HR Improv was a session at HRevolution where participants had to present on a slideshow that they had never seen before and somehow tie it back to employee relations, recruiting, etc.
Please forgive the shaky portion of the videos. I grabbed the camera halfway through the session when I realized how hilarious this was going to be. I didn’t have a tripod, so I did the best I could with what I had.
Sean Conrad of Halogen Software was one of our volunteers. The random presentation we drew for Sean was†a slideshow invitation to vacation in Nnoordwijk, Holland, and he had to try and relate that to the recruiting and talent management process. The first few minutes of his session were cut off, but this was the winner of the contest, so I wanted to get him a little love anyway! Keep reading…
We’ve all seen them. They drag their crusty, misshapen forms around, spreading despair and agony in their wake. No, I’m not talking about trolls, I’m talking about HR people! We’ve all worked with them before, but some might look at you and think that you fit the bill. Here are a handful of signs you might be turning into one of them!
You secretly cheer when it’s time to put an employee on a performance improvement plan
You have immense pride in the fact that your department has resisted that newfangled “Human Resources” title and still proclaims itself “Personnel”
Warning: This post is supposed to be humorous. If you are not experienced with humor, you might not get it. If that is the case, here’s the IRS website. Feel free to read some of that really exciting stuff over there. Why humor? Because we’re HR professionals, darn it. If we don’t get some measure of humor our souls wither and die.
Today I’ll tell the story of when I accidentally insulted someone during new hire orientation.
And not just any someone.
This guy’s dream (as he’d already told me several times) was to own his own firearms and hand-to-hand combat training business, so he was a pretty tough dude.
So, I’d been recruiting this guy for a few weeks, but we hadn’t been able to talk very much since he was overseas at the time. He was taking a remote position with us, and the group he was working with was actually in town on the day he started, so he came to the home office for his new hire orientation. Simple enough, right?
Well, we are sitting in the orientation session and I pause to talk about the different pieces of the company and what all we do. I mentioned a recent proposal we had submitted to do some work for the government, and his temper went from zero to sixty in a heartbeat. He was on his feet, pacing back and forth, and growling about how dumb the decision was. I’ve never actually seen someone “gnashing their teeth,” but I’m willing to bet that was about as close as you can get.
They make you take psychology classes in college when you get an HR degree. You also take things like communications, public speaking, etc. Basically, you should know¬†how to talk to someone. Heh. At the time that was the furthest thing from my mind.
This guy is a trained killer, and I just made him angry. If he smashes the computer and chairs, I’m the next biggest thing in the room for him to take his frustrations out on. Unless he used the computer and chairs to smash me. That seems pretty efficient, and I haven’t seen anything inefficient about the guy since I met him. Crap.I’d rather go out in a blaze of glory. Beaten to death with a faux leather office chair was not in my top five ways to die.¬†
Agh. Why didn’t I sit closer to the door? I could at least get it halfway open before he snaps my neck like a twig. I wonder if I could distract him. Too bad I don’t have a red cape to wave in his face or something. Or a bazooka. That would probably be intimidating, except for the fact that I have no idea how to use one. Sigh. College was such a poor way to spend my time.¬†
At this point he’s started to calm down a little after circling the room a few times. I’d like to say it was at that point that I took control of the situation and moved on with the orientation.
But I didn’t.
Wow. His hands look really big. I wonder if he could wrap them all the way around my neck. I wonder where he’d hide the body. It’s a small room. But he’s probably inventive. He could stuff me in the ceiling tiles and be out of the building before anyone realized I was missing. Why didn’t I take the extra optional life insurance package? Darn. Wait a minute, what if I play dead? Will he still attack? Oh, wait, that’s for bears, not people. Stupid Discovery Channel. Why don’t you tell us how to survive people? I have yet to see a bear from three feet away, but I’ve been that close to plenty of crazy people…¬†Wait a minute, he’s looking at me again.
By this point he was sitting in his chair, staring at me as if I¬†was the one who had nearly just blew his top. I stumbled and stuttered through the rest of the slides, made an excuse to leave the room, and breathed deeply of the fresh air that filled my lungs.
I had survived.
I’d like to say there’s a grandiose lesson here, but I can’t think of one. Just make sure you sit near the door if you are ever alone in a room with a former special-forces-trained-killer and there’s a chance you could make them angry at you.
Anyone else have a crazy new hire orientation story?
Human resources professionals run into monsters at work more often than others. We see the dark side of people, and it’s easy to make comparisons to these famous monsters based on those observations…
The famed “B.O.” problem that everyone seems to visit HR about. A manager has an employee who smells like he hasn’t showered in weeks and wouldn’t know deodorant if it slapped him in the face. His hair is greasy, and the lack of personal hygiene is really just starting to creep people out. Sounds like a werewolf¬†to me!
These people flutter around and suck the life out of your organization on a daily basis. They use¬†gossip¬†and other subversive activities behind the scenes to undermine the culture and leadership, often without anyone seeing the danger until it’s too late. Maybe vampires?
This person showed up out of nowhere. Nobody knows why he’s there or what he does, but he continues to collect a paycheck every week because nobody can get the nerve to talk to the guy because, honestly, he’s kind of creepy. Creature from the Black Lagoon, anyone?
These actively disengaged employees are hazardous to your organization’s health. Not only are they not working to better the company, they are actively working against it! They may not be the smartest people around, but brute force can get a lot accomplished if everyone is working toward the same goal. Of course, zombies¬†don’t always have to be a bad thing. (Click here for 10 reasons to hire zombies)
And while he’s not exactly a monster, people still dress up as Batman for Halloween! I did a fun post a while back on what it would be like if Batman ran your HR department. Funny stuff!
Last week I attended a great event called HR Florida down near Orlando. I sat in on some fantastic sessions, and I really enjoyed the experience. Here are my notes from a few of the sessions:
Why it pays to lighten up
During this session, one of the authors of The Levity Effect shared research and case studies that encouraged having fun at work. If your workplace has a terminal case of seriousness, then you need to check this out. Click the link to learn more about The Levity Effect.
Recognition: it works
Another session I attended was called Developing an effective, no cost recognition program. The speaker gave us ideas to help our managers recognize employees for a job well done and to avoid the fake-sounding praise that is commonplace. Click the link to learn more about developing a recognition program.
Questions you (and your managers) should know
One speaker casually tossed out a question during his session, and it stuck in my head for the duration of the event. Which of your supervisors holds the best meetings? What makes them great? Knowing these answers helps you to better support your managers and employees, and encouraging managers to know them about their own people helps to establish stronger communication in the workplace. Click the link to learn more about questions you should ask at work.
All in all it was an amazing event. I hope to attend again next year!
I have read The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up, and I think it’s a fantastic book for people to read in order to understand the impact that humor and levity can have in the workplace. Scott Christopher, the author of the book and speaker at the session, had so many fantastic quips and quotes that it might as well have been a comedy session with some learning thrown in. It was phenomenal and I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed hearing him speak.
One of our core values is to have a safe and enjoyable workplace. That’s why we have photos of office staff in men’s helicopter flight suits and videos of bagpipers playing in our lobby. We take the enjoyable part very seriously. Well, not so seriously. Anyway, you get the point.
Five quick points:
Figure out what’s fun and share that (healing patients vs. serving food, building relationships vs. recruiting candidates, etc.)
Herb Kelleher-Southwest Airlines-order of recruiting importance from least to greatest: education, experience, humor Keep reading…
Work communication doesn’t have to be boring and tedious, even if it’s mandated by law or some other legal statute. Make it interesting and fun, and people will be more likely to pay attention and do what you want them to do!