirty days, I oddly enough assumed that they clearly understood their role, deliverable's and responsibilities in the project. Imagine my surprise after being told that this was NOT the case (not a reasonable expectation on my part??), and that since I thought that it WAS the case, I would be enrolled in "...sensitivity training..."? This is not a joke...

Needless to say, I will be a wee bit "...HR prickly..." for a while, but, INFOSEC in general is a thankless business. If you can't pat yourself on the back and like it, you need another job.

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