6 easy ways to make friends with HR

Happy New Year folks! As another year is behind us and we are all on our way to being another year older and another year wiser, I felt it appropriate to drop some wisdom on you that will help you build a useful relationship with your friendly HR department. If nothing else it will help you steer clear of some comments that kind of make you sound like a douche.

  1. “You probably don’t know the answer…” let me throw some variations out there… “I guess this is an HR question…” “I don’t have any questions you can answer…”. Really any variation of a phrase that implies your HR person doesn’t know whatever it is you need the answer to. A lot of times we know, and if we don’t know we know exactly where to find the answer.
  2. “I’ll save the salary talk for the important people…”. Well, that’s nice. Just take a guess where the compensation strategy comes from? This one really doesn’t matter if you are talking to HR or anyone else. It’s kind of rude to imply whoever you are talking to isn’t important. It’s okay; I know what you meant… You’ll save the salary talk for the decision makers, but please know that I work closely with the decision makers and they are going to call and ask me compensation questions before they make their final decision.
  3. “I didn’t know that” For example: I didn’t know that the 30th was the last day for open enrollment. In the history of open enrollment, I mean all the way back to the beginning of open enrollment there has always been a deadline for enrolling. This isn’t an arbitrary date to complicate your life, there are several players in this benefits game and the deadline is non-negotiable. We don’t want you to miss the date, I promise, but we can’t enroll for you! Good thing we keep track of how many emails we sent you, voicemail’s we left you, meetings we held for you, and smoke signals we sent you.
  4. “I complained about so-and-so, but they are still here.” Well, we aren’t the police. We aren’t going to arrest every person that ticks you off at work, we will handle situations we need to handle, but it doesn’t always happen in one clean action and we can’t just take your word for it. Document. Document. Document.
  5. The other side of that one is “Don’t repeat this.” I can’t promise anything is 100% confidential, but I can promise to treat it appropriately. If you tell me something I have to act on, I’m going to act on it.
  6. “I could do your job.” Yep. Just as well as I can do yours. Don’t be a douche.

hug an hr person

See? Nothing complicated. Just 6 easy things to remember when talking with your neighborhood HR folk. Don’t be rude, we have access to your personnel file 😉 Just kidding! Do come have a conversation with us about what you need, we would love to help you!

Where do we go from here? #SHRM15

#SHRM15 the conference is a wrap! We had a lot of fun, it was really hot, I met great people, hung out with old friends, and had a classy time!


Now that we’ve learned lots of great tips and tools and received some wonderful advice, it’s time to get to work! Where should we start? Well let’s talk about engagement.. Engagement is something we learned a LOT about this week. Let me recap:

  • Throw employee engagement surveys away
  • Use these tools to increase employee engagement
  • Send employee engagement surveys more often
  • Employee engagement is all wrong
  • Rebuild your employee engagement

we are screwed

All of these tips are from different sessions that happened at #SHRM15. Depending on who you listened to, you could be totally confused now. If you are confused, let me help you out. Let’s start with what your organization needs. What metrics are you not happy with in your organization? Where can your organization stand to improve? What works for my organization may not work for yours, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share what we did with you. I share with you what worked for us, what challenges we had to overcome, why certain things worked better than others and then you get to decide what applies to your organization and which route you are going to try. Don’t get caught up in the mixed messages you hear at conference, rather listen closely and take notes as these presenters are sharing with you what works for them and/or their clients. Identify your internal pain points and use the best practices shared with you at conference to start building the answer for your organization.

I love conference and I get a TON of great ideas while at conference and I know you get a ton of ideas as well! What are some ideas that you had while at conference this year? What are you planning on implementing in your organization now that we are back to work?

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All this talk about employee engagement and how can you better engage your workforce and other nonsense just makes my head hurt. I love our blogosphere and I love hearing others stories from the workplace, but for crying out loud if you want to know what your workforce wants get off your ass and go to talk to them. Don’t you dare send them a survey. “We want to know how we can better provide engagement for you, our valued employee. Please take a few minutes to complete the included survey.” Don’t guess and don’t try to interpret their actions. Just talk to them. There are several things that we can use best practices to guide us on, but for the love of Mike if your people are the difference in  your organization then aren’t you saying your people are different from the people in every other organization? Yet you are trying to treat them the same as every other organization treats them? Maybe your organizations difference isn’t your people, but how you treat your people? Chew on that.

Why do you HR?

Coming out of #SHRM13 I’m overwhelmed with the information I want to share with you guys. I am trying to pace myself and review my notes and break up the posts so I don’t overwhelm everyone else!  Today I had an interesting conversation with an HR buddy that asked a question I don’t think anyone has ever asked me “Where did you get all the crazy ideas about changing the way HR does thing that you have?” [I know it wasn’t an accusing question because this happens to be one of my few HR buddies that has “crazy ideas” too]


Errr… well duh. Where did I come up with my definition of HR? It wasn’t from the textbooks (you all know I don’t have an HR degree right?), it came from experience. It came from not accepting that “this is just the way things are done”. There is always room for improvement and I wanted to improve the working experience for everyone I worked with. I wanted to fine tune the screening process to assure we were selecting the best candidates for our customers and the best customers for our candidates. I recognized that to change the recruiting process we had to change the employee development/engagement as well. It doesn’t stop with a job placement. So where did I get these crazy ideas? From failing. From watching customers fail. From watching employees fail. Finding the pain points of customers and applicants & committing to choose a problem and work towards a solution. That meant trial and error sometimes. It meant listening to customers and candidates and making sure I knew all the legal stuff in between. It meant being transparent. It’s something I didn’t know I was passionate about until I did it. And witnessed results. When I started getting thank you cards from candidates after they went “permanent” with one of my customers and after customers started referring other customers to me because I did a fantastic job for them I knew I was headed in the right direction. I will never settle or be complacent. One of the comments that came up in our conversation today is that I will automatically think when something doesn’t work out (especially when I miss out on an awesome candidate) “What could I have done differently”? Not what could the candidate have done differently or even the organization I work for, but me. You’re never going to do everything perfect and if you really want to keep improving you start with that question. It’s a hard question to ask yourself, especially when the situation at hand provides you with a lot of easy answers/obstacles to blame. If you don’t challenge yourself, who will? Commit to growing. What can you do better for the next time?