HR- I think we are in a dysfunctional relationship. The things I used to love about you are now driving me freaking crazy. The things are not moving forward and there is really no explanation for it. I think we are just going through the motions. You know this isn’t working. I think it’s time we break up.
Here are some things I think HR needs to break up with.
- Performance Reviews- all performance reviews. Not just the annual performance review. Changing the frequency does not make a difference. HR needs to let go of the notion that performance is something that we can or should document and formally discuss once per year, or bi-annually, or quarterly. Within the rapid pace of the modern workplace where projects and priorities change daily, constant and daily feedback is required. The vast majority of the workplace is already populated by Millennials and Generation Z- these groups of folks take in their information best when its short, fast and often.
- Traditional Full-time, Part-time Permanent Classifications of employment. Business must flex, flex or fail. The great thing about our current workforce is that there is plenty of talent out there looking for options- options to work on short-term project based assignments, longer-term contract-based initiatives, as consultants, as overseas resources or traditional regular full-time employees. HR should explore this available menu of talent options, build talent pipelines accordingly and present these options to the business as viable staffing options.
- Recognition Programs- it’s great to be recognized for a job well done, or for excellent performance on a key project. Programs that mechanize the natural expression of appreciation and thanks come across as inauthentic. Rather, HR should focus on hiring people with emotional intelligence who have a general behavioral propensity for delivering authentic gratitude to their peers. HR also needs to hold those same people accountable for that behavior.
- Managers and supervisors. I would venture to say that the majority of managers and supervisors are ineffective. They are ineffective for a number of reasons and mostly it is not their fault. Managers are often working managers and their people management responsibilities are compartmentalized as secondary duties. Most companies do not hold their managers accountable for people management responsibilities. Technically excellent employees are promoted to management because the company doesn’t how else to promote them. And, managing people is not fun or easy, unless you have a passion for leadership, most people do not want to manage (read: babysit) others. In our world where the only constant is change, HR should instead focus on the correlation of various soft skills to leadership, elevate those individuals and focus on readying internal talent to take on short-term assignments as team leaders and project coordinators.
- Wellness Programs- I simply believe wellness initiatives and programs do not fulfill their mission, and that employees don’t really put a lot of value in them. I think employers love to say they have them to attract talent. I believe employees like to have the options available. If wellness programs were the answer to the work/life balance thing, and work/life balance is a made-up thing (which I believe it is), then of course it doesn’t work. Most HR teams I know, love the idea of wellness but the actual execution is time-consuming, stressful and ultimately not rewarding for either employees, the company or HR.
On behalf of all HR, this is over, it’s not you, it’s us, we are just different now. And we have grown apart.
Angry businessman shouting to an employee
In my previous blog, 11 Red Flags You Work for a Bosshole, I laid out some key indicators of bad manager behavior.
With over ten plus years working in Human Resources, I have either heard of or witnessed all of these behaviors. Without further ado, I present 12 more red flags you may work for a bosshole.
They set unrealistic deadlines and have no respect for your schedule.
They say they don’t like drama, but are literally the epicenter of all drama shit storms.
They do not collaborate well with other managers.
They are immature- calling people names, mocking people, putting people down.
They do not handle intra-department employee conflicts and are content with letting them fester.
They lie or they spin reality to fit their own agenda.
They put you in ethically precarious situations.
They schedule meetings as a means of communicating everything when a simple email or phone call will work.
They put their entire email content into the Subject line.
They do not say thank you.
They know nothing about you nor bother to get to know anything about you.
They don’t offer any feedback on your performance. Or, only offer feedback when it’s negative.
Share your manager horror stories in the comments.
Quintessential Pop Culture Bosshole
A bosshole in modern vocabulary is the conjoining of the words boss and asshole. Bossholes come in many shapes and sizes. Some managers can be described as having bosshole tendencies while others may be full-fledged bossholes.
Bossholes are not to be confused with Managers who actually manage and lead. Managers who set high expectations for your work product, who demand your professional best, who push you to develop yourself, who offer constructive criticism and who may have to get very real with you on your potential with the company are not to be confused with bossholes. If you work for a Manager who does these things, keep on, keepin’ on. This type of Manager likely wants to see you succeed. Listen to them. Do what they tell you. And learn from them.
Bossholes are career vampires. They will suck your professional soul leaving nothing but an empty shell of an employee who at best is disengaged and at worst, operates with underlying hostilities. Depending on the degree of boss-holishness, you have some choices. You can possibly have a candid discussion with said bosshole, you can skip-level that conversation to his or her boss, seek guidance from your HR professional, seek a transfer or look for a new job.
Here, in no particular order, are 11 red flags you may work for a bosshole:
- Their office door is open, but they do not have “open-door” policy.
- They avoid one-on-one meetings with you and your team members like the plague.
- They delegate all tasks but zero authority.
- They delegate all tasks and all authority to senior team members in order to avoid their supervisory duties.
- They throw employees under the bus to make themselves look better.
- They take credit for their employee’s work.
- They do not show genuine gratitude for your hard work and effort.
- They change their mind on goals and objectives for the department every 7-10 days.
- They can’t or won’t roll up their sleeves in times of critical need.
- They do not follow through on commitments.
- They drive-by drop a bunch of stuff on your plate.
Have you ever worked for a bosshole? Share your bosshole red flags in the comments.
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- Show up on time.
Nothing earth shattering here. But believe me, not showing up on time is the easiest and fastest way to hurt your credibility and lose respect amongst your team members.
- Act like you care.
We all have to do things in our job that we would rather not do. The boring stuff. The things that are not challenging and have no bearing on our professional development. Don’t complain, suck it up.
- Learn more.
Get a mentor. Join a professional organization. Pursue professional certifications or designations. Job shadow with other departments. Become indispensable by accumulating experience, knowledge, skills and abilities.
- Get Self-Aware
Take the PI, DISC or Myers Briggs assessments and do some self-reflection. Know what you do well and build on it. Recognize what you suck at, forgive yourself and move on. It’s easier to work on your strengths.
- Perform like every day is an interview for your next job.
If you work for a strategic, forward-thinking organization, the Senior Leadership will no doubt have a succession plan. They will recruit with an eye towards determining who their high-potential employees are. Be the employee they think of during these conversations.
- Stretch yourself.
Volunteer for a challenging project, jump on a cross-functional team, get a seat on the company wellness committee.
- Up your Emotional IQ
Build meaningful relationships with your coworkers inside and outside of your department or team. Know people’s names. Ask them questions. Get to know them.
- Do not make excuses.
Own your accomplishments and most certainly own your mistakes and failures. Learn from them. Show some accountability. No one respects the peer who deflects blame, spins reality in their favor and scapegoats.
- Be the champion of you.
You are your own best advocate. Get constructive feedback from your manager and peers early and often. Keep a diary or file of the things you knock out of the park and don’t let your manager forget.
- Get Shit Done.