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Thread: What is the philosophy of your HR people? (AIB Not a Laughing Matter...)

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee

    What is the philosophy of your HR people? (AIB Not a Laughing Matter...)

    The candy admonishment got me wondering... what are your HR people like?

    At my last job, the HR functions were split between an executive secretary and the accountant (neither were in management positions, nor were they union - they were 'tweeners). I found that confidentiality was non-existent, both in personnel and personal matters. Insurance claim summaries and other confidential issues would routinely be left on fax machines etc. for wandering eyes. Very unprofessional. It resulted in a great culture of non-communication and mistrust.

    At my current job, its exactly the opposite. There are deeicated professionals in the field, in management roles. I feel that confidential matters stay that way (example: we have 'Paid Time Off' instead of sick day and vacation day systems. If you call in for a day, no reason is needed, and unless you make a point of telling your coworkers that you're sick or you are taking a hookey day, the boss isnt going to say whether you're ill or vacationing). They go through great lengths to protect information from unecessary disclosure, yet they keep an open door policy.

    So, what are your experiences with HR types?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    About three years ago we created a position for an HR director at the city. It was filled by a great guy, who left last year. The Council decided not to refill the position. We are back to having no professional HR support. It is painful. I know better than most, as I have had a long-running problem with an employee who I finally shoved off. I would have loved some help dealing with the problem.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Member hindered's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Good question! Although I'm not really in a position to offer any advice to MY City on how things could be done better, I'm very interested to see how it works elsewhere.

    My City had an HR Director for years, but hiring a less than stellar Director about 2 years ago (combined with budget problems) led to this position currently being left unfilled. We currently have a glorified "confidential" Secretary who has worked in the HR office for about 5 years filling some of the roles. Really the biggest gossip in the building. Not good.

    To handle personnel matters, we now have an HR Committee. Every Tuesday the Department Heads (all of them) meet as the HR Committee and essentially decide as a group what to do about 'problem' employees. They additionally have been working on new policies that come out of nowhere. Salary surveys/reviews are nonexistent.

    It's really all a mess. There is no confidentiality as multiple Dept. Heads and the 'confidential' secretary blab everything that goes on in the meetings. In addition to this lack of confidentiality we are missing the HR function of basically having a 'safe place'. Due to our recent budget issues and our strong mayor ruling with an iron fist, it would be nice to have a place to air concerns about policies, procedures, etc. because we must currently hold our tongues. We recently had some sexual harassment training conducted by an EEO guy and the consensus in my session was that there is absolutely no faith in the current system to handle any real complaint -- especially when the mayor is the worst offender. When asked at recent drug abuse awareness training what they would do if they suspected someone of abuse, my supervisor actually said he wouldn't tell anyone because it would be all over the building and that person would probably just be immediately fired by the mayor.

    Fortunately my Dept head is very professional and our Depts work environment is the best it could be. Still, outside of this office, it's all really just a bunch of crap and it really just goes on and on. This is all just the tip of the iceberg, but spewing it makes me fell better! And I'm sure I just made someone feel better about their work environment to boot, no?

  4. #4

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    Wow. Weekly meetings. You must have a lot of "problem" employees

    We have evolved. We used to have two technicians who basically worked under the Deputy City Manager. It was not fully "professional" but it worked pretty well. Now we have a personnel director, assistant director, risk manager, etc. While more "professional," it is also much more bureaucratic (and expensive). Still, in both cases, I cannot say that my employer has ever had a major problem. Partly because the people involved have always been very professional

  5. #5
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Aug 2001
    We have an HR department (six or seven employees and a director). There are a few HR specialists that work on job descriptions, hiring, classification, etc. who I deal with the most. They also helped me through a bad employee situation. My usual complaint about HR is that they control the hiring process, and they are hard to sway from typical processes once they get started. They put ads only in the local paper and Edmonton Journal... in reality we need more than that and often end up doing it ourselves (recently we posted in AACIP and on planetizen and cyburbia to get the word out).

  6. #6
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
    Jul 1998
    On the Mother River
    Quote Originally posted by hindered

    It's really all a mess. There is no confidentiality as multiple Dept. Heads and the 'confidential' secretary blab everything that goes on in the meetings. This is all just the tip of the iceberg, but spewing it makes me fell better!
    Welcome to small town Iowa! I had a conversation with a former employee of your city a couple of weeks ago about that disaster, and it's been about 10-15 years since he worked there. Seems nothing has changed.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Sep 1999
    400 miles from Orlando
    Our HR office has about a half-dozen "analysts" but there's only one I trust. One refuses to speak to me, ever since her daughter worked in zoning with me and I had to complain to the boss (on behalf of the whole office) that the daughter spent every day on the phone with friends or playing suck-face in the parking lot with her boyfriend. How professional of the mom!

    Anyway, they are pathetic at disseminating information, have no clear and consistent policies on many issues, and force all employees to undergo a stupid training program that was recently skewered by a local t.v. news report. And, as noted by others, things "leak" that shouldn't.

  8. #8
    We have a very hands-off HR person. The only thing she involves herself in is payroll, insurance, retirement plans. It is very unstructured. I have never even been advised as to how I would be able to file a complaint againt a co-worker if I needed too.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
    Dec 2001
    Ours is similar to Repo's. I was told an email with very sexually explicit and offending material was not harassment because it was not said about me. We've also been told we cannot file a complaint and have it stay queit- all higher ups will immediately be notified who said what, when, and where.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

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