Friday, July 17, 2009

Guest Post: From my wife!


A non-hr person blogging about HR practices! The human resource professional who runs this blog thinks it would be a great idea to see HR from a different angle, an angle that would be more cynical, ready to find fault & more commonly called, The HR Store's wife!

Well, get ready for a whirlwind cynical side. I’ve worked in 3 companies – 1 Start-up, 1 mid-scale company and 1 big conglomerate. I will try to talk about my experiences in each of these companies and more importantly, my interaction with HR there.

I work for a humongous corporation now with over 75000 employees all over the world. Nothing works beyond process & policies and off course your HR rep. I always thought I would be the one to rebel against this kind of a company, but I find a weird sort of security where I know I cannot be screwed over by a mean boss or the blue-eyed boy of the boss or the curvaceous colleague (all have happened, I swear!) Everything at work is documented and no matter how many bosses change or how many projects you have been moved into, your past is always taken into accord, good or bad and that to me is very comforting. The HR rep here is very accommodating and she is even expected to respond to our emails in 24 hours (its a rule!!) Though they don’t really give us an answer that we want, it helps that we have an answer in a day's time. A lot of approvals are done by the HR and this helps that we don't have to get our silly transport, cafeteria, HR system issues, compensation clarity, across to our bosses who are really not interested. My only crib about the HR here is that they lack personality; they are cold, unemotional, efficient machines who eventually get the work done! Touch-time with employees is purely based on necessity.

Prior to this I worked for a start-up. This has to be the most horrible company ever in the history of mankind!! Really. It was run and worked on the whims and fancy of one man; the CTO cum IT Director cum Marketing Director cum Sales Director cum every other senior management role. The HR in this company was absolutely non-existent. This was because of the said manager, like I mentioned above. The HR director was above everyone and did not think he could stoop down to our level (employee level). The thing that most bugged me was, when I had to discuss salary issues, leave issues, medclaim issues; issues that should rightly have been handled by the HR or Finance personnel in the company, it was addressed by the above manager. It was hell and I was so grateful to have got out with my temper intact!!

Finally, the mid-scale company I worked for was comfortable. The projects that I was involved in were pretty ordinary, but my working relationship with my bosses and HR was fantastic! The gripe here is, the HR were constantly involved in extra-curricular activities, team building activities and everything else associated with ‘fun @ work’ theme. I am all for some fun @ work activities but when it happens about 4 times a month, it gets a little annoying and downright irritable when you have deadlines and releases to meet. And they expect you to participate (mandate) without any exceptions. And God forbid, had you ever participated in one of these events once, the HR personnel organizing the event would be all over you like an ant at a picnic. It would probably have helped if they had spent their time drafting some policies for leave, travel, re-location, regular FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) etc., because every time we approached them for issues relating to the above, they were all set to play Dumb Charades!!

Based on my experience, I felt that the management got it all wrong when hiring HR folks. There was always a feeling that the HR rep didn’t fit in with the business needs. Maybe that’s something companies can look deep into. After all, if HR reps are representing the business internally to employees, then wouldn’t it make sense to spend more time in getting the right candidate?

Thanks for reading the post and let me know what you think of it!