Why Do I Love HR?

HR can be a thankless job, but I love it. So many people will tell me, “Oh, I could never do what you do!” I’d like to say, they’re right. Not because they don’t have the patience or character, but because they have no idea what I really do.

HR Gets a Bad Rap

These same people think that I just fire employees all day. I’m the “hatchet lady.” If I fired people all day, the office would be empty.

So what is it that I do differently? Maybe it is not different, but it is me. I like to keep it real.

I work very hard to establish relationships with all of my employees. Yes, I call them mine. I want to know about them. I want to hear what their dreams are, career goals, and of course, what they need from me.

Never Promise What You Can’t Deliver

I try to follow through on my promises to them. I never promise something that I can’t deliver. You don’t build trust that way.

If they come and knock on my door, I know they want to talk. Before I let them start, I make sure they know that how I react is dependent on what they say to me. I always let them know that I have three virtual filing cabinets in my brain. The first one is for verbal vomiting that is mainly a place I put the information that they are giving me and it doesn’t need further inquiry. I may offer tools and suggestions to help them through their crisis, but it is usually a safe place for them to come and let off some steam. The second virtual filing cabinet is for those issues that involve a co-worker or supervisor that need coaching or mediation. I make sure that I tell the employee that I will help them as much as possible. Most of the time they don’t want me to do anything. The third and final virtual filing cabinet is reserved for when the employee says keywords or phrases that would lead me to open an investigation. Things like feeling as though they are in a hostile work environment, or they are being bullied, or that person sexually assaulted me. These issues are immediately dealt with. This is the hard part. The employee usually tells me they don’t want to get anyone fired. I have to explain that I would start an investigation before that happened. I also remind them that we have policies and procedures that we need to abide by. I remind them that at this point, I don’t have a choice and I must move forward. In the end, they are appreciative that I have done my job to protect them.

Yes, I Have to Discipline Sometimes

I do have to follow the disciplinary action processes that are set up in each organization. I prefer to train employees on what they should and shouldn’t be doing and monitor their progress. You also have to train the managers and supervisors to document. We try to live in a world where there are fewer disciplinary actions and more education, but there are times when we have to drop the hammer. I want all employees to be set up for success. Have we given them the tools to do their jobs correctly in the first place? Have we explained the behaviors and norms we expect to see at your offices? If, not then we haven’t done our jobs yet.

Benefits and PTO and 401(k)’s Oh My!

Yes, an HR team is responsible for making sure that each employee is also enrolled in all of the eligible benefits. If you are in an organization that has high turnover, this can be challenging for the HR team. Give them a break. Timing on benefits is everything. Making sure people are signed up and/or removed from coverage based on their start/stop dates is not always easy. We have to make sure the invoices from these vendors are correct at all times on top of taking care of the employee’s needs.

Sounds Like a Lot, Right?

I haven’t really scratched the surface of what an HR team really does, but you can catch a glimpse of the complexity. Give your HR Director the budget to staff the team they need so you don’t lose them from being overworked. Make sure you pay them what they are worth too. Don’t always look at the industry you are in, look at their skills, abilities, and experience. Ask them what they believe they should be making and negotiate. All in all, I love my job. I enjoy the people and I enjoy the challenge.

Is Your Workplace Fabulous or a Flop?

How to Fab up Your Workplace

We want to take a look today at a workplace makeover. Where are some small things you can do to switch things up a bit?

We’re going to take a lesson from these amazing guys on TV that consistently change people’s lives for the better. Secretly, I am in love with all of them!

We’ll go through five distinct areas to see if we can zhoosh up the work environment for your team members. it doesn’t have to be huge, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but should be selfless. Something you do just for them.

Decor

Some businesses were decorated years before your current employees came on board. Are you still rockin’ the Beige walls? Is your carpet stained? Is the art reminiscent of 70’s landscapes? Please say it ain’t so!

If you can paint all the walls, do it. bright it up! There are ideas on the internet for chic work spaces for days!

A chic office space can make your employees feel like they work in an important place. Not that is wasn’t important before, but this shows the team that you are invested in the company appearance and a safe, fun place for the team.

If not all the wall, how about the employee lounge to start? Slap that colorful paint on the walls, purchase a nice throw rug, some plants (fake or real) and comfortable seating for rest and break periods.

Wardrobe

Depending on the type of business you have, you might require uniforms. What about a bright new color or style of shirt? A new uniform that is crisp and sharp or what about a fun t-shirt given at a company barbecue. A free gift for working so hard for the organization.

Psychological

Instead of a quarterly all-staff meeting, turn one of them into an employee appreciation event and require all of the executives and directors attend (without their cell phones). Their job is to mingle with all levels of the staff.

Work with your HR team to make sure that your total rewards package and benefits are in check and reflect the needs of the team. Ask your team what they would like to have and see if it fits within your budget. Including the team’s ideas shows them that you call about their needs which in turn, will make them more productive.

Self-Care

This can be added in the total rewards package by making their space comfortable and brightening up the decor.

It also can be that you provide:

* A meal or healthy snacks at work in the break room;

* Gym use (if you have one) or a gym membership in your total rewards package;

* Hairspray, mouthwash, or hand lotion in the lavatories

These are only a few things that you could provide at a minimal cost.

Food

Back to the healthy snack conversation. Instead of donuts every Friday, put out apples, oranges, and mixed nuts (be careful for those with nut allergies). Have potlucks with themes, minding different people’s food styles such as vegan, Vegetarian, Keto, and Gluten free. Veggies and dip is always a hit!

Respecting cultural food styles is also important. Ask your employees what foods are culturally appropriate and those that are not.

These “fabulous” five things can make a world of difference in your organization. Show your team how much they mean to you.

On-boarding; Make it the Best First Day of their lives.

An employees first day is one of the most important days of their tenure at your company. Better yet, the first two hours are. Those two hours are highly critical for their decision making process. The decision on whether or not they are going stay with your organization.

We could back up a bit to the recruiting process and the interactions and interviews you had with them because we know that these events are also ones that shape their decisions too. We must always be on our best behavior. Let’s just assume for the sake of this article that we already are doing this.

Day One…

My philosophy is to start the new employee later than their normal schedule will be and let them go home early the first day with a full days’ pay. You have already emailed the pertinent on-boarding paperwork to them so when they show up at 9:00 am on their first day they have all that paperwork with them filled out for you to simply double check. They should have their proper identification out and ready to present to you. Why do they have it ready? Because you emailed them a list of everything they need to bring with them on that first day. Is that snickering I hear from you? All of this preparation does come with the knowledge that sometime the new hire will not have read the email and come empty-handed. Remind them that they must bring in the proper identification to you within the three days or we are not in compliance. Don’t let this ruin the employees first day experience. We all know that we are responsible for getting that information.

Tips and Tricks

If you can have a card signed by the team and some executives ready for them that be a great welcome for them. Have their desk set up with all the basic supplies they need for their jobs and the card presented on the desk. If the position does not have a desk set up then presenting it at the end of the HR portion of their first day is fine.

The next step should be with a team leader or supervisor to give the new hire a tour of your facility. Take the time to show them the restrooms, lunch area, lockers if applicable, etc. After the tour have a special meeting to introduce them to the team with pastries and juice. A meet and greet if you will. Show the employee their desk and let them take a bio-break.

Mealtime

Lunch on the first day for the new hire should never be spent alone. We are not, or should not be too busy to schedule a special lunchtime meeting between the new employee and their manager. This is a nice way to answer get to know them personally, answer any questions they might have, and give them the rest of the days’ itinerary. A written agenda shows you took the time to prepare the days’ events and sets aside time for other for any other introductions with department heads this role with will be working with.

The End of the Day is Near

At the end of this first day, remember to give your new team member, if you can, a daily operation manual for them to go through or take home to read at their leisure. Right before they go home for the day the manager and the employee can work out the regular schedule for the rest of this first week and going forward depending on your needs at the organization. Having clear communication of expectations is the best way to start out this relationship.

This first day the new employee has met many people, learned many new things, and most likely is exhausted. Leaving early is a chance for them to regroup for the next day. (As well as knowing we have to get caught up on all the things we didn’t get to do today, its a never ending cycle).

First Impressions are Lasting

I hope this glimpse of a first day has helped you out. First impressions are lasting. Please comment with ideas you have used for on-boarding your new employees!