I’m proud to present to you Mrs. Robin Schooling, she is a southern gal, who blogs regularly at “HR Schoolhouse“. She was gracious enough to let me guest post for her a while ago, you can read it here “Practice v. Procedure”. She also is extremely active in SHRM, holding many positions within LASHRM. She’s also going to teach me the difference between gumbo and jambalaya, sweet! Here’s Robin, telling us about her love/hate relationship with some HR tasks.
Sometimes those of us who work in human resources bemoan the fact that we need to tackle administrative tasks. We tend to use this catch-all phrase to lump together duties as disparate as compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, benefit open enrollment and mailing out employee birthday cards. Whether it be hanging up labor posters, sending out FMLA Notices of Rights & Responsibilities or updating our HR policies we envision ourselves as the Cinderella of our organization – wearing tattered rags and shivering as we wash down the kitchen fireplace and clean out the cold ashes. We’ll be lucky if we get a crust of bread for dinner, we think.
Martyrdom. We wear it well.
And I get it. Wrangling a spreadsheet is not my idea of a good time. I’m not overcome with warm and cuddly cheer when I artfully arrange a filing cabinet. I most certainly am in no way, shape or form a “fan” of administrative busy work. But I’ve worked in enough organizations – and enough HR departments – to know ‘self-preservation job-saving’ busy work when I see it. And as a collective whole, HR ladies seem to have mastered that particular competency.
So we’ve maintained legacy processes in place that are tortuous to our job candidates and our employees. Recently, an HR colleague let me know that her huge, global organization requires all job candidates to apply online (ATS perfectly adept at capturing their information) yet – one day one of employment – that NEW employee who had already been signed, sealed and delivered is also required to (get this!) complete a paper application form. Why? She’sunable to get to the bottom of it – it’s still a mystery. All she knows is that around the world, throughout her organization, lots of HR Cinderellas have jobs that entail filing those paper applications.
Sheesh. We really kind of suck don’t we?
I hate this aspect of HR. I fight against it and blast it whenever I can. When HR practitioners hear about new final rules being issued by the USDOL or get information about how to prepare for the Affordable Care Act all that most hear is “administrative work.” Because we’ve made it so. So we go about creating new forms and steps, writing more policies, and coming up with additional busy work to keep us occupied.
But you know what? This stuff is foundational HR. And it’s interesting and informative and important – we need to understand why we do what we do. The foundation of our profession includes all the unsexy, non-glamorous, definitely-not-Beyonce-at-the-SuperBowl stuff. It’s EEOC and OSHA and Taft-Hartley and the NLRB. But when we get it right – and cut out the useless layers of crap with which we clutter up what we do – well, we CAN raise the roof.
Or at least get the glass slipper.