Much of what we do each day in HR is interpretation. Interpretation of the Master Agreement, of directives and handbooks, of program intent, of an individual’s intent and I could go on. In the face of so much interpretation, when there is a definitive black and white bottom line, I grab onto it.
Why? I am looking for the non-negotiable and, more simply, I am looking for a place to start. I seek out parallel situations, precedent setting cases, and opinions (legal and colleague) and consider values, goals and possible outcomes. I’d like to picture myself doing this alone in the coffee shop with my Caribou Coffee Fa La La La Latte but in reality it is often in the hallway or an office, not alone, with the phone ringing, e-mail dinging and many a suspense calling for attention. Add a touch of emotion and well, there you have it.
I have a Human Resource Specialist who made a decision a few weeks ago. Without getting into the HR details of it, this was a pure matter of interpretation. The service line does not agree with the decision. For me, this decision comes down to value. The decision made placed the value differently than where the service line is placing it. Is one value judgment right and one wrong? Absolutely not. May the decision change? Maybe and maybe not.
Outcome aside, the decision making process she used was exactly what I expect her and the rest of my staff to do when making decisions. Great job!