Human Resource Audits and Relieving HR Anxiety

I am in the midst of an HR audit and decided to republish the post below from 2011 because the more things change, the more things seem to stay the same.

iStockphoto

iStockphoto

What is an HR Audit? Per SHRM (membership required), "An HR audit involves an objective look at the company’s HR policies, practices, procedures and strategies to protect the company, establish best practices and identify opportunities for improvement. An objective review of the company’s “current state” can help you evaluate whether specific practice areas are adequate, legal and/or effective. The results can provide decision-makers with the information necessary to decide what areas need improvement."

 For those of us not always open to constructive criticism, audits can present some personal and professional challenges. What's the surest sign of an HR pro experiencing unnecessary anxiety? They take this stuff personally. 

I am no stranger to questions, challenges, or disagreements. Lately, however, I've felt that the spotlight has been on me, my decisions, my priorities and my leadership.  Bottom line: I don't like it. 

This latest round started with a third party audit. This was our first ever and I welcomed the team with open arms, fully aware they would have findings. What team reviewing a complex HR operation wouldn't?  But did they have to find so much on the first day? I am sure someone somewhere has valuable insight into the "psychology of an audit" but you have to know that I wasn't seeing much beyond loser by the end of the first day. Throw in focus groups and doubt was alive and well.

Day three, it is different. Not all the HR problems of the world are solved, they never will be, but the anxiety level has dropped dramatically for this one HR professional because she stopped making this personal.

The spotlight, the questions, the scrutiny from self and others - it's going to happen. It's unavoidable. Just when you think all is lost and you think about turning in your keys and parking pass, stop and take a look around. Notice that your hands are gripping the reins. They are clenched, sunburned and achy. Notice that your legs are cramped and your spurs are dull.

Now, notice this. You are still on the horse. 

HR Department Audit: It's Not Personal

I am pulling this post from the 2011 archives as HR audit/effectiveness survey time approaches. I'm good, my staff is great and we run a pretty tight ship. Bring it on!

What's the surest sign of an HR professional experiencing unnecessary anxiety? They make this stuff personal.

I've got this thing I do. It has nothing to do with clothing, food or body parts and everything to do with words.

I collect phrases.

If I hear a phrase that resonates with me  - it may be an insight, a perspective, or a snappy little comeback- I enclose it in a grade-school-like cloud in the upper right hand corner on the first page of my notes. Phrases that have made their way into my vocabulary are "dirty stinkin' liar," "manage the smiley faces" and "karma is a b**ch." 

My new phrase, thanks to a colleague in Florida during a recent discourse of our HR lives is "hell bent for leather." Now, let me add a few words to get right to the heart of the matter for me.

Hell bent for leather . . . and under scrutiny.

As an HR professional, leader, supervisor, manager, former Army officer, I am no stranger to questions, challenges, or disagreements but lately, I've felt that the spotlight <or is it mirror> has been on me, my decisions, my priorities, my leadership and "Frankly, Scarlet, I <do> give a damn." 

Bottom line: I don't like it. 

This latest round started with an HR Oversight and Effectiveness Survey. This was our first ever and I welcomed the team with open arms, fully aware they would have findings. But did they have to find so much the first morning of the first day of a 3 day visit?!

I am sure Doctor Daniel Crosby, has some valuable insight into the "psychology of an audit" but you have to know that I wasn't seeing much beyond loser by the end of the first day. Throw in employee relations, labor relations, dips in customer service delivery, staff performance and my own performance as a supervisor and, well, anxiety was alive and well.

Today, it is different. Not all the HR problems of the world are solved, they never will be, but the anxiety level has dropped dramatically for this one HR professional.

How?

I stopped making this personal.

The spotlight, the questions, the scrutiny from self and others - it's going to happen. It's unavoidable. Just when you think all is lost and you think about turning in your keys and parking pass, stop and take a look around. 

Notice that your hands are gripping the reins. They are clenched, sunburned and achy. Notice that your legs are cramped and your spurs are dull.

Now, notice this. You are still on the horse. 

Photo creditiStockphoto