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.


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

Open Season on Human Resources (HR). When Will it End?

Do you know the saying that goes something like this . . . I can trash talk lazy-good-for-nothing-never-lifted-a-finger-in-his-life-to-help-another Uncle Larry but you can't. He's family and he's mine.

Well, the same thing goes for Human Resource professionals. If you don't have something good to say, don't say anything at all. <Silence ensues>

I get it. As a profession, HR has it's challenges. But what profession doesn't?


The sun was shining, the humidity broke and I had off today. The kid was at art camp and I sat down to eat my Panera fuji apple chicken salad with BB in hand. I opened my email and I see this:

New Study Shows How Bad HR Can Hurt Sales. 

Seems there is a new report out there that shows a company’s HR practices can have a major impact on its bottom line. Gheesh, we know that. We also know that company leadership, corporate culture, reputation and a host of other things impact a company's bottom line - why is HR on the chopping table again?

Many of you probably received the same email. I am not going to identify it or link to it because my issue  isn't with the survey at all. It was just one of the many press releases I receive each week. In fact, I didn't even read the email or the press release attached. 

It's the principle of the thing.

Listen, if you are not going to say something to forward the HR agenda positively than I really am not interested in what you have to say. I can talk trash talk HR but you can't - at least not to me.  Ok?

There are a whole bunch of HR professionals out there working to make a difference every day. My Google reader and Twitter stream is full of them. They deserve recognition, accolades and support. 


Rant over.